The focus of remembrance in Dover is the People of Dover’s War Memorial in front of Maison Dieu House at the heart of the Town. Town Mayor, Councillor Neil Rix, Dover born and bred, felt that the Town needed to do something very special in 2018, the centenary of the First World War to remember and honour Dover’s role in armed conflict through the ages. Councillors were fully behind the Mayor and local artist Izzy Fraser-Underhill was given the challenging commission of encapsulating the historic role of the most iconic and famous front-line town in the world in a mural next to the War Memorial.
The picture is a magnificent and panoramic view of the Harbour of Dover with the defences at Dover Castle and the Western Heights on either side. Soldiers stand, silhouetted and sentinel, in the foreground. Aeroplanes and ships remind us of how warfare has developed in the past century. The blue sea with the regular rhythms of the tide lies as the historic protective barrier between England and France. Through the picture the red poppies of remembrance grow, symbolising the honouring of the fallen and hope for a future in which such sacrifices will not need to be made.
The mural has as its text a verse from “For the Fallen” by Robert Laurence Binyon which remembers those who gave their lives –
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at the familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the daytime;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
Councillor Rix said –
“Dover has always been a frontier Town with a unique role, as the Town closest to the continent, to protect those who live here from attack and also to give refuge to those fleeing terror and persecution.
This is not about glorifying war, this is about remembering with respect and gratitude what it means to lose your life – its ordinary everyday pleasures of home and family and friends. We, and our children and grandchildren, are able to live safe and happy lives today because of the men and women who gave their lives in the past. We need to think about that sometimes when we face our smaller difficulties.
Our thanks go to Izzy for her magnificent artwork, and the landowner of the building who gave kind permission for the mural place there”.
The mural has been digitally printed onto dibond and is designed to be long lasting – a unique and special Dover memorial for a unique and special place and its people.
Our picture shows Town Mayor of Dover, Councillor Neil Rix, in front of the mural