Newcastle war memorial to be pictured on WW1 stamp

Royal Mail is turning Newcastle war memorial The Response into a stamp to commemorate 100 years since the start of the First World War

The War Memorial in Newcastle
The War Memorial in Newcastle

A war memorial commemorating North East soldiers setting out to serve in World War One is to feature on a set of stamps marking the centenary of the conflict.

A detail from The Response, a bronze memorial in Newcastle by the Welsh artist Sir William Goscombe John, is pictured on one of six stamps due to be released in July as part of a five-year Royal Mail project.

The memorial, which represents the raising of companies of the Northumberland Fusiliers and depicts men leaving for war in 1914, was unveiled by the Prince of Wales in 1923, and stands in the grounds of the Church of St Thomas the Martyr, in front of the Civic Centre and by Barras Bridge.

At the front of the memorial are two drummer boys leading the procession, while the soldiers are flanked by the families they are leaving behind for the Belgian and French battlefields.

The stamp itself – part of a series on how artists interpreted the events of the Great War – shows a close-up of one of the soldiers embracing his wife, as others march along behind him.

Royal Mail The War Memorial stamp
The War Memorial stamp

Master of the church, Catherine Lack, 54, said: “ I’m delighted that it’s going to be made into a stamp – it was a very expensive memorial.

“We’re planning an exhibition later in the year, probably in August, around certain aspects of the First World War, so it’s great to hear that this is happening.”

The Response was cleaned and repaired in 2007 after English Heritage and the Wolfson Foundation put over £8,600 to its cause.

The raised inscription on its front reads “non sibi sed patriae”, meaning “not for self, but for country”.

The Royal Mail are releasing six commemorative stamps each year between 2014 and 2018 – the period 100 years after the Great War. The Response’s stamp will be among the first batch which will be issued in July.

Others in the first release include artwork of a poppy by Fiona Strickland and lines from the poem For the Fallen by Lawrence Binyon.

Helen Grant, Minister for the First World War Centenary said: “The Royal Mail have a long and distinguished history of recording special events and anniversaries with commemorative stamps. I am delighted that they are marking the First World War centenary.

“I hope that these stamps will help to bring home the meaning of the centenary to everyone that sees them.”


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