Danish Seamen's Memorial

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Reference WMO256743

Address:

St. Nicholas' Cathedral,

St. Nicholas Square,

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE1 1PF

England

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Status: On original site
Type: Non freestanding
Location: Internal
Setting: Inside a building - public/private
Description: Other church fitting
Materials:
  • Metal Metal (any)
  • Stone Slate
Lettering: Incised
Conflicts:
  • Second World War (1939-1945)
About the memorial: The memorial is at the eastern end of the north choir aisle underneath the Danish Seamen's Memorial Window. It consists of 6 candle-stick and four pieces of slate mounted on a steel framwork attached to the wall. A later piece of slate to the left has a translation of the Danish words. Leaflets with the memorial give the follwing information: “On the morning of 9th April1940 the message came over the radio that Denmark and Norway had been occupied by the Germans, and no Dane abroad will ever forget the paralysing feeling of being completely cut off from his native country, and his family and friends at home. All Danish ships in British harbours and waters were put under British protection straight-away and sailed from then on under Allied flags with a Danish crew. Many Danish ships which were out on the oceans went to British harbours, others to neutral harbours, but most of the latter group joined the allied (British, American) service in time. In this way the seamen achieved the greatest contribution which Danes abroad were able to render to the Allied cause. Newcastle upon Tyne became the home of the Danish merchant fleet. The Danish Pool was opened in St. Nicholas Buildings, just opposite the Cathedral. It was here the seamen were sent when they landed in Britain, and from here they were sent out to sea again. Some 3000-4000 Danish seamen sailed out from Newcastle upon Tyne. After the war a new Danish Seamen’s church in Newcastle upon Tyne was consecrated on 30th April 1949 together with the memorial incorporating a book of remembrance containing the names in alphabetical order of the Danish season who lost their lives during the 1939-1945 war, starting with a deck-boy of sixteen years of age. Every day a page was turned in the remembrance book. Due to the increasingly fast turn-around of ships the number of Danish seamen with time on their hands diminished steadily, and it was eventually decided to close the Danish Seamen’s church in 1969. The memorial wall was given to Frihedsmuseet (the Liberation Museum) in Copenhagen and it is now to be seen at the former concentration camp in Frøslev, South Jutland. The remembrance book was placed on a smaller wall in the Danish Seamen’s church in London’s East End, together with a prose text. In 1980 the Seamen’s church in London was faced with the same fortune as the church in Newcastle upon Tyne. The Danish congregation in Newcastle upon Tyne felt that Newcastle upon Tyne was the place the remembrance book rightly belonged. The congregation did not have its own church, so they contacted The Lord Mayor and the Provost of Newcastle at St. Nicholas Cathedral, who showed great sympathy and understanding. The result was that a new memorial was unveiled within two years, on l3th May 1982 in St. Nicholas Cathedral. The memorial was designed by the Cathedral Architect, Ronald G Sims. The memorial is made from green Westmorland slate and represents the Danish islands. The candlesticks are made in mild steel. It was a difficult job to incorporate a Danish memorial into the Cathedral. The casket for the remembrance book came from the Danish Seamen’s church in London. Denmark’s Shipowners’ Association paid for the memorial. The inscription on the memorial is the original Danish inscription. The Danish flag hangs above the memorial. It was the same flag which hung outside the Danish Pool during the war. The memorial’s text was translated into English in 1985.”
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MINDE OM DE DANSKE SØFOLK AF ALLE GRADER SOM SATTE LIVET TIL I DERES LANDS TJENESTE AARENE 1939-45 DU SOM LÆSER DERES NAVNE HUSK DE DØDE FOR DANMARK DE DØDE FOR FRIHEDEN FOR AT VI LEVENDE KUNDE VÆRE SOM DE FRIE DANSKE In memory of Danish seamen of all ranks who gave their lives in the servie of their Country in the years 1939-45. When you read their names remember that they died for freedom so that we, like them, might live as Free Danes.

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