Bishop’s Stortford

    Decorative & Fine Arts Society


 Registered Charity Number: 281725


      A Member Society of


     The Arts Society










             Lecture at the Rhodes Arts Complex on

                        Tuesday, 13th November, 2018



provisional start of the lecture 10.45


Lest we Forget: Commemorating the First World War

An illustrated talk by Mervyn Miller

Mervyn Miller’s talk ‘Lest we Forget: War Memorials of the homeland and the Western Front’, will be a reminder of how the war memorials were an architectural expression of the sacrifice of a generation.  The Cenotaph, designed by Edwin Lutyens, portrayed the nation’s mourning in an abstract form. 


In 1915 Fabian Ware founded the War Graves Registration Commission, later the Imperial War Graves Commission, to identify and bury remains of the casualties of the war.  Lutyens, Herbert Baker and Reginald Blomfield were appointed Principal Architects who designed a series of cemeteries and monuments, culminating in the Thiepval Arch, which present a silent and moving testimony to the sacrifice of so many.


Dr Miller's Reading List

This month has brought a renewed interest in this lecture due to the centenary of the November 11th Armistice, which brought warfare to an end, pending the preparation and approval of the Peace Treaty, signed at Versailles on 28th June 1919. There is now so much material available on line that the traditional Reading List appears to be heading for extinction. However for those who would like to gain further information in book form I suggest the following:


Vera BRITTAIN, Testament of Youth. An autobiographical study of the years 1900-25 (1933, republished many times; 2014; London,Virago Modern Classics. This is the classic personal anthem for doomed youth with universal appeal, recently filmed.


Rose E.B. COOMBS, Before Endeavours Fade. A guide to the Battlefields of the First World War (1976, seventh edition 1994, reprinted 2004, Harlow, Battle of Britain International Ltd). Comprehensive  guide (with maps) recording not only the many Imperial War Graves Commission cemeteries and memorials to the missing, but also a plethora of regimental and private monuments including those of the (then) Imperial forces, the Allies and German combatants, and civilians.


David CRANE, Empires of the dead. How one man’s vision led to the creation of WWI’s War Graves, 2013; (London, William Collins). Biographical and contextual account of  (Sir) Fabian Ware’s activities in registering War Graves on the field of battle, and the establishment of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission by Royal Charter in April 1917, commemorating, honouring and Commemorating the sacrifice of a generation.


Tim SKELTON and Gerald GLIDDON, Lutyens and the Great War (2008, London, Frances Lincoln). Superbly written and illustrated account of Lutyens’s War Memorials, including The Cenotaph, the memorials and monuments in the British Isles, and those for the Imperial War Graves Commission on the Western front, and elsewhere.


Gavin STAMP, The Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, (2006, London, Profile Books Ltd). How the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Theipval, as Lutyens’s massive interpenetrated arch structure, dedicated by H.R.H. Edward, Prince of Wales in 1932 became the climax of the ‘silent cities’ built and maintained for the future by the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission.


The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains a comprehensive and informative web site at

                This includes an account of their extended remit to honour the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars in cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations in more than 150 countries and territories.


Visitors and new members are welcome

Further information from the membership secretary 01279 656065


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