The dramatic story of one man’s remarkable fight to record the graves of men killed in action during the Great War is told in a special Remembrance Sunday event in Minchinhampton.
‘Memorials to the Missing’ is a radio play recounting the work of Sir Fabian Ware in establishing the Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) and his determination to create fitting headstones and memorials.
Ware lived in the neighbouring parish of Amberley in the 1930s and ‘40s and involved himself in local affairs, becoming President of the Gloucestershire Rural Community Council and chairman of the county branch of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England. He died in April 1949 aged 79 and lies in the churchyard of Holy Trinity, Amberley.
The following year a memorial tablet to him was unveiled in Gloucester Cathedral. ‘Memorials to the Missing’ was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in November 2007, subsequently winning a Silver Sony Radio Academy Award and the Tinniswood Award for original radio drama. On Remembrance Sunday, local actors will stage a reading of Stephen Wyatt’s play in Minchinhampton Church. ‘
“A century on, it’s hard for us to comprehend just what a struggle Fabian Ware had in creating the war cemeteries that are so familiar to us today,” said director, John Mounsey. “This play paints a vivid picture of his battles against an establishment which failed to share his vision for equality in death with permanence, uniformity and no distinction of military or civil rank. It’s an honour to tell Ware’s story and it’s especially poignant in this corner of Gloucestershire which he knew so well.’”
The performance begins with a roll-call of some of the fallen of the Great War. The names, ranks, regiments and ages of the dead come from the Thiepval Memorial in Northern France and the inscriptions were read and recorded specially for the Minchinhampton production by BBC Radio 4 announcer Andrew Peach.
‘Memorials to the Missing’ by Stephen Wyatt is performed at Holy Trinity Church, Minchinhampton at 6.00pm on Sunday 13th November 2022.
Tickets cost £10, which includes a glass of wine after the reading, and are available now from the Market Stores in High Street, Minchinhampton.