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Caversham War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Caversham, Reading

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4654 / 51°27'55"N

Longitude: -0.9754 / 0°58'31"W

OS Eastings: 471270

OS Northings: 174541

OS Grid: SU712745

Mapcode National: GBR QLB.04

Mapcode Global: VHDWT.1FPH

Entry Name: Caversham War Memorial

Location: Reading, RG4

County: Reading

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Locality: Caversham

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Berkshire

Listing Date: 4 April 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1445141

Summary

First World War memorial, unveiled in 1928. Also commemorating later conflicts.

Description

The memorial takes the form of an octagonal stone column, or obelisk, slightly elongated in section, set on an octagonal plinth with two steps at the base. The shorter pairs of sides on the main shaft become convex as they rise upwards and the shaft terminates in a fluted band. Above, the column steps in, its face is carved with a Latin cross in shallow relief, and terminates in a pyramidal cap. One face of the column is carved with the names of the 260 fallen of the First World War, with the inscription: 1914-1918 / TO THE GLORY / OF GOD.

On the face of the plinth below is the following inscription:

THEY WHOM THIS MEMORIAL/ COMMEMORATES WERE NUMBERED AMONG/ THOSE WHO AT THE CALL OF KING AND/ COUNTRY. LEFT ALL THAT WAS DEAR TO/ THEM. ENDURED HARDSHIP. FACED DANGER/ AND FINALLY PASSED OUT OF THE SIGHT/ OF MEN BY THE PATH OF DUTY AND SELF/ SACRIFICE. GIVING UP THEIR OWN LIVES/ THAT OTHERS MIGHT LIVE IN FREEDOM/ LET THOSE THAT COME AFTER SEE TO IT/ THAT THEIR NAMES BE NOT FORGOTTEN/ 1939 - 1945

On each of the other five faces of the plinth are later stone tablets with the names of those who lost their lives in the Second World War - both civilians (nine names) and servicemen (173 names) - and a single name for the Afghanistan conflict of 2001-2014.

The memorial stands on a hexagonal area of 'crazy' paving, a paving technique which became popular in the inter-war period.


History

The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at Caversham, as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War. The memorial was unveiled on the 5 May 1928.

In 2005 the names of those who died in the Second World War (both civilians and servicemen) were added to the memorial, inscribed into new stone panels. One panel was left blank to allow for future conflicts and in 2009 the name of a local soldier who died while serving in Afghanistan was added.

Reasons for Listing

Caversham War Memorial, which stands on Christchurch Meadows, Caversham, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, and the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: as a simple, elegant, memorial which is stylistically redolent of its inter-war date.

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