Five ordinary chairs tell 174,000 extraordinary stories of war


 Five ordinary chairs telling 174,000 extraordinary stories from the battlefields of Belgium have gone on display in Wakefield Cathedral.


Called Assembly the memorial chairs represent one of the five years of 1914 to 1918 and on each is the number of casualties that died during that particular year.


Alongside the chairs is a book which has the name of everyone from the UK and Ireland who died during those years in Belgium  - which includes the Battle of Passchendale.


The Chairs come from Passchendale’s St. Audomarus Church.


The Dean of Wakefield, the Very Revd Jonathan Greener said the simplicity and the ordinariness of this exhibition was very moving.


“And it will touch hearts,” he said.


“ On the first day it opened, a visitor from Dorset found a relative of hers named in the book. He was the first pilot to be shot down in Belgium. 


“People think you get tired of reading about the First World war – but these are real people and real people matter,’ he added.


Assembly is a four year touring installation throughout the British Isles which commemorates casualties from the First World War. 


The installation will return to Ypres in the summer of 2018 where they will be joined for one day by a grand ‘assembly’ with thousands of empty chairs from all over Belgium and abroad. The chairs will then be presented back to the church in Passchendale and the book will remain in the museum.




Assembly is on display in Wakefield Cathedral until 30 November.


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