ABWMP - Survey

A Survey of Memorials to the Second Anglo-Boer War in the United Kingdom and Eire

By : Meurig Jones

(This essay was first published in the Journal of the Africana Society, Anglo-Boer War Centenary Issue, No 15 1999. issn 0379-6574)

Updated 28-02-2005

This paper derives from the work of the Anglo-Boer War Memorials Project of which the author is co-ordinator. The Project has been running for the past ten years under the auspices of the  Victorian Military Society to record all memorials around the world to the Second Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902. A written and visual catalogue consisting of photographs, slides, contemporary and modern postcards and even brass rubbings has been amassed with details of over 1100 memorials worldwide. Central to this work is the recording of the names listed on memorials. Over 17000 names are recorded on computer and cross-referenced with the official casualty rolls and other sources. The result is a unique archive with a wealth of material for military, social, family and art historians. What follows is a report on work in  progress concentrating on the memorials in the United Kingdom and Eire, of which there are 971 on record.

Introduction

The war memorials erected to the Anglo-Boer War in the UK represent the first ever mass raising of war memorials in this country. The scale was unprecedented, no previous war, even those of a similar scale such as the Crimea (1854-1857) and the Napoleonic Wars (1798-1815), resulted in such a popular and public expression. Why the Anglo-Boer War generated such a popular movement can be given to a  number of reasons; Empire, wealth, communications, 'muscular chivalry' and the nature of the War itself.

In 1899 Britain was at the height of empire. An unprecedented 60 years of economic, military and material expansion resulted in a tiny nation island laying claim to three-quarters of the globe, and ruling much of that. Empire brought with it a vast increase in personnel wealth. The majority of the population were better off in 1899 than in 1799 and for the few, there were vast fortunes amassed from overseas ventures. Given that over 1000 memorials were erected in the United Kingdom and Eire it is clear that very many people had or earnt sufficient money to give some towards a memorial fund.

Events in south Africa could be reported within days and not weeks or months. The Victorians produced a large number of newspapers and illustrated magazines that kept the public reasonably well informed of events around the Empire. It was possible to have a mass national reaction to an event, for the first time there could be a genuine 'popular mood of the country'. To borrow a recent British political phrase, there could be a 'feel good factor'. And conversely 'Black Week', used in December 1899 to describe the three British defeats at Stormberg, Magersfontein and Colenso.

'Muscular chivalry' is a phrase used by Marc Girouard to describe a movement in Victorian England that saw a rise in an interest in King Arthur and matters mediaeval1. This interest was shared by a wide circle of artists (e.g. William Morris, Sir Edward Burne-Jones), writers (e.g. Lord Alfred Tennyson, Colonel Sir Robert Baden-Powell) and educationalists (a group who are more well known by their pupils than in their own right). In their own way, they each espoused a chivalric code of conduct that emphasised the virtues of service, courage, honour and loyalty. A gentleman was defined by such  qualities. The educationalists had the most influence on the generation that fought the Anglo-Boer War. These men ran the unique English (and Scottish) public schools where they impressed 'muscular chivalry' upon  their pupils. In the many memorials, one can see rich traces of this legacy; King Arthur, St George, other assorted armoured knights, inscriptions recalling the deceased's 'duty', 'honour' and epitaphs to make sense of violent death; 'dulce et decorum est pro patria mori' or 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends'.

Types and Forms of Memorial

There are many types of memorials; who the memorial commemorates. Most memorials are to only one person. Regiments and their sub units also figure prominwently as to be expected.  Siginificant is the large number of 'geographic' memorials. That is memorials to persons from a particular area, from the smallest hamlet to a county and uniquely the Welsh National Memorial in Cardiff. Wales is the  largest geographic area to have raised a memorial to its dead. Eight hundred and seventy-three men and women are named from eighty-five units.

Who is commemorated

Number recorded

Percentage of total recorded

Association

10

1.03

Borough

7

0.72

County

29

2.99

City/Town/Village

103

10.61

District

23

2.37

Family

7

0.72

Individual

504

51.91

National

6

0.62

Parish

31

3.19

Peace

9

0.93

Regiment

204

21.01

School

38

3.91

TOTALS

971

100.00

Table 1: Breakdown of memorials recorded in the United Kingdom and Eire by who is commemorated

Memorials take many forms; cross, statue, building, plaque/tablet, book , fountain and so on. Over two thirds of memorials are indoor, mostly in churches and are plaques or tablets. These are the most traditional form of memorial and perhaps the most cost effective. Very few memorials (about 6%) can be considered of a practical nature; buildings, drinking fountains and furniture. It is interesting to note that the majority of drinking fountains have been found in the north-east around Newcastle.

Form of memorial

Number Recorded

Percentage of total recorded

Building

22

2.27

Cross

41

4.22

Drinking fountain/ trough

9

0.93

Furniture

22

2.27

Grave

53

5.46

Lych gate

3

0.31

Monument

31

3.19

Obelisk

23

2.37

Ornamental Fountain

3

0.31

Painting/drawing

1

0.10

Plaque (metal

469

48.30

Prize/award

1

0.10

Reredos

7

0.72

Statue

44

4.53

Tablet (stone)

159

16.37

Tablet (wood)

5

0.51

Window

78

8.03

TOTALS

971

100.00

Table 2: Breakdown of memorials recorded in the United Kingdom and Eire by form

Memorials to individuals

There are 504 memorials for only one person which forms nearly 52% of the total memorials recorded. The majority of  these are to men of officer rank. A simple reason why there were more memorials erected for individuals of commissioned rank is that their associate groups (family, work, club, fellow officers) were richer or had easy access to the sums of money needed to create a memorial. Indeed there may have been a tradition of erecting memorials amongst these groups. Military memorials to individuals of the early 19th century and before are almost exclusively to men (not  women) of commissioned rank. On many early regimental memorials, the non-commissioned officers and men are not even named while the officers are.

Most memorials to individuals were erected by family members (36%) and then regiments (24%). For a significant number (20%) of memorials to individuals, it has not been ascertained who erected the memorial. A small number of military units erected memorials to each of their dead; City of London Imperial Volunteers (CIV), 14th Hussars, 12th Lancers and the 39th (Berkshire) Company Imperial Yeomanry.

The CIV suffered 72 dead in the war and erected a large bronze plaque to each in addition to paying a grant of 100 to the next of kin. The CIV was raised in the City of London from members of the many volunteer corps and had many  wealthy backers. They provided for a well equipped force and for their dead could provide the funds and organisation to  arrange the erection of memorials all over the British Isles. The memorial, measuring 78x86 cm, takes the form of a  bronze frame around a beaten copper sheet on which the raised inscription has been hammered. Mounted on to the frame are the coat of arms for the City of London surmounted by a crown. The inscription takes a standard format naming the deceased, the unit he volunteered from, his parents and the date, place and circumstance of his death. It was  designed by Frederick Wheeler, F.R.I.B.A. Most were placed in parish churches in and around London, but they can be found in Bath, Birmingham, Wellingborough, Colchester and Mynachlog-ddu (West Wales) amongst others. The memorial to Private 3206 M.B. Bruce was erected in his old school, Elgin Academy in Scotland. An exception is the  plaque to the six deceased of the Queen's Westminster Volunteers (13th Middlesex) who are named on one plaque in Westminster Abbey. The inscription merely names the men and their parent unit.2

In Farnborough (Hampshire) there is a large memorial to an individual who is not named, nor is there any clue as to who  erected it. Taking the form of a drinking fountain set in front of a low semi-circular wall, there is the simple inscription;

IN MEMORY OF ONE WHO DIED FOR HIS COUNTRY MCM

Accompanying the inscription is carved a dove holding an olive branch in its beak. This total anonymity, in regards to the subject and the donor, is unique amongst memorials to the Anglo-Boer War.

Military Units

These are perhaps the most obvious memorials, erected by the comrades of the dead who shared the same risks in combat, drank the same poisoned water in Bloemfontein, experienced the boredom of blockhouse life but were fortunate, and grateful, to return home. Almost all the regular army units erected memorials to their dead, as did many of  the volunteer units. There are 209 memorials to regiments, corps, ships and their sub-divisions (battalions, squadrons, companies, batteries, etc.). These memorials take all forms and can be found in many different sites.

The notion of regimental chapels came into vogue in the Victorian era as a consequence of the proliferation of war memorials inside churches and cathedrals. Where memorials to the dead of a regiment had been placed earlier, the regiment tended to place their Anglo-Boer War memorial. Of the 77 regimental memorials found in cathedrals the following are included :-

Cathedral

Regiment

Beverley

East Yorks Regiment

Brecon

South Wales Borderers

Carlisle

Border Regiment

Chester

Cheshire Regiment

Chester

Earl of Chester's Imperial Yeomanry

Canterbury

16th (Queen's) Lancers

Dublin

8th Hussars

Dublin

Royal Irish Regiment

Dublin

Leinster Regiment

Dublin

5th Lancers

Edinburgh

Royal Scots

Edinburgh

Royal Scots Fusiliers

Edinburgh

Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders

Exeter

73rd Battery Royal Field Artillery

Guildford

Queen's Regiment

Hereford

4th Battalion King's Shropshire Light Infantry

Leicester

Leicestershire Regiment

London (St Paul's)

Middlessex Imperial Yeomanry

London (St Paul's)

St John's Ambulance Brigade

London (St Paul's)

1st Royal Dragoons

London (St Paul's)

Middlesex Regiment

London (St Paul's)

Coldstream Guards

Southwark

East Surrey Regiment

Table 3: Selection of units with memorials in cathedrals

The two largest units of the British Army, the Royal Artillery and the Royal Engineers erected large outdoor memorials that contain the names of all their dead; 1083 and 420 respectively. The Royal Artillery (incorporating the Horse, Field  and Garrison artillery) memorial in St James' Park, London, is a massive structure dominated by a large bronze horse, the Spirit of War, being controlled by a female figure representing Peace. At either end of a 50 foot semi-circular wall is a stone pier upon which are listed the names and a bronze low relief plaque depicting the mounted and Garrison artillery  in action. The officers are listed separately from the men who are listed by battery. Other artillery formations such as ammunition columns and parks and excess numbers are shown.

There are a number of memorials to individual batteries but the most interesting is that erected by Q Battery, Royal Horse Artillery. This battery which was heavily involved in the action at Sanna's Post (March 31, 1900) had a plaque made listing the officers and men present at that action. The men are listed by subdivision and the killed and wounded  are indicated by symbols. This memorial was to be placed in the Men's dining hall where ever the battery was stationed.

The Royal Engineers chose Brompton Barracks in Chatham to place a massive Victory arch with the names of its dead  and the principal battles they took part in inscribed on it. Around this memorial were also four statues from Pretoria,  each of a Boer kneeling with a rifle. These statues were presented by Lord Kitchener, a Royal Engineer officer, to the  Corps in 1902. Kitchnere had been given the statues when in south Africa. The statues were made about 1899 at the request of some prominent business men to be presented to President S.J.P. Kruger. With the onset of war, they were never erected. In 1921 all four figures were returned to Pretoria by King George V, Colonel in Chief of the Corps of Royal Engineers.

The Victory arch was also chosen by the Royal Dublin Fusiliers for their memorial sited at the entrance to St Stephen's  Green, Dublin. This memorial is a replica of the Arch of Titus in Rome. Amongst Republican circles in Ireland it is known as 'Traitor's Gate'. Ten thousand miles from the seat of the war Irish Republicans, amongst others, saw the  Anglo-Boer War as a fight between Imperialist and Republican ideals. A struggle they were trying to encourage the ordinary Irishmen to take up in the new century.

Twenty-eight British cavalry regiments served in the Anglo-Boer War. Five have no known regimental memorial; 2nd and 3rd Dragoon Guards, 3rd, 7th and 20th Hussars. Unlike the infantry, the cavalry regiments had larger recruiting  areas which included many different counties. This made the choice of a city in which to site a memorial harder to make.  Five cavalry regiments chose Aldershot, the 'home' of the British Army. The 9th, 12th, 17th Lancers, 13th and 10th  Hussars memorials can be found in the Royal Garrison Church, Aldershot. The two 'Irish' cavalry regiments, the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars and 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers, erected memorials in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. Of interest is a brass memorial next to the 8th Hussars regimental memorial commemorating 5 men of the 16th Lancers who served on attachment with that regiment. Members of the 8th Hussars paid for the memorial to be erected. The fact that they were on attachment is not apparent in the official casualty rolls, they are listed under the 16th Lancers, nor on the 16th Lancers regimental memorial in Canterbury Cathedral on which they are named.

The 7th (Princess Royal's) Dragoon Guards are unique amongst the cavalry regiments in that they had two regimental memorials made; one permanent, the other to travel with regimental headquarters. The regiment stayed on in south Africa after the war until 1904 when they moved to Canterbury. While in south Africa, a permanent memorial was  organised and placed in Norwich Cathedral. This consists of two brass plaques, listing the 64 fatal casualties, and two  stain glass windows. At about the time the regiment left Canterbury in 1908, a brass plaque was made also naming those  who died on active service. Included are the names of 6 soldiers and 3 children who died between 1904 and 1908. This memorial is now on display in the Regimental Museum of the Royal Dragoon Guards in York.

The 18th Hussars initially set up three cottage homes to be used by invalided soldiers and their families. One cottage was built at Enfield, north London and two at Tidenham in Gloucestershire. However, sometime later the regimental association decided that the cottages "failed to fulfill their object" and were sold. The proceeds were used to pay for a regimental memorial in York Minster which describes this story. The balance was given to the regimental fund for "old  soldiers of the regiment in trouble or distress". The timing was in someways fortunate. The memorial was erected in October 1914, barely eight weeks into the First World War.

Cottage Homes

Cottage homes were a popular form of memorial because they were practical and could directly benefit soldiers invalided  from the War. The term 'cottage home' may be somewhat mis-leading. Of the homes I have seen, and on one occassion able to view the interior, they are substantial three or four bedroomed brick houses with a reasonable plot of land for a small 'cottage' garden. Most cottage home schemes were more successful than the 18th Hussars and continue to be used  to this day for the benefit of veterans. Examples of such are the group of eight cottage homes in Winchester shared by  the King's Royal Rifle Corps and the Rifle Brigade, two homes in Bath given to the Royal Artillery by the mother and  sister of Captain G.C. Fordyce-Buchan, RFA, who died at Bloemfontein on May 21, 1900, and one house in Dorchester, Dorset, built by the Dorset Regiment. In the village of Manfield, County Durham, Colonel J.G. Wilson (York and Lancaster Regiment) began the construction of two homes in memory of his son Lieutenant R.B. Wilson, 3rd Battalion IY, and brother, Lieutenant-Colonel R.B. Wilson, 3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry, who both died in the War.  Colonel Wilson himself died of wounds in March 1902 and the York and Lancaster Regiment took over the job of building and administering the cottages. The current occupants are the first civilians to live in the homes. However, both were employees on the Wilson estate whose grounds encompass the village.

Schools

Public schools have already been identified as agents that imbibed the ethos of 'muscular chivalry'. Amongst the many  thousand officers of the British Army and Navy almost every public school was represented. Schools figure prominently amongst locations where memorials can be found, Gildea lists 81 and an additional 9 have been recorded. There are  memorials in the more well known public schools such as Eton, Clifton College, Marlborough, Charterhouse and  Winchester and a number of 'ordinary' grammaer schools. The most common form of memorial is a plaque or tablet in  the school chapel. The greater proportion of old boys listed on the public school memorials are officers. However, the  schools patronised by the richer families of Britain erected bigger more expensive memorials. At Eton five memorials  were erected to the old boys. These included a library and hall, and a reredos and altar in the main chapel.

Cheltenham College created three memorials which provide elegant examples of the 'muscular chivalry' ethic. The  memorial cross is in a gothic style, an oak kneeling desk in the chapel is decorated with statuettes of Sir Galahad of the  Holy Grail and Sir Philip Sydney (1554-1586) a soldier who died at the battle of Zutphen. His last act was to give his water bottle to a wounded soldier with the words' "Thy necessity is yet greater than mine"3. The third memorial is an impressive stone reredos measuring 24 feet high and 34 feet wide. Approximately 80 tons of stone were used in its construction. The reredos is intricately carved and inset with 52 statues representing religious and secular themes. Each  figure was carefully chosen for the example they set in their life and work, "Champions of Christianity" (early missionaries such as Columba and Aidan), "English Christian Worthies" (e.g. John Wesley and William Wilberforce), art and science (e.g. Isaac Newton), administration, education and leadership (e.g. Dr Thomas Arnold, 'architect' of the typical English public school4), literature, learning and leisure (e.g. William Shakespeare) and various professions (e.g.  David Livingstone).

In the late twentieth century we may be surprised by some of the men chosen for what they represented. But the reredos tells us much of how late Victorians viewed their world. The only woman amongst the statues is the Madonna.5

Women

The Second Anglo-Boer War is a milestone in the history of women's participation in the British Army. While women  have participated for centuries in warfare, both in combat and support roles, this has mostly been ignored in the history books and gone unnoticed. During the war British women were employed as nurses, not a new role, but their employment was on a more formal basis than ever before and received greater official and public recognition than before. Approximately 1,800 women served in south Africa as nurses in military and civilian hospitals.6 Many were members of the Army Nursing Service (ANS) and the Army Nursing Service Reserve (ANSR), others were civilians  serving in the privately funded hospitals such as the Scottish, Irish, Welsh Hospitals and the Portland Hospital. Part of the recognition given to women was in the commemoration of those who died on active service. For the first time in British history, women who had died on active service were included on memorials alongside the men.7 Twenty-nine nurses died during the war, all succumbed to disease in one form or another. Unit memorials to the ANS and ANSR were placed in St Michael and St George's Church, Aldershot and in the Royal Army Medical Corps Headquarters in  London. The memorial in London also lists civilian nurses. Of the 29 nursing dead, 7 are named on local memorials:-

Name

Memorial

Sister F Bell

World War I plaque, Banwell, Somerset

Sister I Caldcleugh

Yorkshire County Memorial, York

Sister C Evans

Town plaque, St Helen's, Merseyside

Sister L Fathers

Village plaque, Sleaford, Lincolnshire

Matron MA Lloyd

Welsh National Memorial, Cardiff

Sister FL Sage

Welsh National Memorial, Cardiff

Sister MJ West

Yorkshire County Memorial, York

Table 4: Nurses who died that are included on local memorials

It is interesting to note that Sister Bell's name was added to a memorial some twenty years after her death. Presumably  no men from the village died during the Anglo-Boer War and so no memorial was erected. The memorial to Sister L Fathers is the only one known to her, she is not on the unit memorials. Five nurses who survived are named on two memorials.

Name

Memorial

Sister G Black

City memorial, Leeds

Sister HJ Henderson

City memorial, Leeds

Sister E Jasper

City memorial, Leeds

Sister MW Pughe

Town memorial, Towyn, Wales

Sister E Snape

City memorial, Leeds

Table 5: Nurses who survived that are included on local memorials

No individual memorials to women who died in the Anglo-Boer War have been found.

Of the many private volunteer hospitals that served in south Africa, only the Welsh Hospital is known to have erected a  memorial to its dead. The memorial is in St David's Cathedral, Pembroke and names the six members who died, including Matron M.A. Lloyd and Sister F.L. Sage. Despite there being nearly 4000 remaining in the Hospital's fund at the end of the war, the supervising committee solicited fresh donations for the memorial. The 4000 was distributed amongst the dependents of Welsh soldiers killed in the War.8

Peace Memorials

There are nine memorials which celebrate the peace that brought the war to an end. These are different types of war  memorials in that they look forward, post-war, to peace, and do not remember people and events that occurred in war.  Often they also mark the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and the coronation of King Edward VII. These memorials take many forms. In Alverstoke, Hampshire the tower to St Mary's Church was built in 1904 as a peace and coronation  memorial. In Higher Porthpean, Cornwall, Lady Craven gave a water pump to the village. The pump no longer works but it is well kept as a support for a hanging basket. In Harrogate, Yorkshire, one "Samson Fox ESQre of Grove House" planted an oak tree to commemorate his ox roastings on common land known as the Stray. He had provided these public feasts in 1887 on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and in 1902 to celebrate "The Declaration of Peace in South Africa".

Other Memorials

Other types of memorials include books and furniture. Two examples of inscribed Bibles have been recorded. In 1902 the Bishop of Winchester presented the Old Parish of Farnham with a Bible containing six illuminated pages naming 267 men from 66 units who served in the War. Not far away in the small Hampshire village of Chawton, a Mr and Mrs  Montague Knight of Chawton Manor presented suitably inscribed Old and New Testament books to the church. Twelve men are listed including three sets of brothers, or perhaps father and son. Also in the church is a litany desk presented as  a 'thank offering' for the safe return of three brothers from the Stephens family. Interestingly none are mentioned in the bibles; perhaps there was some friction between the Stephens and Knight families. Other known literary memorials are I.C. Hannah's guide book, The Sussex Coast (T.Fisher Unwin, 1912) which is dedicated :-

    to
    A Sussex Worthy
    who rests in a distant land;
    MY BROTHER
    who fell fighting that sussex and south africa
    might share a flag;
    this work is dedicated
    with affection and with reverence

Lieutenant W.M.J. Hannah, 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment was killed at Glencoe on October 21, 1899. The Hannah brothers were the sons of the Reverend J.J. Hannah, Vicar of Brighton at St Peter's Church. At the time of Lt  Hannah's death a new chancel was being constructed. In his memory 'his sorrowing friends' paid for a chancel pillar on  which is carved a fine stone memorial with an excellent colour depiction of the Leicestershire Regiment's tiger. And, previously mentioned, the book by Colonel Sir James Gildea. The author's copy of Gildea is a double memorial. It is  inscribed to the relatives of Staff Quarter-Master Sergeant 2680 G.G. Smith-Senior, 6th Dragoon Guards who was killed at Boschbult March 31, 1902.

There are a number of examples of various pieces of church furniture being given as memorials usually by parishes or individuals and not regiments. These include items such as Litany desks, altar crosses, altars, organs, organ screens, prayer desks and lecterns. Of particular note are the gas lights in the choir stalls of St Lawrence's Church, Alton in  Hampshire and a large carved oak chair in St Andrew's, Moretonhampstead in Devon. The chair was made by Dr F.G. Engelbach and presented to the church prior to the war. He served in the war as a civil surgeon and was killed at Nooitgedacht on December 13, 1900. On his death the parishioners affixed a plaque recording that he

    FOR TEN YEARS PRACTISED IN THE DISTRICT AND WORSHIPPED IN THIS CHURCH
    FINALLY LAYING
    DOWN HIS LIFE IN SOUTH AFRICA WHILST ATTENDING THE WOUNDED
    UNDER FIRE

Horse Memorials

The war in south Africa saw the deployment of over half a million horses and mules by Britain and an unknown quantity  by the Boer Republics. Approximately 67% or 350,000 horses used by the British died during the war.9 There are two memorials, both in England, to the horses who perished. They are in Winchester, Hampshire, and near the village of Burstow in Surrey. The inscription on the Burstow memorial is damning :-

    IN MEMORY OF THE MUTE FIDELITY OF THE 400,000 HORSES
    KILLED AND WOUNDED AT THE CALL OF THEIR HUMAN MASTERS
    DURING THE SOUTH AFRICAN WAR 1899-1902
    IN A CAUSE OF WHICH THEY KNEW NOTHING
    THIS FOUNTAIN IS ERECTED BY A REVERENT FELLOW CREATURE

The identity of the person responsible for this memorial, a 'WT', is not known. Both memorials take the form of granite  horse troughs which would certainly have been used for that purpose. Today, however, they are now used as flower beds maintained by the local authorities.

Destroyed Memorials

Most memorials are over 90 years old and the passage of time and petty vandalism has not been the only influences on these memorials. During the Second World War many parts of Britain were subject to aerial bombardment, much of it  heavy and concentrated. A number of memorials were lost in attacks on York and Portsmouth, but most were lost in London. At least eight plaques erected by the CIV were destroyed.

In York a fine memorial in the Guildhall to the volunteers from the city who fought was unveiled in 1905 by  Field-Marshall Lord Roberts. On the night of April 29, 1942 the Guildhall was hit by an incendiary bomb which started  a fire that destroyed the roof and severely damaged the interior. There were 177 men named on it representing 16 units  of all types who fought in south Africa; regular army, cavalry, artillery and many colonial units. In Portsmouth the old  Garrison Chapel on the seafront was hit by bombs in June 1941 which burnt the church out. Three Anglo-Boer War  memorial tablets were badly damaged and a stain glass window completely destroyed. The property is now under the  care of English Heritage which has restored part of the church for use leaving the main body, where these tablets are,  open to the elements. However, they have taken steps to preserve the tablets from further deterioration. Inside the church hangs a banner of the local South African War Veterans Association branch.

Enemy action is not the only cause of memorials being destroyed. The Church of England, who perhaps has  responsibility for the largest number of Anglo-Boer War memorials (not to mention memorials for other wars) has not been an exemplary guardian. In Winchester Cathedral, the King's Royal Rifle Corps and the Rifle Brigade erected plaques listing their large numbers of dead (550 and 282 respectively). Both regiments also filled in a large window each with fine stained glass.

Today neither regiment's memorial plaques exist. The exact fate of either is not known but the circumstances under which the King's Royal Rifle Corps plaques were removed is known. In 1948 the body responsible for the fabric of the cathedral and its contents, the Dean and Chapter, decreed that the plaques were in "poor artistic taste" and had to be removed, which they were. The plaques were replaced with a book of remembrance. In both cases the spaces occupied  by the plaques have been filled with tablets of no great artistic merit listing distinguished officers of each regiment; Thomas Atkins has been consigned to the scrap heap.

It is not easy to understand how the decision was reached to remove these plaques or why the King's Royal Rifle Corps  acceded to the Dean and Chapter's request. The report carried in the regimental Chronicle, of the plaques' unveiling in  1910 explained why Winchester Cathedral was chosen as "our Valhalla". The Cathedral has many associations with the  British Army, "as the many martial records on the walls bear witness" and "it is at Winchester that every young Rifleman begins his career as a soldier and learns to be proud of his Regiment."10 In the future, and "who knows what...the next great struggle may hold in store", the list of names on the plaques will serve as a reminder "of duty and self-sacrifice" and the need for "constant effort and determination" to win battles. By November 1918 those virtues had been fully demonstrated by the many thousand Riflemen who perished in the First World War. It can be said that the plaques had served the aspirations of the writer; "our brother Rifleman have not died in vain".11 Such lofty ideals were soon to be sacrificed on the altar of 'interior design'.

One feature of late 20th Century Britain is that many churches are being declared redundant due to falling numbers of  worshippers. As these buildings are abandoned they often become targets for vandals and thieves. Some redundant  churches are cared for and others de-consecrated and sold off for conversion to homes, offices and workshop premises. Amongst the Project's archives is a fine marble memorial to Corporal 5302 R. Genge, 26th Company, Imperial Yeomanry. Originally erected in his parish church in the village of Shaftesbury, Dorset, the church was de-consecrated  and sold to private developers in the 1980s. Quite by chance a project volunteer visited the church when it was being  gutted. The builders plan for Genge's memorial and other civilian memorials was to smash them up for hardcore. Fortunately the Project was able to acquire Genge's memorial free of charge. One of the 12th Lancers individual memorials, to Private 4307 H. Lloyd, was privately purchased. Where it was originally erected or how it came onto the market has not been ascertained.

Conclusion

This brief survey has shown the enormous variety of Anglo-Boer War memorials in, form, type and location. The  inscriptions can provide much invaluable information as to a person's military service, their death, family details, where  they may have lived and what civilian career they may have had. War memorials in general are becoming part of Britain's  favoured heritage. It is important that not only is a permanent record made, but also to ensure the physical structures are maintained so future generations and can look upon them and draw their own conclusions.

Notes

1.The Return to Camelot (Chivalry and the English Gentleman), Marc Girouard, Yale University Press 1981

2.My thanks to Mr Jack Webb of London for allowing me to take freely from his copious notes on memorials to the CIV.

3.The Old CheltonianSouth African War Memorials, Norman Sawyer & Co. 1904, p.73

4.Girourad, op cit, explodes this popular view of Arnold. Arnold, who died in 1842, was not interested in organised games and thought chivalry "set personal allegiances before God.". By the end of the century organised games and the ethic of chivalry were 'rampant in most public schools', such as Cheltenham. And Arnold's reputation had been created. p.164

5.The Old Cheltonian, op cit, pp.29-71.

6.Atkin, Wendy, 'All Serving their Country', Soldiers of the Queen (Issue 87 December 1996), The Victorian Military Society, p.16

7.Summers, Dr Anne, 'Images of the Nineteenth-Century Nurse', History Today (December 1984)

8.Jones, Meurig, 'The Welsh Hospital at War, South Africa 1900', Soldiers of the Queen (Issue 64 March 1991), The Victorian Military Society, p.5

9.Anglesey, Marquis of A History of the British Cavalry Volume 4 1899-1913, Secker & Warburg 1986, p.287

10.The King's Royal Rifle Corps Chronicle, 1910, p.59

11.ibid, p.66

 

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