Former Bevin Boy watches as the stones are craned into place.
Having waited so long to be formally recognised, the irony of the memorial taking such a long time will not be lost on those who served not in the armed forces but down Britains coal mines during the 2nd World War. Yes, the Bevin Boy memorial that has been over 3 years in the pipeline was installed at the National Memorial Arboretum near Burton on Trent yesterday. As installations go, it went very smoothly. Former Bevin Boy Harry Parkes, who has been involved with the project right from the start was present to see the 3 piece monument erected alongside those of all of the Army, Navy and Air Force regiments who are celebrated appropriately at this wonderful, fast developing arboretum. Part of the monument is an inscription that reads “We also served”.
Harry unveils the plaque as the march continues behind.
The sculpture is carved from Kilkenny Limestone (Hand picked from the Kilkenny quarry by Harry and myself last year) and contains areas of intricate carving and letter cutting that contrast sharply with the craggy rough areas of this tough Irish stone.
A curious crowd gather to inspect the Arboretums latest arrival.A detail of the main memorial