First World War memorial, 1916 with later additions.
Reasons for Designation
St George’s Church Memorial Cross, Deal, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: an unusual private family memorial raised early in the conflict, adapted to be an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the First World War;
* Design: a well-executed example of the Celtic cross type of memorial;
* Commemorative: for the highly unusual depictions in bronze of the Victoria Cross alongside an academic award, the University of Cambridge’s Chancellor’s Medal for Classical Learning;
* Group value and setting: erected by the incumbent, the memorial stands in a prominent position in front of the Grade II*-listed parish church of St George whose congregation, including his sons, it commemorates.
The war memorial was unveiled on 12 November 1916 by Bishop Taylor-Smith, Chaplain-General to the Forces. It was erected by the incumbent of St George’s Church, Revd William Tisdall, to commemorate his eldest son Sub-Lieutenant Arthur Walderne St Clair Tisdall, RNVR. He had died on 6 May 1915 during the second Battle of Krithia in the attack on the hill of Achi Baba, Gallipoli.
On 25 April 1915, the first day of the landings at Gallipoli, Arthur Tisdall had been in command of 13 Platoon, D Company, Anson Battalion, on the SS River Clyde. This, a collier converted to a landing ship, was attempting to land soldiers from the 29th Division onto V Beach, Cape Helles. For his repeated efforts to rescue a number of wounded soldiers who were pinned down on the beach by Turkish machine gun fire, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross on 31 March 1916. A dedication commemorating this award was included on the memorial.
Revd Tisdall’s second son, Lieutenant John Theodore St Clair Tisdall (1st The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment), died in action on 8 August 1916 at Guillemont, France. A commemorative inscription to him was included on his brother’s memorial. Both sons were commemorated for their academic as well as their military achievements.
The details of 56 servicemen from the parish of St George’s who had died were also added to the memorial at different times, as the conflict progressed. Their names (with rank for officers), regiment or ship, and date of death were recorded. Fundraising events led by the congregation, and subscriptions to defray expenses, enabled the cutting and lettering regardless of relatives’ own abilities to pay.
The memorial was cleaned and the lettering re-enamelled in 1995, following which it was re-dedicated on 18 June that year. This work was paid for by the Old Boys Association of Bedford School, which both Arthur and John Tisdall had attended.
The memorial stands in front of St George’s Church (Grade II*-listed) on Deal High Street. It takes the form of a 3m tall granite Celtic cross, with a wheel-head cross set on a tapering shaft. The arms of the cross are decorated with interlace patterns carved in relief, and a central boss surrounded by 12 small hemispheres.
The front face of the shaft is divided by horizontal bars into three sections. The uppermost section is a blind panel. The middle section bears the Tisdall arms carved in relief. A bronze of the Victoria Cross, hanging from a wreath, is mounted on the lower section. Encircled by the wreath is a bronze of the reverse side of the University of Cambridge’s Chancellor’s Medal for Classical Learning. The form of the wreath mirrors the wreath depicted on the medal, decorating the base of a statue of Athena.
The heraldic achievement of Deal is carved in relief near the base of the rear of the shaft. Below this a dedication in applied metal lettering reads IN PROUD & LOVING MEMORY/ OF THE MEN WHO FROM/ THE PARISH & CONGREGATION/ OF ST GEORGE’S DEAL/ HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES/ FOR THEIR COUNTRY
The shaft is set on a tapering plinth, on which are recorded dedications and names in applied metal lettering:
(East face) AD · GLORIAM · DEI/ TO THE BRIGHT & BEAUTIFUL MEMORY OF/ ARTHUR WALDERNE ST CLAIR TISDALL, V.C./ SUB LIEUT. R.N.V.R/ SCHOLAR OF TRINITY COLLEGE (B.A. DOUBLE 1ST CL. HON.)/ & CHANCELLOR’S GOLD MEDALLIST IN THE/ UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE/ SON OF REV. W. ST. C. TISDALL, D.D./ VICAR OF ST. GEORGE’S CHURCH, DEAL,/ & OF MARIAN (NÉE GRAY) HIS WIFE/ BORN JULY 21, 1890, KILLED FIGHTING GALLANTLY/ IN THE ATTACK ON ACHI BABA, GALLIPOLI,/ MAY 6, 1915
(North face) ALSO OF HIS BROTHER/ JOHN THEODORE ST. CLAIR TISDALL./ LIEUT. 1ST THE KING’S (LIVERPOOL) REGT./ SCHOLAR OF PETERHOUSE COLLEGE/ AND BELL SCHOLAR IN THE/ UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE/ BORN OCT. 9. 1893. KILLED GALLANTLY LEADING/ HIS COMPANY AT GUILLEMONT, FRANCE./ AUG. 8. 1916./ (1 NAME)
(West face) (18 NAMES)
(South face) (18 NAMES)
The plinth stands on a tapering step, on which are recorded a further dedication and additional names in applied metal lettering:
(East face) AWARDED THE VICTORIA CROSS BY HIS KING & COUNTRY/ IN RECOGNITION OF HIS MOST CONSPICUOUS BRAVERY/ & DEVOTION TO DUTY IN RESCUING MANY WOUNDED/ OFFICERS & MEN UNDER VIOLENT & ACCURATE FIRE, DURING/ THE LANDING OF THE BRITISH TROOPS/ FROM THE S.S. “RIVER CLYDE” AT V BEACH GALLIPOLI APRIL 25. 1915
(North face) (2 NAMES)
(West face) (9 NAMES)
(South face) (8 NAMES)
The memorial is raised on a square step on which is carved an inscription [illegible], placed in the centre of the path from the High Street.
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, 30 November 2016.