A CHARITY shop in Poole has collated hundreds of images of the soldiers and the workers of war to create a shopfront window display commemorating their lives. 

Armed Forces charity SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) in Church Road, Ashley Cross, has a large collage across the two front windows of images of army personnel. 

The collage was the brainchild of Bob Bone, who served in the army for 41 years and is the volunteer manager at the Poole branch of the charity. 

Speaking with the Echo, Bob said: “I wanted to make sure that this display commemorated the work and sacrifices of the commonwealth troops.  

Bournemouth Echo: SSAFA shop in Ashley CrossSSAFA shop in Ashley Cross (Image: Daily Echo)

“A lot of displays you rarely see black faces, but I felt it was about time we addressed that.  

“We’ve also got images of women too, because they did quite a lot of work during the war too – their work too can often be neglected in displays.” 

The Imperial War Museum and National Army Museum donated some of their images to SSAFA to supplement the display, but most photographs came from a request given by Bob on social media asking people to send images of their relatives in the Commonwealth armies.  

Bob said the response was “excellent”, with even a photograph of a woman from New Zealand who was most likely working on boats in Poole Harbour. 

“It is very easy and obvious to put the blood, gore and dismembered bodies in a display. But I wanted to have a more personal side to it,” he added. 

Bournemouth Echo: SSAFA shop in Ashley CrossSSAFA shop in Ashley Cross (Image: Daily Echo)

“It got pretty OCD at one point to get it all together. On one night I finished at 11pm. Sometimes you’d get all the revelers and pub crawlers knocking on the window, giving a thumbs up which kept us going.” 

Photographs are of personnel from World Wars One and Two, the Korean War, the War in Afghanistan and the Gulf War. 

There are also images of army personnel’s gravestones taken at Poole Cemetary by Bob “for recognition for the loss to the family and everybody else.” 

A number of wreaths decorate the top of the display, including a Commonwealth wreath, the Royal Navy, Air Force, Merchant Navy and SSAFA. 

Fellow SSAFA volunteer Valerie said: “I was very impressed with it. Bob has spent so much time with it during the weekend and evenings. Everybody has said what a lovely display it is.”