There But Not There

11th November 2018 (Centenary Commemoration)
11th November 2018 (Centenary Commemoration)

One of the Local History Group’s first projects (amid the national centenary commemorations) has been to research those from our village who died in the two World Wars.

Early on, it was decided to include both World Wars in our research; we are fortunate to have lost a relatively small number in these two wars (11 in total) but in a small community the impact of those losses reaches a long way.

In a few short weeks we raised funds to support the TBNT project with purchases of 11 silhouettes and one full-size Tommy figure. We have experimented with several locations for our Tommy but, at the time of writing (April 2018), he is standing underneath a flowering cherry tree. We plan to move him around as events and seasons change. Our silhouettes took their seats in Church on May 4th 2018, July 7th & 8th 2018 (Open Churches), and during Remembrance (this, annually). They also re-took their places to join the audience for our Christmas Play, ‘The Best Christmas Present in the World’ in December 2018 – a story based on the extraordinary book by Michael Morpurgo about the Christmas Truce.

“We decided to collect our research in to a 2018 Commemoration Calendar with each page concentrating on the story of one of our fallen soldiers; these stories have brought reality to these commemorations. We commemorate not just the men who died but the families, friends and the community who lost them, too. We host the TBNT figures so that we remember but also in the hope that such memories may prevent such loss of life in the future.

Tommy 18th April 2018 (34)
Tommy 18th April 2018 (34)

The Tommy figure stands with bayonet-fixed (the formal position conventionally taken by a soldier when commemorating his fallen fellows) and his head is bowed in remembrance. 

The figure reminds us that humanity struggles to live in peace and it reminds us of the terrible cost when we fail to find that peace. Such images are both haunting and uncomfortable but commemorative projects like There But Not There have a living purpose: Lest We Forget.

TBNT Commemorative Booklet

There But Not There website:

TBNT – Taking Part map page:

TBNT – Hickling page:

Extract from the TBNT website explaining the origins and aims of the project:

“The installation of 51 transparent seated military figures in the Penshurst Church over Remembrance 2016 lit a touch paper in the psyche of all who saw it.

“Given that widespread resonance, There But Not There aims to place a representative figure 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 keenly 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.

“There But Not There will be the defining centenary commemoration of the end of the 1914-1918 war, installed where the men and women came from across the country, back in the communities they left behind.

“This project aims to Commemorate, Educate and Heal – the three aims of our charity. The project itself is the commemoration and there will be a comprehensive school education programme designed to bring to life and create an understanding and respect for the reasons why so many lost their lives during this time. Funds raised from the sale of our Tommies will contribute directly to the work carried out by our beneficiary charities.  The Tommies and their commemorative packaging are made by the Royal British Legion Industries, appropriately, by ex-Service Veterans employed by RBLI.”




2018 Centenary of the end of WWI:

18th April 2018: Tommy

19th April 2018: Silhouettes

19th April 2018: Silhouettes – night time

20th April 2018: Silhouettes – midday

4th & 5th May 2018: Village Days

Collishaw Commemoration Poppy (Nov 2018)

Centenary Remembrance: Sunday 11th November 2018

There But Not There: national images (ref. TBNT website)

The Best Christmas Present in the World – December 2018 (Centenary of the end of WWI)