We have just returned to our accommodation after spending the morning at Lochnagar Crater for the July 1st ceremony. We proudly laid a wreath during the ceremony on behalf of all the Nurses and VADs of WW1. The service was very nice and there were lots of people attending from all over the world. We even saw 2 young ladies dressed as French Nurses, they also joined us for the wreath laying ceremony.
Once the wreath laying was complete everyone on site took part in the throwing of the poppy petals in the crater. Everyone took handfuls of poppy petals and threw them into the crater. A beautiful sight.
Once this was done everyone holds hands in a chain around the whole perimeter of the crater.
After the service there was 2 smaller ceremonies. One for the RAF Mountain Rescue team in Scotland. The second was for the unveiling and blessing of our first memorial bench. This we were very excited to see after months of secrecy from Vinnie, the carpenter. While the service for RAF Mountain Rescue was underway we were interviewed for French TV! We were also interviewed and photographed by an Australian journalist for Western Australian News.
Once we were ready everyone made their way to the site of our memorial, which was shrouded in a striking green tarpaulin. Waiting for everyone to gather felt like a very long time. Joined by a French Nurse, Sue R, Suzanna and Audrey stood in front of the bench and held their breath. Finally the tarpaulin was lifted to reveal the handcrafted, 9 seater, semi-elipse bench. Each seat back centred with a red cross and the words ” In Memory Of The Nurses And VADs Of All Nations Who Served In The Great War” set across the top of the bench. The words repeated in French along the bottom.
We were all so pleased with the bench. We have to say a massive thank you to Vinnie, who gave his time and skills for free to craft this beautiful bench for us.
We laid a wreath on the bench for the Nurses & VADs from all at Wenches, then sat for the first time on the bench. The Chaplin of Lochnagar said a small blessing for the bench and Sue R gave a small speech of thanks to everyone that has helped to get this project done.
After lots and lots of photographs from many of the bystanders we thought we were done. Then Richard Dunning, who owns the Crater, stepped forward and gave another small speech then presented Sue R with an amazing wooden plaque. Beautifully carved by one of the Lochnagar team, Tim, it depicts a scene of Nurses aiding a wounded soldier.
We are so grateful for everyone that has sponsored or donated to Wenches In Trenches – Roses Of No Mans Land. We have achieved our first memorial bench, a very important and special moment for the whole team, but especially Head Wench Sue, whose Granny Isabella was the inspiration for the whole memorial project.