WWI:Worcester Park War Memorial (Formerly Courtyard of St Philip’s Church) [12.6.2021]

Whilst visiting Worcester Park to acquire a number of school uniform accessories for our two young daughters – we happened to come across an obscure and well-hidden gate-way that cannot be easily seen from the main-road. To the right of the double metal (spiked) gate was a silhouette of a soldier and the years ‘1914-1918’. We had discovered a local War Memorial for WWI entirely by accident and whilst the country is still in ‘lock-down’! Near the gate is the Memorial itself contain four engraved panels containing the names of the men killed in action or missing in action during WWI! Like many monuments of that era, the exact dates of WWI had not yet been historical set, with dates varying from 1914-1918, 1914-1919 and even 1914-1921! Although the War technically ended on November 11th, 1918, Germany never signed formal surrenders straightaway, and these varying dates of the conflict duration tend to reflect the signing of surrender treaties between Germany and the victorious Allies! The US, for instance, never signed a treaty with Germany until 1921! At the time, mass conscription was employed in the UK with the British government pursuing a policy repatriating the bodies of the killed (unless of high-ranking officer status). As casualty figures were horrendous, grieving British families wanted places they could visit and respectfully ‘mourn’ their fallen relatives, and so monuments were built all over the British Isles as a form of coming to terms with deceased relatives and no bodies nearby. In a very real sense, War Memorials like this formed what we might call today ‘virtual graves’.  The engraved names include one ‘Chief Petty Officer’ (CPO) of the Royal Navy, and at least one women who seems to have died during an ‘accident’ whilst manufacturing ‘Munitions’ in a local factory (the Brocks Fire-Works Factory in Sutton)! The highest Officers recorded are two Lieutenants (1st and 2nd), together with Sergeants, Corporals, Lance Corporals, Royal Artillery ‘Gunners’, Privates, a Military Driver a ‘Rifleman’ and a ‘Trooper’, etc. This was the courtyard of St Philip’s Church which was demolished between 1978-1983 – with the graveyard and Memorial preserved for local use.

This War Memorial Actually Lists the Conflict as Occurring between 1914-1919!
The Names of the ‘Glorious Fallen’!
Main Entrance Leading into the
A Beautiful Pathway Through the Former Graveyard!
Gee Reading the ‘History’ of the Place!
Our Children Have a Healthy Respect for the Deceased!
The Author Surveying the Area!

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