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Author Topic: Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial  (Read 25462 times)

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Offline Bobdonk

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Re: Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2011, 15:13:24 »
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Offline Bobdonk

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Re: Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2011, 15:11:32 »
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Offline Bobdonk

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Re: Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2011, 15:09:32 »
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Offline Bobdonk

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Re: Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2011, 15:06:32 »
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Offline Bobdonk

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Re: Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2011, 15:02:58 »
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Offline Bobdonk

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Re: Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2011, 15:00:07 »
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Offline Bobdonk

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Re: Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2011, 14:56:44 »
There are 82 panels on the Chatham Naval War Memorial.

Nos 1 to 32 relate to the first world war panel 33 to 82 relate to the second world war.

To find an individual name on the memorial search the Commonwealth War Grave Commission website. The panel number (column) is given as "Grave/Memorial Ref.
http://www.cwgc.org/search/cemetery_reports.aspx?cemetery=142000&mode=1

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Scrumdown

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Re: Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2011, 08:20:53 »
Some great photos, Leofwine.

To my eternal shame, despite having lived in Medway all my life and Chatham for a large chunk of that, I only managed to get up to see the Naval Memorial for the first time about 5 years ago.  It was a day like the one you took your photos on, weather-wise, and my photos are pretty spectacular too.

I saw evidence of footballs having been kicked up the walls of the memorial, minor scratched graffiti on some of the cast iron name-plates and the ubiquitous smell of urine in some of the covered areas. 

It does amaze me that people, whose relatives may even be commemorated there, are so willing to desecrate it.  A sad indictment of how shabbily people who died for their country are treated by those they died for.

Also, and I know they mean well, but it does bug me when people highlight with paint (or even marker pens) names of their own relatives, as if to set them aside from all the others.

Incidentally, I visited Portsmouth last year and took a mosey on round their memorial (a smaller version but exactly the same design) which is located on Clarence Esplanade, Southsea.  Well looked after and seemingly treated with respect.  But then it's in an area that has a lot of people passing it, whereas the Chatham one, while visible for quite some distance, is in a quiet area where idle and destructive hands are largely unobserved.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2011, 23:00:58 »
The Chatham Naval Memorial soon after its opening in the 1920s. At this date it was just a simple obelisk without the surrounding walls and buildings.

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Offline Lutonman

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Re: Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2011, 19:31:09 »
Pleased to say I visited the Naval Memorial last week and the gates were open and no problems encountered.

Offline Leofwine

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Chatham Royal Naval War Memorial
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2011, 18:27:52 »
I know Chatham Naval Memorial has been mentioned on KHF before, but it has mainly just had pictures so I thought as well as adding some new pictures I'd include a little write-up about it too. Most of the information is taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, along withh a few additions from my own knowledge of the place picked up living close to it for 40 or so years!

As mentioned elsewhere this memorial is not a local war memorial to the fallen men of Chatham and Gillingham, but a CWGC memorial to men from all over the Commonwealth who died whilst serving on ships registered at Chatham, including Marines and Commandos.

After the First World War, an appropriate way had to be found of commemorating those members of the Royal Navy who had no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided. An Admiralty committee recommended that the three manning naval ports in Great Britain - Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth - should each have an identical memorial of unmistakable naval form, an obelisk, which would serve as a leading mark for shipping. The memorials were designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, who had already carried out a considerable amount of work for the Commission, with sculpture by Henry Poole. The Chatham Naval Memorial was unveiled by the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII) on 26 April 1924. After the Second World War it was decided that the naval memorials should be extended to provide space for commemorating the naval dead without graves of that war, but since the three sites were dissimilar, a different architectural treatment was required for each. The architect for the Second World War extension at Chatham was Sir Edward Maufe (who also designed the Air Forces memorial at Runnymede) and the additional sculpture was by Charles Wheeler and William McMillan. The Extension was unveiled by the Duke of Edinburgh on 15 October 1952. Chatham Naval Memorial commemorates 8,517 sailors of the First World War and 10,098 of the Second World War who were registered at Chatham (the Plymouth and Portsmouth Memorials record another 23,192 and 24,586 sailors respectively, registered at the port each memorial was built at).

The memorial consists of a one hundred foot high obelisk of portland stone with four carved lions at the base and, at the top, four large figures representing the four winds. Around the foot of the obelisk are thirty-two panels of sailors' names who died in the First World War. Surrounding the obelisk on three sides is a wall which carries the names of Second World War victims. The memorial overlooks Chatham and like the other two was sited so that it could be used as a landmark by shipping. The Memorial is actually hollow with a staircase inside, presumably for maintenance access, but I'm sure the slit windows part way up the monument must offer spectacular, if limited, views of the surrounding country.

As a result of constant vandalism at the Memorial, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has had to arrange for it to be regularly patrolled and public access limited to the period from 08.30 to 17.00. Should for any reason the Memorial be closed during the stated hours, please telephone the Guard Room at Brompton Barracks on 01634 822442 who will arrange for the gates to be opened. Any inconvenience to visitors is greatly regretted.

It is sad to report that Chatham is the only one of the three naval Memorials that has this limited access, a poor reflection on what (I hope is) a small minority of the locals.

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This last one makes me ashamed to live in Medway.


I know there are a lot of pictures here, but I think that given the vast number of brave men (I don't think there are any women commemorated here, but I might be wrong) commemorated here the Memorial deserves slightly more thorough coverage.
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