Silent Soldier takes pride of place outside Shirehall in Shrewsbury
A Silent Soldier silhouette – known as a Tommy – has been erected outside Shirehall in Shrewsbury as a tribute to those who served in the armed forces, and as the country marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.
The lifesize sculpture bears poppy emblems and a base plate plaque with the text ‘1914-1918’ and ‘Lest we forget’.
Organised by the Royal British Legion, the Silent Soldier project aims to educate today’s younger generation, and support today’s veterans who are suffering from mental health and physical wounds, by raising substantial funds through the sale of the Tommies.
Nearly 1.1 million British and Empire service men and women were killed during WWI before the guns finally fell silent on Armistice Day – 11 November 1918.
Following the end of the war in November 1918, the long process of demobilisation and discharge began. The Silent Soldier represents soldiers arriving back to England who were given a railway ticket to their home station. From there they were on their own, and would be seen across the county, walking back home, down the roads and across the fields, returning to their families.
Karen Calder, Shropshire Councillor responsible for the Armed Forces Covenant, said:
“As a council, we are committed to supporting our armed forces personnel, past and present – so I’m delighted that we’re installing one of these Tommies outside Shirehall. The sale of these Tommies will help raise funds for veterans, and hopefully get people to stop and pay attention to the figures in respect of those who sacrificed so much. With this year marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, it is a particularly poignant time to get involved in a campaign like this.”
Clive Wright, chief executive of Shropshire Council, said:
“We have a duty to educate today’s generation about what the country went through, and it is important that as a council – on behalf of our councillors, staff, communities and partner public services – we recognise and thank all those who made sacrifices 100 years ago. As a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant we are committed to doing everything we can to support members of the armed forces community past and present.”
Shropshire Council also held a Service of Remembrance at Shirehall today (Friday 9 November) where the Chairman of the Council, Councillor Ann Hartley, laid a wreath on the Memorial Stones in the Shirehall Quadrangle. The Memorial Stones commemorate local government staff who lost their lives in the service of their country in the two world wars.