To mark the centenary year of Armistice, 24 silent Tommy soldiers have been installed in various locations across the borough to commemorate British and Commonwealth soldiers who served in World War One.
Organised by the Royal British Legion, ‘The Silent Soldier’ project aims to ‘educate’ today’s younger generation, and ‘heal’ today’s veterans who are suffering from mental health and physical wounds, by raising substantial funds through the sale of ‘Tommies’.
Many of the four-foot silhouette figures have been placed close to train stations to highlight the fact that many soldiers were given a train ticket to return home after the war – while others have been placed in parks and along the side of roads as a fitting reminder that soldiers could often be seen walking across fields and along roads when returning home to their families.
St Helens Council is sponsoring 19 of the Tommies, while Rainhill, Bold, Eccleston, Rainford and Windle Parish Councils have each taken on a Tommy, too.
Showing her support to the campaign, St Helens Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Lynn Clarke – who has sponsored two Tommies which are to be displayed in Newton and St Helens cemeteries – said: “As a council, we are committed to supporting our armed forces personnel, past and present – so I’m delighted that we’re sponsoring these Tommies which will help raise funds for veterans, and hopefully get people to stop and pay attention to the figures in respect of those who sacrificed so much.
“With this year marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, it is a particularly poignant time to get involved in a campaign like this, and I am enjoying working with community volunteers at the two cemeteries – where a great number of soldiers are buried – to identify a fitting location in the cemetery grounds for their Tommies which will not only support the campaign, but also highlight the brilliant work that the volunteers already do in preserving their graves.”
Location of Tommy Soldiers by ward:
Billinge and Seneley Green – Garden area on Main Street, and Garswood Train Station
Blackbrook – Vicarage Road roundabout
Bold – St Helens Junction Train Station, and Clock Face Road north of Sweet-Brier Court
Earlestown – Earlestown Train Station
Eccleston – Eccleston Park Train Station, and the grass area at Broadway/Springfield Lane
Haydock – Park adjacent to Clipsley Lane
Moss Bank – Haresfinch Park
Newton-le-Willows – Newton-le-Willows Train Station, and Newton Cemetery
Parr – The Horseshoe pub roundabout, Broad Oak Road/Derbyshire Hill Road
Rainford – Rainford Train Station, and Mossborough Road
Rainhill – Rainhill Train Station, and Warrington Road
Sutton – Lea Green Train Station
Thatto Heath – Public open space on Thatto Heath Road/Elephant Lane
Town Centre – St Helens Central Train Station, and by the Steve Prescott Bridge
West Park – Thatto Heath Train Station
Windle – Green space on Rainford Road, and St Helens Cemetery
Photo by Alan Hunter