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Honouring Private Jack White On Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day on 11th November has a particular significance at Private White V.C., given that the brand is named in honour of my great grandfather Jack White, who was a decorated veteran of the First World War. In the hectic daily routine of running the business, it’s essential to take a moment and remember what he achieved and the wider implications of an event that altered the world forever.

It is also important to remember the war for the impact it had on Manchester, which has been home to our factory for more than 100 years. In a conflict where every town and village, street and house lost people, the city has a fateful position. The Manchester Regiment was involved in the first actions of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916- a day which proved to be the deadliest in the history of the British Army with 57,000 missing, wounded or killed.

It makes Manchester an appropriate setting for a new permanent artwork to commemorate all of those who fell. The piece is the culmination of a project begun in 2014 to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

That year an installation of 888,246 handcrafted ceramic poppies, known as Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, was completed at the Tower of London. The work of artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, each flower that flooded the moat with bright red colour represented a British or Commonwealth life lost at the front.

The poppies from this thought-provoking tribute were then used in two further works – Wave and Weeping Window – which undertook a four-year journey around the country to 19 locations and were met with great acclaim and millions of visitors. As part of that tour they were displayed at the Imperial War Museum North (IWM) in Manchester, just down the River Irwell from our factory.

The sculptures have now returned as a dramatic new work simply entitled Poppies. Opening on 10 November, these powerful and enduring symbols of remembrance will now cascade down the museum’s Air Shard, the tower of architect Daniel Liebskind’s iconic building that rises above the docks in Salford.

"His bravery under fire in Mesopotamia, now modern Iraq, meant he rescued his comrades and, unlike so many others who did not survive the conflict, gave them an opportunity to live their lives to the full."

JAMES EDEN, CEO & FOUNDER

 

PICTURED: PRIVATE JACK WHITE MEETING CAPTAIN PATERSON

It is interesting to hear Cummins, the ceramicist who cast every single poppy, speak about the significance of the project: “The importance of the artwork was for people to gather, remember and reflect, so it’s fantastic that the poppies have been reimagined at IWM North so that the legacy of the project can live on. The Imperial War Museums to me are a place of remembrance, celebrating history, sacrifice and allow us to reflect on the past and think about the future.“

His mention of the future gave me pause to think about not only those who fell, but also those who returned home, of whom Jack White is just one example. His bravery under fire in Mesopotamia, now modern Iraq, meant he rescued his comrades and, unlike so many others who did not survive the conflict, gave them an opportunity to live their lives to the full. His achievement was to let those he saved realise their potential, to see their friends again, to raise families, to work and live in peace.

Jack White was always extremely active in honouring those who had fallen, helping to found the Jewish Ex-Serviceman’s Association and the Salford Branch of the British Legion. It was while in London for a dinner in honour of V.C. recipients in 1929 that he was also reunited with Captain S. Paterson. Wounded in the head, this officer had been among those who Jack White had rescued 12 years earlier.


Like all of those who returned, to a greater or lesser extent he must have carried both physical and mental scars from the war. As far as I know, there is no record of what occurred at that meeting and it is hard to discover what happened to Captain Paterson in his later life. I like to think that like many others he came home with a conviction. Never mind if you were decorated heroes or simply foot soldiers, an infantryman or a clerk, I think you would return determined to remember those who had died, but also to ensure you grasped the good fortune afforded by survival - the chance to live to the full.

Often Remembrance Day can take me slightly by surprise. Suddenly poppies appear in lapels everywhere and I am reminded what time of year it is. However, I feel that being wrapped up in the work of managing Private White V.C., of raising a family, is exactly what my great grandfather would have wanted - because what he did allowed us the peace and security to be caught up in the excitement, the hard work and the simplicity of daily life.

Remembrance Day on 11th November has a particular significance at Private White V.C., given that the brand is named in honour of my great grandfather Jack White, who was a decorated veteran of the First World War. In the hectic daily routine of running the business, it’s essential to take a moment and remember what he achieved and the wider implications of an event that altered the world forever.

It is also important to remember the war for the impact it had on Manchester, which has been home to our factory for more than 100 years. In a conflict where every town and village, street and house lost people, the city has a fateful position. The Manchester Regiment was involved in the first actions of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916- a day which proved to be the deadliest in the history of the British Army with 57,000 missing, wounded or killed.

It makes Manchester an appropriate setting for a new permanent artwork to commemorate all of those who fell. The piece is the culmination of a project begun in 2014 to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

That year an installation of 888,246 handcrafted ceramic poppies, known as Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, was completed at the Tower of London. The work of artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, each flower that flooded the moat with bright red colour represented a British or Commonwealth life lost at the front.

The poppies from this thought-provoking tribute were then used in two further works – Wave and Weeping Window – which undertook a four-year journey around the country to 19 locations and were met with great acclaim and millions of visitors. As part of that tour they were displayed at the Imperial War Museum North (IWM) in Manchester, just down the River Irwell from our factory.

The sculptures have now returned as a dramatic new work simply entitled Poppies. Opening on 10 November, these powerful and enduring symbols of remembrance will now cascade down the museum’s Air Shard, the tower of architect Daniel Liebskind’s iconic building that rises above the docks in Salford.

It is interesting to hear Cummins, the ceramicist who cast every single poppy, speak about the significance of the project: “The importance of the artwork was for people to gather, remember and reflect, so it’s fantastic that the poppies have been reimagined at IWM North so that the legacy of the project can live on. The Imperial War Museums to me are a place of remembrance, celebrating history, sacrifice and allow us to reflect on the past and think about the future.“

"His bravery under fire in Mesopotamia, now modern Iraq, meant he rescued his comrades and, unlike so many others who did not survive the conflict, gave them an opportunity to live their lives to the full."

JAMES EDEN, CEO & FOUNDER

His mention of the future gave me pause to think about not only those who fell, but also those who returned home, of whom Jack White is just one example. His bravery under fire in Mesopotamia, now modern Iraq, meant he rescued his comrades and, unlike so many others who did not survive the conflict, gave them an opportunity to live their lives to the full. His achievement was to let those he saved realise their potential, to see their friends again, to raise families, to work and live in peace.


Jack White was always extremely active in honouring those who had fallen, helping to found the Jewish Ex-Serviceman's Association and the Salford Branch of the British Legion. It was while in London for a dinner in honour of V.C. recipients in 1929 that he was also reunited with Captain S. Paterson. Wounded in the head, this officer had been among those who Jack White had rescued 12 years earlier.

PICTURED: PRIVATE JACK WHITE MEETING CAPTAIN PATERSON

Like all of those who returned, to a greater or lesser extent he must have carried both physical and mental scars from the war. As far as I know, there is no record of what occurred at that meeting and it is hard to discover what happened to Captain Paterson in his later life. I like to think that like many others he came home with a conviction. Never mind if you were decorated heroes or simply foot soldiers, an infantryman or a clerk, I think you would return determined to remember those who had died, but also to ensure you grasped the good fortune afforded by survival - the chance to live to the full.

Often Remembrance Day can take me slightly by surprise. Suddenly poppies appear in lapels everywhere and I am reminded what time of year it is. However, I feel that being wrapped up in the work of managing Private White V.C., of raising a family, is exactly what my great grandfather would have wanted - because what he did allowed us the peace and security to be caught up in the excitement, the hard work and the simplicity of daily life.

SHOP PWVC

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