Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Making the children’s poppy wreath

Robert and Carol Smith travelled across England, Wales, France, Belgium, Italy and Germany forging poppies with children at schools, clubs, museums and at various shows. This wonderful opportunity has enabled many children to be part of the Ypres 2016 project. The children’s poppies forged at these numerous sessions have been assembled into three wreaths, one of which was laid at the Menin Gate during the last post ceremony on September 5th; the other two will be placed at Langmark Poelkapple. The completed wreaths were constructed by Robert Smith, Luc Vandecasteele, Manicx Carlieri and Rik Verschoot.





Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Foundations at Langemark Poelkapelle

Site preparations are well under way at Langemark Poelkapelle. The local authority have generously taken responsibility for all of the foundations and landscaping work.




Monday, May 16th, 2016

Michael Morpurgo gives support to Ypres 2016 Poppy Cenotaph Appeal

michael-morpurgoAcclaimed author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo has given his support to a striking new World War 1 Cenotaph to be created by blacksmiths and farriers in Flanders, Belgium.

Standing 7m tall and weighing 12 tonne, the imposing yet simple slab of weathering steel features the evocative image of a single Flanders poppy and at its base will be ‘planted’ a field of 2016 steel poppies handcrafted by blacksmiths and farriers worldwide. Framing this will be 25 panels designed by international blacksmiths referencing thoughts of the war and echoing the zig-zag of the trenches.

The contribution and suffering of horses and those who cared for them were brought to popular culture in Morpurgo’s bestselling novel War Horse and the National Theatre’s award-winning production. In the War of 1914-18 blacksmiths and farriers were indispensable in sustaining the war effort of both sides. An estimated 3,000 played an essential role in supporting the war effort, repairing and maintaining equipment to shoeing millions of horses. (more…)

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Farriery at Ypres 2016: International Blacksmithing Event

Over eight million horses were involved in the First World War (WW1) and an estimated 3,000 blacksmiths and farriers from all sides played an essential role in supporting the war effort, from repairing and maintaining equipment to shoeing millions of horses.


It is important to recognise the vital contribution made by horses and farriers during WWI. During the time of the Great War a significant amount of farriery was done with small teams of people; typically the master farrier and his helper (striker). In order to recognise this, a farrier, Adrian Legge AWCF, with a helper, attended the event on a daily basis to demonstrate how a heavy horse is shod, with live horse shoeing daily, along with shoemaking demonstrations.


During the time of the Great War a significant amount of farriery was done with small teams of people; typically the master farrier and his helper (striker). The demonstrations/competitions will be structured to illustrate this approach, with horses being shod with the types of shoe used during the Great War. It is anticipated world-wide farriery organisations, training providers, farriers, farriery students and apprentices and those with an interest in horses will come along and get involved in this remarkable event.


Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

The Ypres 2016 Stand at the Le Fevres Event at Eu, Normandy, France

Over the three days of the event in October -16th 17th and 18th the Le Fevres Organisation provided a large stand for us to promote the YPRES 2016 Event.


The stand was set up with samples of both the blacksmith and children made poppies, the model of the Cenotaph and a collection box in the style of a WW1 Ammunition Box. Tee shirts, sweat shirts and hoodies were also available to purchase in support of the event.

le-fevres-event2-3An anvil with tooling used for making the children’s poppies was set up and displayed, also included were some poppy blanks and a selection of made poppies.

Over the three days we were there, a great deal of interest was generated by our stand, and we attracted many visitors.


The organisers also visited us twice daily promoting the event by interviewing Corinne, Christine and Julianna through the events public address system.

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Remembrance Day Sunday Service at Swainswick, near Bath – 2015

Children’s poppies for the YPRES 2016 Event were placed on the Altar of the 700 year old church of St Mary the Virgin at Swainswick, Bath and Carol Smith (YPRES 2016 Children’s Forging Team) was given the opportunity to give a presentation about the event to the congregation. The presentation was well received and a lot of positive interest was shown. It is poignant that the first children to make poppies did so at the local Swainswick Explorers Activity Centre that promotes adventurous play and where a small forge has been set up in the grounds alongside a pottery and woodworking shop to promote a general interest in craft based activity.


Our thanks to the Rev Joyce Williams Vicar of St Mary the Virgin Church, Swainswick for inviting Carol to speak at the service and to Edward Leigh Wood, for taking the poppy photographs.

Of the six children’s poppies placed on the Altar, two are British, one is Anglo/Irish, one is Anglo/Scots, one is Anglo/Welsh and one is Anglo/German.


The one larger poppy is in the style of the 2016 poppies currently being forged by blacksmiths and which will be placed around the new Cenotaph in Belgium.

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Moving the metal for the Ypres 2016 Cenotaph railings frames

As arranged Luc Vandecasteele brought the pre-cut steel bars for the Cenotaph Railing Frames to the Le Fevres Event at Eu in Normandy, France so that we could bring them back to Terry Clark’s Forge in the UK, where a forge-in has been planned to prepare the frames ready for the event in 2016. An initial estimate on the weight of the bars was around 500 kilos this was later raised to 600-700. On Sunday and because of the weight it was decided to split the load between two vehicles – a group of instructors and students from the blacksmithing course at Plumpton College, East Sussex were at the event and as they had spare capacity in their vehicle they offered to take part of the load back to the UK via the Channel Tunnel. We packed the rest in my vehicle (well distributed of course) and brought it back to the UK via the Dieppe to Newhaven Ferry. (more…)

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Children’s Forging

The organisation of the children’s forging element of this event is now fully underway and many schools in Belgium and France have been contacted and given the opportunity to take part in this activity. English schools have been made aware of this event through ‘School Tour Companies’ and the Website.

Rotas have been completed to ensure school children can take part during their school day, (mornings and early afternoons) with further opportunities for the general public to take part late afternoons until 6 pm and the weekend from 9.00am until 6 pm. (more…)

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Completed Cenotaph plate at Geldof

cenotaph-250915Luc Vandecasteele standing proudly with the completed Cenotaph plate at Geldof. Already developing the natural patina the plate will soon be erected on the temporary base.

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Temporary Cenotaph base construction

Elements of the Temporary base at Geldof, Belgium. Geldof another of our generous sponsors have undertaken the task of constructing the substantial temporary base that will be used for erecting the Main cenotaph plate in the Market Square at Ypres in September 2016.

geldof-p8310087 (more…)