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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Castle Drogo Devonshire


Steven Broomfield

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On the way home from Cornwall, we dropped into Castle Drogo (north of Exeter - as seen on TV's Time Team Special).

As you all probably know, it is currently undergoing a major overhaul by the National Trust, but parts are open. As a contribution to the Centenary, the NT have established these two memorials.

The first is in the Service Corridor, connecting the Servants' Quartres and Kitchen with the Dininh Hall. It is currently dedicated to the memory of those men involved in the building works (the castle was not completed until the 1920's) who went to the Great War and never returned. The first photograph shows an extremely poignant piece of art, which speaks for itself.

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The other is in the grounds, and is simple, but also strangely effective: it is possible the photo doesn't do it justice.

It takes the form of a series of over-sized kiddies' windmille in poppy red. Again, they represent the workers who did not return: the installation was done by a Theatre group who undertake workshops, etc, with the disabled, and each windmill has a luggage label with, on one side, the name of the person who did the work, and on the other, the name of the man whom it commemorates.

As an avowed cynic I felt this shouldn't have much effect on me, but oddly it did. It was extremely moving, in fact ... I'm not sure why.

For those (Berenice!) wishing to visit Bodmin, Castle Drogo is about an hour's drive away. Even while undergoing major renovation it is more than worth a visit.

I should add that three sons of the family (Drewe) served; one died (RGA) and another won two MCs. Adrian, the eldest, who died, is also subject of remembrance at castle Drogo, with various pictures, his medals and death penny, and many mementoes of his time at Eton and Oxford. His death apparently broke his father, Julius.

In all, a sad and moving visit.

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