Every nation has a war that has affected it in some significant way. The UK is no exception, and especially for WWI, the first worldwide war, there was widespread grief and equally as widespread memorials to those lost. These monuments serve to remind the population of sacrifice made and to show the tragic impact of war on local areas. Here are the most significant war monuments in Great Britain.
At Clifton Down, the 79th Regiment Memorial (1767) stands as a monument to the Seven Years’ War that was fought from 1756 to 1763. It’s a large stone urn on a stone sarcophagus. Each panel has an inscription detailing the battles that are marked.
World War I
The First World War, also called World War I, changed the world forever. The Cenotaph (1919) is probably the best known remembrance of people who lost their lives in this conflict. It was designed at the request of then-Prime Minister Lloyd George.
The idea was to mark Peace Day, the one-year anniversary of the Armistice. There were a number of events around this occasion, and when the Cenotaph was presented to the public, it was covered in wreaths that honored those lost in the war, which ended in 1918. The monument was originally made of wood and plaster. The stone version was unveiled in 1920, and the inscription reads “The Glorious Dead”.
The Royal Artillery Memorial (1925) in Hyde Park is a sobering portrait of how brutal war can be. There are gunners on three sides of the memorial. However, there is also a dead soldier draped in his greatcoat. This memorial salutes the almost 50,000 deaths that the Royal Artillery suffered in the First World War.
Those at home should not be forgotten when mentioning war memorials. The Rawtenstall Memorial (1929) in Lancashire commemorates the important workers of the war. People working in these “reserved occupations” were excused from being conscripted to the military. They included postmen, mechanics, and miners. Women are also included, such as a nurse and a member of the Women’s Land Army. Their hard work contributed to the war effort, but at home.
World War II
The Second World War is remembered at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial (1956). This memorial consists of both a chapel and cemetery. A total of over 3,000 graves are on the spot, and though located in Britain, they contain the remains of American servicemen.
The Merchant Seamen’s Memorial (1955) is part of two monuments that together make up the Tower Hill Memorial. As the name implies, this memorial is for merchant sailors and fishermen killed in war. Those commemorated here are the dead who have no known grave. One is for the first world war and the other is for the second. The sunken garden is a unique feature of the monument and is often used by city residents as a peaceful spot to sit and contemplate.