This weekend, Coventry’s War Memorial Park celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Opened in July 1921 as a tribute in Coventry to the city’s soldiers who lost their lives in World War I, the park is now celebrating its centenary in 2021.
The war memorial itself was unveiled in 1927 and the park quickly became home to the Coventry Carnival Gala Day, now known as the Godiva Festival – one of the UK’s largest family festivals. Uni which attracts nearly 80,000 visitors.
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Nowadays, the park is also a natural hotspot for families with its water park, jogging trails and grassy fields.
However, the park has always maintained its solemn purpose of remembering those who gave their lives for their country. In fact, War Memorial Park has around 800 memorial trees dedicated to those who lost their lives in conflict.
The trees were planted just under 100 years ago, with an October 1923 article in The Coventry Herald indicating that the city council was considering “the planting of trees by citizens of ‘fallen’ relatives with a plaque ( plate) suitably inscribed “.
Plaques have also been placed in other parks and cemeteries in Coventry.
As part of the ‘Parks for People’ project funded by Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery, an exhibit has been created in the new visitor center called the ‘The Missing Faces’ project.
It shows the photographs of the 264 people killed in World War I which have a commemorative plaque and a tree in the park.
One of these trees belongs to Edward Newbold. While serving with the Royal Fusiliers, Edward tragically lost his life in April 1917. According to his grandnephew, Michael, “Uncle Ted is always remembered.”
Michael also explained that his great-uncle’s memorial tree and the park are both vitally important to his family, which is why he wanted to share his great-uncle’s story as part of the commemoration of the centenary of the park.
In the photos below, you can see Michael and his mother standing next to the tree planted in Edward’s memory, more than 80 years apart.
Sadly, as wars continue around the world, the park is still used by many as a memorial for those who die during conflicts.
To mark the centenary this weekend, Friends of the War Memorial Park Coventry is launching the first phase of an all-new audio ‘Bench Tour’, which gives visitors the chance to hear the human stories behind some of the recorded memorial benches. by the families who consecrated them.
With a map to show you where to find the first nine “story” benches, and how to listen to them, all you need is a smartphone.
For more information on the new trees and commemorative plaques, contact [email protected]
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