A Stonemason’s story

We have reproduced below a short piece by Carola Klein, a member of the Friends committee since inception.

‘One day in the Cemetery I came upon a figure crouched intently at one of the World War I memorial screens. Mike Witham was engraving the letters of a newly identified name onto a remaining space on the wall. We chatted, and I arranged to return over the next few days to take photographs. I took these as he worked, but do not think I distracted him as he was so focussed on the inscription.

Mike has been with the Commonwealth Memorial War Graves Commission for 37 years, his official role is Chargehand Stonemason and his work takes him from Penzance to the Orkneys, and sometimes Scandinavia, or even further.

Mike’s skill Is in carving Italic letters, using a tungsten tipped chisel and a mallet called a ‘steel lettering dummy’. He told me that the type of stone used for memorials varies according to the geology of the location, limestone, sandstone or granite. The Brandwood End screens and Cross of Sacrifice are made from a type of sandstone’.

 

 

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