South African War Memorial


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Within the London Borough of Richmond Cemeteries, Sheen Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 5BJ.
Statutory Address:
South African War Memorial, Richmond Cemetery


Ordnance survey map of South African War Memorial
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Statutory Address:
South African War Memorial, Richmond Cemetery

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Within the London Borough of Richmond Cemeteries, Sheen Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 5BJ.
Greater London Authority
Richmond upon Thames (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Monument to the fallen of the First World War from South Africa. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, unveiled by General JC Smuts in June 1921.

Reasons for Designation

The South African War Memorial in Richmond Cemetery is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: *Design interest: granite cenotaph, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, inscribed in both English and Dutch; *Historic interest: erected by The South African Hospital and Comforts Fund Committee to commemorate the thirty-nine South African soldiers who were buried in Richmond Cemetery, close to the South African Hospital (later the South African Military Hospital) that was initially based in Richmond Park. It became a focus for pilgrimage in the 1920s and '30s.


The South African War Memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled by General JC Smuts in June 1921. The design derives from Lutyens’ Cenotaph in Whitehall of 1919-20 (listed Grade I).

In order to provide care for the large number of South African troops serving in the First World War, the South African Hospital was established in Richmond Park in June 1916. In July 1918 it was amalgamated with the Richmond Military Hospital to form the South African Military Hospital. The South African Hospital and Comforts Fund Committee decided to erect a memorial to commemorate thirty-nine South African soldiers who were buried in Richmond Cemetery, which was at that time known as ‘soldiers corner'. The memorial, which overlooks the graves, is inscribed in both English and Dutch. After it was unveiled by General Smuts in 1921 it became the focus of South African pilgrimage throughout the 1920s and 1930s. In 1981 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission became aware of its existence and agreed to maintain the memorial on behalf of the South African Government.

Lutyens designed the large Rand Regiments Memorial in Johannesburg (1910) which was his first war memorial.

Richmond Cemetery is unusually endowed with war memorials and war graves since it also includes the burial ground for the Royal Star and Garter Home. The Bromhead Memorial was erected in 1957 in memory of those from the Home who are not otherwise commemorated.

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 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.


Coarse grained granite cenotaph with a slightly flared base set on a similar stone plinth.

The outward face is inscribed: Union is Strength / Our / Glorious / Dead Below is an inscribed cross.

The inner face, overlooking the group of graves, is inscribed: Eendraght maakt macht / Onzen / Gevallenen / Helden

In the apex of each face is the head of a springbok in low relief.

The side elevations have a stylised stone wreath at the base and are inscribed to north and south respectively with the dates MCMXIV and MCMXIX.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 26/10/2015

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, 17 February 2017.


Books and journals
Skelton, T, Gliddon, G, Lutyens and the Great War, (2008), 95-6, 158, 172
War Memorials Online, accessed 17 February 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 17 February 2017 from


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

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