A Dunkirk veteran has celebrated his 100th birthday by opening a unique centrepiece in Catterick Garrison to mark 100 years since the Armistice.
A former cavalryman with the 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary’s Own) David Evans, of Leyburn, unveiled the stone-carved locomotive at Camp Centre roundabout.
Mr Evans, who now lives in Bainbridge, did the honours on his 100th birthday.
The Garrison Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Joe Jordan and Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, Sir Gary Verity, and guests joined in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” to mark the occasion.
Mr Evans said: “I am so honoured and humbled to unveiling this centrepiece to mark the fallen.
“It is a powerful piece of work that will remind generation after generation of the sacrifices that have been made over the years. The military has meant everything to me since I joined up as a 17-year-old so this comes as a wonderful birthday present.”
The new centrepiece also consists of three Wensleydale stone monuments depicting The Lord Baden-Powell, the Lieutenant General who created Catterick Garrison for the outbreak of the First World War, a “Tommy”and a member of the Royal Flying Corps, the forerunner of the Royal Air Force.
The three monuments were unveiled respectively by a Scout, an Army cadet and a Royal Air Force cadet from Risedale School.
The cadets and scout from Risedale were Jamie Turner, Dylan Shingleston and Emily Beadle.
The locomotive will stand in memoriam for the tens of thousands of soldiers who disembarked from the train before entering training for the trenches during the First World War.
Lieutenant Colonel Joe Jordan said the garrison did not have a specific war memorial to mark the Armistice in the First World War but added that it was important to mark the historic 100th anniversary with a unique centrepiece that can be seen by all who live in the Garrison and visitors passing through.
“It is a masterpiece that will live on through generation after generation.
“It is a powerful piece of stonework that will forever stand in memoriam of the fallen throughout both World Wars and conflicts since. It will not only honour the dead but stand as a mark of our gratitude to all the Armed Forces personnel, both past and present.”
Lt Col Jordan added that the centrepiece would not have been possible without the generosity of Richmondshire District Council, the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, Koliko Films and the public for raising the money required to build such beautiful and evocative monuments.
He also expressed a special thanks to AD Calvert Architectural Stone Supplies of Leyburn, for producing the monuments and described their efforts as a “labour of love”.