The War Memorial
Most war memorials stand in town or village centres, or in parks or memorial gardens. Few can have such a location as Polperro and Talland's standing as it does alone, in a magnificent location overlooking the sea on the cliffs at Downend Head. When you read the inscriptions on it there are no distractions from traffic or shoppers hurrying by. The chances are you will be quite on your own. Poignant too is the way that the sailors' names look out to sea, the soldiers' to the land.
Most war memorials are today ignored, except perhaps just around Armistic Day (11 November) or Remembrance Sunday each November. Talland's war memorial is a natural place for walkers on the cliff path to stop, to take in the wonderful view and, I suspect, for many, if not most, to read the inscriptions on the memorial and to ponder at least just a little. On who those soldiers, sailors and airmen were. On what they were like, and what it must have been like to go from the then remote and isolated community of Polperro and Talland, train as a soldier or sailor and fight in the trenches or out at sea. On the fact that more than twice as many names, nearly 40, appear for the First World War as for the Second. On the waste and futility of war.
We hope soon to have a list of those who are commemorated on the memorial and something about them - to connect names hewn on a granite cross with real people who had real lives, as we do, but who had no choice but to sacrifice their lives in these terrible conflicts.
Robert J. Tarr © 2000