The War Memorial in Hastings Road was unveiled and dedicated on Sunday 25 September 1921 by Rev. H. Sinclair Brooke, MA (Vicar of Pembury 1898-1918). He would have known many of those who gave their lives in WW1. The site was given by the Marquis Camden, and the Portland Stone Memorial stands 16 ft high, and cost £365/19/4d, which apparently took quite a long time to raise. It was designed by well-known local architects Ashley S. Kilby and the work was executed by Messrs. Burslem and Sons of Tunbridge Wells. The Service (programme in Pembury Library) included the Last Post and Reveille and the National Anthem at the end of the Service. The Roll of Honour was read by Mr. C.R. Bosanquet.
A copy of the Service programme (Link Here) has now been kindly donated by Pembury Library
The WW1 names were originally engraved on a stone plaque. After WW2, when a second plaque was needed, it was decided to have two matching bronze plaques- one to go over the top of the existing stone one, and a new one underneath for the names from WW2. A report in the Kent & Sussex Courier on 13th July 1945 states that at the Parish Council Meeting Mr. H. Parkes “drew attention to the disgusting state of the present memorial, declaring that they all ought to be ashamed of themselves”.
In 2018 the Parish Council, who own the Memorial agreed to an Appeal to raise money to refurbish the Memorial. The bronze plaques were very tarnished, and Richard Snow discovered that 8 of the names were misspelt. In addition the Council had been approached to add Jim Woodhams to the list of those who died in WW1.
The misspelt names –
Albert Mc’Queen ( should be McQueen.)
Albert and Thomas Penticost (should be Pentecost)
Sydney Ratcliffe (should be Sidney)
Edward Crossley (should be Edmund)
William Parks (should be Parkes)
John Philbeam (should be Pilbeam).
Douglas Mac-Dougall (should be MacDougall)
Jim H. Woodhams (WW1) added.
The refurbishing was carried out by Burslems. The work included taking off the existing plaques, engraving new stone plaques and replacing them on the War Memorial. The surrounding stone was re-pointed and the Memorial cleaned. The money to allow this to be undertaken was generously given by Council grants (County and Parish), The Pembury Society, businesses, local residents and relatives of the fallen.
The refurbished War Memorial was unveiled on Remembrance Sunday – 11.11.2018, which also marked the end of the last year of the Centenary of WW1. 2018’s Remembrance Sunday service and unveiling of the plaques took place around the War Memorial. Details of the 2018 preparation, memorial unveiling and service are shown lower down this page.
Most of the 2018 activities regarding the memorial and the commemorative service were driven by Richard Snow. Pembury owes him a big thank you for his hard work organising and co-ordinating all the various events and tasks.
The original Memorial
Above & Below – Metal name plates added to the memorial for amendments and corrections.
Photos by Richard Snow
Preparation for the Memorial renovation in 2018
The photographs of the cleaning and carving by Burslem of Tunbridge Wells were taken by Richard Snow in September 2018
Carving the new WW1 plaque at Burslem in Tunbridge Wells. Note it is common practice not to fill the engraved text.
The following photos were taken by Richard Snow on Friday 26 October 2018 after the removal of the WW1 metal plate.
Above: Parkes without the ‘e’
Above: Sidney Ratcliffe as Sydney
Above: 2nd Nov 2018 Both metal plaques removed, damage filled, awaiting replacements.
Above: 2nd Nov 2018 WW2 plaque fitted.
Above: Richard Snow with knitted poppies – 2nd Nov 2018
Below: Preparation on the Village Green on 7th Nov
Above: Burslem’s fitters working on the memorial 7th Nov
Above: Burslem’s fitters unloading the WW1 plaque 7th Nov
Above: Burslem’s fitters preparing for the final installation – 7th Nov 2018
WW1- Names for new Plaques (2018) – Pembury War Memorial
WW2- Names for new Plaques (2018) – Pembury War Memorial
Below – Photos of Sunday 11th Nov 2018 taken by Anne Nicholls
Below – Photos of Sunday 11th Nov 2018 taken by Jenny Kimber
Below – Photos of Sunday 11th Nov 2018 taken by Rob Sanders
On Thursday 6th December there was a showing of David Dore’s film “Pembury Remembers” at the Baptist Church in Romford Road.
On Tuesday 19 Feb 2019 Burslem fitted the old memorial plaques to the side wall of the village school in Lower Green Road.
They can be viewed from the footpath leading to the old burial ground. The photos below were taken by Richard Snow.
Link to Richard Snow’s Articles on Pembury’s War Heroes – Articles Page, Item 002
War Memorial date of 1919
The sharp eyed observer will note that the Pembury Memorial records the First Word War as between 1914-1919.
First World War dates on war memorials
1914-1918 are the most common dates for the First World War found on war memorials obviously commemorating the year the war commenced and the year the armistice was declared, on 11th November 1918. However, it is not unusual to find the dates 1914-1919 on First World War memorials. The 1919 date refers to the year when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. This was the peace treaty drawn up by the nations who attended the Paris Peace Conference and officially ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers when it was signed on 28th June 1919.
Some war memorials also feature the dates 1914-1921, although this is less common. On 25th August 1921 the United States of America signed a separate peace treaty with Germany, the Treaty of Berlin.
As explained above, there are no ‘rules’ for war memorial inscriptions so any of these dates are correct as the local community decided to use the dates which were most appropriate.
Feedback and Comments following the 2018 Commemoration publicity
Nov 2018 – a descendant of William Alexander and William Arthur Parkes wrote:
“I was both pleased and wistful when I read of the Remembrance Parade in Pembury last week on the 11th November. It was wonderful to see the work done to renovate the memorial and correct the misspelling of some of the fallen including my ancestor, William Parkes (in fact William Arthur Parkes). Had I known about it I would have been there with my family (instead of looking after my Beaver Scouts at our Remembrance Parade in Surrey!).
I have been researching my family members and my Great Great Uncle was William Alexander Parkes, his son William Arthur Parkes was a pilot killed in WW2, he is also remembered on the memorial in Singapore. Kathleen (nee Ellis), William Alexander’s wife, having been widowed, brought up my grandmother Ellen (who was her neice) alongside William and we have some photographs of him. My grandmother was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service manning the guns on the south coast during WW2, she met my grandfather who was an 8th Army desert rat and after another generation here I am.
I am still researching my family history and will shortly be putting an account together with some photographs. I would very much like to visit the Memorial (perhaps next Remembrance Parade?) and lay a wreath on behalf of my family. We have William Alexander’s death plaque and continue to hunt for more information so any that you have more locally would be very gratefully received.
May I thank you for all the work you are doing regarding the history of Pembury, without it I would not have known about the work done on the Memorial and I feel very proud and privileged to know one of my ancestors is remembered there.
The nee Ellis/Parkes family”
Notes on anomalies and confusions.
Benjamin Clifton possibly living at Slate Row, Henwood Green Road. Born 1894.
Page compiled by Tony Nicholls
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