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Our War Memorials: III-In Town and Village

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Our countryside war shrines and memorials are more intimate than those amid the hurly-burly of the great cities. They rise more often on holy ground, are more often adapted for quiet meditation; and for many Nature has afforded an unsurpassably beautiful setting. Their variety is as striking as their number, from the simple niche in the sequestered church porch to the elaborate symbolical group set amid stately trees, with green garths, and pools that mirror the surrounding scene.

In one Highland glen is a rough block of granite with the figures 1914-1918 as sufficient inscription. There are Celtic, Gothic and Eleanor crosses, calvaries that recall the wayside shrines of Brittany, obelisks, columns, cenotaphs modelled on that in Whitehall, pylons, towers, avenues and circles of trees, roads of remembrance, rest gardens, bells, at least one bridge, parks, churches, chapels, libraries, lych gates, college cloisters, and little temples reminiscent of the choragic monument of Lysicrates in ancient Athens.

Many are dedicated specifically to units of the three Services. Numerous also are those in memory of old boys of our public schools. Actors, hill-climbers, cyclists, rowing-men, cricketers, printers have special memorials; and in industrial centres are many erected by great business firms. One of the memorials to railwaymen carries its message through the heart of the countryside, the L.N.E.R. engine Valour.

Sometimes the monument, a clock tower, for example, bears witness to the loss of a dearly loved son; sometimes it is a clan that is commemorated. As proving that gratitude is greater than granite, and in anticipation of the Haig Memorial Homes, are cottages and clubs for ex-Service men; Papworth village settlement, near Cambridge; the British Legion village at Preston Hall, near Maidstone, and other refuges for the disabled; memorial hospitals and hospital wards; convalescent homes; scholarships and other educational foundations for sons and daughters of the fallen.

Many a little village has its printed roll of honour, usually prepared by the vicar, simple in form but as reverently produced and carefully treasured as that great tome of vellum with its 40,000 names which is enshrined in Liverpool Cathedral, or the noble memorial volumes of Eton and Harrow, Rugby and Winchester, and others of our public schools, whose collective service is being commemorated by Mr. C. F. Kernot. One handsome memorial volume is devoted to a patriotic Dorset family, the Popes of Wrackleford, and for this the late Thomas Hardy wrote a foreword.

In Kent, whose associations are so closely knit with historical episodes in our island story, is the memorial of the Royal Engineers at Chatham. An obelisk to the Dover Patrol overlooks the Channel from St. Margaret's Bay. The road from the promenade to the harbour at Folkestone, along which so many thousands passed to their unknown graves, is flanked with bushes of rosemary. At Ditton Corner, on the Maidstone Road, is a tall archway of brick enclosing below its tiled roof a crucifix which is silhouetted against the sky with deep effect, especially in brooding twilight. In the hilltop village of Loose, near Maidstone, is a Boy Scouts' memorial. At the base of a beautiful cross at Chislehurst, designed by Sir R. Blomfield, R.A., are the words: "Tis not the whole of Life to live, Nor all of Death to die."

Tonbridge School has a Gate of Remembrance through which present and future Tonbridgeans pass daily in silence. In addition to the cross under the shadow of Christ's Church, Shooter's Hill, on the old Dover Road, is an ancient milestone, the eighth from London. Broken by a steam-roller, its pieces were rescued by the Rev. Dr. T. B. Willson, and in its restored form it bears the legend: "130 miles to Ypres; in defending the salient our casualties were 90,000 killed; 70,500 missing; 410,000 wounded." In St. George's Garrison Church, Woolwich, is a memorial in coloured marble to the Old Contemptibles.

Of the Sussex memorials Balcombe has a Victory Hall with frescoes of War and Peace. Perhaps the most striking in the county is the white "chitra" which rises on the green down near Patcham. It bears this inscription in English and Hindustani: " To the memory of the Indian soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their King-Emperor in the Great War this monument, erected on the site of the funeral pyre where the Indians and Sikhs who died in hospital at Brighton passed through the fire, is in grateful admiration and brotherly affection dedicated."

Specially typical of the village memorials of Surrey are the Celtic cross at Frimley and the Early English sandstone cross and memorial church window at Shere, the cross designed by Mr. Spencer Munt. Charterhouse, near Godalming, has a beautiful Gothic memorial chapel, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, R.A. At Reigate, in memory of the men of Reigate and Redhill, is a fine bronze group symbolical of the struggle of mankind against the manifold difficulties of life. The sculptor is Mr. Richard R. Goulden. At Limpsfield the printers have a memorial at the Caxton Convalescent Home. Of Purley's two memorials one is at Upper Woodcote. It is a road, a third of a mile long, named Promenade de Verdun. For it ten tons of soil came from a sacred spot near Armentieres, and from this soil two sacks of shrapnel and pieces of bullets were sifted before it was laid down. Each tree in the road is growing in a commingling of British and French earth. At the far end of the road, about 400 feet above sea-level, rises a white obelisk of Cornish granite inscribed "Aux soldats de France morts glorieusement pendant la Grande Guerre." At Woking the boys of the Gordon Boys' Home have built a memorial workshop.

Nothing more serenely beautiful has been designed than the cloisters in memory of the old boys of Winchester School. In it nearly every regiment in the British Army has a niche of honour. The long and nobly -worded inscription, in letters of solid stone, set in knapped flints, has this sacred exordium: "Thou, therefore, for whom they died, seek not thine own, but serve as they served, and in peace or in war bear thysell as Christ's soldier, gentle in all things, valiant in action, steadfast in adversity." Like the memorial gate at Tonbridge, the Wykehamist cloisters are a place of silence and of inspiration rather than of gloom. The green, open garth is fringed with flowers. The cloisters were designed by Mr. Herbert Baker, A. R.A. In the memorial chapel of Christchurch Priory are the lines:

Ye who live on in English pastures green
Remember us, and think what might have been,

Notable in both character and setting are the wayside cross on Hazeley Down, near Winchester, the memorial at the Hampshire village of Blackmore, near Selborne, and the Forster memorial tower and chapel at Exbury in the New Forest.

In the new Presbyterian church of S. Andrew, Aldershot, designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, A.R.A., is a tablet to the memory of the soldiers of the Church of Scotland and kindred Churches throughout the Empire. Cricketers have a special memorial at Hambleden. Romsey has a memorial park. Basingstoke has acquired Goldings House and gardens as a memorial park and adorned it with a fine gateway and a beautiful monument of Portland stone surmounted by a bronze figure of Victory. The memorial stones at Odiham to two Frenchmen who died as prisoners during the Napoleonic wars are still kept in repair and may be mentioned in connexion with the gateway at Princeton, Dartmoor, in memory of American prisoners of war who died there in 1813-1815. Newport, Isle of Wight, has a cross in St. Thomas's Square. On the face of the hills of Fovant, near Salisbury, in Wiltshire, troops from all over the Empire carved a remarkable series of regimental badges.

In the old-world village of Corfe Castle, Dorset, is a war memorial arch, designed by Professor F. H. Newbery, with this inscription, one of the few examples of the use of dialect: " Do'set men don't sheame their kind." For the village of Mells, in Somerset, Sir E. Lutyens has designed a striking symbolical column. In the same county Downside School, near Bath, has a beautiful cross facing the main school against a background of trees. In Gloucestershire, Cheltenham College memorial is in the form of cloisters linking the chapel and school buildings. In Worcestershire, Dudley's memorial clock tower and town hall are notable for the inscription specially written by Thomas Hardy and the moving speech of Mr. Stanley Baldwin at the opening ceremony on October 16, 1928. Here arc Thomas Hardy's lines:

If you think, have a kindly thought;
If you speak, speak generously
Of those who as heroes fought
And died to keep you free.

Mr. Baldwin's speech included this exhortation to the rising generation: "Every time you look on a war memorial make this resolution-that as those men went to their death so you will go to your life."

A beautiful inscription is on the sundial set up at Youlbury (Youlbury sundial), in Oxfordshire, by Sir Arthur Evans in "loving memory of a youthful band who played as children among these woods and heaths." At Henley the Phyllis Court Club has a memorial of which two pairs of gates and seven lamps of old Grosvenor House form part. Both Oxford and Cambridge colleges have remembered their fallen in both memorials and scholarships, Trinity College, Oxford, having a dignified War Memorial Library of which the late Mr J O Smith was the architect.

The Royal Military College at Sandhurst, Berkshire, has renovated its memorial chapel. University College, Reading, has a clock tower designed by Mr. H. Maryon. Wellington Chapel is building a memorial chapel. At Beaumont College, Old Windsor, is a cenotaph designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, R.A., which is both beautiful in itself and in a beautiful setting. Radley College memorial archway is the work of Sir T. D. Jackson.

In Buckinghamshire we come again under the spell of a great public school, Eton, where four beautiful tapestries, designed by Mrs. Akers Douglas, woven at the Morris works at Merton Abbey, and representing the life and sacrifice of S. George, have been placed on the walls of the chapel as part of the war memorial to old Etonians. High Wycombe has a memorial hospital, Lane End a village hall, and Aylesbury a cross of sacrifice. One of the noblest memorials in Middlesex is the Gate of Honour at Mill Hill School (p. 1034), of which Mr. Stanley Hamp was the architect. Harrow School has new memorial buildings with a shrine. Harrow town memorial is a gracefully sculptured cross designed by Mr. W. D. Caroe. In Hertfordshire there are notable memorials at Berkhamsted and Bishop's Stortford Schools, the fifteenth - century. wall fountain from Florence at Little Gadsden, and Watford's Peace Memorial Hospital with three symbolical figures designed by Mrs. Mary Pownell Bromet. Of the memorials in Essex, special mention must be made of the beautiful group at Clacton, Sir E. Lutyens's obelisk at South-end, and the wayside cross at Weeley, with its legend: " Pass, friends; all's well. To our comrades, from those who came back."

What is probably the tallest column memorial in England is that designed by Mr. Clyde Young and set up, by the generosity of the first Lord Iveagh, in memory of the fallen of the villages of Elvedon, Eriswell and Icklingham, in Suffolk. It is Corinthian in design, and its panels are so arranged that each of three villages has its panel within its own boundary. In Warwickshire, where another great school, Rugby, commemorates the service and sacrifice of its sons in the Great War, one finds, at Meriden Green, on a spot regarded as the very hub of England, a plain obelisk to the lasting memory of the cyclists who served and died. Promoted by Mr. F. T. Bidlake and the Editor of "Cycling," it was unveiled by another veteran cyclist, Lord Birkenhead. In the lovely memorial park at Coventry is a fine tower, 100 feet high, at its summit an electric lamp, at its base a Chamber of Silence. For the Actors' Memorial in the grand old church at Stratford-on-Avon Mr. Rudyard Kipling wrote the inscription:

We counterfeited once for your disport
Men's joys and sorrows, but our day has passed,
We pray you pardon all where we fell short.
Seeing we were your servants to this last.

Of the Shropshire memorials that at the Quarry, Shrewsbury, is in the form of a classic temple surrounded by Ionic columns supporting a dome. Within it is a life-size figure of S. Michael holding a lance in the left hand, while the right hand is extended in benediction. At night the figure can be illuminated. There is also a memorial at Shrewsbury School, while Ellesmere College has a memorial chapel. The Denstone College memorial, in Staffordshire, was designed by Sir Aston Webb. For that in the little village of Hints a local farmer with classical leanings prompted this apt inscription from Thucydides: "These men dared beyond their strength; they hazarded beyond their judgement; and in the utmost extremity they were of an unconquerable hope." Wolverhampton has a very impressive cenotaph; and the Denstone College memorial organ and shrine in West Brom-wich School, the shrine designed by Mr. Stanley M. Foster, are specially worthy of note, as is the Nicholson clock tower at Leek. Leicester's Arch of Remembrance, with its flower beds and lawns, is one of the finest in the Empire.

The exquisitely wooded cliffs which extend for a mile along the Trent from Radcliffe, in Nottinghamshire, presented to this lovely village by Mr. Lisle Rockley, whose only son was killed at Ypres, form a war memorial of unique impressiveness. There is a thirty-six-foot promenade along the top of the cliffs, and behind them are two small parks where the elderly may rest and children play. In memory of 11,409 men of the Sherwood Foresters who fell and the 140,000 of their comrades who served, the people of Nottinghamshire and Derby have re-erected the old beacon at Crich Stand. The beacon, 62 feet high, stands on a picturesque eminence, 920 feet above sea-level, near the borders of the two counties. The dome of the beacon rests on an entablature supported by Greek Doric columns. Within, 58 steps lead to a platform whence on a clear day the view extends over five counties. The beacon, which can be illuminated, was designed by the late Lieut.-Colonel A. W. Brewill, and its completion was carried out under the supervision of his son.

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