Developments at Richard Aldington’s Grave

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At Tous les Saints, 31st Octobre, a stone was laid at the grave of Richard Aldington.It marks the culmination of a two year project, and it was sited at Sury en Vaux withthe permission of his grandchildren.It measures 28cm x 28 x 26, and rests without fixture at the corner of the existing gravestone. In the photograph I have attached, can be seen the engraved letters which simply state the author’s name. These letters are only just discernible as they are eroding.I am not a relative of Aldington’s, I am an enthusiast in literature. I spent much ofthe centenary years’ visiting the battlefields of the Somme and Flanders with the War Poets Association. Where we inspected many cemeteries of the soldiers of the Great War. It was striking, and a cause for great humility at how immaculate the cemeteries are maintained. None of the stones appear to have suffered from weathering. And thestones are dazzling as they stand in regimented and measured rows.On one of these tours, I came across the name of Aldington during a lecture deliveredat a converted barn in Auchonvillers, near the Ancre.I became interested in his life and work. And one Christmas Holiday, I visited theSancerrois, where he spent his dotage at Maison Salle. A bungalow lent him byhis Australian secretary, Kershaw.By good fortune, I had made the acquaintance of his widow, who was able to tell meof the exact whereabouts of Aldington’s grave at the small cemetery. Without this information I should not have found it, as there is no headstone.It would not rest easily on the conscience of any lover of elegant literature, to learnthat the author of ‘Death of a hero,’ has not been commemorated to posterity at his resting place.What to do?I set about alerting his literary estate, and the society Aldington formed in Florence. I wish to extend my gratitude to his biographer, Vivien Whelpton, for her unfailing and generous support.I assumed that one could contact a monumental mason in the Sancerrois, but I alsoknew that if I took this course the project would become elongated to the point of indifference. Again, by good fortune, I learnt that a former colleague of mine isrunning a stone carving studio at Rabastens, on the Tarn.I contacted her, and asked whether she would agree to a commission from me.She would. And, elatedly, I informed interested parties that there would be a stone! I knew se could be relied upon to produce a work of quality. The only obstacle that now lay before me was in how to convey a piece of dense Fontenay limestone from the studio to the cemetery. A distance of over 500 km…