Homage to our soldiers

The full-size clay sculpture, which is now at an Edinburgh foundry ready to be cast in bronze.
The full-size clay sculpture, which is now at an Edinburgh foundry ready to be cast in bronze.
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THE sacrifice made by soldiers of one of the country’s most famous regiments will be given a permanent memorial.

Veterans have given their approval to a clay model of a Durham Light Infantry (DLI) bugler that will be cast in bronze and put on display at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, in July.

DLI trustee Brigadier Robert 'Bob' Macgregor-Oakford with the clay model of the statue

DLI trustee Brigadier Robert 'Bob' Macgregor-Oakford with the clay model of the statue

Campaigners have also pledged to continue their successful fund-raising drive for a duplicate statue to be built in Durham City.

DLI Memorial Appeal co-ordinator Colonel Arthur Charlton, said: “To finally see what originally had been a figment of the imagination in reality was quite something.

“When we walked into the studio, where the clay structure was made, it was very much a case of ‘wow’.

“Apart from a few tiny alterations to make sure everything was spot on, and they were like the width of his bootlace, we were delighted with it.

“It has now gone to the Powderhall Bronze Foundry, in Edinburgh.

“We hope to see the actual bronze sometime this month.”

Col Charlton, who visited with DLI Trustee Brigadier Robert Macgregor-Oakford, said the £75,000 target for the memorial had been raised.

Campaigners are already working hard to raise the cash for the duplicate statue.

“We are third of the way to our second objective of £30,000. We have not yet confirmed a site. That is still under negotiation.”

Col Charlton thanked all those who have helped.

The appeal was launched in January, after former DLI soldiers signaller Keith Straughier and bugler Richard Softely discovered there was nothing to honour their regiment at the Staffordshire arboretum during a visit there.

The statue is life-size and will be placed on a plinth once in place.

It is dressed in the combat uniform of the Korean War, as it was a platoon of 1 DLI buglers who sounded the ceasefire in Korea for the whole of the Commonwealth Division, from a hilltop in the frontline.

Korea was the regiment’s last battle honour.

Donations to the fund can be made payable to the Regimental and Chattels Charity of the former DLI and sent to the DLI Memorial Appeal, The Rifles Office, Elvet Waterside, Durham DH1 3BW.

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