We’ve been to Scarborough many times, but this was in fact our first visit to the North Bay. Parking was easy, eating was readily available, the surf was up (at just after high water), and the sky was blue – what more could one ask?
We made our way along the prom and eventually encountered the sculpture in the pictures. It’s a truly moving piece of work, especially when one reads the information board which gives something of the story of its subject, one Fred Gilroy (1921 – 2008). I’ve included a picture of the relevant text, but in case it’s not easy to read, he was as a young men, like so many of course, involved in WW2 and finally and most crucially for him, in the relieving of the Bergen Belson concentration camp in April 1945, even spending his 24th birthday there.
Life went on for him of course, but the emotional impact was to stay with him for the rest of his life. He’s described as a warm and loving, caring man, which I’m quite sure is correct, but there seems also to be in the sculpture a sense of deep melancholy which I find very powerful. I’ve used a vignette in most of the images because it seemed to me that it emphasises the disjunction between the wartime experiences that so formed him and the bustling of the seaside resort. I left it out in the last two as an attempt to reinforce the connection between then and now, and between the cruel depravity of the concentration camps and the freedom of enjoyment that a seaside resort seems to embody.