Military > Memorials & War Graves

Crimean Memorial Arch, Brompton Barracks

<< < (2/2)

The memorial soon after completion in 1860
Photograph reproduced by permission of the Royal Engineers Museum

Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 16 October 1860

The massive bronze gates for the Memorial Arch erected at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, to the memory of those officers and men of the Royal Engineers who fell in the Crimea, having arrived, workmen were on Friday employed in fixing the gates in those portions of the centre and side arches which had been previously made ready for there reception. The gates are of the most beautiful workmanship. The bronze metal was obtained from the Russian guns taken at Sebastopol, a number of which were presented the Government for that purpose. With the exception of a few minor details the Memorial Arch is completed, and viewed from the handsome parade ground of Brompton Barracks, has an exceedingly striking appearance. The marble slabs on which are inscribed the names of every officer and man of the Royal Engineers who fell in the Crimea have been fixed in the niches prepared for them on both sides of the arch, and only a few of the circular niches yet remain to be filled up, when the memorial will be entirely completed. It is not yet decided whether any military ceremony will take place on the occasion of the inauguration of tbe Memorial Arch, but there is little doubt that some public display will be resolved upon by the authorities, this being the first memorial of the kind raised in this country.

Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 06 March 1860

VISIT OF THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE TO CHATHAM. - His Royal Highness visited the garrison on Thursday to lay the foundation stone of the Crimean Memorial to the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, who fell in the Crimea during the Russian war. The site selected by the Government is at the eastern entrance of Brompton Barracks, and the scaffolding was decorated with evergreens, flags, &c. The guard of honour, under the command of Major A. A. Douglas, R.M., and Lieutenant and Adjutant Thomas, who bore the Queen's colours, with the Royal Marine band, proceeded on Thursday morning to the railway station to receive the 11.45 train from London There were also present at the station Colonel H. Sandham Colonel G. Stanton, Colonel Rae, Major-General H. Eyre, and Major Gordon, who received the duke on his arrival. His Royal Highness passed through Rochester and Chatham. On his entering the garrison a Royal salute was fired. When he reached the square at Brompton Barracks his Royal Highness was received by a guard of honour under the command of Captain Creyke. Tha duke having alighted from his carriage proceeded to the spot to lay the stone, when he was accompanied by a numerous body of officers. The ceremony of laying the stone commenced by lowering huge block, decorated with laurel and flowers frotn the roof when the architect, Mr. Digby Wyatt, gave his Royal Highness a silver trowel to lay the mortar and several coins haying been placed, the operation commenced by a prayer, delivered by the Rev. Charles Green, chaplain to the forces. The stone was then fixed, and the Royal duke, having applied the mallet, declared that the stone was properly laid, after which a Royal salute was fired from a field battery outside the works. The officers and friends then retired to the officers' mess-room, and partook of a dejeuner, and the duke left the garrison under a Royal salute, and proceeded by the three p.m. train for London. About 3000 spectators were present, besides the troops, and the day was particularly fine for the occasion.

This arch was raised in memory of all the Royal Engineers who died in the Crimean War. It forms an important gateway at the eastern end of the original barracks parade ground. It was the first of 3 major memorials built in Brompton Barracks, and is an important local landmark.

Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 21 August 1860

With the exception of few minor details the handsome Memorial Arch which has been some time in progress at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, to the memory of those officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the Royal Engineers who fell in the Crimea during the Russian war, is now completed. The idea of raising a memorial to their brave comrades who fell in the struggle with Russia originated with few the officers of the Royal Engineers, and, the Government having consented to appropriate a piece of ground at the end of parade-ground of Brompton Barracks for that purpose, Mr. Digby Wyatt was requested to prepare the plans for the proposed structure, the idea of an arch, although not altogether without precedent, being finally decided upon by the committee of officers of Engineers engaged in superintending the undertaking, and a considerable sum having previously been raised by the officers and men of the corps of Royal Engineers. The foundation stone of the structure was laid by his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge on the 1st of March last, and so rapidly have the works been prosecuted by Messrs. Mansfield and Son, the builders, that the arch will be ready for the opening ceremonial to take place within a very few days. The arch, as viewed from the parade-ground of Brompton Barracks, where it is seen to the greatest advantage, has a most imposing appearance, the site selected being probably one of the best that could have been fixed upon. The memorial consists of a lofty central arch, with two side-arches of lesser dimensions the whole formed of Portland stone, which for erections of this kind is exceedingly appropriate. On the spandrils and piers are beautifully executed carvings of angels and allegorical figures, together with carvings of some of the trophies taken during the Russian war, and open laurel-work; this part of the undertaking having been executed by Mr. Farmer, of Westminster, assisted by some French artists. Both sides of the arch are covered with marble slabs, on which are engraved the names of every officer and man of tho Royal Engineers who lost his life in the Crimea. The following inscription is engraved on the architrave:- "The Corps of Royal Engineers to their Comrades who fell in the War with Russia, 1854-5-6." The gates of the arch are not yet fixed, and those, which will be a highly ornamental character, are being cast at the foundry of Mossrs. Porter, South Moulton-street, Oxford-street, the Government giving Russian guns taken at Sebastopol for that purpose.

The information about the gates is interesting as it means that the gates of the arch are made from the same metal as Victoria Crosses!

It was a very popular subject for postcards in the early 19th century as these examples show:

c.1890-1900 (Image, postcard is early 1900s)



[0] Message Index

[*] Previous page

Go to full version