Drawing: Poppies and crosses

War Memorials News

How will we remember them?

24th July 2018


Bells to ring out and 10,000 to march past the Cenotaph as the nation says ‘THANK YOU’

Photograph: Cenotaph in London

Ten thousand members of the public will be invited to march past the Cenotaph to mark the centenary of the Armistice later this year, Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright announced recently.

Descendants, family members and the public are invited to apply to take part in ‘A Nation’s Thank you - The People’s Procession’ on Sunday 11 November 2018.

At the same time, people are being encouraged to ring bells around the world, as the government is seeking to replicate the spontaneous outpouring of relief that took place in 1918. As news of the Armistice spread, church bells, which had fallen silent across the UK during the First World War, rang out in celebration.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “On the centenary of the Armistice, it is right that we come together to give thanks to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and those who returned home to help shape the world we live in today. “The 11th of November offers us a unique opportunity to show our appreciation for the generation who gave so much to secure this hard fought victory. I encourage everyone, whatever their connection to the First World War, to apply to participate in the People’s Procession and join in with the bell ringing programme to help us mark this historic occasion.

Bell ringing and the People’s Procession will take place after the conclusion of The Royal British Legion’s Veteran Dispersal and March Past the Cenotaph, which follows the National Service of Remembrance on 11 November 2018, the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The People’s Procession will provide an opportunity for those taking part to give thanks to all those who served in the First World War to secure the victory that helped shape the rights and privileges we enjoy today.

Members of the public can apply for the People’s Procession here.

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War Memorials Online

Photograph: webpage of War Memorials Online

We need your help! Could you visit your local war memorial this summer to take photos and add a condition update to War Memorials Online?

We hope you are all enjoying some nice weather this summer. We find that visiting war memorials is often a good excuse to explore local villages and towns whilst enjoying the warmer weather. If you come across any war memorials whilst you are out and about, we would be most grateful if you could take some photographs of the memorial and check its condition.

Once back at home, please add the photos and condition update to www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk. You can choose from four condition levels: Good, Fair, Poor and Very bad. There are helpsheets available on the website which have further descriptions and photographs illustrating these condition levels, but generally speaking:

  • War memorials in Good condition are well maintained, stable and secure. The inscriptions and names are readable (70% of war memorials).
  • War memorials in Fair condition are reasonably well maintained, generally stable and secure but in need of a little maintenance. The inscriptions are readable but some deterioration is noticeable (just over 20% of war memorials).
  • War memorials in Poor condition are suffering significant damage or deterioration which requires work. The inscriptions and names are obscured or fading (7% of war memorials).
  • War memorials in Very bad condition are unstable, hazardous and clearly not maintained. Urgent action is required to rectify serious problem. The inscriptions and names are no longer or barely legible (less than 1% of war memorials).

Rest assured, War Memorials Trust will follow up any memorials which are reported in Poor or Very bad condition, so if you are concerned about the condition of your local memorial, please do report it on War Memorials Online.

Equally, if you find your war memorial is in Good or Fair condition, we want to hear about that too! Over the centenary many custodians and communities have undertaken war memorial projects to help protect and conserve them, and we would like to see photos of these war memorials on War Memorials Online to recognise all their hard work.

If you would like any information about undertaking condition surveys or contributing to War Memorials Online please do not hesitate to contact Brogan on brogan@warmemorials.org or 07421 994656.

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Hear from First World War Memorials Programme volunteers who are saving the nation's war memorials

Photograph: Andrew Moorhouse

Andrew Moorhouse of Marple Civic Society talks about the outcome of the Marple war memorial survey. Copyright Arthur Proctor.

On August 1st the First World War Memorials Programme will be visiting Derby Museum and Art Gallery to give people in the East Midlands the opportunity to hear from the communities that have been involved in recording, conserving and protecting their local war memorials.

During the event there will also be a guided tour and a chance to look around The Soldier’s Story gallery which tells the story of three local regiments; the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, the Sherwood Foresters and the Derbyshire Yeomanry. All three regiments have served around the world, and have participated in major events in British history, including the two World Wars and other conflicts. The displays include a fantastic collection of uniform, medals, weapons and equipment as well as personal items which tell the stories of soldiers from the local regiment.

The programme has run similar events in four of England’s regions since February. In that time we’ve heard from a number of volunteers who have been involved in the programme and the fantastic contribution they have made to ensure the future of the nation’s war memorials.

At the first of this series of events in Stockport, for instance, we heard from Andrew Moorhouse of Marple Civic Society who brought together society members with other community groups in the town and the surrounding area to run a survey. The survey lasted three months, during which time the group photographed and recorded the condition of over 30 war memorials. Thankfully all Marple's memorials were found to be in good or fair condition. Members of the group subsequently researched several of the freestanding memorials and successfully applied to Historic England for them to be given Grade II Listed status.

Andrew said about his involvement in the programme, 'The exercise was regarded by all as worthwhile: placing the memorials on national record; and ensuring the commemoration of the men of the Marple and Marple Bridge continues'. Don't miss your chance to hear about what's been happening in your local area and discuss how your community can continue to commemorate the fallen beyond the end of the First World War centenary. You can register to attend the following events below.

  • Derby, 1st August 2018 - Register here.
  • Wakefield, 20th September 2018 - Register here.
  • London, 27th September 2018 - Register here.
  • Chelmsford, 29th September 2018 - Register here.

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Nottingham unveils plaque to flying ace Captain Albert Ball VC

Pictures:Tom Huggon; Ball's family unveiling plaque

Tom Huggon DL addresses the crowds (left) and (right) members of Albert Ball's family and the Lord Mayor unveil the plaque.

Earlier in the year Nottingham Civic Society were able to commemorate air-ace Captain Albert Ball VC on the 101st anniversary of his death.

Albert Ball was an English fighter pilot during the First World War. Born and raised in Nottingham, Ball joined the Sherwood Foresters at the outbreak of the war but transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) the following year, and gained his pilot's wings on 26 January 1916. Joining no. 13 Squadron RFC in France, he flew reconnaissance missions before being posted in May to No. 11 Squadron, a fighter unit. From then until his return to England on leave in October, he accrued many aerial victories, earning two Distinguished Service Orders and the Military Cross. He was the first ace to become a British national hero.

After a time, Ball was posted to No. 56 Squadron, which deployed to the Western Front in April 1917. He crashed to his death in a field in France on 7 May, sparking a wave of national mourning and posthumous recognition, which included the award of the Victoria Cross for his actions during his final tour of duty.

A plaque was erected earlier in the summer at Ball's father’s house in Lenton Road in The Park, and after an address by Tom Huggon DL it was unveiled with full military honours by the Lord Mayor and members of Albert Ball’s family and in the presence of over 100 members of the public.

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Civic Society's Heritage Centre at the heart of commemorations

Picture: Trench scene

Trench scene created by volunteers at Desborough Heritage Centre. Copyright Desborough Civic Society

When Desborough Civic Society was founded in 1998, residents said that they would like to have a museum, particularly because the 17th & 18th century heart of the town, which would have made it a tourist attraction, had been demolished for road widening c.1970. Eventually, by 2003, a Heritage Centre was created in a small shop room and artefacts and photographs started to pour in. Desborough now has a large historic building, totally devoted to the Desborough Heritage Centre and since 2009 they have been an Accredited Museum and received a goodly array of Heritage Awards.

In 1914, Desborough only had 4000 inhabitants but 725 young men went to war.

After two years of research, and much helped by local individuals’ earlier work, in August 2014 Desborough Heritage Centre was able to launch a magnificent exhibition entitled “Men at War and Families at Home, 1914—1918”. With the help of £10k from the Heritage Lottery Fund they were able to purchase more display boards, appropriate army uniforms and equipment both adult and child size plus mannequins, and have well printed information boards of various kinds.

In the main exhibition room, under a timeline narrating events and battles, they have a gallery on A4 size boards, each recording one of the 146 men who died in the First World War, each with a portrait and details of his address, work, family, and interests. On the centenary of each death they attach a poppy to the board. An array of in-room display cases and some large and portable information boards adds to the whole story, including objects, letters from the Front and recollections collected by local families.

Focusing on the next generation, two local primary schools make much use of the Heritage Centre. In autumn term 2014, they were visited by classes of children numbering 650 for talks about the War and trying on uniforms and gear.

More information via http://www.desboroughheritagecentre.co.uk/.

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Discover more about your local war memorial - undertake a survey

Photograph: A group of people surveying a war memorial

The First World War Memorials Programme is encouraging people to look more closely at their local war memorials and to take action to ensure they are fitting tributes to those who fought in the First World War or other conflicts. Civic Voice have created a tool kit which aims to help anyone who wants to assess and record the condition of a war memorial. Your survey will help to:

  • Identify whether the memorial is in good condition or whether it needs any repairs/conservation
  • Create a record that can be held locally, on the War Memorials Register and War Memorials Online.
  • Kick-start any action that’s needed to ensure the future of your local memorial.

The tool kit includes three short videos and several help sheets to tell you more about the programme and how to carry out your survey(s). To get started, click here.

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Can you help protect war memorials in 2018?

Photograph: Calow war memorial as was Photograph: Calow memorial after renovation.

Before/After of Calow war memorial in Derbyshire which received WMT funding. © Calow Parish Council.

As readers of War Memorials News will be aware War Memorials Trust is a charity which works to protect and conserve the UK’s estimated 100,000 war memorials. War Memorials Trust provides free advice to anyone with a war memorial enquiry and offers grants for repair and conservation works. It also educates young people about the importance of war memorials so that they can continue the work to care for them in the future.

In the last 21 years the charity has administered £5 million in grants to support 1,600 war memorial projects, dealt with more than 11,000 war memorial cases and reached 8,000 young people through its Learning Programme.

However, they still have a long way to go. It is believed that up to 8,000 war memorials in the UK are in need of attention, suffering the effects of ageing, weathering and vandalism.

Members make a vital contribution to the charity. It is a way for people who share their passion to support this unique aspect of our nation's heritage. Together we can demonstrate the strength of national commitment to protect our war memorials. As a charity War Memorials Trust is dependent on contributions from members and donors to continue its work so they need to find more people to join them.

Please become a War Memorials Trust member today and together we can ensure that those commemorated on our war memorials are not forgotten. To join please visit: www.warmemorials.org/join or call 020 7834 0200.

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Grants Showcase - Derby (King Street Methodist Church)

Town or City: Derby

County: Derbyshire

Country: England

WMT Reference Number: WM1256

Value of grant: £400.00

Type of memorial: Non-Freestanding

Type of work: Conservation and repair

Grant scheme: Small Grants Scheme

Year: 2004

Photograph: Memorial reinstated.

King Street Methodist Church was demolished in the late 1960s and on its site now stands a council owned multi-storey car park with a car dealership, Motor Plus, on Chapel Street. When the church was demolished its war memorial was moved, stored and forgotten. Discovered 30 years later it was held by Derby City Council until Motor Plus agreed to accept the memorial on its premises thus ensuring it is returned to its original site.

War Memorials Trust contributed £400 towards the relocation which had the strong support of the local ex-service community and the council. The costs included ensuring the memorial is securely supported on the wall as it is a substantial stone tablet.

The memorial reads:

To the Glory of God
and in memory of the Men of this Church
who fell in the Great War, 1914 - 1918.
The two memorial windows and this tablet are placed.

Also in thanksgiving for the return of the following.

Names of both the fallen and the returned are listed.

Further information

War Memorials Trust reference WM1256
UK National Inventory of War Memorials:

If you have a concern about this memorial please contact the Trust on conservation@warmemorials.org


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Get Involved!

Photograph: People looking at a war memorial

War Memorials Condition Survey Toolkit

If you can't attend a workshop, Civic Voice has created a toolkit to allow you to learn how to survey the condition of your war memorials. The toolkit takes you through each step and also provides you with all the resources you need to complete a condition survey. See the toolkit here. Condition Survey Forms are now available to download on Civic Voice's website, so you can get involved as soon as possible!

Click here to download a Condition Survey.

Photograph: People in a workshop

War Memorial workshops in your area!

Come to a workshop to discuss the best way to tackle this war memorials campaign head on and get all the war memorials in your area recorded. Please see up and coming workshops for your area here. If you are interested in attending a workshop please click on the link for your area.

Photograph: Group surveying war memorial

Play your part in protecting war memorials!

Do you want to get involved in giving your local war memorials greater protection from demolition and changes that damage their historic character? You now have a unique opportunity to achieve this. For the first time the public are being asked to research and write entries for the inclusion on the National Heritage List for England (see here), the statutory list of nationally important buildings and monuments. Of the tens of thousands of war memorials in England just 2,000 are currently on The List and we want to change this. If you want to get involved email Civic Voice here and we will contact you about the training workshops taking place. Don’t pass up this opportunity to protect an important part of your local heritage!

Register your war memorial here!