WAR MEMORIALS PROJECT 1
A memorial somewhere near you.
Find a war memorial near your home or your school. Take a good look at it, and, in your project notebook, write down the answers to the following questions.
1. Where exactly is the memorial? Why do you think it was placed in this particular position? Is the memorial neglected or well cared-for?
2. What shape is the memorial? A cross? (If so, make a sketch to show what type of cross.) If it is a cross, or a cross is part of its design, do you think this limits its appeal too much to Christians?
3. What do you think it is made of? Is it a material available locally?
4. When was the memorial erected? (Not all monuments have the maker's date on them: you may have to ask the local church or council about this. It's also interesting to find out who made the memorial - was it a local mason? And can you discover who organised and paid for it?)
5. Which war(s) or other events does the memorial commemorate?
6. Describe the surroundings of the memorial. For example, is it set off by a garden, or is it an integral part of a building? Does care seem to have been taken to 'present' it to its community?
7. Decorative design: describe - and sketch - any images that are engraved or inset in the main part of the memorial. Describe - and sketch - any steps, pedestals, statues and other design features that surround it.
8. Copy the main inscription. Describe - and sketch - the way any lists of names are incorporated in the main design.
8. Does the main inscription suggest that the war was justified or victory was achieved? Underline the significant words in the copy you've made in your notebook.
9. Is the word 'enemy' used anywhere? If so, do you think this may have the effect of keeping long-past hostilities alive today?
The listed names:
10. How are the names listed: alphabetically, or in order of rank, or in some other order?
11. Does the memorial list people's full names or just initials and surname?
12. What other information, if any, is given about each person listed? (e.g. age, army rank, regiment, service number or medals)
13. If the memorial gives the ages of those who died, what does this information reveal about those who went to war?
14. Is the date given when each person died, or the place where they died - or how they died (in battle? of wounds? of disease? accident?)? What can be deduced from this information, or from its absence?
15. Are any women's names on the memorial? If not, why do you think this is?
16. Do any of the surnames occur more than once, suggesting they were people from the same family? Did any families lose people in both world wars? Do you know anybody with any of these surnames?
Take a photograph or make a drawing of the memorial. Do you notice anything else interesting about it?
Find out more about the decision to erect the memorial - the local library will be able to help. The main library should be able to tell you where you can look at newspapers printed around the time the memorial was put up.
If you have time, find one or more other memorials and answer the same questions about it/them. Pool information with others doing the project.
Use your library, reference books and people you know to find out about other memorials further afield. Have you noticed any other memorials when on holiday or travelling?