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Remembered Today:

Proposed new Memorial Park at Pozières


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I wish the instigators good luck with their project but right now I fail to understand why they feel the need to construct the “Memorial Park” with museum and car/coach parking etc when in my opinion the present site of the windmill and the memorial both act as a dignified record of what happened here. Will this proposal adversely affect the ambience of Pozieres which I for one would like to see preserved.

The site of the windmill and present memorial

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Norman

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I like their idea of raising funds for the local school. The centenary has spawned some new museums and memorials, and without wishing to denigrate any of them, I do sometimes wonder, especially in the case of the museums how well they will stand the test of time once the centenary has passed by. I wouldn't dream of objecting to a scheme that will protect a site, but sometimes I do wonder.

We can honour those who served as many of us have been doing for years, but the tourist bus approach still leaves me somewhat uncomfortable. Both my sons visited the battlefields of the Western Front with school parties, and I feel that it left little impression on either.

Returning years later to Belgium just with me, after his first tour in Afghanistan the effect on the older was much more profound.

Keith

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Will this encompass the tank memorial just across the road? Possibly a memorial too many? The restrained bass relief bronze just down the road opposite "Moo Cow Farm" would seem the best model, dignified and informative at the same time.

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I like the idea for the school.

I dislike the idea for the memorial. Pozieres has an aura already. One can feel it just by being there. More to the point, one wouldn't tend to go there unless one knew of its importance. Another memorial won't make a difference to that aspect but could impact upon the reverence. Rebuilding the windmill was, I'm sure mooted a long time ago. That it wasn't says plenty about the necessity of doing it now. Please do not spoil a special place.

Jonathan

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Well said

Norman

Thank you.

Jonathan

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Likewise, agree with the above. Having read the website, the "mission statement" is not all that clear to me, nor the plan, nor (as ably portrayed in the photos above) the need to impose upon the present landscape Apparently Suzuki Corp is convinced though.....

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I thought that it would help if this drawing was posted. Only by looking at the proposal can you see what an enormous site is envisaged. The red arrow indicates the present memorial and in my opinion this whole concept is totally alien to the character of the village. What all of the planned constructions on the site actually are one can only guess at like an obelisk, screen wall, something circular etc. Just what are the people proposing this trying to create, the Australian Memorial on the Somme or what?

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In my opinion this is wrong on so many levels that I am amazed that planning permission has been granted by the French authorities, if indeed it has and is the Australian Government officially supporting this as this is not clear from the website, it would also be a good idea if the notations to the plans etc were also detailed in English so that we have a chance of understanding what is proposed. Just one last point which seems to have been overlooked, how much is this estimated to cost for as far as I am aware this is not mentioned. It is common practice for such a figure to be detailed as then potential donors can be aware of what is required.

Regards

Norman

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Well if this is built there will be plenty of room for one Chris!

In case anyone from the Association is reading this here are a few questions

What is the total estimated cost of the memorial park

What is the estimated cost for the school project

Has official planning permission been granted for the memorial park

Is the memorial park supported by the local authorities

Does the Australian Government officially support the memorial park

What timescale is envisaged for completion of the memorial park

What happens if insufficient funds are forthcoming for the memorial park

Is there an alternative proposal should there be a funds shortfall

What arrangements are in place to refund donations should the plans be scrapped

I cannot find mention of any of the above on the website but I may or course have overlooked it.

Norman

PS Also emailed to the Association

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... and therein lies the problem, just as it is with all such memorials. They freeze a moment or short period in time and effectively hijack the battlefield at that point to the exclusion of all else which occurred during a four year war.

Jack

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Well as Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla put it "Cui bono" - who benefits? or more crudely follow the money. The man was a Cynic but it's often a reliable maxim.

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Jack (Post 15) you are correct they do tend to polarize visitor’s concepts of the locations and to give a false impression of the historical facts. It may be just me but I cannot understand just how this memorial park is to be constructed considering the various memorials, screen walls, buildings, road improvements, toilets etc which in my view will all cost an enormous amount of money to complete. Not only the construction but the ongoing cost of maintenance and staffing will require a dependable finance stream which may be obtained by charging admission to the site with the exclusion of the existing memorial. There really are so many questions here and right now very few answers.

Norman

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I am quite nervous about the whole project and hope it is simply someone's pipe dream. If it goes any further it will become a nightmare!

My hope is that common sense will prevail and that, what looks like, an ego trip for a few people is left to rot.

Jonathan

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Good point Jonathan however the fact is that according to the website monetary donations are currently being solicited at a suggested £27 GBP per brick so it does seem that at least the people involved with this are serious about their intentions.

Norman

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Personally, I just like the memorial as it is, but if they are expecting thousands of visitors over the Centenary period, well may be it is a good idea to provide a small memorial park with suitable parking and toilet facilities etc. Or is it simply an attempt to cash in and what will happen to it after the Centenary......

The original Windmill site has changed a lot since I last visited the Somme in the early 1980's when it was just the memorial and lumps and bumps.

Sepoy

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Image of the site from Google Earth. The red arrow indicates the vehicle access route and the blue arrow the present memorial on the site of the old windmill. One question springs to mind, how is the association intending to obtain the land which on this image appears to be prime farm land

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Norman

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I hate to say it, but some people now expect to be entertained and it's about being on the coach battlefield tourist trail. The difference to a small villages economy must be large, also people need somewhere to spend.

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Any ideas on just how this "entertainment" will be financed also how would Pozieres actually benefit as the site would appear to be self-contained and coach parties would have no reason to wander into the village along what is a very busy main road?..

Norman

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Anyone who feels strongly about any aspect of the proposed battlefield park can of course use the link here to communicate their concerns to those responsible.

Contact

http://www.pozieresremembered.com.au/contact/

Norman

Thanks for the reminder. Message sent.

And looking at the map on post 22 one can see just how massive the plan is. It's quite horrendous.

Jonathan

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