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16 September 2014
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An exhibition of remembrance
Graveyard stone of rememberance
A tribute to B. Stead

In 2003, photographs and sculptures of remembrance went on display in Shipley. Amateur photographer Gerry Woodgate put together the exhibition as a tribute to his uncle who fought in the war.


Sense of Place


Commonwealth War Graves Commission
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Scarlet poppies grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth.

The significance of the poppy as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen was realised by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields.

The poppy quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in the First World War and later conflicts.

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Gerry explains:

All graves are marked by a memorial

"At the exhibition there is a sculpture of white crosses in the sand and poppies. It is made from everyday items found at home and signifies the fact that everyone who died in the war has a monument."

The colour photographs in the exhibition are taken at the Hirst Wood and Nab Wood cemeteries in Shipley.

The exhibition coincides with the 2003 Poppy Appeal in Shipley and includes a roll of honour, names of the regiments and details on the Commonwealth Graves Commission which maintains the graves of the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars.

The photographs show graves in Hirst and Nab Wood

There is also a monument, rather surprisingly to the carrier pigeons who were lost in action taking messages from the front lines to carry status reports back to headquarters. The carrier pigeon would fly back to its home behind the lines. When it landed, the wires in the coop would sound an alarm.

A soldier from the Signal Corps would go to the coop, remove the message from the small canister hidden on the pigeon's leg, and then send it to the right person.

War grave

If the enemy soldiers were nearby when a pigeon was released, they knew that the bird would be carrying important messages, and tried their best to shoot the pigeon down so the message couldn't be delivered. During the two wars in Britain it became illegal to kill pigeons in case they were carrying a message."

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