Ultimate tribute to war dead

British communities which lost men, and some women, in the First World War have left us a legacy – a stock of thousands of war memorials which take many forms and represent a large range of architectural styles.

Today they form part of our built heritage and although many are in reasonable shape thanks to the efforts of councils, charities and dedicated enthusiasts, many others are suffering through natural erosion, structural problems and, sadly, vandalism and theft.

These issues have come to the fore recently, as has the fact that in just under three years we shall begin marking the centenary of the Great War in 2014-2018.

Vast numbers of us consider it right and proper to gather around our local war memorial on Remembrance Sunday to pay our respects. However, we need to begin thinking about war memorials outside that local context and closely examine the big picture. On a national scale, if we believe this part of our heritage is worth saving, we need to set about it now in a concerted and organised manner before it is too late.

Serious amounts of money (possibly in the form of a national war memorial restoration fund), professional workmanship and a long-term commitment will be needed. As centenary events will no doubt reach a crescendo in November 2018, a national collection of safe and pristine war memorials would form the ultimate tribute to those who gave everything.

For more details, visit www.clean2018.moonfruit.com.

Ray Thompson