First World War memorial, 1925, to the members of the Royal Naval Division. Obelisk and fountain by Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, with carvings by Eric R Broadbent and Frederick J Wilcoxson.
Reasons for Designation
The Royal Naval Division Memorial, situated on Horse Guards Parade, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the service of the Royal Naval Division, and the sacrifices it made in the First World War;
* Historic association: a memorial to a noted Division of the First World War, created from naval personnel by Winston Churchill at the start of the war;
* Architect: by the nationally renowned architect Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869-1944), who designed 58 memorials at home and abroad including the Cenotaph in Whitehall;
* Design: an elegant design incorporating in the inscription text from a poem by one of the most well-known members of the Division, Rupert Brooke;
* Group value: with the listed buildings around Horse Guards Parade including the Grade II-listed The Citadel and the Civil Service Department Offices (Former Admiralty Offices), the contemporary Guards Memorial (Grade I) in the registered St James's Park (Grade I).
The great wave of memorial building after the First World War resulted in thousands of commemorative monuments being raised both at home and on the battlefield. Lutyens was the most outstanding designer to work in this field. This is one of six obelisks designed by Lutyens in England with a broadly similar design. Southend-on-Sea (1921) was the earliest and Northampton (1926) the latest. The design bears strong similarities with the two obelisk/fountains at the Irish National War Memorial in Phoenix Park, Dublin.
The Royal Naval Division was formed at the outbreak of the First World War in September 1914 by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, largely from Royal Navy reserves. It was originally intended as an intervention and raiding force, in which capacity it took part in the defence of Antwerp at the end of 1914. The Division was one of the two original British divisions at the Gallipoli landings in 1915.
Following its heavy losses in the Gallipoli campaign, including the poet Rupert Brooke who was serving with Hood Battalion, the Royal Naval Division was brought up to strength with army battalions and subsequently served as an infantry division on the Western Front. The Division was re-designated as the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division in July 1916 and it moved from Admiralty to Army control.
Despite official attempts to stamp out the Division's nautical traditions (such as the use of naval rather than army ranks, being allowed to grow beards, and remaining seated during the toast to the King's health) it was in part these idiosyncrasies which helped foster the Division’s esprit de corps and its high reputation as front-line troops. The Division was disbanded at a parade on Horse Guards Parade in June 1919.
The Royal Naval Division Memorial was commissioned by survivors of the Division who appointed Sir Edwin Lutyens to design it. The memorial was officially unveiled by Winston Churchill on 25 April 1925 on the tenth anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli. The unit badges around the memorial were carved by Eric R. Broadbent (1896-1965). Broadbent was the son of architectural sculptor Abraham Broadbent (c1868-1919). He served as a junior officer in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in the First World War. During the period 1921-5 he executed most of the decorative work for Sir Edwin Lutyens' Britannic House, Finsbury Circus, London. His highest profile commission was 'Speed Wings over the World' for the main entrance of the BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) Terminal, Buckingham Palace Road, London, in c1939.
Two carved unit badges, added in 1931, are by the sculptor Frederick J Wilcoxson (1909-1950). He was born in Liverpool. During the First World War he served first with the Royal Army Medical Corps and then with the Royal Field Artillery. He suffered severe shell shock following a direct hit on his trench at Souchez in 1917. He was responsible for the war memorials at Ripon and Hale, both Grade II-listed.
In 1939 the monument was dismantled and put in storage to avoid its damage during construction of the Citadel bunker attached to the west end of Leeming and Leeming's Admiralty building. It was re-erected in 1951 to the east of the Queen Anne Building at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. In 2003, following the departure from the buildings of the Royal Naval College, it was decided that the memorial should be moved back to its original location. It was restored and re-erected by stone mason David Ball and was re-dedicated by HRH Prince of Wales, on 13 November 2003.
Sir Edwin Lutyens OM RA (1869-1944) was the leading English architect of his generation. Before the First World War his reputation rested on his country houses and his work at New Delhi, but during and after the war he became the pre-eminent architect for war memorials in England, France and the British Empire. While the Cenotaph in Whitehall (London) had the most influence on other war memorials, the Thiepval Arch (a memorial to the Somme in Thiepval, France) was the most influential on other forms of architecture. He designed the Stone of Remembrance which was placed in all Imperial War Graves Commission cemeteries and in some cemeteries in England, including some with which he was not otherwise associated.
MATERIAL: Portland stone.
DESCRIPTION: The Royal Naval Division Memorial takes the form of two round basins, the upper of which forms the base for an obelisk, whilst the lower, from which rises the square, moulded, stem of the upper bowl, is set in a large square plinth decorated with military emblems and inscriptions. This base is incorporated into the balustrade of The Civil Service Department Offices (former Admiralty Offices) (Grade II) on its north and east sides. The monument is now rather hemmed in by the south-east corner of The Citadel (Grade II).
The obelisk which tops the monument is carved in relief at its base with the insignia of the Division, whilst below, on its base, water spouts issue from the mouths of carved lions heads. The large square plinth is divided into three horizontal sections. The top section supporting the lower round basin is decorated on its south and west sides with small square incised panels, each bearing the badge of units which served in the Division in relief, nine on each side.
The central section of the plinth, separated from the top section by a moulding, is divided into three panels with the central panel projecting slightly forward. On the south face of the monument, the west panel bears the inscription SALONICA 1916, the east panel FRANCE AND BELGIUM 1916-1918 whilst that on the main central panel reads IN MEMORY OF THE OFFICERS AND OTHER RANKS OF THE ROYAL NAVAL DIVISION with above an incised Latin cross flanked by the dates 1914 and 1918.
On the west face of the monument, the north panel is inscribed ANTWERP 1914, the south panel GALLIPOLI 1915-16, with the central panel containing a verse by Rupert Brooke 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./ RUPERT BROOKE 1887-1915 / HOOD BATTALION.
The narrow base section of the plinth is largely unadorned with the inscription BENBOW AND COLLINGWOOD in the north and south corners of the west face respectively, and two more unit badges, added in 1931 by the sculptor Frederick J Wilcoxson, below the central panel on the south face.
To the east of the plinth, on the extension of the memorial which joins it to the Old Admiralty Building is the following inscription THIS MEMORIAL DESIGNED BY SIR EDWIN LUTYENS/ WAS UNVEILED ON THE HORSE GUARDS PARADE AT THE/ CORNER OF THE ADMIRALTY ON/ APRIL 25TH 1925 THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF/ THE LANDING ON GALLIPOLI . Below this in an incised panel is inscribed REMOVED IN 1940, ERECTED IN GREENWICH IN 1951 AND REINSTATED ON THIS SITE IN 2003.
This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 10 February 2017.