Sir, - Since 1988, volunteers have been recording war memorials in the North-East as part of the national inventory set up by the Imperial War Museum.

More than 3,300 memorials have been recorded in the area between the rivers Tweed and Tees. They cover everything from the street monuments, school prizes, plaques, lychgates, church furnishings, libraries, books of remembrance, annuity funds, rows of houses, village halls. They commemorate groups of people or individuals.

Memorials to the two great wars are still being erected, but a tree to commemorate those who died in Iraq in 2003 has been planted in Morpeth. It seems the job of recording them will never be finished,

The importance of war memorials as a social statement cannot be underestimated. There is not only the loss of life to consider, but also the needs of those who carry the burden at home both during and after conflict. Many lessons can be learned from studies of such times, with the memorials acting as focal points.

In the past few years, memorials have come under scrutiny from the maintenance point of view. Many are being restored or re-housed.

Sadly, many have been lost, mainly because the building in which they were placed has been closed, though efforts to re-house them are increasing.

The need to pull this information together and make it available in a coherent form has resulted in the formation of a group called the North-East War Memorials Project, which is hoping to be registered as a charity. I have been appointed chairman, with Dorothy Hall of Chester-le-Street as secretary and John Dixon of Bishop Auckland as treasurer.

The group will seek funding to make the information available, possibly on the internet. In any event, the group will find a way of disseminating the information through school education packs or CDs and any other such media as funds will allow.

I can be contacted at Bilsdale, Ulgham, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 3AR, tel: 01670 790465.



North-East War Memorials Project,