War memorial, unveiled in 1921.
Reasons for Designation
Retford war memorial is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* 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;
* Architectural interest: a large-scale, architecturally ambitious and finely detailed war memorial referencing the C13 design of an Eleanor Cross;
* Architect: designed by Leonard W Barnard, an early C20 architect with other listed structures to his name;
* Group value: it stands in front of Retford’s Grade II listed Town Hall and in the setting of various other Grade II listed buildings and structures around The Square.
Retford’s war memorial, in remembrance of local men lost in the First World War, was unveiled on 14 September 1921 by Sir Frederick Milner, and dedicated by The Venerable The Archdeacon of Newark, Egbert Hacking. Funded by public subscription which raised £1,806 10s, the memorial was designed by Leonard W Barnard (of Cheltenham) and constructed by RL Boulton and Sons (also of Cheltenham). The Retford structure was based on the Prestatyn (Denbighshire, Wales) War Memorial, also designed by Leonard W Barnard.
In addition, the memorial carries the names of those who died in the Second World War, unveiled on 6 May 1951, by Sir Frederick Milner. The memorial also has the names of those who died in the Korean War on a bronze plaque, unveiled 17 August 2008.
War memorial. Unveiled 14 September 1921. Designed by Leonard W Barnard of Cheltenham. Stancliffe stone with bronze plaques.
The memorial, echoing an Eleanor Cross, comprises a three-stepped base surmounted by a four-stage plinth with an upper section elaborately carved with trefoils, gargoyles, finials and a domed cap. On the lower section of the first (top) stage of the plinth are carved the following inscriptions:
North elevation: ERECTED BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION IN MEMORY OF THE MEN OF RETFORD AND DISTRICT WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES DURING THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918.
South elevation: THEY WILLINGLY LEFT THE UNACHIEVED PURPOSE OF THEIR LIVES IN ORDER THAT ALL SHOULD NOT BE WRENCHED FROM ITS PURPOSE.
West elevation: 'BELLENGLISE STATUE MILES 297, GOMMECOURT 270, HOOGE 240, LENS 258, LE VERGUIER 295, RANICOURT 198, YPRES 237.
East elevation: 'GALLIPOLI (SOUTH END OF PENNINSULA) STATUE MILES 1552, STRUMA VALLEY (NORTH END OF LAKE TACHINOS) 1414, BEERSHEBA 2346, BIER EL TAHTR (BERT UR ET TAHTA) 2312, JERUSALEM 2329, ES SALT 2342, HAIFA 2276, ALEPO 2173.
On the second stage of the plinth, the names of the Fallen are inscribed on each face.
On the third stage of the plinth, south-west elevation: TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND IN PROUD REMEMBERANCE OF THE MEN AND WOMEN FROM THIS BOROUGH WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR FREEDOM IN THE WORLD WAR, 1939-1945. The names of those who fell in the Second World War are inscribed on the other seven elevations.
On the fourth stage, east elevation: KOREA 1950-1953.
Set on the lowest stage of the base, recently added, are two stone boxes (on the west and east sides), on which is carved WE WILL REMEMBER THEM. These are excluded from the listing.
This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 24 January 2017.