Two six-foot-tall wire sculptures to remember fallen soldiers are now on display at Hammersmith Town Hall. They are standing guard as ceremonies and parades are readied across Hammersmith & Fulham to mark Remembrance Sunday next weekend.
The two six-foot metal ‘Tommy’ sculptures, depicting a soldier with the rifle and helmet worn in the trenches, are a poignant reminder of the human cost of the First World War. They flank the memorial plaque that pays tribute to the Hammersmith & Fulham soldiers who died in the war.
“There’s no doubt that life today would be very different if these soldiers hadn’t fought for us. These statues help remind us that they were just ordinary people from the local community,” said Cllr Alan De’ath, H&F Council’s Representative for the Armed Forces.
The statues were created by the charity Remembered as part of its ‘There But Not There’ campaign. They are being displayed up and down the country to honour the more than 800,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who fought and died in the war.
The display in the town hall also honours two local soldiers who made extraordinary contributions in the First World War:
Cpl. Edward Dwyer
At just nineteen, Fulham-born Edward Dwyer was the youngest ever recipient of the Victoria Cross for his remarkable acts of bravery during the First World War.
On 20 April 1915, then Private Dwyer and his East Surrey Regiment comrades were under fire on Hill 60, in Zwartaleen, Belgium. Despite the danger, he left the trench during heavy shell fire to bandage his wounded comrades.
Later, when the trench was under attack from a hail of German grenades, he climbed the parapet and used his own hand grenades to successfully disperse the enemy.
Corporal Dwyer was killed in action on 3 September 1916 in the Somme and was buried in France. There is a memorial to him at Fulham Library and a commemorative stone was laid in his memory at Vicarage Gardens, Fulham.
Lt. Indra Lal Roy
Lt. Indra Lal Roy was born in Calcutta, India, on 2 December 1898, but grew up in London, attending St Paul’s School, Hammersmith, before joining the Royal Flying Corps in April 1917, aged just 18.
Known as India’s first ‘flying ace’, Roy was posted to No. 40 Squadron in France on 19 June 1918. During his time with the squadron, he shot down nine German planes in under two weeks.
He was killed during a dogfight with a German aircraft on 22 July, aged just 19. Roy was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was the first Indian to receive this honour and the only Indian to fly with the Corps (later to become the RAF) during the First World War.
He was one of six children born to women’s suffrage campaigner, Lolita Roy, who is commemorated in a separate art installation under the town hall extension.
Margravine Cemetery memorial
A memorial in Hammersmith’s Margravine Cemetery commemorating the deaths of the 11 women and two men who died in an explosion in White City making munitions has been planted with fresh flowers.
The Friends of Margravine Cemetery recently planted the new red and white cyclamen to honour the workers killed in the blast 100 years ago. The explosion occurred on 31 October 1918 at the munitions factory where they worked, WE Blake Explosives Loading Company Ltd, in Wood Lane, White City. The Grade II-listed memorial was created in memory of those who died.
Ruth Savery, Secretary of the Friends of Margravine Cemetery and long-time Hammersmith resident, said: “The blast occurred only 11 days before the end of the war. And those killed never received the recognition they deserved at the time.”
Remembrance Sunday events
A two-minute silence will be held at 11am next Sunday (11 November) at the war memorials in both Shepherds Bush and Fulham.
Two separate parades in the north and south of the borough, will be followed by the two services. The Remembrance events will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War when the guns of Europe fell silent. The ceremonies will also mark the sacrifices made in subsequent conflicts.
“Please join us on Remembrance Sunday as H&F residents gather to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves securing and protecting our freedom,” said H&F Mayor, Cllr Daryl Brown
“The 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War will make our tributes even more poignant this year.”
Parade – Shepherds Bush War Memorial
The procession will begin at Sulgrave Road, off Shepherds Bush Road, at 10.15am before the service at the war memorial on Shepherds Bush Green. Both will be attended by H&F Deputy Mayor, Cllr Mercy Umeh.
The service will be conducted by Father Richard Nesbitt of Our Lady of Fatima church and Reverend Cameron Collington of St Simon’s church.
After the service, there will be a march past in Shepherds Bush Road where the Deputy Mayor will take the salute before the parade is dismissed in Westwick Gardens.
Parade – Fulham War Memorial
The procession will begin at Parsons Green at 10.20am and march down New Kings Road to the Fulham War Memorial in Vicarage Garden. The service will be led by Penny Seabrook, associate vicar of All Saints’ church, Fulham. The service will be followed with a march across Fulham High Street to Fulham House where the Mayor, Cllr Daryl Brown, will take the salute before the parade is dismissed.
Residents are welcome to take part in just the services by going to either Shepherds Bush Green or Vicarage Garden before 11am.
Read more on the First World War
- Remembering H&F’s women workers of the ‘home front’
- Blog: From Stamford Bridge to the trenches – Chelsea and the First World War
- Fulham Camerata concert marks end of First World War
- Blog: First World War left its mark on Fulham
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