About the ‘Pity of War’ project

The Pity of War memorial project has been in development since the summer of 2015.

Since the beginning of  the 1914-18 War, and to the present day many millions of individuals and communities have been directly affected by conflict. Indeed with the present terrors faced by communities on a global scale and conflict present on our streets these effects are as real as they has ever been and their affects are felt by many.

There have been many millions outside of the armed forces who have lost their lives or have had their lives changed forever.

A new sculptural artwork entitled ‘The Pity of War’, is at the centre of a national memorial project which is intended to be located at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire. The artwork will bring focus to those who died or suffered in war or as a consequence of war: the new memorial will commemorate international civilian war deaths, not currently remembered, and also be a focal point relating to those bereaved by loss of home or family, displaced to foreign lands, suffering post-traumatic stress or lifelong disability.

The Pity of War memorial, will provide (alongside national military memorials reflecting the significant sacrifices that members of the armed forces have given) a point of reflection, and will commemorate those who were involved in violent conflict involuntarily and against their will – civilians who had no choice. The silent, the nameless and the voiceless. It will stand for untold millions, who are not and will not be individually remembered.

The memorial is not only about the past, but about the present and the future. The stress and fear of war in fact affect all civilians: the effects of warfare on non-combatants as well as members of the armed forces, physical, personal, psychological, are plain to see in the contemporary world.

The memorial is the catalyst for an outreach programme and educational resource which will begin to take shape over the coming month’s as the memorial project develops, opening up discussion and related questions. The programme will look particularly to schools and educational institutions, and will be especially active during the next few years commemorating the “Great War”, looking at the narrative of conflict through untold stories. The programme will encourage empathy with war’s victims.

The memorial will raise questions about the true costs of war, and what is the price we really pay? Is war an inevitable part of human activity, or something that will some day be thought outdated? Such issues will be central to the outreach programme.

At an early stage, the Sculpture and Art Foundation CIC were put in contact with the Southern Marches Quaker Area Meeting by the NMA, since they had both approached the NMA with similar ideas.  After a period of discussion and negotiation, they decided to work together, and agreed that the sensible next step would be to establish a charity to oversee the development of the project, and underpin the national launch of a fundraising initiative.  ‘Pity of War’ has now been established as a charitable trust and we have also applied to HMRC for Gift Aid approval.  Once this is granted, we will launch our national appeal.  So far, we are not large enough to apply for registration with the Charity Commission, but we plan to apply when we reach their threshold.

The memorial was inspired by a single story which is one of millions over the past century , of a young girl who experienced and lived through the Blitz during WW2, and whose experiences have affected her life to the presented day.

The project is therefore asking people to communicate with the project via social media to post their stories of family members, or their own stories in relation to the affect of war on their lives.

Use the hashtag #pityofwarstatue to tell your story and post this using @pityofwarstatue Twitter or post to the @pityofwarstatue Facebook (Doing so means that your story may be added online and may be incorporated into the ongoing project including events and engagement).

The Pity of War statue is a bold and powerful artwork by Sculptor Peter Walker which will be developed as a proposed 12ft bronze artwork as the centrepiece of the memorial site and has been developed as a significant and iconic focal point for remembering this tragic effect upon civilians, past present and future.