Freddie Gilroy – Retired Miner and Soldier.
Deep in thought, or painful memories, this sculpture capture, a gentleman recalling events that would have scarred anyone’s life, creating images permanently etched within the mind. Freddie Gilroy joined the army at the start of WW2, but it was just before his 24th Birthday, when he was one of the first groups of soldiers to relieve Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. It is said, that he cried and every year on his birthday he shed more tears.
This sculpture, created from steel, is the work of Ray Lonsdale from County Durham. Freddie was also from a mining community in County Durham. I understand they became friends and that Ray heard Freddie recount events from his life and the terrible memories he retained. This inspired Ray to create what has become a fitting memorial. It has been said by others that Freddie was ‘a normal person, leading a normal life but had to experience extraordinary events and dangers of WW2’….. the horrors of Belsen can never be forgotten. Harsh lasting memories and a hard mining life, Freddie Gilroy died in 2008.
This larger than life sculpture can be found on a bench, with Freddie gazing out to sea, on the Promenade at North Bay, Scarborough, Yorkshire. It was originally only an installation for a season. However it was taken to the hearts of locals. One person so moved donated the funds to secure its permanent location.
As we make new memories in difficult times we must not forget the trauma experienced by others over the years…… Today it is also important that we….
Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other
(C) David Oakes 2020