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Help Look After War Memorials

Now that the last veterans of the 1914-18 conflict have died, it is left to our generation to keep the memories fresh. All over the country, communities are taking on the conservation and research of their war memorials.

You too can get involved in researching, recording, protecting and looking after the war memorials you care about.

Create or improve the public record of a war memorial

The first thing to do is to check that a good public record of your memorial exists.

  • The War Memorials Register is the national repository for historic information about our war memorials. Send them any new information that you uncover in your research.
  • Help locate and record war memorials. To register your interest get in touch with Civic Voice's War Memorials campaign which is being run in partnership with War Memorials Trust and Historic England.

War Memorials Gallery

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Preston Cenotaph, Lancashire. England's cities commissioned imposing war memorials from leading architects. Preston's was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, architect of Liverpool Cathedral and of the telephone kiosk, and was unveiled in 1925. A tall, tapering plinth supports an empty tomb. On the front is a statue of Victory and on the sides are unusual depictions of dead bodies rising up. Listed Grade II.
  • Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Memorial. Some memorials commemorate regiments, not localities. Situated in the Close of Gloucester Cathedral is the memorial to the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, a yeomanry cavalry unit that served in France and the near East. Unveiled in 1922, the traditional cross was enhanced with spirited reliefs of campaigning by Capt Adrian Jones. Listed Grade II.
  • Trumpington, Cambridgeshire. Village memorials exist in their thousands. All are poignant testaments to the impact of world events on communities across the land. Located just south of Cambridge, Trumpington's cross was unusual in being executed by Eric Gill, the renowned sculptor and craftsman. Unveiled in 1921, it took the medieval village cross as its theme and added reliefs of the Virgin and Child, St Michael, St George, and a Christ-like soldier. Listed Grade II.
  • Warneford memorial, London. Reginald Warneford won the VC for being the first pilot to bring down a Zeppelin airship, in 1915. His glory was short-lived, as he was killed in a flying accident soon after. He was given a memorial in London's Brompton Cemetery by the Daily Express. The First World War was the earliest conflict to feature aerial combat. Listed Grade II.
  • Coventry War Memorial. The war memorial in Coventry War Memorial Park, was erected in 1925-27 to a design by Thomas Francis Tickner. It is a particularly important example of a bespoke war memorial tower. It is of an unusually bold and arresting Art Deco style design that displays high quality architectural detailing and use of materials. It forms the focal point of a commemorative landscape which provides a backdrop for remembrance and sober reflection. Listed at Grade II*.
  • War Memorial, perimeter walls, and loggia, Garden of Remembrance, Middleton, Rochdale. In 1927 part of the grounds of Park Field House, a 19th century villa on the north side of Manchester Old Road, was formally presented to the Borough of Middleton. The land was used to lay out a Garden of Remembrance to commemorate the 647 men from Middleton who had lost their lives serving during the First World War. The memorial was unveiled in October 1927 by Lt Col R L Lees with a dedication by Richard Godfrey Parsons, then suffragan bishop of Middleton. Listed at Grade II.
  • Louth War Memorial, Lincolnshire. The memorial was made by W S Harrison, a local firm of masons, but the identity of the soldier on the plinth was unknown until his daughter gave his medals and photographs to the Louth Royal British Legion in the late 20th century. The photographs show Regimental Sergeant Major George Frederick Jones posing in full service uniform and holding a Lee-Enfield rifle, almost exactly as he appears on the memorial. Listed at Grade II
  • Leeman Road War Memorial. In the early 20th century, the area of terraced housing at the western end of Leeman Road mainly housed railway workers.

Protect a war memorial by getting it listed

Only a tiny fraction of our war memorials are currently listed. Historic England is aiming to list 2,500 more over the First World War centenary period 2014-18.

If your war memorial is already listed, it will appear on the National Heritage List for England. If it isn't, and you think it should be protected by listing, you can apply to list your war memorial.

Report the condition of a war memorial

To make sure that the memorials you care about are in good shape for the centenary commemorations, you can:

  • Provide up-to-date information on the condition of war memorials - as well as upload your own photographs - to War Memorials Online. This information will be used by War Memorials Trust to prioritise conservation and repair work to war memorials.
  • Register concern about the condition of a war memorial on War Memorials Online. (It's a good idea to check with a memorial's owner before doing so, as they may already be tackling the issue.)
  • If your concern is very urgent you can also contact War Memorials Trust directly so that they can investigate the problem.

Conserving war memorials and war memorial landscapes

For practical advice on how to care for and repair your war memorial or memorial graden, please visit our Caring for Heritage page about War Memorials. 

War Memorials Gallery

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Sale, formerly in Cheshire, now in Greater Manchester. Sale lost around 400 men in the First World War. Its war memorial, unveiled in 1925, consists of a sorrowful knightly figure of St George, carved in marble by local artist Arthur Edwards. This appeal to a lost age of chivalry and faith was not an unusual response to the savage modernity of industrial warfare. St George's sword was stolen in 1983, but has subsequently been reinstated. Listed Grade II
  • Prudential memorial, Waterhouse Square, Holborn, London. This memorial was sculpted in 1922 by Ferdinand Blundstone in memory of the employees of the Prudential Assurance Company who lost their lives in the First World War. It is an elaborate composition showing a dying soldier being borne aloft by angels. Below are bare-breasted figures of Victory, each carrying a different sort of weapon. Listed Grade II* as part of a notable office complex that was designed as the headquarters of Prudential Assurance by Albert Waterhouse, it shows the high standards of sculpture some memorials attained, as well as a strong sense of company identity.
  • Chilwell explosion memorial, Chilwell, Nottinghamshire. This memorial commemorates the worst loss of life in a munitions factory when 134 workers were killed in an accidental explosion 1 July 1918.
  • Brompton Naval memorial, Great Lines, Chatham, Kent. Designed by Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer, the Naval War Memorial is one of several imposing monuments to commemorate the dead of the Senior Service. Others are located at Portsmouth and Plymouth. Lorimer is best known as the designer of the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh. Listed Grade II, it was further embellished after the Second World War.
  • Battersea Park memorial, London. Unveiled in 1924, this memorial commemorates the dead of the 24th Infantry Division and was carved by the war artist Eric Kennington. It was his first sculpture and shows how stylistically advanced some war memorials could be. Kennington had been invalided out of the Army in 1915, and this group, with its hand-holding Tommies and blaze of regimental badges, embodies the comradeship of the Front. Listed Grade II.
  • St Mary the Virgin, Swaffham Prior, Cambridgeshire. Numerous memorials to individual casualties of war were realised in churches in stained glass. The windows in this Grade I-listed church are exceptional. Made by the firm of T.F. Curtis, Ward and Hughes, the three windows contain many scenes of modern warfare with accompanying biblical verses.
  • Belgian Gratitude Memorial, Victoria Embankment, London. German violation of Belgian neutrality was the pretext for Britain's entry into the First World War. Hundreds of thousands of British troops died in Belgium (at Ypres in particular) and many Belgians sought refuge in England. The prominent Belgian sculptor Victor Rousseau produced a highly unusual group, Symbolist in mood, showing a Belgian mother urging her children to remember their debt of Gratitude to Great Britain. Listed Grade II.
  • German Cemetery, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire. In 1967 the bodies of 5,000 German nationals who had died in Britain during the two world wars were brought together in a new cemetery by the German War Graves Commission. The site was chosen as it resembled the north German heathlands. While civilians do lie here, most graves are of servicemen. They include the crews of four airships shot down during the First World War, who lie together beneath memorial slabs. Included in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens at Grade I.

Funding for war memorials

To mark the centenary of the First World War, the Government has made extra funds available for conservation and repair of war memorials. To find out how much funding you could apply for, please visit the Grants section of War Memorial Trust's website.

Our commitment to war memorial heritage

We are committed to the preservation and respectful celebration of England's war memorials. Working with partners across the country, Historic England is listing war memorials, administering grants and giving conservation advice.

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