26th Sep, 2020

Living memorial to First World War dead to be restored

Andy Morris 16th Jan, 2020

A LIVING memorial to First World War heroes from Warwickshire is to be restored.

Restoration work to the Lime Memorial Avenue on the A45 at Stretton-on-Dunsmore will start this month.

The avenue of trees – which line a stretch of the A45 leading up to the 29th Division Monument at the junction with the Fosse Way – was saved from felling nearly 100 years ago, and instead dedicated as a living memorial to those from the 29th Division who had fought at Gallipoli and elsewhere in Europe.

Contractor Kier will survey the health of the trees, replacing any which are becoming dangerous, and planting three new trees to replace some which were lost when the carriageway was widened.

The new trees will be dedicated to soldiers from the 29th Division who were awarded Victoria Crosses – the most prestigious military award given for exceptional valour in the face of the enemy – later this year.

The restoration of the avenue is part of a wider project which includes resurfacing around the 29th Division Monument, wildflower seeding on the roundabout, and a new interpretation board about the 29th Division and King George V’s visit to see the troops at Knightlow Hill in 1915 before they embarked for Gallipoli, where they suffered heavy losses.

It is all part of the Dunsmore Living Landscape Scheme, funded by the Highways England’s Designated Environment Fund.

Dunsmore Living Landscape Scheme manager Lucy Hawker said: “As we reach the centenaries of the nation’s WWI memorials, it’s fantastic to see this living memorial, so valued by the local community and the Gallipoli Association, getting the care that will help it continue through its next century.”

Highways England Designated Environment Fund lead Tina Barrington said “We are delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile project that will pay fitting tribute to those who fought in this campaign and also be a valuable asset for the local community and beyond.”

The 29th Division Monument was upgraded to grade II* status in 2015 by on the advice of Historic England, which described it as “probably the most significant single memorial in Britain associated with the Gallipoli Campaign”. It is one of just three nationwide to receive the honour.

The Lime Memorial Avenue on the A45 is a living memorial to those from the 29th Division who fought at Gallipoli and elsewhere in Europe during the First World War.

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