Bedford Boys Memorial Bench

Completed in May 2014.  The building of two benches to commemorate the loss of life of the Bedford boys who were stationed at MacAndrews Field in Ivybridge, prior to the D-Day landings.  The project was completed by many students and volunteers on other community projects that I have worked with over the years.   Approximately 1200 volunteer hourse went in to making these benches. 

The benches consist of two slabs of chestnut, with hand cleaved oak uprights - each upright symbolises one of the young men involved in the D-day landing on Omaha Beach.  The height of each upright is proportional to the man's age when he died, and has been incised with his name and age. 

The uprights are jointed onto the seat using housing joints, bolted on with stainless steel coach screws.  These will be plugged with oak when the bench is installed in MacAndrews Field, Ivybridge, on 26th of May. 

The work took place in Ham Woods in Plymouth over 14 days, from the beginning of March, starting with the cleaving of a large fallen oak.  This was split into 32 individual pieces, and hand worked using a variety of traditional tools such as axes, drawknives and spokeshaves.  Each piece is utterly unique, and displays the medullary rays of the oak tree on its front face. 

The front edges of the two seats are carved - one with a fragment of a poems about the Bedford boys, and one to mark the commemoration of the landing date in June 1944. 

A huge debt of thanks to the volunteers who worked incredibly hard on this project.  They ranged in age from 23 to 84. 

If you would like to help with projects like this in the future, please contact me, detailing your green woodworking experience.