A JEWELLERY designer and silversmith is marking the centenary of the First World War with a personal tribute to her grandfather.
Yvonne Chadderton, who has a studio in Davenham, has crafted a contemporary solid silver medal that reflects the life-and-death horrors of the battlefield.
The centrepiece of the medal is a photograph of her grandfather, Clifford Chadderton, who fought for the 1st King’s Liverpool Regiment in the battlefields of northern France.
The picture of a teenage Private Chadderton, who died in 1974, is fixed to a round silver frame, encircled by a sterling silver barbed wire wreath, hanging from a silver rifled beneath a blood-red ribbon.
Yvonne, who was a gemmologist in Cartier’s London workshops, explained that the rifle represents the threat of the sniper’s bullet and the highly-polished ‘mirror’ surface the danger of revealing his position to the enemy if he wore a shiny cape in the rain.
The commemorative medal, a work of art not to be worn, along with another piece, an oxidised circular pendant with the 1914-1918 cut out date which is made into six individual pendants characteristic of shrapnel fragments, are now in an exhibition organised by the Cheshire Artist’s Network (CAN) currently on tour throughout Cheshire.
Sleeping in wet dugouts while repairing barbed wire in the trenches around Monchy left Pte Chadderton with severe chest and breathing problems for the rest of his life.
A letter of application that he wrote to the War Pensions Office read: “In the trenches of Monchy, three nights repairing barb wire, no great coats, late July, could not wear ground sheet capes as it was raining and the Very lights lit them up like a mirror which would make us a sure target for snipers.
“After being wet though and having to sleep in dugout I started with chest trouble and lost weight. When in hospital I had to sleep propped on pillows and I had difficulty in breathing after discharge.”
Yvonne lived close to her granddad – who became a motor mechanic in Civvy Street – for many years before his death in 1974, aged 75, but has always wanted to know more about his wartime experiences.
“I am still researching his history and later this year my partner and I will be going over to France where we plan to visit the Monchy and see the area for ourselves,” she said.
Clifford Chadderton is buried in St. Matthews Church, Chadderton.
Yvonne’s work will feature in an exhibition at ArtWorks studio, in Navigation Road, from March 3.
“After the exhibition I will display the medal in my own home as a permanent memento of my grandfather,” she said.
For more information visit yc-jewellery.co.uk.