Over the years, the vision of Lochnagar’s true role has slowly evolved and today, with the launch of the Lochnagar Crater Foundation, it is clear.
This massive wound on the battlefield of the Western Front remains a stark testimony to ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ yet its now-peaceful atmosphere is the perfect setting to pause and reflect on the horrors of war.
The Lochnagar Crater is an awesome sight. I first saw it in the early 1970s and even today, hundreds of visits later, it never ceases to take my breath away.
I believe Lochnagar plays a unique role in fostering a very special spirit of peace and reconciliation, especially for all those who are drawn to visit the Crater and stand on the lip for the first time. Only then can we begin to understand the trauma of war and the fearsome power and destructive force of modern warfare.
I have always, along with countless visitors, sensed a unique feeling of compassion and connection with those who fought and fell there. There is a special spirit of fellowship that unites all who visit – and all who seek solace at the unimaginable suffering, the sacrifice, and some say the futility of that conflict.
I believe that that war especially was a stain on mankind and Lochnagar, in some small way, whilst remaining a vast, open wound on the battlefield, symbolises the eternal pain, loss and sorrow of millions of grieving people throughout Europe and beyond. A lost generation of good, gifted and innovative young men and women whose loss we still feel today.
I urge you to come and stand at Lochnagar and, in doing so, commemorate those who fell there. But to do so, not simply by remembering them, but by seeking to make the world that they were so cruelly denied a much more peaceful, forgiving and loving place. In their memory and in their honour.
That is the true and on-going legacy of Lochnagar. And possibly, if enough of us do that today and in the years to come, its creation may not have been entirely in vain.
Not everyone will agree with this of course, and that is their right, but whilst Lochnagar is privately owned the integrity of that aim will never be compromised by personal profit or publicity.
Finally, I am forever grateful for the continued understanding, kindness and hospitality of our many French friends, including the ever-helpful local Mayor and Commune and our good friends at the Sous-préfècture.
Below is how The Lochnagar Crater Foundation will unfold in the coming years, with the Foundation and its Trustees ensuring its long-term future. It is, and always has been, a journey and its next chapter is as bold and challenging as the first.
These six aims will be the primary focus of the Foundation in the coming years.