Liverpool Exchange War Memorials

There are two war memorials in the open square behind the Liverpool City Hall that is bounded by a large building that seems to have been called “Exchange Flags” but is now called Horton House and Walker House.

The first memorial was dedicated to “the Men of the Liverpool Exchange Newsroom”

Funded by donations raised from members of the Liverpool Exchange Company in 1916 and originally intended to be dedicated to those members who had joined the forces, the emphasis of the memorial changed at the end of WW1 to commemorate members and sons who had sacrificed their lives. Made of bronze and marble by artist Joseph Phillips, the sculpture features Britannia sheltering a young girl with two soldiers and a sailor looking outwards while  a Queen Mary Auxiliary Services nurse tends a wounded soldier.

Unveiled in 1924, the sculpture was moved to its current location in 1953. (https://www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/memorials-memories/)

The names are listed on the stonework next to the central dedication panel.

Above the memorial on two columns on either side of it are 4 figures: a female adult with a young boy and a male adult with a young girl. I do not know whether these are part of the original memorial or not.

The Exchange Flags square may be found at Google Earth  53.407654°,  -2.992094° 

The second memorial is in visual range and is The Unknown Soldier, Liverpool Cotton Association Memorial.

Unusually the bronze soldier stands at ground level  having been relocated in 2013 to be closer the ICA’s new office in Walker House.

Commissioned in 1922 by the International Cotton Association (ICA), known then as the Liverpool Cotton Association, the bronze statue of the Unknown Soldier was originally situated in Liverpool’s Cotton Exchange Building on Old Hall Street. (https://www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/memorials-memories/)

There is one further memorial in the square which is neither a First or Second World War Memorial. It is known as the Nelson Monument  and it  is really a monument to Admiral Horatio Nelson.

It is somewhat of a wedding cake of a monument, with  four statues depicting prisoners sitting in poses of sadness and representing Nelson’s major victories, the battles of Cape St Vincent, the Nile, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar.

The first stone was laid on 15 July 1812, and the monument was unveiled on 21 October 1813, the eighth anniversary of Nelson’s death. In 1866 the monument was moved to its present site in Exchange Flags to allow for an extension to the Exchange Buildings.

DRW © 2018. Created 10/06/2018

The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

The idea behind the “Unknown Soldier” is not a unique one, rather it can be found in many nations that have lost vast numbers of soldiers and civilians in war. The Tomb in Westminster Abbey is yet one of the many examples of this memorial to the many who were lost in our great folly called war. The Abbey is a breathtaking building in itself, but this small spot just makes it so much more sombre. Google Earth co-ordinates are: 51.499468°  -0.128368°

The idea of a Tomb of the Unknown Warrior was first conceived in 1916 by the Reverend David Railton, who wrote to the Dean of Westminster in 1920 proposing that an unidentified British soldier from the battlefields in France be buried with due ceremony in Westminster Abbey “amongst the kings” to represent the many hundreds of thousands of Empire dead.

Suitable remains were exhumed from various battlefields and brought to the chapel at Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise near Arras, France on the night of 7 November 1920. The bodies were received by the Reverend George Kendall OBE. Brigadier L.J. Wyatt and Lieutenant Colonel E.A.S. Gell of the Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries went into the chapel alone. They were then placed in four plain coffins each covered by Union Flags: the two officers did not know from which battlefield any individual soldier had come. Brigadier Wyatt with closed eyes rested his hand on one of the coffins. The other soldiers were then taken away for reburial by Kendall.

The coffin remained at the chapel overnight and on the afternoon of 8 November, transferred under guard and escorted by Kendall, It was transported to the medieval castle within the ancient citadel at Boulogne. Troops lining the route, while a company from the French 8th Infantry Regiment stood vigil overnight. The next morning, two undertakers entered the castle library the coffin was placed into a casket of oak timbers of trees from Hampton Court Palace. It was was banded with iron, and a medieval crusader’s sword was affixed to the top, surmounted by an iron shield bearing the inscription ‘A British Warrior who fell in the Great War 1914–1918 for King and Country‘. The casket was loaded onto a French military wagon, drawn by six black horses. Then, the mile-long procession—led by one thousand local schoolchildren and escorted by a division of French troops—made its way down to the harbour where it was loaded onto HMS Verdun. The ship sailed just before noon, escorted by six battleships.

The casket was landed at Dover Marine Railway Station at the Western Docks on 10 November and then carried to London in South Eastern and Chatham Railway General Utility Van No.132 (aka “The Cavel van”). The train travelled to Victoria Station, where it arrived at platform 8 at 8.32 pm that evening and remained overnight.

The Cavell van as restored on the Kent and East Sussex Railway. Seen at Northiam station.
Plaque on Victoria Station Platform 8, Victoria Station.

On the morning of 11 November 1920, the casket was placed onto a gun carriage of the Royal Horse Artillery drawn by six horses through immense and silent crowds. The cortège, followed by The King, the Royal Family and ministers of state proceeded to Westminster Abbey, where the casket was borne into the West Nave of the Abbey flanked by a guard of honour of one hundred recipients of the Victoria Cross. One hundred women who lost their husband and all their sons in the war were guests of honour.

The Unknown Warrior  was finally interred in the far western end of the Nave, only a few feet from the entrance, the grave was filled in with earth from the battlefields,  and then covered by a temporary stone with a gilded inscription on it: It was inscribed:

A BRITISH WARRIOR WHO FELL IN

THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918

FOR KING AND COUNTRY.

GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS.

The grave was finally capped with a black Belgian marble stone.

I was fortunate that a helpful door monitor at the abbey allowed me this brief glimpse of the tomb and to grab the image above. A few days later I went to Victoria Station with the intention of photographing the plaque on the station.

Westminster Abbey

I have drawn heavily on the Wikipedia page about the Unknown Warrior to create the text for this post. Realistically there is not much that can be written that is not already public record and the events are well documented.   The photograph of “The Cavell van” as restored on the Kent and East Sussex Railway is retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavell_Van and is used under  the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  The file owner is Michael Roots

DRW © 2013-2019. Created 10/03/2013. Moved to blog 27/02/2014, updated 15/11/2019

South African Defence Force Wall of Remembrance: Voortrekker Monument

Following the non recognition of members of the SADF by the so called “freedom park”, it was decided that a fitting tribute be made to the members of the SADF that lost their lives in service. The South African Defence Force Wall of Remembrance was offically unveiled at the Voortrekker Monument on the 25th of October 2009.

The Wall was erected to pay tribute to the members of the SADF who lost their lives in service of their country over the period 31 May 1961 (the coming of the Republic) and 27 April 1994 (the birth of the SANDF). It was made possible through private donations and contributions in kind and no state funds were used to this end.

The area by the Wall has also become home to the 32 Battalion Tree of Honour which commemorates those soldiers of 32 Battalion who lost their lives during the border war, as well as the newly found 31/201 Battalion Memorial. Recently a niche wall was erected for those members of the SADF who would like to have their ashes at the memorial.

The commemoration service is held on the Sunday closest to the 31st of May, and I have attended a number of these since the opening of the wall. I have seen the service grow in size and the interest being shown is heart warming.

As each year passes so the list of casualties becomes more complete, and the supplementary list becomes longer, and each year more people acknowledge this memorial for the sacrifices it represents.

There is also a Memorial to the Unknown Soldier at the Wall,and a wreath always gets laid at this silent sentinel.

Memorial to The Unknown Soldier
Memorial to The Unknown Soldier

Recently the wall dedicated to the Honoris Crux, Van Riebeeck Medal, and Louw Wepener Decoration was also added, and a number of holders of these decorations were present.

A plaque relating to the Mapai Incident is also at the wall, and there are niches for the “Ebo Four”

I have too many images to show them all on this page, so am adding in these random images of a special place that has become a home for ex-soldiers, and a source of comfort and recognition for the many families who lost their loved ones in the defence of the country.  The Wall may be found at S25°46.546,  E28°10.460.

sadfrandom01

 

© DRW 2009-2018. Created 25/10/2009, updated 29/05/2011. Moved to blog 07/02/2014