An imaginative memorial to commemorate the “lost generation” of the Great War will be erected in a north Belfast park later this month.
The Woodvale stone breaks with established tradition in that the loss of life suffered by the German army will also be recognised on the polished granite monument.
Based on the six-sided pillars of the Giant’s Causeway, five of the panels feature tributes to the British Expeditionary Force, the French army and the Belgian army as well as the Kaiser’s troops.
Each panel bears the inscription “Lost Generation” in the respective language of the various armies.
The two other panels contain an image of The Angel of Mons and the City of Belfast coat of arms.
The memorial, commissioned by the Army Benevolent Fund - The Soldiers’ Charity (ABF) - and constructed by Lurgan company Mid Ulster Stone and Granite, will be mounted on a base which allows for the placing of wreaths at each of the panels.
City of Belfast ABF chairman and local historian Bobby Foster said it was fitting that the German losses should be acknowledged on the stone.
“When we studied the First World War, particularly the Irish involvement in and around Mons, we decided then that we could be sure every German soldier didn’t get up one morning and decide to invade Belgium - so when we planned the European war memorial we decided that the Germans should be included,” he said.
Mr Foster added: “They were all combatants and they were all ordinary soldiers so they lost a generation too. It’s about commemorating the lost generation right across Europe.”
The memorial is due to be unveiled on Friday, October 17 at midday by the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast.
A piper from the Royal Irish Regiment and Dame Patricia Windsor Hawkins - the guardian of St George’s Church at Ypres in Belgium - will also be taking part in the unveiling service.