4th November 2018

PROTECT: Centenary Fields Legacy Week Thirteen

It is estimated that there are over 100,000 war memorials across the UK. Many of them are on our parks and green spaces and a good number of the spaces which are protected as Centenary Fields contain memorials to the fallen.

This week, in the final of our four theme weeks, Centenary Fields Legacy featured seven spaces which are or include memorials. Perhaps the most well-known war memorial is The Cenotaph on Whitehall in London, and many people think of memorials taking the form of this traditional cenotaph style. Memorials can take many forms, however, including crosses, gates, monuments, plaques and other structures. The War Memorials Trust charity, who work for the protection and conservation of war memorials in the UK, have a gallery which gives examples of each type.

This week's seven spaces demonstrated the many forms memorials can take and the week started with a space which is itself the memorial to the fallen. Willenhall Memorial Park (Monday) in the West Midlands was created out of derelict former mining land with afforestation of the pit mounds carried out by unemployed servicemen returning from the war. The space was formally opened in 1923 to commemorate those from the area who fell during World War I.

Herne Bay Memorial Park (Tuesday) in Kent was also created from undeveloped land following the end of World War I as a memorial space to the fallen. Unlike in Willenhall, Herne Bay's memorial park also includes a tangible monument which takes the form of a sandstone pillar in the centre of the space. It was unveiled by General Sir Charles Warren on 11th November 1922 and lists names of 211 people who fell in World War I plus those from subsequent conflicts.

Gheluvelt Park (Wednesday) was originally to be called Barbourne Park but was renamed in honour of the Worcestershire Regiment to commemorate their 2nd Battalion's part in a World War I battle at Gheluvelt, near Ypres in Belgium, which took place on 31st October 1914. Field Marshall John French, 1st Earl of Ypres, opened the park on 17th June 1922 which is remembered by a dedicatory plaque on the entrance gates. Today the park includes a striking World War I interpretative feature which signifies the number of men killed on each day of the battle.

The memorial at Zetland Park (Saturday) in Grangemouth takes the form of a more traditional cenotaph but like at Gheluvelt Park includes a unique feature. The stone structure is surmounted by a sculpture of a British lion pouncing on the German eagle which was designed by Alexander Proudfoot and unveiled in 1919. The memorial stands at the entrance to the large park which was gifted to the town in 1882 by the Third Earl of Zetland.

Whilst the aforementioned four spaces gained their memorial link in the years which immediately followed the Armistice, the War Memorial gates at Hartshill Park (Friday) near Telford weren't built until the late-1950s. The gates remember those from Oakengates who fell during World War I and plaques on the stone pillars list 53 names. Wreathes are laid by the community at the gates each Remembrance Sunday.

£3 would have covered the cost of a month's worth of tea for an army battalion at 1918 prices. If you would like to help us continue our work to protect valuable parks and green spaces, please text CFLF18 £3 to 70070 to donate to Fields in Trust and make a difference today.

Poppy

As at Willenhall Memorial Park, some memorials were constructed by returning servicemen following the war. Others were dedicated on spaces which had significance during the war, as was the case at both Harefield Village Green and The Chattri.

The stone obelisk at Harefield Village Green (Wednesday) in west London commemorates 113 local people who fell during World War I. Also located on the Green is a globe on a pole indicating the long-held association of the area with Australia, which began during the Great War when Harefield Park House and grounds became the No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital in December 1914.

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton treated injured Indian soldiers and Hindu and Sikh soldiers who died from their injuries during 1914-15 were cremated on the South Downs. In 1921 The Chattri (Sunday) was built on the cremation ground and features a dome with eight pillars atop three granite slabs symbolising the protection offered to the memory of the dead.

Throughout the course of the Centenary Fields Legacy campaign, spaces featured have included names of 26,477 who fell during World War I, not including the thousands more who are remembered but not individually named. Next week the campaign moves into its final week in the days approaching Armistice Day and features a final seven spaces from across the UK, alongside countless remembrance events which will be taking place on spaces protected as Centenary Fields.

Don't forget to visit our interactive online map at 11 am each day to discover the story of the latest featured space and explore those already showcased. You can also learn more about the Centenary Fields programme and The Royal British Legion's "Thank You" campaign as well as find out how you can get involved.

 


Discover:
Take a tour of the spaces already featured as part of Centenary Fields Legacy

Week Twelve:
All the stories from the twelfth week of the Centenary Fields Legacy campaign

Week Eleven:
A round-up of the seven spaces featuring during the eleventh week of Centenary Fields Legacy

Centenary Fields Legacy:
Angela Lewis introduces the campaign and what to expect over the coming weeks