Silhouette figures of First World War soldiers or ‘Tommy’s’, have again been installed across the town by Watford Borough Council, as part of an art installation called ‘There But Not There’ run by military charity Remembered.
The campaign, which the council has been supporting since 2018, aims to respect those who died in the First World War, symbolising more than 1.1 million British and Empire service men and women who did not make it home. It also aims to educate all generations about why so many made the ultimate sacrifice, and to raise funds to help heal those suffering from the hidden wounds of war.
The sculpture depicts a ‘Tommy’ – an informal term for a soldier in the British Army – who stands thoughtfully, head bowed, rifle in hand, as he reflects upon the sheer horror of World War I as peace is declared in 1918. This year, there will also be an ‘Unknown Women in War’ statue at Gammons Lane, which is designed to help the nation commemorate and recognise the bravery and sacrifices of women in war. In total, the council has installed 24 of the six foot tall sculptures in public spaces around the borough.
These poignant installations which are placed across the UK, bring the people lost during the conflict off memorial walls and into physical public spaces, reminding the public of the conflict’s grave impact on communities across the country.
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “We have been supporting this campaign since 2018 and we feel it is very important for these silhouettes to be situated in Watford as a reminder of just what sacrifices people made during the two World Wars. The impact that the wars had on our town was enormous, with huge numbers of Watfordians joining the call to arms and the town also pulled together around the war effort.
“We will also be commemorating those who fought in later conflicts such as Captain Tom Sawyer, Corporal Christopher Harrison and Private Tom Lake. I also hope residents are able to join the Remembrance Service on the 14 November and pay their respects.”
To view a map of the locations of the Tommy’s and to find out more, please visit www.watford.gov.uk.