Woe of Lost Memorials; Thousands of Monuments Are in Disrepair

Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales), November 18, 2012 | Go to article overview

Woe of Lost Memorials; Thousands of Monuments Are in Disrepair


Byline: JAMES McCARTHY james.mccarthy@walesonline.co.uk

THOUSANDS of Welsh war memorials have fallen off the radar because there is no list to account for them all.

The locations of 40% of them are unknown - and many are slipping into disrepair because no-one knows who is responsible for their upkeep.

Others have been disgracefully vandalised or targeted by metal thieves. Some have vanished because they were inside now closed chapels.

Clive Aslet, the author of War Memorial, said: "That is a particular issue in Wales because a lot of chapels would have had war memorials. So it is quite a big issue in Wales."

He said there was a "discussion" under way about housing forgotten war memorials at a central location in England.

"That would be an arboretum in Staffordshire and part of that could house memorials," he said. It is thought there are about 100,000 of the monuments across the UK, with 40,000 missing.

Frances Moreton, director of the War Memorials Trust, said: "As far as I am aware we can just extrapolate from that for Wales.

"I don't think there is any reason to imagine Wales is any different to anywhere else.

"People come to us because there is nowhere people can go for advice and information about how to look after memorials.

TheWar Memorial Ash witch had four mouldings prised "We're here to try and support people and help them."

Ms Moreton insisted it was "important" that people "know where these things are and keep an eye on them".

Small memorials often pass unnoticed.

"It is often the plaques," she said.

"A lot of railway stations will have memorial plaques, as will post offices, but they are not really places you expect to see them.

"People might walk past them without realising what they are."

Often these "fade into the background of our lives".

"They are ones where a community might have changed," she said. "If a village has seen everyone move away, if there is no employment, there might be a war memorial no-one is tending. …

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