Designing Heritage for Darwen Cemetery

To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of WW1, the Friends of Darwen Cemetery have applied to the National Lottery for a bid to build a structure of Remembrance as a fitting recognition to the soldiers from Darwen, who died during the War.
This has been designed by pupils from both DVHS and DACA. The design criteria were that it should be a place of reflection, with names cross-referenced with maps showing the route to the specific War graves. The design had to be sustainable for the future and also child friendly and educational to encourage younger visitors to the Cemetery.
Harry Kay in Year 11, on behalf of DVHS designed a “trench-like” structure, which will have the names of all the 99 soldiers from WW1, who died and are buried in the Cemetery. It will also be constructed so that the public may access it with prams and wheelchairs in order to get a feel for how it felt to be in a trench. It is being constructed on a raised part of the Cemetery where you will be able to see not only all over Darwen but all across Lancashire. It will also include information points and facts and original objects from the local soldiers, such as letters sent to family members or personal items they took with them to the war.
To obtain some further information to complete the design, Harry and the students from DACA visited the Regimental Museum at Fulwood Barracks in Preston, on April 1st 2014. We were met by a Regimental Sergeant Major who put the group through their paces, with basic drill and instructions, as pictured above! We then went into the Museum where the students were taught about the conditions of the war, the uniform (which they wore), the equipment, including guns and how some items could be utilised to be multi-purpose, for example, one tool was a pick and a spade but the spade could also be used as a pan to fry an egg. All the students completed the Consent Forms and took the Oath which in 1914 made them members of The Army.
Later in the day, the students did some research into some of the local soldiers who are buried in Darwen Cemetery. This included finding out where they died and in what way. They composed letters on behalf of the Officers to the soldier’s families informing them of their death, using the same specific language which was used in 1914-1918.
All of this knowledge gave the group ideas for the final touches to the design. We believe that this is the largest proposal of its kind to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of WW1 in this area.

For further information, please see the friends of Darwen cemetery website www.darwencemetery.org