AFTER a substantial clean-up, Bodmin’s War Memorial will be celebrating its 100th anniversary on Wednesday, July 17 2024. The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (DCLI) War Memorial marks the entrance to Bodmin Keep, and the bronze figure of a First World War soldier, strides towards the town centre on a base of Cornish granite.

At over four metres in height, the imposing memorial and its surroundings needed care and attention. The project was organised by Cornwall’s DCLI, SCLI, LI & Rifles Association, bringing in Steve Davies of Military Grave Restorer CIC, to lead on the work. Following Steve’s restoration, Chairman of the Association, Nigel James MBE, organised a group of Association members to complete the cleaning.

Helen Bishop-Stephens, Director of Bodmin Keep, said, ‘I’m thrilled that this important memorial, honouring those from the county’s regiments that gave their lives in service of their country, has been brought back to glory for its centenary. It is important to the Cornish regiments, Bodmin Keep and Cornwall to recognise this historic site.’

She also thanked Association Chairman Nigel James MBE, Tina James, Philip Simmonds, Alan Hall, Roy Coombes, Stan Mathews, Mathew Lang, Hanna Welsh, Dave Bond, Nigel Buckingham, Gareth Williams, Harry Worth, Megan Worth, Colin Vague, Rob and Bex Stokes and Paul Lee.

Two local businesses were also thanked, RGB Building Supplies and Keyline Civils Specialist, for supplying the gravel for the paths.

After the First World War, the DCLI approached the famous artist Stanhope Forbes the ‘father of the Newlyn School’ for help. Forbes lost his only child Alex Forbes during the First World War: Alex had joined the DCLI and was killed in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 aged 19. Forbes’s portrait of Alex hangs in Bodmin Keep. The memorial was designed by Mr L.S. Merryfield of Chelsea, London, an associate of Forbes and, the man used for modelling was Cornishman William Harvey Triggs, who had served with the Regiment and was a frequent model for Forbes.

The War Memorial was unveiled by HRH the Prince of Wales (Duke of Cornwall), Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment (later King Edward VIII) on Thursday July 17 1924, during an almost continual downpour.