CWGC Blacksmiths based in France and Belgium work year-round crafting materials for the thousands of cemeteries and memorials that the CWGC cares for.

At many of the sites you will find beautiful wrought iron gates. At all but the smallest of cemeteries you will find a register of burials, which in smaller sites will be in a beautiful, hand-crafted box, and at larger sites it will be in a shelter building, sometimes protected by a brass door.

At any site with over 40 graves you will find the Cross of Sacrifice – a simple stone cross with a bronze sword embedded, and mounted on an octagonal base – which was designed by the architect Sir Reginald Blomfield to represent the faith of the majority. These are just some of the works that the Commission’s blacksmiths labour over throughout the year.

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For the Centenary Garden, the Commission blacksmiths have lent their wealth of skills and experience to create wonderful railing that will surround the central platform.

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Crafted from wrought iron, the design is inspired by the pleached lime trees that are used at the perimeters of many war grave sites.

The trees are not only for aesthetic beauty, but also to protect and shield the grave sites and memorials from the harsh and eroding elements, just as the soldiers we are remembering stood on the parapet, shielding our home against destruction from without.

As well as the railings themselves, the blacksmiths have crafted 154 leaves to represent each of the countries across the world where the CWGC works.

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Each leaf is shaped by hand, which takes about half an hour per leaf, and then engraved and numbered. These leaves will then be hung on the branches of the tree-shaped railings around the central platform as a reminder of the global scale of the two conflicts they remember and the sacrifice that was paid for victory.

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