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Anglo-Norman
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PostSubject: War memorials   Sun 05 Aug 2012, 17:39

In Holy Trinity Garrison Church, Windsor, there is an unusual mid-19th century memorial that takes the form of a series of sheets, I believe of parchment or vellum, stretching the whole length of the galleries; on the sheets are inscribed the names of the members of the Brigade of Guards who died during the Crimean War. Apart from the form (a world away from the usual stone tablets) what is unusual is that it includes all non-commissioned ranks, from Privates up, as well as officers. (Incidentally, for those interested in medical matters it's worth noting that by far the longest list is of those who died at Scutari!)

It set me thinking: not counting grave markers, memorials to casualties of war, especially those which cover the 'other ranks', are something most strongly associated with the First World War and beyond. There is an imposing monument set up by the grateful parishioners of Grouville, Jersey, to the six Grenadier Privates of the 83rd Foot who were killed during the storming of Platte Rocque Battery, part of the Battle of Jersey, 1781. Even that, though, marks the spot of their grave. (For some reason the casualties of the other regulars - from the 95th Foot and 78th Highlanders - who died during the battle didn't get such a distinction. Maybe the parishoners of St Helier, the parish where they were killed during the main action in the Market Place, were less grateful than those of Grouville!).

So how far back do memorials to war dead go? And at what stage did governments become involved? For example, both the Guards memorial in Holy Trinity and the Grenadiers' memorial in Grouville were private affairs. The former was organised by a chaplain and paid for by relatives of the deceased, the latter put up by leading citizens backed by public subscription. Monuments to victories have been known since ancient times, but did anyone bother to commemorate the dead?
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Sun 05 Aug 2012, 18:11

The original stone has been lost and replaced by a new stone in 1955,there is a memorial to the Spartans at Thermopylae with Simonides epigram

"Go tell the Spartans, passerbye

that here obedient to their laws we lie"

Excavations round the stone have uncovered a large number of arrowheads,leading researchers to believe that the hillock on which it sits,was where the Spartan last stand took place.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Sun 05 Aug 2012, 18:25

Very rapid reply and apologies for quoting directly from a paper but I'm in a hurry
Quote :
Only once in the Roman world do we find a war memorial that monumentally and permanently expressed the individuality of soldiers killed in war. At the end of the nineteenth century the remains of an altar were found at Adamklissi in Romania. It had originally been raised on steps and each wall had a length of 11.67 metres and a height of 6 metres. These walls were inscribed with the names of legionary and auxiliary soldiers who, according to the main inscription, were killed fighting for the Republic under an emperor whose name is now lost. The altar was built to the honour and memory of thesemen and it has been estimated that it may originally have listed 3,800 names

This is from 'Trophies and tombstones: commemorating the Roman soldier.
Valerie Hopea'
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Tue 07 Aug 2012, 15:47

Does
'Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on the heights.
How the mighty have fallen!'
count as a memorial to the war dead?
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Anglo-Norman
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Tue 07 Aug 2012, 18:12

@Tim of Aclea wrote:
Does
'Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on the heights.
How the mighty have fallen!'
count as a memorial to the war dead?

Not sure. I don't think a lament in a book (and one which is mainly concerned with the death of a king and his son, more than the footsloggers) is really what I'm thinking of.

The Thermopylae one is interesting, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. It's one of those events bound to be commemorated, although one could argue that despite the wording the monument was more concerned with the battle rather than the people involved. Incidentally, it's (according to one theory) the anniversary of the start of the battle today, along with the associated naval action, Artemisium.

I'd never heard of the Adamklissi monument. Fascinating. I've found the relevant article. Thanks!

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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Tue 07 Aug 2012, 23:40

Between Ballingeary and Kealkill in County Cork, on a high mountain pass called Keimaneigh, is a rather unique war memorial. The original stone was placed there anonymously though tradition has it that it was the parish priest around the time of the Battle of Keimaneigh who had it erected five years or so later. If so it is singular in that a pre-emancipation Catholic priest in 1827 was taking a very huge personal risk in so doing, though it is what he had inscribed on it which really makes it truly unique. The inscription is worth quoting in full;

TO COMMEMORATE THOSE WHO DIED
AT AND AFTER THE
BATTLE OF KEIGHMANEIGH
JANUARY 1822.
MICHAEL CASEY. BARRY O’LEARY.
AULIFFE LYNCH. EDWARD RING.
(LOCAL WHITEBOYS)
JOHN SMITH (CROWN FORCES).
MAY THEY REST IN PEACE

It is the last name on the list which makes it interesting. As one can surmise the "battle" was little more than a local stand-off, probably an ambush, conducted during a wider local conflict between the "Rockites" - agitators for the end of slavery masquerading as tenancy farming - and a largely absentee English landlordship whose interests were being brutally protected by appointed agents with the help of government armed forces and a quite draconian judicial system. The repercussions of the "battle" were devastating in that part of Cork as reprisals in the form of executions, jail sentences and deportations affected almost every family in the whole area. Casey, O'Leary, Lynch and Ring - in a pre-IRB/IRA version of nationalist agitator sobriquets - were labelled as "White Boys" (a widespread organisation of which the Rockites were a local faction). John Smith, however, was most obviously on "the other side" in the battle. Yet, despite this incident being feted in song and poem to the extent that it became a raison-de-guerre for nationalists countrywide, the priest still saw fit to include him.

In 1922, the centenary of the battle, the original memorial was destroyed by persons unknown, though presumed to be republicans from the area, most likely as a rather obvious criticism of this evident broad-mindedness - both on the part of its original commissioner and on that of the locals who had respected it over the intervening century. The stone one sees now is a more modest version of the original (which had a large celtic cross above it) which was placed on the spot in the 1970s. The original dedication was restored.
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Wed 08 Aug 2012, 14:18

I used to pass a very large memorial on driving on the A11 on the way to Thetford. As there was also a parking area I thought I aught to have a look to see what it was for. i was quite surprised to find that it was a WW1 memorial for two rural parishes, built at the point where the two parishes met. It brought home to me the impact that the war much have had on those two parishes, it was far larger than any other parish war memorial I had seen.

Tim
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Fri 10 Aug 2012, 00:01

I don't know about older civilisations, but I think memorials even to the ordinary population are relatively recent. There's various church memorials to prominent people in the community (though often these don't go back all that far either) and royalty over the centuries have known burial places. But cemeteries separate from church crypts and church grounds are not all that old, I think. So I think that has spilled over into soldier memorials.

After WWII in NZ the government offered a subsidy for memorial purposes throughout NZ and obelisks, statues and mostly memorial halls were erected. Most of NZ's small towns have a memorial hall, many of them in a rather dilapidated state and lacking people to use them, though the one in the town where I live was rebuilt in the 1970s and cared for and is used a lot. There are many memorials throughout the country to soldiers killed in the two world wars, and sometimes including the dead from Korea or Vietnam.

But further back individual soldiers were unlikely to be honoured with specific memorials to them. There are memorials to people killed in the New Zealand Wars of the mid-19th century, but they are modern, put up in the last twenty or thirty years usually. The NZ History site gives two reasons for this. "Apart from wooden headboards on individual graves, or stone monuments for collective graves (such as those put up in the Mission cemetery in Tauranga and the Makaraka cemetery near Gisborne), only three free-standing stone memorials were erected during the wars themselves.

There were two main reasons for this lack of memorialisation. First, the idea of commemorating the ordinary soldier through a memorial was a very new one, only really established in the British Empire by memorials put up in Britain to the dead of the Crimean War of the 1850s. Second, the Pākehā community did not want to celebrate or commemorate the New Zealand Wars. The conflict was a frustrating one with few clear-cut victories, and those were often the result of the efforts of imperial soldiers rather than locals. People preferred to forget, rather than remember, painful and somewhat embarrassing events."
The three memorials were a weeping woman with an inscription to Maori warriors and a priest who had withstood an attack by an outside tribe, one to a volunteer settler who had raised a mini army of volunteers, and one for the 57th Middlesex Regiment who came here to fight. A church in Northland was also built by local Maori as a symbol of peace and to honour Pakeha (Europeans).

http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/new-zealand-wars-memorials

This article, though, does clearly state that memorials to soldiers were not common before the mid-19th century in British Empire countries anyway.

Cheers, Caro.

(Every time I type something into Wordpad and copy it here, the last few lines are tiny, and yet they look identical and are printed in the same font etc as the rest. I don't know why this happens or how to correct it. Sorry.)
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Fri 10 Aug 2012, 03:30

Thought to be the oldest war memorial in Britain, the Flodden Window in memory of the archers of Middleton who fought at the Battle of Flodden 1513. The window depicts the archers kneeling in a row and with their names inscribed along their bows.



War memorials are not relatively recent, but the style of rememberance has changed, I think. Those still surviving from ancient Rome alone such as Trajan's Column, Marcus Aurelius Column, Arch of Septimus Severus, Arch of Titus etc all commemorate and depict wars and battles and are extremely useful in our learning and understanding of ancient warfare. Although ancient memorials were usually erected in praise of the ruler in question, his conquests and achievements, one giant ego boost, I suppose. Whereas the modern versions are normally in memory of those fallen in a war, rather than a celebration of the war itself.
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Anglo-Norman
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Fri 10 Aug 2012, 10:14

Thanks for the quote, Caro - interesting that it refers to the influence of British Crimean War monuments, which brings us back to my original post.

And Islanddawn, now that you've mentioned it that window rings a faint bell somewhere in the back of my head. Fascinating, though, and we're lucky it's survived, given the amount of pre-Reformation stained glass that has been lost. I wonder how much of the rest of the glass survives.
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Fri 10 Aug 2012, 11:20

The oldest civic war memorial to individual war dead in Scotland is in the Balmaclennan churchyard in New Galloway and again is from the Crimean War.
There's more pictures here but I can't find any more information apart from what's on the second page.
http://warmemscot.s4.bizhat.com/viewtopic.php?t=1921

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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Fri 10 Aug 2012, 12:01

AN, possibly the Middleton church survived the reformation relatively intact because the church was renovated and then dedicated to the memory of Flodden by Sir Richard Assheton on his return from the battle? The church was seen as a war memorial rather than something overtly Catholic?

http://menmedia.co.uk/middletonguardian/news/s/517318_worlds_oldest_war_memorial_nears_milestone
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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Fri 10 Aug 2012, 13:51

This is called "The Column of the French", though it seems to commemorate all the killed at the Battle of Ravenna as well as victims of the plague;

http://ruggialdi.altervista.org/raven_e1.htm
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Fri 10 Aug 2012, 16:09

This is the earliest US Memorial, dedicated to the six men killed in the First Barbary War of 1804;

http://dcmemorials.com/index_indiv0003204.htm
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Tim of Aclea
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Sat 11 Aug 2012, 11:49

One thing I have always liked about some American war memorials I have seen is that they do not just list those from the community who were killed in a war but those who took part in the war with those who died noted by a marker.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Sat 11 Aug 2012, 14:26

France, like Britain, has just a few war memorials from the Crimean War that give the names of ordinary soldiers - and France fielded about three to four times the number of troops Britain did and suffered comensurate losses. The Franco-Prussian war, however, just 15 years later, is well represented by War Memorials with over a thousand throughout France. All these were raised by families, villages, towns, businesses etc to remember their own dead, or erected by regiments to commemorate their fallen comrades. "Official" government sponsored memorials were restricted to monuments commemorating the battles themselves, and since most of these were French defeats there are unsurprisingly not that many of them.

But the raising of all these local community war memorials ultimately prompted the "official" way wars, and particular the casualties of wars, would be remembered and commemorated in France. In 1887, a teacher in German occupied Alsace, observing how local people kept furtively decorating the French war memorials despite German disapproval, decided to create an official French association to preserve the memory of those who had died for France, and specifically in occupied Alsace and Lorraine to maintain a feeling of unity with the French motherland. His association, Le Souvenir Française, is the now the French equivalent of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and is responsible for all war graves and memorials throughout France and of French and colonial troops overseas.

Apart from a general European move toward viewing past wars in terms of rememberance of the fallen, rather than glorifying the victory, I think the French experience was particularly influenced by the Franco-Prussian war for several reasons:

The Franco-Prussian war was not a remote foreign or colonial conflict many miles away but was fought very much on French home turf.

For the first time, in France, it was a very modern war in that it involved the whole population. Cities were besieged and bombarded not just to pin down troops, but also specifically to disrupt armaments production and the railways. And these industries, although under military direction were very much under civillian control employing thousands of people. Consequently ordinary civillians experienced the the sharp end of war like nothing before. The siege and bombardment of Paris caused more urban damage and more civillian deaths than the city was to experience in either of the later two world wars.

Thirdly this was the first time (I think I am correct) that France introduced universal male conscription. Prior to the war France prided itself, with considerable justification, on it's army. This was a truely professional force in the modern sense. There was no conscription, commissions could not be bought, a recruit could expect full training with career progression and advancement even into the officer corps if he showed aptitude. But overwhelmed by the largely conscript/reserve Prussian Army, France was forced to introduce conscription. And so families throughout France, even far from the warzones found themselves dragged in whether they liked it not.

In this way, for France in particular, the Franco-Prussian war very much resembled the 20th century world wars.
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Wed 22 Aug 2012, 09:26

This memorial was erected in 1830, by Alexander Cowan, owner of Valleyfield Mill, in memory of 309 French prisoners of war who died while in captivity at Penicuik between 1811 and 1814.

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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Wed 22 Aug 2012, 15:38

Found this one from the Zulu War, the Battle of Nyezane on the 22nd January 1879. This is the same day as the Battles at Isandlwana and Rorkes Drift and as a consequence has been overlooked.



The names are listed as follows;

Lieut J L Raines NNC
Lieut Gustav Plattner NNC
Sgt Emil Unger NNC
Cpl Carl Goesh NNC
Cpl Wilhelm Lieper NNC
Cpl Edward Miller NNC
Pte John Bough 3rd Regt (Buffs)
Pte James Kelleher 3rd Regt (Buffs)

Five Privates of the Natal Native Contingent

I would guess that Bough and Kelleher were acting as NCO's with the NNC. The names of the five Africans were not recorded.
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Caro
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Sun 14 Jul 2013, 01:07

There has been news in the past week in southern NZ about a memorial I had never heard of before - over 400 oak trees were planted around 1919 for dead soldiers.  Over the years farmers, developers and just old age have destroyed about half of these and the wooden crosses on them have rotted, and there are calls for the rest of them to be protected.  This isn't likely to happen - trees and soldiers aren't to be compared to economic possibilities, of course - but there are some attempts to look after the survivors and to provide brass plaques for them. 

http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/north-otago/264656/work-planned-restore-memorial-oaks

I live in Otago but North Otago places are about two and a half hours' drive from here.  We go through and stop at Oamaru relatively frequently but we had not known the significance of their trees till now.


Last edited by Caro on Sun 14 Jul 2013, 21:54; edited 1 time in total
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: War memorials   Sun 14 Jul 2013, 12:48

Our avenue of Remembrance was attended to last year with additions for new names.. There is a long one in Colchester that seemed in good shape when I last passed that way. I recall it as a child with memory of its chilling significance when it was pointed out what it represented.
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