Category: London Memorials

Royal Naval Division Memorial in London

The Royal Naval Division Memorial is located on Horse Guards Parade in London, but unfortunately is almost lost in the space as it is such a modest structure. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and was unveiled on 25 April 1925.

The Royal Naval Division (RND) was created by Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time, and it was manned by sailors, Royal Marines, and naval and marine reservists who were not required at sea.  Although it was a land based division it  was known for its strong maritime traditions, including the use of naval ranks and terminology. After serving in the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign it was deployed to the Western Front in late 1916 until the armistice in 1918. It lost 10,737 officers and men during the war; while 30,892 were wounded.

The Admiralty Citadel partly obscure the poem by Rupert Brooke 1887–1915 which is inscribed on the one side of the memorial. Brooke, a member of the Hood Battalion of the RND, died of disease while en route with the division to Gallipoli in April 1915

Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!

There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,

But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.

These laid the world away; poured out the red

Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be

Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,

That men call age; and those who would have been,

Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

The memorial was removed from its original site when work was started on the citadel, and it was eventually erected in a number of places before being re-installed in its original site on  13 November 2003. It is designated a grade II listed building.

In my opinion the glowering and overgrown citadel really overshadows the memorial, leaving it to look more like a feature as opposed to a proper memorial. 

DRW 2013-2018. Created 14/10/2018

Updated: 02/03/2019 — 05:04

The Machine Gun Corps Memorial

The Machine Gun Corps Memorial,  is located on the north side of the traffic island at Hyde Park Corner near the Wellington Arch. The memorial is also known as “The Boy David” as it depicts a 2.7m bronze statue of a nude David by Francis Derwent Wood.  The figure stands with one hand on his hip and the other resting on Goliath’s oversized sword.  On either side of the plinth are  bronze models of a Vickers machine gun, wreathed in laurels.

I have to be honest though, I did not really feel any connection to the memorial, unlike the Royal Artillery Memorial that conveys so much emotion in the oversized bronze figures that make up a part of the overall memorial. 

The memorial is inscribed:

ERECTED TO 
COMMEMORATE 
THE GLORIOUS 
HEROES 
OF THE 
MACHINE GUN
CORPS 
WHO FELL IN 
THE GREAT  WAR.

Below the inscription is a quotation from 1 Samuel 18:7:

“Saul has slain his thousands 
but David his tens of thousands
“.  

The memorial was originally erected next to Grosvenor Place, near Hyde Park Corner, but was dismantled in 1945 and eventually rededicated at its present location in 1963. It was upgraded to a Grade II* listed building (particularly important buildings of more than special interest) in July 2014.

DRW © 2013-2018. Retrospectively created 25/08/2018

Updated: 04/06/2018 — 06:20

Frederick Sleigh Roberts VC.

Frederick Sleigh Roberts(30/09/1832 – 14/11/1914) Was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions for actions on 2 January 1858 at Khudagan during the Indian Rebellion.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 22212, Page: 5516, reads: 

“Bengal Artillery, Lieutenant Frederick Sleigh Roberts, Date of Act of Bravery, 2nd January, 1858.

Lieutenant Roberts’ gallantry has on every occasion been most marked.

On following up the retreating enemy on the 2nd January, 1858, at Khodagunge, he saw in the distance two Sepoys going away with a standard. Lieutenant Roberts put spurs to his horse, and overtook them just as they were about to enter a village. They immediately turned round, and presented their muskets at him, and one of the men pulled the trigger, but fortunately the caps snapped, and the standard-bearer was cut down by this gallant young officer, and the standard taken possession of by him. He also, on the same day, cut down another Sepoy who was standing at bay, with musket and bayonet, keeping off a Sowar. Lieutenant Roberts rode to the assistance of the horseman, and, rushing at the Sepoy, with one blow of his sword cut him across the face, killing him on the spot.”

Lord Roberts VC at Horse Guards, London.

Lord Roberts died of pneumonia at St Omer, France, on 14/11/1914 while visiting Indian troops fighting in the First World War. After lying in state in Westminster Hall,  he was given a state funeral and was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral.  His son Frederick Hugh Sherston Roberts VC was killed in action on 17 December 1899 at the Battle of Colenso during the Boer War. Roberts and his son were one of only three pairs of fathers and sons to be awarded the VC.

His full titles are: Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, VC, KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, KStJ, VD, PC.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 25/05/2017

Updated: 12/01/2018 — 07:19

John Joseph Sims VC

John Joseph Sims (1835 – 06/12/1881) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions following the assault on the Redan on 18 June 1855 during the Crimean War.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 21971, Page: 659, reads:

“On the 18th June 1855, after his Regiment had retreated back to their trenches following the assault on the Redan, he went out into the open ground, under heavy fire, in broad daylight, and brought in wounded soldiers outside the trenches.”   

Sims died on 6 December 1881, aged 46 in the Union Workhouse, Thavies Inn, City of London from tuberculosis, and was buried in common ground in the City of London Cemetery, Manor Park. On Friday, 11th April 2003, a memorial plaque was placed over the location of his grave. 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 21/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green. 

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:46

George Leslie Drewry VC

George Leslie Drewry (03/11/1894 – 02/08/1918) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions  at V Beach in the Landing at Cape Helles, during the Gallipoli Campaign. on  25 April 1915.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29264, Page: 8132, reads:

Assisted Commander Unwin at the work of securing the lighters under heavy rifle and maxim fire. He was wounded in the head, but continued his work and twice subsequently attempted to swim from lighter to lighter with a line.” 

The men of HMS River Clyde connected to this action were: George Leslie Drewry, Wilfred St. Aubyn Malleson and George McKenzie Samson commanded by Acting Captain Edward Unwin.

He was accidentally killed at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, on 2 August 1918, and is buried in the City of London Cemetery, Manor Park, East London.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 21/04/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green. Gallaher cigarette card by Card Promotions © 2001, first issued 1915. 

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:47

John Travers “Jack” Cornwell VC

John Travers “Jack” Cornwell 08/01/1900 – 02/06/1916 was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on board HMS Chester during the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916.

The Citation reads:
“The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the grant of the Victoria Cross to Boy, First Class, John Travers Cornwell, O.N.J.42563 (died 2 June 1916), for the conspicuous act of bravery specified below. Mortally wounded early in the action, Boy, First Class, Jack Travers Cornwell remained standing alone at a most exposed post, quietly awaiting orders, until the end of the action, with the gun’s crew dead and wounded all round him. His age was under sixteen and a half years.”

On 31 May 1916, Chester was scouting ahead of the 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland when the ship turned to investigate gunfire in the distance. At 17:30 hours, the Chester soon came under intense fire from four Kaiserliche Marine cruisers each her own size which had suddenly emerged from the haze and increasing funnel smoke of the battlefield. The shielded 5.5-inch gun mounting where Cornwell was serving as a sight-setter was affected by at least four nearby hits. The Chester’s gun mountings were open-backed shields and did not reach down to the deck. Splinters were thus able to pass under them or enter the open back when shells exploded nearby or behind. All the gun’s crew were killed or mortally injured except Cornwell, who, although severely wounded, managed to stand up again and remain at his post for more than 15 minutes, until Chester retired from the action with only one main gun still working. Chester had received a total of 18 hits, but partial hull armour meant that the interior of the ship suffered little serious damage and the ship itself was never in peril. Nevertheless, the situation on deck was dire. Many of the gun crews had lost lower limbs due to splinters passing under the gun shields. British ships report passing the Chester to cheers from limbless wounded gun crew laid out on her deck and smoking cigarettes, only to hear that the same crewmen had died a few hours later from blood loss and shock.

After the action, ship medics arrived on deck to find Cornwell the sole survivor at his gun, shards of steel penetrating his chest, looking at the gun sights and still waiting for orders. Being incapable of further action, Chester was ordered to the port of Immingham. There Cornwell was transferred to Grimsby General Hospital, although he was clearly dying. He died on the morning of 2 June 1916 before his mother could arrive at the hospital. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Cornwell

He is buried in the City of London Cemetery, Manor Park, East London.

The 5,5 Inch gun that Jack Cornwell manned is on display at the Imperial War Museum.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 21/05/2017. Jack Cornwell grave courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:47

Frederick Daniel Parslow VC

Frederick Daniel Parslow (14/01/1856 – 04/07/1915) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions while in the Atlantic during The first World War.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 31354 Page: 6445, reads:

“Lieutenant Frederick Parslow, R.N.R.

For most conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of the Horse Transport “Anglo Californian”

On the 4th July 1915. At 8am on 4th July 1915 a large submarine was sighted on the port beam at the distance of one mile. The ship, which was entirely unarmed, was immediately manoevred to bring the submarine astern; every effort was made to increase speed, and a S.O.S. call was sent out by wireless, an answer being received by a man-of war. At 9a.m. the submarine opened fire making occasional hits until 10.30a.m. meanwhile Lieutenant Parslow constantly altered course and kept the submarine astern.

At 10.30a.m. the enemy hoisted the signal to abandon the vessel as fast as possible and in order to save life Lt. Parslow decided to obey and stopped engines to give as many of the crew as wished the opportunity to get away in the boats. On receiving a wireless message from a destroyer however urging him to hold on for as long as possible he decided to get way on the ship again. The submarine then opened a heavy fire on the bridge and boats with guns and rifles wrecking the upper bridge, killing Lt. Parslow and carrying away one of the port davits causing the boat to drop into the sea and throwing its occupants into the water.

At about 11a.m. two destroyers arrived on the scene and the submarine dived.

Throughout the attack Lt. Parslow remained on the bridge on which the enemy fire was concentrated entirely without protection and by his magnificent heroism succeeded, at the cost of his own life, in saving a valuable ship and cargo

The Royal Navy awarded Captain Parslow a posthumous commission as Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve, and he was then awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

He is buried in Cobh Old Cemetery, Cobh. Ireland. Plot B-15-8, Grave 478, and he is commemorated on Tower Hill Merchant Navy Memorial

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 27/02/2017

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:27

Sir Frederick Francis Maude VC, GCB

Frederick Francis Maude (20/12/1821 –  20/06/1897) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Crimean Campaign. 

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 21971, Page: 658, reads:

“3rd Regiment, Bt. Lieut.-Colonel Frederick Francis Maude.

For conspicuous and most devoted bravery on the 8th September, 1855, when in command of the covering and Ladder Party of the 2nd Division, on the assault of the Redan, to which he gallantly led his men. Having entered the Redan, he, with only nine or ten men, held a position between traverses, and only retired when all hope of support was at an end, himself dangerously wounded.

He is buried in Brompton Cemetery in London.

© DRW 2013-2018. Created 02/02/2017, edited 04/05/2017

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:31

Stoke Newington Civilian War Dead Memorial

The Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington Civilian War Dead Memorial may be found in Abney Park Cemetery in London (Google Earth co-ordinates: 51.564451°, -0.077899°).
The legibility of the memorial is poor though, with letters missing from the main inscription.

The inscription reads:

METROPOLITAN BOROUGH OF STOKE NEWINGTON

TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES THROUGH ENEMY ACTION IN THE BOROUGH

DURING WORLD WAR 1939-1945 AND IN PARTICULAR OF THOSE WHOSE NAMES ARE INSCRIBED ON THIS MEMORIAL

DEATH IS BUT CROSSING THE WORLD AS FRIENDS DO THE SEA – THEY LIVE IN ONE ANOTHER STILL.

Source: (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1419855)

There are 113 names inscribed on the memorial, of whom 88 were as a result of a German bomb that made a direct hit on a crowded shelter at Coronation Avenue, just off the High Street on 13th October 1940,  Most people in the Shelter were killed and are listed on the memorial, the list shows that many of the people were Jewish Refugees, There were also 2 persons Unidentified. The memorial also includes the names of 7 of the locations in the borough at which civilians lost their lives during the Second World War. The memorial is listed as Grade II. 

The complete list of names is available on The Roll of Honour Website

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 6/01/2016

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 13:23

Kennington Park Civilian War Dead Memorial

Kennington Park (Google Earth  51.484066°  -0.108817°)  in South London has a Civilian War Memorial, and it commemorates the over 100 people that were killed in an air raid trench in the park on 15 October 1940. A 50lb bomb caused one section of the trench to collapse, killing mostly women and children. The memorial was unveiled in 2006 and was made of Caithness stone by Richard Kindersley.

The main inscription reads: “History, despite its wrenching pain cannot be unlived but if faced with courage need not be lived again.”
 

Very close to this memorial are all that is left of the Tinworth Fountain. It was erected in 1872, but damaged during the Blitz.  Possibly in the same incident.

© DRW 2013-2018. Created 21/12/2016

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 13:25
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