New display to mark village’s war dead

John Curtis from Shotteswell with one of two framed Tower of London Poppies he has donated. NNL-150428-164658009
John Curtis from Shotteswell with one of two framed Tower of London Poppies he has donated. NNL-150428-164658009

A solemn commemoration of a village’s war dead went on display at St Laurence’s Church in Shotteswell last week.

John Curtis, 78, of Bury Court Lane, presented the church with one of five ceramic poppies he purchased from the Blood Swept Sands and Seas of Red exhibition which ran from July to November last year.

Created by artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, each of the 888,246 poppies which progressively filled the Tower of London’s moat represents a British fatality during the First World War.

These were made available to purchase at the end of the exhibition, and have since featured at memorials and homes across the country.

Now Mr Curtis has had two of the delicate poppies housed within a protective glass frames. One was presented to St Laurence church and another was also sent to the The Returned & Services League of Australia- just in time for this year’s Anzac day celebrations.

A former engineer, Mr Curtis has seen his share of conflict, having worked at a processing plant during the height of Liberia’s first civil war.

“In the end we were getting shot at and so we had to leave in 1990. We returned in 1992.”

Mr Curtis said while unable to visit the poppy installation in person he wanted to mark the many young men and woman from Shotteswell who went to war and never returned.

He said: “I think it is very important our children are aware of the history of this country and the sacrifice of the people in it.

“The church traces its origins back to Norman time sand probably way before than and has been a focus point for our community for many years.

“I really want to make sure the people of this village have a connection to the people of this village who served and never came back, this is something unique that will never be repeated.”