Military => Memorials & War Graves => Topic started by: grandarog on May 29, 2010, 20:50:19

Title: Brompton
Post by: grandarog on May 29, 2010, 20:50:19
Brompton Parish Memorial and the Chatham Dockyard Commemmorative Anchor.






Title: Re: Brompton
Post by: Leofwine on November 17, 2011, 22:47:48
The Brompton war memorial originally stood in the grounds of Holy Trinity Church, Brompton. Following the demolition of the closure of the church in the mid 1950s the council took over the responsibility for the memorial. Following the demolition of the church in about 1958 the memorial was moved to its current location, Swan Garden (named after the Swan Public House that once stood on the site. One of the landlords of that pub is also one of the names commemorated on the memorial.)

Report of unveiling in Chatham News, Friday 25 March 1921 (Page 8)
Impressive Unveiling Ceremony on Sunday Afternoon.
The War Memorial sacred to the memory of men of Old Brompton who fell in the Great War, was unveiled on Sunday last (Palm Sunday) by Major-General H. F. Thuillier, C.B., C.M.G., and dedicated by the Very Rev. the Dean of Rochester (Dr. John Storrs). It had been arranged that the whole of the service should be held in Holy Trinity Church ground, but unfortunately the weather proved so unsuitable that it was wisely decided to have the greater portions of the service in the Church, including the address by the Dean, leaving the unveiling portion of the ceremony for the open-air. This re-arrangement was greatly appreciated, for rain was beginning to fall heavily and there was a cold wind blowing.
The Memorial takes the form of a rustic Celtic cross in Devon granite, and is in conformity with the Church and its surroundings. It has the advantage of being of very durable granite. The memorial, which stands about ten feet high, is situated in a commanding position in the church ground. The work has been carried out by the well-known local firm of Messers. T. Fowle and Sons. The Memorial bears the following inscription:-
In Memory of the Men of this Parish
who gave their lives for  King and
Country in the Great War.
“Their Name Liveth for Evermore.”
Major J. T. Byford McCudden, R.A.F., V.C., D.S.O. and Bar, M.C. and Bar, M.M., Croix de Guerre de France, and American Medal.
2nd Lieut. J. A. McCudden, M.C., R.A.F.
Flight-Sergt. W. J. T. McCudden, R.A.F.
Lieut. E. C. Dawson, Canadians
Sergt. R. Kinnear, R.E.
Staff-Sergt.-Farrier C. G. Sutton, R.F.A.
Sergt. D. C. Simpson, East Kent Regt.
Corpl. W. Bass, Royal West Kent Regt.
P.O. J. Tomlin, Royal Navy
Pte. G. J. Tomlin, Hants. Regt.
Corpl. O. G. Stace, Queen’s R.W.S. Regt.
Pte. W. H. Stace, Worcester Regt.
Pte. E. T. Climo, Middlesex Regt.
Pte. F. Hughes, R.A.S.C.
Pte. C. Robbins, East Kent
Pte. J. C. Sullivan, R.M.L.I.
Pte. J. J. Cook, Munster Fusiliers
Pte. W. J. Barnes, East Kent Regt.
Corpl. F. Matthams, R.E.
Lce-Corpl. C. H. Berry, Worcester Regt.
Pte. W. Hammill, Rifle Brigade
Pte. J. P. Hammill, East Kent Regt.
Pte. W. F. Crust, Worcester Regt.
Pte. R. F. Baldwin, Royal West Kent Regt.
Pte. A. Wilmot, Canadians
Pte. W. J. Price, Middlesex Regt.
Pte. P. Coyne, Hants. Regt.
Pte. C. E. Spicer, Royal West Kent Regt.
Pte F. E. Sandford, Machine Gun Corps
Pte. J. Redgrave, Army Veterinary Corps
Pte. A. W. Doyle, R.A.S.C.
Tpr. W. Bennett, 9th Lancers
Pte. T. E. Williams, King’s Liverpool Regt.
Dvr. T. Butler, R.H.A.
A.B. W. J. Clarke, Royal Navy
Pte. E. Russell, Royal West Kent Regt.
Pte. W. Harbour, R.M.L.I.
Spr. D. Summers, R.E.
Pte. A. H. Goodchild, R.A.O.C.
1st. Cl. Sto. J. W. Tebble, R. N.
Pte. R. Scott, Durham L.I.
Pte. V. Rogers, Royal West Kent. Regt.
Pte. W. H. Shrubb, Norfolk Regt.
Sub-Lieut. W. J. C. Williams, R.N.D.
Lce-Corpl. J. H. Neal, Royal Welsh Fus.
Pte. E. J. Neal, K.O. Scottish Borderers
Rifleman J. H. Wheeler, Rifle Brigade
Pte. F. C. Baldwin, East Kent. Regt.
Sergt. A. Robins, R.E.
Despite the wet weather there was a very large concourse of the general public present. A reserved space was filled with the relatives of the deceased men, among whom we noticed Mrs. McCudden, the mother of the trio of heroic sons who gave their lives whilst serving in the Royal Air Force. A Guard of Honour was supplied by the N.F.D. and D.S.S., and the Comrades of the Great War, under the command of Captain E. S. B. Russell. The Chatham and District Military Band was in attendance, under the conductorship of Mr. W. Gay, and played the accompaniments to the hymns. Major-General Thuillier was received with a general salute and immediately on his arrival proceeded to inspect the Guard of Honour. Prior to the commencement of the proceedings he pinned three medals – the 1914 Star, the General Service Medal, and the Victory Medal – which had arrived the previous day, on the breast of Capt. E. S. B. Russell.
The service in the church was conducted by the Vicar (Rev, J. D. Jones), and the Rev. Norman Landreth (Wesleyan). It opened with the singing of the National Anthem, and the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Psalm xxiii. (“The  Lord is myShepherd”) was also sung, and the Lesson consisted of the consoling and inspiring passages of Revelation xxi., first five verses. The Vicar then said:- “Let us remember with thankfulness and honour those Brompton men who gave their lives for our Country’s cause in the Great War.” and various prayers followed, and the hymn “Jesus the very thought of Thee.” was sung. The singing was accompanied by organ and band. Mr. A. V. Dale was the organist.
Standing on the chancel steps, the Dean gave a very earnest and appropriate dedication address. He remarked that he thought that they were all very conscious that money was needed for a great many important objects. Their Church, their  clergy, their schools, their hospital, wanted money. They were told that their places of amusement were wanting money. The country’s great need was more houses, and some might  say “Then why on earth spend money on a cross in the Churchyard?” Some would urge that it would have been better to build a club for the working men or some such thing.   To what purpose was this cross, some would ask.   Such a question had been put to him.   He wanted to say at once that he took the exact opposite view.   It seemed to him they had no right to exploit the deeds and deaths of these heroic men; that was not the best way of honouring their self-sacrifice by drawing upon the sympathy of people to provide money for things which they must do under any circumstances. He did not agree with such objects because they would not ensure that we should not fall into the terrible mistake, the sin, of forgetting these men. It was for them to a tribute – the tribute they had on their lips and in their hearts – “Lest we forget.” The brave men whom they were that day met to honour would never be forgotten in their homes. There they were remembered with pride as well as grief. Many of them had photos, letters from the Front, and other things connected with their dear ones, which they greatly prized, and which were taken out on their birthdays or on the anniversary of their deaths. There was no danger of them being forgotten in their homes. But what of the community?
Many would say “Why should I remember? I want to forget these dark and dreadful days. I want to forget the ever-present terror, and the fears that haunted me. I want to forget that telegram that crushed the life out of my heart. I want to forget it all. Why should I remember?” Others would say: “I’m very busy. I have much to do. I have money to make. I can’t worry over things of the past. Why should I remember?” But what would this glorious nation of ours be without tradition? It was the marvellous prestige of our astounding past that was an inspiration. Criticism was so easy, especially destructive criticism, but they had so much to be proud of. Every school, every regiment in the army, every branch of the Service, every ship in the Navy was proud of its traditions, of the noble deeds of those who had gone before them. They could not afford to forget the men who had suffered and died. That day they had met to pay a tribute of gratitude to God by Whose power they had won the war, and to those men who had given their lives for us, and who contributed so enormously to the victory. They commended their dear ones to Almighty God, Who knew and loved them all. But supposing any one of those fifty men, whose names appeared on the memorial, could stand where he was standing that afternoon, could come back from the wonderful and mysterious land, what would he say? He felt that they would be bitterly disappointed. He would say: “I fought for a scrap of paper and here you are tearing up the Ten Commandments.” The England of the past had gone and could never come back. He would tell them that he had fought for righteousness, and would ask what they were doing. He would also tell them that in the trenches they were really like brothers, officers and men; that he obeyed his officers because he realised that they knew best. The officers to him were friends, sharing his dangers and perils. In the fellowship of the trenches they were all brothers, but what would he find now? – Class against class; Capital against Labour; Labour striking at their employers; every class of man apparently against every other class. The men who they were that day honouring would tell them that they could not win the war of righteousness unless they closed their ranks. The man, whoever he was, who was constantly talking against another class was a sore and bitter enemy to his country. The message he (the Dean) had for them that afternoon was that the battle of peace had got to be fought, and the only way it could be fought to a glorious, happy and triumphant issue[?] was to uphold the feeling of righteousness, of brotherhood, and of service.
The congregation then proceeded to the Church ground, where Major-General Thuillier unveiled the memorial.
The General first gave a brief address. He remarked that for over one hundred years, and probably much longer, Old Brompton had been closely associated with the Naval and Military Services of the Kingdom, due to its unique situation, surrounded as it was by the great military services. On the east there was the Great Lines, built in years past which threatened invasion, a menace of which was very real to us. Its reality would be realised when they bore in mind that enemy ships came up the river to within two miles of where they were then standing. To the north they had the Royal Engineers, on the west the Dockyard, and on the south Upper and Lower Chatham Barracks and the Depot of the Royal Marines. Old Brompton had for years been accustomed to military activity and to the coming and going of ships of war. Small wonder was it then that when the call came
for King and Country, and fought for the safety and honour of the land. They had indeed fought for the safety of their homes as well as for honour. Those who had served on the Western Front and had seen the devastated areas and the strickened towns and villages, realised this. In our towns and villages memorials were being erected to the memory of brave men, and to remind those who came after of all the inspiring events in the history of our country, and of the patriotism, courage, endurance, and self-sacrifice of the men who went forth from every class, from every walk of life, and laid down their lives for right and for freedom. Their memorial was in honour of their gallant deed, but it should also provide an inspiration for the living. The battles of peace laid before them, and those battles would call for the same attributes of endurance and self-sacrifice. He feared it was idle to think that war was a thing of the past. He wished it was so, but the conditions all round forbade any such belief. There was still a call for co-operation, goodwill, courage, and work. He hoped the cross he was about to unveil, facing as it did the high road, would be seen by thousands of men on their way to or from woek, and that it would remind some of them, at all events, to do their duty to their King and Country as these men had done. He would ask the people of Old Brompton to tell their children and their grandchildren of the events through which they had lived – how the Great Lines was crowded with soldiers drilling; how the dockyard resounded with the noise of labour; how the air was full of brave men learning to fly; how at night the enemy  came over with their death-dealing bombs, in their efforts to injure the activities in the Dockyard; how they dropped their bombs on London women and children; how they sank hospital ships containing non-combatants and women; how they did all this to arouse a state of terror in our hearts. Let them tell their children that our hearts were not nerved by all this terror, but that it rather steeled us to greater resolution, and how we eventually overcame the enemy. Ho[w] might, courage and devotion to duty and our country nr sustained and helped, and our nation come through whatever dangers and difficulties and dangers lay before her.
The concluding hymn was “Jesu, Lover of My Soul.” and during the singing of this a large number of beautiful wreaths and flowers were placed on the memorial. In addition to those from relatives of the feceased men, there was one from the Old Brompton branch of the Federation of Soldiers and Sailors “in memory of those who gave their all.” Another bore the inscription: “In remembrance of the men of OLD Brompton who made the supreme sacrifice, from the Women’s Section, Lanour Party, Old Brompton.” There was also a wreath from the Holy Trinity Boys’ School.
Among those present in addition to those already named were Commodore Vivian, of the Royal Naval Barracks; Churchwardens A. W. Friend and P. W. Morehen, and the Side-men of Holy Trinity Church; and the Memorial Committee, of which Mr. W. Copper was chairman, and Mr. A. Edwards, hon. secretary. The three Old Brompton Councillors were also present – Mr. S. O. Summers, J.P., Mr. T. Pilcher, and Captain Russell.
After the Benediction the Royal Engineers buglers sounded the “Last Post,” and then in the distance came the “Revellie,” and thus concluded a memorable and impressive service.

It is noteworthy that of the 50 names originally inscribed on the memorial, only 45 remain. It is possible that the memorial originally had another panel containing those five names, but somehow it has become lost, perhaps when the memorial was moved. The names given in the article are in the same order as they appear on the memorial, and the five missing names are the last five on the list: Lce-Corpl. J. H. Neal, Royal Welsh Fus., Pte. E. J. Neal, K.O. Scottish Borderers, Rifleman J. H. Wheeler, Rifle Brigade, Pte. F. C. Baldwin, East Kent. Regt. and Sergt. A. Robins, R.E.

Title: Re: Brompton
Post by: Leofwine on November 17, 2011, 22:58:14
It is interesting to note later reports about the memorial:

Chatham News, Friday 17 December 1948 (page 8)
It seems that much more common sense is being shown in choosing war memorials in this post-war period than after the first Great War. After all, who wants to see unsightly, useless stone monuments when there could be a new hospital wing, a sports field, a social centre or some educational innovation as a more practical testimony to the honoured dead. Therefore, Brompton’s proposals on this subject are very welcome. A public subscription list is to be opened to raise money to enable a plaque, bearing the names of those who fell in the last war, to be added to the existing war memorial in the garden of Holy Trinity Church, Brompton. In addition, application has been made to the Land Commissioners, War Department, for a plot of land for a children’s playground, which will be dedicated to the memory of those whose names are inscribed on the memorial. What an admirable thought – a thought that will bring a much needed amenity for the children of the district.

Chatham News, Friday 13 August 1954 (Page 8)
Future of Brompton War Memorial
BROMPTON residents who may have been a little uneasy over the future of the war memorial in the grounds of Holy Trinity Church, which has now been closed, will be pleased to know that Gillingham Council plans to look after it. The Church authorities have granted the necessary permissions for the council to enter the land and maintain that corner of the churchyard where the memorial stands. Cllr. J. J. Driscoll (chairman of the council’s Parks, Entertainments and Baths Committee) tells me that eventually it is planned to remove the memorial to a safe and permanent position at Brompton, where the local redevelopment scheme is in full swing.

The 1948 article contains sentiments almost exactly opposite to those the Dean of Rochester expressed in unveiling the monument originally. It would seem that the Dean may also have been correct, as the only monument to the fallen of the Second World War now in Brompton is the granite plaque added to the earlier memorial. The children's playground and the memories it was meant to preserve are long gone, if it was ever built. I wonder if the children's playground that used to be in the Garrison Gardens in Brompton was the playground concerned? If it was that may explain why some people locally occasionally refer to the Garrison Gardens as the Memorial Gardens. If this is the case, then the memorial was sadly ineffective as by the time of my childhood playing there (early 1970s) no-one ever mentioned it as being anything to do with being a memorial, to us it was just one of the several playgrounds around Brompton.  Does anyone know any more about this?

Also, does anyone know for sure when the memorial was moved?
Title: Re: Brompton
Post by: bromptonboy on November 18, 2011, 16:37:50
The memorial playground was on the ground now occupied by the houses opposite the King George V PH. When the Melville Barracks reservoir site became available in about 1968(?) the playground was removed to that location. I have no idea where the description of the Garrison Gardens as the 'Memorial' Gardens comes from. In all my lifetime spent in Brompton I have never heard them described as such.
Title: Re: Brompton
Post by: Leofwine on November 18, 2011, 17:44:20
Thanks bromptonboy, that must have gone just before I came to Brompton. I guess the playground memorial was pretty short lived, I wonder if there was any kind of plaque to denote the memorial at the playground?  And if there was I wonder what happened to it?  And if the current playground took over as the memorial it is sad that there is nothing to commemorate this. I see some hassling of the BVA might be in order...

I had never heard of the Garrison Gardens being called the Memorial Gardens until about 18 months ago, but since then I've heard several people call it that.
Title: Re: Brompton
Post by: merc on November 18, 2011, 18:01:17
I had never heard of the Garrison Gardens being called the Memorial Gardens until about 18 months ago, but since then I've heard several people call it that.

Just an idea...maybe they got referred (possibly just unofficially) to as the Memorial Gardens because of the Naval Memorial on the Lines.
Title: Re: Brompton
Post by: Leofwine on November 18, 2011, 18:27:51
It may have been more than just unofficial, judging by one of merc's posts in the Garrison Gardens thread:

There's a map of the tennis courts layout on the wall of the tennis courts clubhouse, titled "Garrison Memorial Gardens Tennis Courts". I'm not sure of the year, but it's probably a post WWII map (before the old bridge and tennis courts on the Spur Battery were taken down).

I know that the Memorial Gardens is also a term sometimes used to describe the Town Hall Gardens (Old Chatham burial ground) and wondered if given the proximity of both to Fort Amherst some confusion has arisen.
Title: Re: Brompton
Post by: Leofwine on February 29, 2012, 23:51:59
Does anyone have any information on the commemorative anchor?

Information such as: did it come from a particular ship, was it put there by the Navy or the Council, when was it unveiled, etc?
Title: Re: Brompton
Post by: bromptonboy on March 01, 2012, 11:13:21
I seem to recall the anchor was presented by the Royal Navy to mark their departure from Chatham in 1984. I understand it was one they had lying around and not from a particular ship.
Title: Re: Brompton
Post by: Leofwine on March 01, 2012, 17:49:19
That is what I remembered too, but I wasn't sure. I'm sure I had a newspaper cutting about it somewhere, but I can't find it now.
Title: Re: Brompton
Post by: Leofwine on July 08, 2017, 14:47:23
Chatham News, Friday 30th September, 1983


THE NAVY has left a lasting reminder of its links with Gillingham – by depositing six tons of cast iron beside the Brompton roundabout!
Rear Admiral Bill Higgins, Flag Officer Medway, described an old anchor given by H.M.S. Pembroke to commemorate the Navy’s presence in the area between 1547 and 1984 as “a solid token of the Navy’s affection for Gillingham borough.”
Henry VIII built the first dockyard here in 1547 and the Navy, of course, finally leaves next year.
The unveiling ceremony was held on Thursday [22 Sept], when the admiral told Gillingham mayor Cllr. Lionel Dollery and guests that he had heard the nautical hardware described as a sailor lying on his back with his feet in the air!