A magnificent war memorial made from 2.9 tonnes of COR-TEN® steel supplied by Glen Metals now graces the skyline in Lissett, East Yorkshire. The memorial is on the site of an old aerodrome, once home to 158 Squadron, part of Bomber Command from 1943-45.
The piece was conceived and designed by artist Peter Naylor and built by ASD metal services customer, W Campbell & Son of Hull.
“In the spring of 2008, Novera Energy plc announced a competition to design and build a World War II memorial which is how I got involved,” explains Peter Naylor. “Novera were building a 12-turbine wind farm on the site of the old aerodrome and wanted a tribute to the airmen.”
“My design came to me very clearly and more or less complete. From the start I had an image of seven men walking towards me as if heading out to their aircraft. I also immediately saw it as a silhouette and so steel plate was the obvious choice.” “Part of the design brief was that the memorial should be vandal-resistant and low maintenance. For these two reasons alone, COR-TEN® seemed a suitable material. I also knew that it would be the best choice because of its weathering characteristics.”
“As soon as I walked into W Campbell and Son’s factory, I saw two men busy bending a giant stainless steel fish-tail in an enormous roller press,” Peter continues. “They kept bringing it out and looking at it and deciding it needed a bit more curve in this section or that. I realised then that these were the men for the job. How right I was to be!”
Established in 1961, W Campbell & Son is very much a family-run business. The founders, Wally and Vera Campbell are in their eighties but still do a full day’s work in the office. Their son, Brian is a director and his daughters, Fiona and Ellie, also work for the firm. Employing 25 people, the company is a market-leader in fabrication.
Over the following few weeks, Peter worked with Brian on the proposed design. “We made some 1:20 laser-cut miniatures of the figures and, at the final interview I think the handing round of these miniatures was a decisive factor in being chosen,” Peter explains.
“Work on the full-size artwork took place over eight months. As we neared the final stages, I drove Brian mad with numerous painstaking alterations to the figures but he was patience personified and it never seemed to matter how much fine-tuning we had to do. One of the most difficult aspects of the job was etching the 851 names of airmen who lost their lives which took weeks of work.”