Jack Donkersley – man who ran away from home to join the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment……….

A man whose father ran away from home to join the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment has completed an emotional journey to retrace his footsteps.

Jack Donkersley left his home in Oldham to join the Dukes in 1934, and his son Brian has run that same 19-mile journey as a tribute to his dad and to raise funds for a memorial statue that will be installed in Halifax to commemorate the regiment.

He was joined by retired corporal from the regiment, William Hoyle, with the pair completing the run in three hours and 14 minutes.

“We were worried about the smoke from the Saddleworth Moor fire and you could really smell it, but it didn’t affect us really,” said Brian.

“We’re both in pretty good shape as it turned out, so the initial climb wasn’t too bad, and then we had a nice bit downhill to Denshaw with the breeze in our faces.

“I’d let Ripponden School know about the run in advance and their pupils all lined-up to cheer us on as we ran past, which was great.

Then when we reached the bowling club there was just a real sense of achievement.

“It really was a super day and we had some terrific support. The adrenaline was really pumping when we finished.

“All the way round there was never a thought of us giving up. It was there to be done, and we did it.”

Brian had set a target of raising £500 but has raised close to £900 so far.

On the Dukes memorial statue, which will be unveiled next May, Brian added: “I think it’s great for Halifax. It’s very much known as the Yorkshire Regiment now, so this will put the Dukes into the public consciousness.

“I’m hoping to be there for the unveiling – if I get invited!”

To donate to Brian’s cause, visit www.justgiving.com/Brian-Donkersley1.”

National Champion Yacht Beneteau

How lovely to see one of the auction prizes from the rugby event held in March in aid of the Appeal being taken up. This was a unique opportunity to charter the prestigious National Champion Beneteau First 40 SFIDA, for an outing on the Solent and then enjoy lunch on the lawn at the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes.  Thank you to Gareth Williams Nicholas Bonham and Nicky Boothright who made it happen.

The outing in Beneteau was kindly donated by Gareth Williams – Managing Director at Promocean Yacht Charter, and is the youngest person to have completed the Whitbread Round the World race at 17.

A message from Gareth Williams….

Yesterday we had the pleasure of Sailing with a group of wonderful ladies in honour of the Duke of Wellington’s Memorial Appeal which Caroline Cary has worked tirelessly on to raise funds for this deserved Charity.  Back in February Nicky Boothright was the successful bidder at a fundraising event which culminated in the beautiful trip today with lunch at the Royal Yacht Squadron generously donated by Nick Bonham.  Needless to say a fun time was had my all in the blazing sunshine, sailing around the Solent.  We are delighted we were able to assist in donating the lot but it is thanks to Caroline for her efforts in organising such a wonderful event & auction, to Nicky for her generous bid and to Nick for making the day extra special with our visit to The Squadron.  We are glad we were able to contribute in someway to the appeal and hope Caroline reaches her target. To see more and donate please go to:  https://memorial.dwr.org.uk


Armed Forces Day – Halifax

Armed Forces day this weekend saw a fun day for the DWR maquette! The day started at 0700 when John Hogg arrived on site fully loaded with the stall and all its exhibits. Set up by 0800 and dressed in uniform close to the the Woolshops site so it was easy to explain where the Memorial would be located.

Everyone commented favourably about the maquette and many said they can’t wait until it is in place.

Thank you Janet and Charlie Helmn who both attended and helped him throughout the day which he was so grateful for especially as it was so hot!

Later in the afternoon Charlie accompanied John around 3 pubs, the first – The Jubilee – the landlord ess – her son served in the ‘Dukes’ and the walls apparently are covered in ‘Dukes’ memorabilia – after a short while the singer introduced them to the small crown of about 20 in the main bar as “Pte Thomas Atkins – 33rd of Foot” – John then recited “Tommy – by Rudyard Kipling. They did the same in the Duke of Wellington and the Weatherspoons at Barum Top.

John must have posed for a hundred photos with people and/or children but most of all there was very much interest and support for the Memorial. We were asked if we would attend another two events, one of which is for the Order of Buffaloes in about three weeks. They are keen to get involved with the fund raising with us.

So if you want to help us please get in contact! johnhogg441@gmail.com or be part of this fund-raising effort we would love you to support it.

Moulding and Casting

Moulding and Casting – 1strubber coat.

Once the sculpture is finished and approved by the client, the next process is to make the mould. The clay is initially covered with a thin layer of silicone rubber (with the consistency of single cream). This is carefully applied to the clay surface using a brush, making sure that all the nooks and crannies are filled and that there are no trapped air bubbles. The second image here shows Andrew applying ‘Plastishim’ (his invention, which has become standard practice in all foundries and the film industry), which create the dividing walls/seams  for the forthcoming fibreglass jacket application.

Moulding and casting – 2nd rubber layer.

After all the Plastishim seams are in place, another coat of rubber is applied all over them and the sculpture. The picture shows Andrew’s technical assistants applying a thicker coat of rubber, completely covering everything.

Fibreglass jackets.

The image shows the first few fibreglass and resin jackets in place. The entire sculpture will eventually be covered in this way – it is a very time-pressured process which must be completed quickly and efficiently before the resin cures.

Prepping the mould.

Seen here is the finished hand mould. Andrew is trimming the rubber, tidying the seams and making sure that it fits snugly back into the fibreglass jacket. The rubber will be washed to remove the old dried-out clay before the mould is sent off to the foundry for next stage – casting in wax.

Removing the fibreglass jackets. You may not want to publish these in case they give too much away!

These are great images which I’ve included for you, but not too sure you would want to reveal how the figure looks – as we discussed, we don’t want to lose the WOW factor before the unveiling. Andy worked from 6am ‘til 10 pm the day before we flew to Canada – to make sure they were ready for the foundry-man


Filming with David Ainley

Filming with David Ainley.

David Ainley has been commissioned by the Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Appeal Committee to produce a film of the sculpting process for Memorial Sculpture – this was his first visit and gives you an insight into the amount of time and thought involved in this project with every attention to detail.


The Rapid Sketch Technique

The Rapid Sketch Technique – the uniform.

Once the soldier’s anatomy has been successfully established, Andrew then uses the Rapid Sketch Technique to position all the aspects of the uniform and the soldier’s equipment.These photos beautifully display how this system works effectively, showing how folds of cloth are implied by the application of linear clay strokes to the apparently naked human figure.

Sculpting the details.

You can see from these images how Andrew’s method now progresses, using smaller linear strokes to define shapes. This approach is rather like a camera lens coming into focus – as he moves around the figure in stages, gradually each shape or feature becomes clearer and more defined – this is the sculpting stage. Notably you will see some items, like buckles or buttons, which Andrew has pre-moulded and cast because multiples are required and it is an effective method of achieving great results. Props are also used to create surfaces that are difficult to represent in clay (eg. the drinks bottle)


Duke of Wellington’s Regiment Memorial Appeal Interview with Charles Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington at Apsley House

View the Duke of Wellington’s Memorial Appeal Interview with Charles Wellesley, 9th Duke of Wellington at Apsley house.

First Figure and the start of its construction

Constructing the Armature

Creating a good armature is essential, not just to capture the design of the figure from the outset, but crucially to provide strength and stability to support the clay sculpture. Andrew welds steel bar, cut and measured to scale, onto a moveable dolley base. A pre-made foam head is added and thick aluminium armature wire is used to create the flexible arms. Polystyrene is applied to the metal armature to bulk out the body and then carved into shape – this saves on the amount of clay used and makes the sculpture much lighter. (The rectangle on the back of the figure will form the bulk of the soldier’s back-pack).


This photo shows the Soldier 1 maquette with the measuring tools Andrew uses when scaling-up for a life-size figure.

Finding the Dynamic Curves.

Andrew applies the clay using the Rapid Sketch Technique, establishing the Dynamic Curves in the clay outline, which are essential for imbuing life and dynamism within the sculpture. Throughout this process he is continually using measurements, working to scale to perfect the figure’s life-size proportions.

The Rapid Sketch Technique– is a method of clay application designed by Andrew. Essentially the clay is applied in linear strokes, in the direction of the muscular anatomy it represents. This method keeps the clay surface loose and is used until all the measurements and the figure’s design are perfectly mapped out.


Duke of Wellington’s Regiment Memorial Appeal Interview with Calderdale Counsellor Geraldine Carter at Apsley House

View the Duke of Wellington’s Memorial Appeal Interview with Calderdale Counsellor Geraldine Carter at Apsley house.

Duke of Wellington’s Regiment Memorial Appeal Interview with Major Peter Robinson MBE at Apsley House

View the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment Memorial Appeal Interview with Committee Member Major Peter Robinson MBE at Apsley House.