'Call of Duty' Remembrance Sunday, Liverpool - 13 November 2011

This project is about documenting signs of war and symbols of Britain as a warring nation found within our contemporary urban landscape. It is also about power in a culture where a condition of almost continual war has become a normalised state. British military personnel have been killed in action almost every year since the United Kingdom was constituted. The UK has the world's third largest defense budget after USA and China. Currently Britain's biggest manufacturing exporting industry is based on military armaments and in 2011 the UK was the world's 6th largest arms exporter. It is estimated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute that 76% of total world expenditure is spent on defense budgets.

In England many customs, buildings and monuments reinforce and validate war as a normal part of British culture. Monuments and other symbols of war are so numerous in Britain they have become part of our cultural landscape. They express our sense of national identity and are strongly linked to the ‘marriage’ between Crown, Church, State, Military and Imperialism. This project explores aspects of our culture and physical representations of the 'establishment' that reinforce the place of war and military power in contemporary Britain.

The first pictures for this project were made in the City of Liverpool where many striking examples of signs of war and symbols of Britain's power as a warring nation can be found. Liverpool has more memorials to war and monuments symbolising heroes or battles won, in one square mile, than any city I know - with the possible exception of the area of Westminster in London. New public war memorials are unveiled in the city regularly. A new statue for The King's Liverpool Regiment, 'Liverpool Pals', is scheduled to be erected for the centenary of WWI.

These public monuments are respectful and emotional reminders to the many lives lost at war and proudly celebrate those who fought for crown and country. They are permanent symbols of British conflict and are a constant reminder that we have a long history as an active warring nation.

© John Davies 2012

Port Sunlight War Memorial 2007

designed by sculptor Sir William Goscombe John
depicting both war service and defence of the home
erected by Lever Brothers Ltd in 1921


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