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QRC cenotaph tribute to WWI
Citizens for Conservation and ICOMOS T&T celebrated International Day on Monuments and Sites yesterday, under the theme Heritage of Commemoration. The celebration will continue for an entire week. Today, the T&T Guardian begins a series of articles, provided by the two groups, on some of the main historial sites in T&T in celebration of the event.
The heritage of commemoration takes a variety of forms: engraved inscriptions, mausoleums of exceptional architecture or works of monumental sculpture, more modest elements reflecting vernacular traditions or dedicated landscapes such as cemeteries or memorial gardens. This heritage also includes elements that were given a commemorative value; for example ruins or industrial vestiges accompanied by dedication plaques, or public squares whose toponymy commemorate a historical event or individual.
Monuments and sites, including those more complex and diversified forms of heritage places such as living landscapes, are tangible carriers of the memory of a part of the human experience. Thus, through their authenticity and integrity, they contribute, in their way, to the commemoration and transmission of values, which include history.
The theme this year provides an opportunity to present those constructions that have been intentionally created with the purpose of commemorating an event, a person, an idea, et cetera. This choice of theme is partly inspired by the centennial in 2014 of the beginning of the Great War of 1914-1918. At the end of World War 1, the Old Boys of Queen’s Royal College subscribed for a memorial in honour of those of their number who had fallen during the war.
A brass memorial tablet mounted on a marble slab was affixed in the college hall and was unveiled by His Excellency the Governor, Sir Samuel Wilson, on March 14, 1922. The hope was that this memorial would speak to coming generations of students who would occupy the hall, of deeds gallantly nobly rendered and of sacrifices made in the interest of generations to come.
On July 7, 1924, a monument made of cream Derbyshire stone, in a simple but impressive design bearing a central figure personifying grief, was also erected by the Old Boys’ Association on the front lawn, now known as the Memorial Lawn. It was to be a place affording a more visible tribute in recognition of the sacrifices made, where relatives and friends could place their tributes in memory of those old boys who had laid down their lives for king and country.
Annual memorial services were held on the lawn until the late 1940’s.