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Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.2211 / 51°13'16"N

Longitude: -2.9745 / 2°58'28"W

OS Eastings: 332043

OS Northings: 147331

OS Grid: ST320473

Mapcode National: GBR M6.3B8H

Mapcode Global: VH7D4.DKCR

Entry Name: Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway War Memorial

Listing Date: 10 February 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1441003

Location: Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge, Sedgemoor, Somerset, TA9

County: Somerset

District: Sedgemoor

Civil Parish: Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

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Highbridge

Summary

A memorial unveiled on 8 March 1922 commemorating employees of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway who died whilst serving in the armed forces during the First World War, formerly at Highbridge Station and moved to its current location in c1965.

Description

A memorial unveiled on 8 March 1922 commemorating employees of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway who served in the armed forces during the First World War, formerly at Highbridge Station and moved to its current location in c1965.

The memorial comprises a large bronze relief tablet in Classical style, set against a wall (the latter dating from the mid-1960s). The relief shows a central wreath motive flanked by fluted columns and a triangular pediment above depicting a cross and crown. The pediment carries the words '1914 -1918 / FOR / KING & COUNTRY / FREEDOM & HONOUR' with below it ' "CALLED, TESTED, WORTHY, VICTORIOUS" ' and 'OUR GLORIOUS DEAD' followed by the names of the fallen in the centre of the wreath and to the three rectangular raised fields around it. The base of the fluted columns list the various battle sites: 'FRANCE / BELGIUM / AFRICA / PALESTINE / SALONICA' to the left and 'HIGH SEAS / ITALY / GALLIPOLI / ARABIA / MESOPOTAMIA' to the right. The base of the memorial reads: 'THIS TABLET IS ERECTED BY THEIR FELLOW-WORKERS IN MEMORY OF THE MEN WHO LEFT THE LOCO. CARR. AND WAGON DEPTS OF THE SOMERSET AND DORSET JOINT RAILWAY TO SERVE WITH THE FORCES DURING THE GREAT WAR'.

Four granite plaques with names of fallen soldiers, added later, are attached to the stone base on which the memorial rests. A further granite plaque was added in 2012, replacing an earlier bronze plaque unveiled in 2000, inscribed with the words: 'IN HONOUR OF / MAJOR FRANK FOLEY / THE SPY WHO SAVED THE LIVES / OF MORE THAN 10.000 JEWS / FROM THE HOLOCAUST / BORN AT 1 WALROW TERRACE / HIGHBRIDGE ON 23RD NOVEMBER 1884 / DIED 8TH MAY 1958 / RIGHTEOUS AMONG NATIONS'. This plaque is flanked by a further plaque stating: 'UNVEILED BY / SABINE MEYER - MICHAEL / ON 7TH MAY 2000 / ONE OF MANY THOUSANDS SAVED BY FRANK FOLEY'.

History

The Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway First World War Memorial was unveiled on 8 March 1922 at the locomotive, carriage and wagon works at Highbridge Station to commemorate the employees of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway who went to serve in the First World War and to those who died in doing so. The memorial was designed by a railway apprentice, and made in the workshops at Highbridge Station. It was paid for by subscribing staff in the locomotive, carriage and wagon departments. Mr Nelson Blake, who lived in Highbridge, made a wooden mould for the plaque. After the closure of the works in 1929, the memorial was moved to the end of the station platform at Highbridge, near the booking office. In c1965, after the station had closed and was up for demolition, the war memorial was re-sited and incorporated into the design for the Highbridge Garden of Remembrance (included on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in parallel with the listing of this war memorial). This formal sunken garden, influenced by the Arts and Crafts style, was planned by the Highbridge War Memorial Trust since its foundation in 1948 to commemorate those who died whilst serving their country in the Second World War. It was not laid out until c1965, when sufficient funds had been raised by public subscription. A further four granite plaques with names of the fallen during the First World War were added later to the base on which the memorial rests. In 2000 a bronze plaque was added in memory of the war hero Major Francis Edward Foley (1884-1958). Foley was born in Highbridge and helped thousands of Jews escape from Nazi persecution whilst he was working in Berlin as a British Intelligence and Passport Officer. The plaque was stolen, but was replaced in granite and unveiled during a ceremony held in the Garden of Remembrance in 2012.

Reasons for Listing

The First World War Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway Memorial of 1922, including its later added commemorative plaques related to the Second World War, relocated to the Highbridge Garden of Remembrance, Highbridge, Somerset in c1965, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on the local community, and the sacrifice it made in the conflicts of the C20;

* Architectural interest: as an accomplished and well-realised First World War memorial of 1922 in a Classical style;

* Group value: in being the main focal point of its layout and design since c1965, it forms an important group with the Highbridge Garden of Remembrance, registered as a garden of special historic interest at Grade II.

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