Projection of poppies onto St Albans Cathedral to mark World War One centenary

PUBLISHED: 19:00 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:50 24 October 2018

Poppy Fields will be projected onto St Albans Cathedral. Picture: St Albans Cathedral

Poppy Fields will be projected onto St Albans Cathedral. Picture: St Albans Cathedral

Archant

A blanket of poppies will be projected onto the nave of St Albans Cathedral in remembrance of the centenary of World War One.

The artwork, Poppy Fields, was created by Peter Walker and Luxmuralis and includes the names of thousands of people who have served during conflict.

A Herts Ad appeal for the names of friends and relatives who have served in the armed forces saw the Cathedral inundated with replies.

St Albans local Diana Harrington saw the article and nominated both her grandfathers.

She said: “To have the opportunity to be part of a Poppy Fields remembrance exhibit for my family is humbling. Both of my grandfathers saw conflict during World War Two, one was an US Army Air Corps bombardier and the other was part of the Australian 2/3 Machine Gun Battalion.

“My poppa Robert Alfred ‘Bob’ McPherson fought alongside British troops in Syria and Lebanon and was then transferred to Asia where he fought and was captured during the Battle of Java.”

He spent five years in a prison in Changi, unable to meet his daughter until his return home in 1945.

One of Diana’s grandfathers, Loren Richard Smith, was a bombardier who flew from Dulwich in 30 missions over France and Germany.

By coincidence both grandfathers were transported on the SS Ile de France several years apart - Robert McPherson from Sydney to the Middle East and Loren Smith from England to the USA.

She added: “I have two young boys and I wanted them to see their great grandfathers’ names to let them know how much we appreciate the sacrifices they made for us.”

The Rev Dr Kevin Walton, canon chancellor at St Albans Cathedral, said, “At a time when there seems to be so much division and uncertainty in our world and even our country, it is hugely important that we come together to mark this anniversary.

“It will certainly be a spectacular installation, but most importantly it will be a moving and profound act of shared remembrance and dedication.”

Poppy Fields will be on display on October 26 and 27 from 7.30pm to 11pm. Last entry is 10.45pm, and admittance is free.

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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