Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry War Memorial
- Heritage Category:
- Listed Building
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
- Statutory Address:
- Castle Canyke Road, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL31 1EG
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- Statutory Address:
- Castle Canyke Road, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL31 1EG
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
First and Second World War memorial. Designed in 1922 by Leonard Stanford Merrifield, with the names of the Fallen of the Second World War added after 1950.
Reasons for Designation
The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry War Memorial, designed by Leonard Stanford Merrifield in 1922 and erected in 1924, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Sculptural interest: for a high quality depiction in the round of a soldier on active service, by the sculptor Leonard Stanford Merrifield;
* Rarity: for a rare depiction of a gas mask in a ready to be used state and an extremely rare depiction of a grenade in use;
* Design: for an unusual and highly accurate depiction of a soldier depicted in combat. Uniform and equipment are depicted in great detail, and his state of readiness is indicated by the pinless grenade;
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Group value: with the Grade II listed perimeter wall, gate, former stables and Keep.
The aftermath of the First World War saw an unprecedented wave of public commemoration with tens of thousands of memorials erected across the country, both as a result of the huge impact the loss of three quarters of a million British lives had on communities and the official policy of not repatriating the dead, which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.
The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry War Memorial was raised by the regiment to commemorate the 4,282 men of the regiment killed in the First World War. The regiment served in a number of theatres throughout the war, and suffered particularly heavy losses during the Third Battle of Ypres (the Battle of Passchendaele), with one battalion reduced to a fighting strength of 70 men by the 6th November 1917.
The regiment approached the artist Stanhope Forbes (of the Newlyn School) to produce a memorial. Forbes recommended Leonard Stanford Merrifield as sculptor, and an ex-soldier named William Harvey Triggs as model. Triggs had previously modelled for Forbes at the Newlyn School. The statue on the memorial was sculpted in 1922, but the memorial itself was not raised until 1924. It was unveiled on 17 July 1924 by the Colonel in Chief of the regiment, HRH the Prince of Wales, with the dedication by the Chaplain General to the Forces, Bishop Taylor Smith. The ceremony was attended by Mr J C Williams, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Mr C C Morley, High Sheriff of Cornwall, Vice Admiral Sir R F Phillimore, C in C Plymouth and Bishop Henry Southwell, Bishop of Lewes.
Leonard Stanford Merrifield was born in Gloucestershire in 1880. He trained first as a stone carver and then studied at Cheltenham School of Art, the City & Guilds of London School of Art, Kennington and the Royal Academy Schools. He was based in Chelsea in the early 1920s, and worked on a number of war memorials, including Burnham, in Buckinghamshire, Newlyn, in Cornwall and Stafford (together with a number in Ulster and Wales). He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculpture in 1926.
The surrounding walls were added in 1950, and unveiled in a ceremony on 13 August 1950, by General Sir D Watson and Canon G W Harmon.
First World War memorial by Leonard Stanford Merrifield. Erected in 1924.
MATERIALS: Cast in bronze on a Cornish granite plinth.
DESCRIPTION: The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry War Memorial comprises a bronze statue of an infantryman in 1907 pattern webbing, a Mk 1 helmet, and with a small box respirator in its case on his chest. The figure carries his rifle slung but with bayonet fixed and holds a Mills bomb (pin removed) in his right hand. The figure stands legs apart in a balanced, ready position, as if preparing to throw the bomb and is sculpted to appear as if he is stood in mud. The statue is signed L. S. MERRIFIELD. Sc. 1922. A. B. BURTON. FOUNDER.
The statue stands on an octagonal moulded Cornish granite plinth with a six stepped base. The front (north west) face carries a bronze cast of the coat of arms of the Duke of Cornwall surrounded by a laurel wreath, and with the motto ONE AND ALL. The front face is inscribed ERECTED / BY THE / DCLI / TO THEIR / GLORIOUS DEAD / 255 OFFICERS / 4027 OTHER RANKS / 1914-1919. The other faces all carry a bronze laurel wreath surrounding the number of a battalion. Clockwise from the front face they are inscribed: I / FRANCE & / FLANDERS / 1914 – 1917 / ITALY / 1917 – 1918 / FRANCE & / FLANDERS / 1918 – 1919 // IV / INDIA / 1914 – 1916 / SOUTHERN / ARABIA / (ADEN) / 1916-1917 / EGYPT AND / PALESTINE 1917 – 1919 // VI / FRANCE & / FLANDERS / 1915 – 1918 // VIII / FRANCE & / FLANDERS / 1915 / MACEDONIA / 1915 – 1919 // X / FRANCE & / FLANDERS / 1916 – 1919 // V / FRANCE & / FLANDERS / 1916 – 1919 // II / FRANCE / AND / FLANDERS / 1914 – 1915 / MACEDONIA / 1915 – 1919 //.
The memorial is flanked to the south and east by two coped granite kerbs inlaid with laurel wreaths, one for each battalion, and the regimental badges. The terminal piers of the walls are inscribed IN PROUD MEMORY OF THEIR COMRADES WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES 1939-45 / AND ALL MEMBERS OF THE REGIMENT WHO WERE SERVING WITH OTHER CORPS 1939-45. The wreaths contain the number of each battalion, with the associated battle honours inscribed alongside.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
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Books and journals
Patch, H, Van Emden, R, The Last Fighting Tommy, (2008), 85 - 107
'DCLI War Records - Brilliant Services to the Empire' in Western Morning News, , Vol. 20074, (18 July 1924), 4
'To the Glorious Dead' in Western Morning News, , Vol. 20074, (18 July 1924), 3
'Prince of Wales Unveils DCLI Memorial at Bodmin' in Western Morning News, , Vol. 20074, (18 July 1924), 10
'Prince of Wales and His Regiment' in Dundee Evening Telegraph, (18 July 1924), 5
'Prince of Wales in Cornwall - Unveiling of Bodmin War Memorial' in The Cornishman, (23 July 1924), 2
'Prince of Wales in Cornwall - Memorial to the "Dukes" Unveiled' in Cornubian and Redruth Times, , Vol. 3176, (24 July 1924), 4
Brief history of the DCLI in the First World War, accessed 8 May 2017 from https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/246/duke-of-cornwalls-light-infantry/
Information on war memorials from the Imperial War Museum database, accessed 5 May 2017 from http://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/9235
Information on war memorials from the War Memorials Online database, accessed 5 May 2017 from https://www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/169442/
Photographic record of the memorial, accessed 5 May 2017 from www.thebignote.com/2012/05/06/bodmin-d-c-l-i-war-memorial
This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.
End of official listing