The Spirit Of The Fighting Yank Sculpture

Belmont Middle School, Belmont, NC

Ernest Moore Viquesney’s zinc statue The Spirit of the Fighting Yank located in Belmont, North Carolina, was installed in the late 1940s outside Belmont Middle School to honor local residents who had fought and fallen in World War II.

Viquesney, a sculptor of commemorative statues from Spencer, Indiana, first gained fame for his creation of the now iconic The Spirit of the American Doughboy, sculpted to honor American soldiers fighting in World War I. There are approximately 140 Doughboys in existence, but Belmont’s Fighting Yank is one of only five known to exist.

In late 2011 the Belmont statue was seriously vandalized. Its head was torn off and the entire statue was torn from its granite plinth. We were contracted to restore the sculpture and remount it with a more secure anchoring system.

Our conservators transported the piece from the site, cast and mounted a new head, and welded the tears in the zinc skin closed. The piece had been plated in copper, so to replicate the patina of the existing copper-plated zinc the new zinc work was in-painted. The piece was remounted on its original base in July of 2012.