A nationwide campaign led by former Chief of the General Staff, Lord Dannatt and supported by Birdsong novelist, Sebastian Faulks hopes to raise in excess of £15m for armed forces and mental health charities.
There But Not There is the defining centenary commemoration of the end of the Great War. It aims to place transparent silhouettes throughout the country, representative figures for as many as possible of the names on local war memorials around the country into their place of worship, their school, their workplace or wherever their absence was felt. These transparent silhouettes will be back within their communities for Remembrance 2018, the centenary commemoration of the end of the 1914-1918 First World War.
The figure of soldiers – ‘Tommie’s’ – took their place on the field at Tynecastle Park, the home of Heart of Midlothian FC on Wednesday. Hearts, of course, has a proud association with those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country a century and more ago. Thirty club professionals were involved in the war. Seven players never returned while thirteen sustained injuries which ended their football playing careers.
The Tommies on show at Hearts will be touring the UK until Armistice Day and members of the public are being encouraged to buy their own 10-inch versions, which are made by military veterans, to remember their own relatives. The money raised from the sale of these commemorative figures will be distributed evenly between The Royal Foundation: Heads Together, Walking With The Wounded, Combat Stress, Help for Heroes: Hidden Wounds, The Commonwealth War Graves Foundation and Project Equinox: Housing Veterans.
It is hoped that communities throughout the country will honour the fallen on their own local war memorials, by placing a silhouette for every man that fell in local community spaces.
Rowley Gregg MC, Director of Operations for There But Not There and a former Captain in The Light Dragoons said: “Today marks the launch of the There But Not There campaign, a poignant moment that allows us to reflect on the huge contribution that Heart of Midlothian Football Club and its inspirational players made to the First World War. This commemoration allows us to not only remember those that lost their lives, but also to raise vital funds for armed forces and mental health charities across the UK. Members of the public can show their support by buying the Tommies and ensuring that the memory of those lost lives on within the communities left desolate by their passing.”
Tom Purdie, Club and War Historian, added: “They volunteered in 1914, a full two years before conscription was introduced. Hearts were well ahead in the Championship at the time, but the whole club felt that their duty lay in fighting for their country. It was a remarkable sacrifice, and one that has inspired supporters and shareholders for generations.”