Thursday, 11 November 2010

Lest We Forget

Some years ago, a reclamation company who was my workshop landlord at the time, were called over to the outskirts of Bristol, to look at an item the the famous tobacco company, W.D. & H.O. Wills wished to sell.

It was a massive, white marble memorial on the wall of the main entrance, and on it was inscribed the names of the many employees of the company who had given their lives for the sake of the nation during World Wars One and Two.

The marble was of absolutely top-quality, white statuary, so - after it had been dismantled and taken off the wall - was sliced up into many pieces to make new fire-surrounds, as well as restore existing antique ones.

For several years afterwards, all you had to do was turn the jamb of a fancy fire-surround leaning against the wall of a workshop, in order to read the names of 20 or so dead heroes, and these names are forever imortalised in stone, albeit face up against the chimney-breast of a private house, and entombed in wall plaster. I even found one piece which read, "We shall never forget you..."

I still have a beautifully carved piece of laurel leaf border that used to run around the whole thing - laurel was a symbol of honour and valour, and I feel sad every time I look at it.

So when you are next standing by the Cenotaph at 11.0'clock on a cold autumn morning, listening to the band playing Elgar's 'Nimrod', spare a thought for that tobacco company and the developers who bought the factory.


  1. Disgraceful, but the filthy luchre always dominates such decisions.

  2. Such disrespect for those poor men and their families.

  3. Tobacco company probably did not give it one thought.

  4. Tom, thanks for bringing this to our attention, so WE will never forget. Ann

  5. It's a sad and shameful story, but the eventual outcome is that the true thoughts about the last 2 world wars are really brought into focus by these real occurrences. My old dad was shot down in a bomber, then poisoned by a spy in London. We 60 year olds have had a damned good and fortunate life, thanks to the likes of them.