War Memorial

The War Memorial was erected 100 years ago and unveiled on 16th January 1921 by Lieutenant-Colonel John Ford Elkington.  Istands sentinel at the centre of the village and has over time undergone several remedial works; repairs, updating & cleaning.

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Sometime in the mid 20th century, a coach collided with the War Memorial creating a crackdown two-thirds of the shaft. A repair was achieved without too much trouble and for many years the scar was visible but is now covered.

In the autumn of 2009 the 'Sword of Honour' was damaged when thieves tried, unsuccessfully, to remove it for its scrap value. Thankfully it too was not beyond repair and on the 3rd of  December was reinstated to its proud position, beautifully restored and looking like new.

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This seemed to prompt the 'powers that be' to designate the War Memorial a Listed Building and in the statement of "Reasons for Designation Decision" one of the reasons given was that the War Memorial  has "..... a visual relationship with the listed 1890 Parish Room (Portal Hall) .....". The Listed Building Status for the War Memorial was notified in August 2010.

 

The Portal Hall stands well back from the War Memorial but in 1947 it was agreed to "..... improve the layout to the Memorial Cross and entrance to the Parish Room ..... removing the hedge from gate to gate, also shrubs and rough growth, but to leave the "Portal Memorial (sweet) Chestnut Tree" planted by Miss Margaret Portal (daughter of Canon Portal) standing, the work of the improvement to be paid for out of the memorial funds."
 

On Sunday 6th November 1949 the 'Corner of Remembrance' at the front of the Parish Room was dedicated to respect the resolution of the public meeting and a 'Roll of Honour', to be displayed in the church, was written by the primary school teacher Mrs Taylor.

 

Over the years the area has been refined first with timber edging to the War Memorial triangle (now granite setts) in an attempt to stop vehicles mounting the kerb and churning up the grass, later adding short, stout wooden post into the grassed area; all to no avail.

 

Steps into the Memorial Garden were built by local men and lasted over 60 years by which time they were crumbling, unsightly and dangerous so in June 2015 were replaced with steps very much in the original style by Peter Baikie.

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The Sweet Chestnut tree, by now badly diseased, was felled in 1989 and replaced by the Women's Institute with a fine Acer.  

 

A flagpole was donated by Sandie Ball on her retirement as parish clerk.  A soldier silhouette graces the area during the period of Remembrance in November each year and a somewhat 'rustic' wooden seat enables passers-by to sit and watch the world go by and be thankful that the sacrifice made by those we Honour & Remember each November, enables them to sit there in peace and contentment.

 

In 2014 the dates on the War Memorial 1914-1919 & 1939-1945 were cleaned and the date 1950-1953 was added to honour the death on active service of John Edward Young King during the Korean War.  John lived at Laurel Bank, Burghclere, a single house which gave its name to the later development of five houses and 2 semi-detached flats on the same site.    BSC    

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