Stone of Remembrance
Updated: Aug 23, 2022
The War Graves Commission wrote: "This ‘great altar stone’ as Lutyens’ referred to it, would stand as a memorial feature in the Commission cemeteries and could be used by those of all faiths and none and act as a symbol of common sacrifice." It is from this that I took the title of my novel. It is a memorial to those that died in the war but also, more importantly, it should remind us of the devastation that war causes.
I took this photograph at Thiepval on 19 April 2008. The Stone of Remembrance is placed in the centre of Lutyens' Thiepval memorial. The Thiepval memorial bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men who were the 'Missing of the Somme'. Behind the memorial are gravestones and crosses. As Lutyens said when he designed the Stone of Remembrance - the stone shall be "facing the West and facing the men who lie looking ever eastwards towards the enemy." In the novel, after the fire at Bowden's Farm, Adrian Drewe goes up to Castle Drogo and stands looking out to the east. This is one of the first times that the death of Adrian is foreshadowed in the novel. Adrian was buried in Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery, where there is a similar a Stone of Remembrance. There is a personal inscription in the book for the war graves, which was given by Sir Julius Drewe: "Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God." However, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission appear to mis-attribute the following inscription: "The Gold of his Youth he so Gladly Gave Yet to us He'll Never be Dead." (https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/142248/adrian-drewe/)