Lord-Lieutenant unveils memorial to commemorate village war dead

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Annie Maw, unveiled the new Long Ashton memorial on April 12.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Annie Maw, unveiled the new Long Ashton memorial on April 12. - Credit: Carl Tarsey

Socially distanced residents gathered at a new memorial in Long Ashton to remember more than 100 villagers who died in the service of their country.  

HRH The Princess Royal was expected to reveal the memorial on April 12, which marked 80 years to the day when the village Mill Cottages were bombed, killing five people. 

Secretary to Long Ashton War Memorial Trust, David Addis, said ‘sadly and understandably’ Anne, Princess Royal had to cancel late on April 11. He added that HM Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Annie Maw, was ‘kind enough to attend and unveil the memorial for us’. 

The new monument which was the concept of retired local architect, Alan Atkins, has three granite stones bearing 104 names of the village fallen. The idea came about in 2018 when it was noted that Long Ashton did not have a war memorial and the monument is the architect’s representation of a family looking towards heaven. 

The larger panels record the names of soldiers from World War One and Two who died in service of their country. Names of the Wilson family of Mill Cottages, with other civilian casualties of Long Ashton are etched in the smaller panels, as well as the Polish crew of the Halifax Bomber LL126, who lost their lives when the plane crashed into the field behind All Saints Church on November 21, 1941. 

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Local stonemason Paul Clark and his son Jak constructed the walls and paved area of the memorial, opposite the former Northleaze School building in Long Ashton Road, and Nick Johnson engraved the memorial stones. 

During the ceremony, the Lord-Lieutenant laid the first wreath at the memorial on behalf of the county and others were laid by family members and village organisations. The ceremony finished with Duncan playing the national anthem. 

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A remembrance time capsule made from a 1916 WW1 British 108mm brass shell case, with the cap made from a similar German shell and filled with wartime memorabilia, was also placed in the foundations of the memorial. 

The secretary to Long Ashton War Memorial Trust added that the memorial was funded by ‘generous donations’ from local people, groups, military regiments associated with the fallen, as well as national organisations. 

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