The War Horse looks over a memorial woodland of 353 recently planted saplings - one for each of Featherstone's lost servicemen (Photo: Centenary News)

Featherstone ‘War Horse' honours WW1 sacrifice

Posted on on 07 June 2018
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A majestic sculpture of a horse has been unveiled to commemorate 353 soldiers from the West Yorkshire town of Featherstone who fell fighting for Britain in the First World War.

Head bowed, it watches over a field of trees planted for the Centenary, commemorating each of the dead. The saplings are marked by white posts, bearing the servicemen's names and the emblem of a poppy.

Entitled War Horse, a Place of Peace to be Together, the memorial stands an impressive 20 feet (6m) high and is already becoming a local landmark.  

Councillor Margaret Isherwood, Mayor of Featherstone, says: "This is a really exciting project for the town of Featherstone, but we must never forget the sacrifice of the 353 soldiers that we are commemorating with this wonderful piece of public art."

The steel sculpture is a also a testament to the many horses lost on the battlefields of the Great War (Photo: Centenary News)

Led by Featherstone Town Council, the War Horse project stemmed from a study of Featherstone in WW1 by local historian Tony Lumb, and related initiatives involving local schools.

Hundreds of men enlisted in 1914-18, many of them coal miners from the two pits which were then the area's biggest employers. More than 350 didn’t return.

Cod Steaks, a creative arts company based in Bristol, was chosen to design and build the 'War Horse'. After an official handover, it was transported 200 miles (320km) by lorry to the memorial woodland at Mill Pond Meadow, a nature reserve on one of the main approaches to Featherstone.

The sculpture is intended not only to 'embed remembrance' at the heart of this former mining community but also 'to provide a focus to inspire and empower future generations.'

Visiting the site a week after the unveiling on May 11, it was touching to find others just as moved by this tribute embodying the nobility of the horse.

Funding for the Featherstone 'War Horse' included a £50,000 grant from WREN, a not-for-profit-business awarding grants for community, biodiversity and heritage projects. The commemorative trees were donated by the Woodland Trust, as part of the UK charity's planting programme in the UK to mark the First World War Centenary.

Source: Featherstone Town Council

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: CN Editorial Team