Greenbelt

Tommy Silhouette for Harlestone Manor

We’re proud to have worked alongside the residents of the Harlestone Manor estate in Northampton, helping to secure and install a ‘Tommy silhouette’ marking 100 years since the close of the First World War.

The near life-size statue depicts the outline of a British soldier (often called ‘Tommies’), which stands in a stone plinth by the entrance to the estate, surrounded by a bed of specially-selected poppies.

The base of the installation features the inscribed quote “lest we forget”, encouraging us to reflect on the great sacrifices made by previous generations, in the spirit of respect and remembrance that Armistice Day engenders.

Our Regional Operations Manager, Martin Wardale, and Customer Liaison Officer, Nick Upton, visited the area in person to discuss the installation with residents and members of Harlestone Parish Council.

Local resident Jackie Kimberly said:

“The intention is to secure the silhouette sufficiently so that it cannot be stolen, whilst enabling it to be moved after the events, bolting it into a stone plinth but also ensuring it can be extracted later.

“As you can imagine, the planning application process has proved somewhat challenging.

“We sought the views of residents with regards to location, and voting resulted in the selection of the triangle of grass at the entrance to the estate, opposite the roundabout.

“We have been gathering the signatures of residents to demonstrate support for the statue; we have approval from the vast majority of residents, including all the households directly overlooking the area where the statue is sited.”

The statues themselves are provided through the Royal British Legion’s Silent Silhouette scheme, which also seeks to honour the war centenary and the memory of those who gave their lives for us.

“The silhouettes are near life-size and can be fixed to a wall or attached to an upright post in public or private spaces,” said a spokesperson from the British Legion.

“In addition to the iconic image of a ‘Tommy’ (our original Silent Soldier), there are equally significant representatives of the members of the communities the nation says ‘thank you’ to, including those who gave medical support, soldiers from across the commonwealth, RAF/RFC, Navy, munition factory workers and suffragettes who lead the fight for votes for women.

“They all helped makes us the nation we are today.”

Did you know: The term ‘Tommy’, used to refer to a British soldier, dates back to at least 1743. It was popularised by Rudyard Kipling’s poem of the same name, published in 1892.