CWGC Royal Naval Memorial to the Missing - Chatham

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Reference WMO/93080


Kings Bastion

The Great Lines (MOD Land)




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Status: On original site
Type: Freestanding
Location: External
Setting: Within a garden/park/churchyard/enclosure/Marketplace
Description: Obelisk
  • Metal Bronze
  • Metal Copper
  • Stone Portland stone
Lettering: Other
  • First World War (1914-1918)
  • Second World War (1939-1945)
About the memorial: CWGC memorial. Set on the edge of an escaroment, it commemorates the thousands of Royal Naval men and women who died in the two World Wars, and who served with the RN's Chatham Division. Historic England listing entry - DESCRIPTION: the memorial takes the form of a massive stone obelisk, with four ships’ prows projecting from the apex, inspired by the rostral columns erected to celebrate Roman naval victories. The obelisk rises from a stepped square base with corner projections, each projection supporting a lion couchant. Low down on each side of the obelisk is the naval badge of an anchor within a laurel wreath, surmounted by a naval crown. The apex of the obelisk is stepped inwards; above the branching ships’ prows, are bronze figures representing the four winds, who bear a large copper sphere representing the earth. Between the lions are bronze plaques: that to the south bears the inscription, ‘IN HONOUR OF THE NAVY / AND TO THE ABIDING MEMORY / OF THESE RANKS AND / RATINGS OF THIS PORT WHO LAID DOWN THEIR / LIVES IN THE DEFENCE OF THE EMPIRE AND / HAVE NO OTHER GRAVE THAN THE SEA / AND THEIR COMRADES OF AUSTRALIA / SOUTH AFRICA NEWFOUNDLAND INDIA PAKISTAN / CEYLON FIJI GOLD COAST HONG KONG KENYA / MALAYA NIGERIA SIERRA LEONE AND BURMA / WHOSE NAMES ARE HERE RECORDED’. The plaques to the other faces commemorate actions with enemy land forces, single ship actions, and general actions at sea (including Jutland); the plaques contain images of naval action in low relief. Around the base are plaques carrying the names of the dead; the names are arranged by the year of death, and within each year, by rank and role. The Second World War extension takes the form of an exedra or small garden area enclosed by quadrant walls, enclosing the obelisk to the landward (eastern) side; a low wall to the west closes the space, with a wide opening. The outer faces of the walls are punctuated by pilaster strips; inside, they are lined with bronze plaques bearing the names of those lost during the Second World War. The entrance to the enclosure to the east is marked by piers topped by flaming urns; the wrought iron gates incorporating a wave-scroll pattern; a band at the top bears the inscription, ‘ALL THESE WERE HONOURED IN THEIR GENERATIONS / AND WERE THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES’. Above this is a gilded naval crown. Flanking the gates, inside the enclosure, are sculptural figures depicting two sailors on watch: a Royal Marine and a member of the maritime regiment of the Royal Artillery, both wearing duffel coats and holding binoculars. At the ends of the walls, to north and south, are long shelters set on a west/east axis, with copper barrel-vaulted roofs; the shelters have Ionic columned openings to the enclosure. The back and end walls have windows with stone architraves and pronounced keystones. To the east of each shelter, at the end of the curved walls, stands another sailor. Stone paving leads to the eastern entrance, and forms wide paths within the enclosure. Designer: Sir Robert Lorimer Sculptor: Henry Poole
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Grade I (England)


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Commonwealth War Graves Commission