A life-size ‘Tommy’ soldier silhouette and two seated silhouettes have taken up permanent residence on the Bowcliffe Estate in remembrance of the centenary of the end of World War I.
Charity ‘Remembered’ has been using the 6ft Tommy soldier silhouettes, which stand with their head bowed and rifle in hand, to raise awareness of the campaign ‘There but not There’; hosting installations and placing them across the country in places there are Memorial Walls or Rolls of Honour. The seated silhouettes represent each name on the Memorial Walls and were created to appear in places worship, village halls or even schools, returning the fallen to the spaces they left behind.
After a sizeable donation, three of these silhouettes are now at permanent rest on the Estate, with the two, seated figures residing in the tiny, peaceful Chapel and the official ‘Tommy’ soldier currently making the most of the sun-soaked south-facing terrace.
Bowcliffe Custodian Jonathan Turner remarked, “The ‘There but not There’ campaign is clearly extremely worthwhile, helping to commemorate the war dead, educate the public and particularly younger generations about WWI, and raise funds for those suffering from PTSD and other legacies of combat. Whilst the purchase of three figures may not seem like much when pitted against what these young men did for us in the war, I’m delighted that we’ll forever have them as a reminder.”
Members of the public are being encouraged to purchase their own silhouettes, which are being made by charities that employ ex-servicemen and women, with the aim to raise some 15 million for military and mental health groups by Armistise day.
Tommy Atkins (often just Tommy) is slang for a common soldier in the British Army. German soldiers would call out to “Tommy” across no man’s land if they wished to speak to a British soldier. French and Commonwealth troops would also call British soldiers “Tommies”.