The central seat, made of Portland stone, is fittingly topped with 100-year-old oak, marking a century of commemoration. In the centre is a stone circle inscribed with the distinctive Commission badge – a torch burning with an eternal flame.
Hand-forged railings and leaves
The forged iron railings have been hand-crafted by our blacksmiths in France. The design has striking horticultural elements. The railings incorporate a tree motif designed to mirror the Pleached Limes we use at many of our sites where they give a sense of enclosure. The 154 leaves on their branches represent the 154 countries in which we care for war graves. Each leaf is numbered and stamped.
Archway copied from centenary wreath
The imposing entrance arch was constructed at the CWGC artisan workshop in Ieper, Belgium, and is topped with a silver crown, referencing the Commission’s historical links with empire. The design is based on a bronze wreath at the largest CWGC war cemetery in the world – Tyne Cot in Belgium. The leaves of the arch represent the laurel wreath that also forms the CWGC’s crest.
Statues from CWGC Portsmouth Naval Memorial
The garden has two sentinels – stunning figures of Royal Naval personnel nestled in the garden, one on each side. These statues were designed after the Second World War by Sir Charles Wheeler. After many years faithful service at the CWGC Portsmouth Naval Memorial, the elements had taken their toll and the statues were replaced. It is pleasing that we can reuse them here – a human reminder (albeit in stone) of the people we commemorate.
Steps made from reclaimed headstones
Portland stone remains one of the most striking features of our war cemeteries. It is a noble material used to make headstones that mark the majority of graves. The stone used for the garden steps has been recycled from headstones and structures that have fulfilled their original purpose. They are mostly First World War headstones from Belgium, France and the UK, recut by CWGC stonemasons.
A place for quiet reflection
A convex mirror within the hedge at the rear of the garden is designed so that visitors can see themselves within the space – reflecting practically and metaphorically on the symbolism and meaning of this beautiful garden and perhaps remembering a loved one the CWGC cares for in some corner of a foreign field.
Noble material, hand-crafted bricks
The handmade bricks used between the entrance steps and forming the garden border have been taken from stock that was used in 2016 to restore the largest CWGC war memorial in the world – at Thiepval on the Somme. They are based on distinctive red Boom bricks, made in the Belgian town of Boom, famous for its bricks.