War Memorial centenary events in Royal Tunbridge Wells
The War Memorial in Royal Tunbridge Wells was unveiled 100 years ago.
Events on Saturday 11 February
All are welcome to come along the events at the War Memorial and The Amelia Scott.
The Mayor of Tunbridge Wells will mark the centenary of the War Memorial in Royal Tunbridge Wells at an event taking place at 11.55am on Saturday 11 February, one hundred years to the day since its unveiling.
The First World War memorial by Stanley Nicholson Babb (1874-1957) was unveiled in 1923 by Colonel Viscount Hardinge; plaques were added later for the Second World War.
Members of the Royal British Legion in Tunbridge Wells will be joining the Mayor, Councillor Godfrey Bland, at the War Memorial on this important occasion. The Mayor will address those present and the Leader of the Tunbridge Wells Branch of the Royal British Legion, John Cohen, will pay tribute to those who are remembered on the memorial. A minute’s silence will be observed and a wreath will be laid by the Mayor.
John Cohen said: ‘The Royal British Legion in Tunbridge Wells is very pleased to be helping the Borough Council to mark the 100th year since the unveiling of the War Memorial. In 1923 the town, like the rest of the country, was still reeling from the enormous loss of life required to achieve victory in World War 1. Barely a family was untouched. The War Memorial, unveiled by Viscount Hardinge, Kent President of the British Legion, serves as a prominent and lasting reminder of the sacrifice and service of servicemen and women in the Borough in that war and all wars since. The names of 801 killed in WW1 and 177 who died in WW2 are engraved there. One of the Legion's prime purposes is to ensure they and those who died or served in more recent conflicts are never forgotten. We would be pleased to hear from any veteran or family member related to those on the roll of honour on the Memorial not already in touch with us.’
The Amelia Scott marks the centenary
A display, in the Welcome Hall, including the original artist’s model – or Maquette, will tell the story of the memorial and will include objects from the Collection that relate to some of the soldiers commemorated. Take a look to find more out about some of the names on the memorial.
About the War Memorial
At the end of the First World War, a committee was formed to discuss the nature of a war memorial. Various designs, including an obelisk and a triumphal arch, were proposed, along with different locations such as the top of the Common overlooking Mount Ephraim and the entrance to Calverley Grounds.
Eventually agreement was reached on the current bronze figure with stone base and surroundings, and bronze plaques with the names of the fallen. The design of the memorial was described at the time as featuring a ‘bronze figure of a khaki hero, fully equipped for the fray and combined in the facial expression of which is both tenderness and determination’.
The retaining wall into which the monument is set is a remnant of the Calverley Estate, designed by Decimus Burton in the early nineteenth century.
In July 2011 the War Memorial was given Grade II listed status.
About the Tunbridge Wells Branch of the Royal British Legion
The Tunbridge Wells Branch of the Royal British Legion has a membership of over 70 members and supporters in the town. While many are veterans of the Armed Forces, not all are. Many are getting old and infirm, and there are still a few survivors of WW2. We are in touch with a growing number of veterans of recent conflicts.
Visit the Royal Tunbridge Wells Branch of The Royal British Legion website.