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Dartford War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Dartford, Kent

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Latitude: 51.4432 / 51°26'35"N

Longitude: 0.2185 / 0°13'6"E

OS Eastings: 554277

OS Northings: 173915

OS Grid: TQ542739

Mapcode National: GBR TN.ZQ4

Mapcode Global: VHHNT.QZWH

Entry Name: Dartford War Memorial

Listing Date: 15 June 2006

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393845

English Heritage Legacy ID: 494889

Location: Dartford, Kent, DA1

County: Kent

Electoral Ward/Division: Town

Built-Up Area: Bexley

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Dartford Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Rochester

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Listing Text

741/0/10007 MARKET STREET
15-JUN-06 Dartford War Memorial

War memorial, 1922 by Arthur G Walker, sculptor and A.B. Burton of Thames Ditton, founder, to commemorate the First World War, with additional dedications to the fallen of the Second World War (1939-45) and the Korean War (1950-53).

The memorial takes the form of a stepped granite pedestal on a granite base surmounted by a bronze statue of a British Tommy. The figure is oriented such that it faces Dartford Public Library to its east. The pedestal is in three unequal sections which are variously decorated and are described from the bottom up: The plinth has rectangular bronze plaques on its north, east and south elevations. These read: `To all who gave their lives for our freedom'; `To our dead of the Second World War 1939-1945' and `To all who died in the Korean War 1950-53.'
The die, or central section, is inscribed on all sides by the names of the fallen with inset figurative bronze plaques on the north and south elevations depicting a naval heavy gun and gun crew and a bi-plane and observers respectively. In all over 300 men are commemorated.

The surbase is inscribed on all sides. The east and principle elevation reads: `In grateful memory of the gallant sons of this town, who fell in the fight for freedom 1914-1919.' Continuing around the memorial in a clockwise direction it is also inscribed: `Splendid you passed, the great surrender made, into the light that nevermore shall fade'; `All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave to save mankind - yourselves you scorned to save'; `Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved your memory hallowed in the land you loved.'

The statue of the British Tommy is depicted in full battle dress, carrying a backpack and with additional kit slung from his belt. The figure stands at ease resting both hands on the muzzle of his rifle. His face is somewhat gaunt with a calm yet far away expression. The bronze base on which he stands is signed by the sculptor on its south elevation and inscribes `A.B. Burton Founder Thames Ditton' on the north.

The memorial was erected in 1922 to commemorate the local men who lost their lives in the Great War of 1914-18. The work was commissioned by Dartford's War Memorial Committee who selected the sculptor Arthur Walker having visited and admired his memorial in Sevenoaks which uses the same British Tommy statue. Arthur Walker (1861-1939) was a sculptor, painter and fellow of the Royal Academy. His most famous work is perhaps his statue of Florence Nightingale in Waterloo Place, London and he was also responsible for a fine memorial to the First World War in the centre of Derby. The sculptor sketched his design for the Tommy from life; the model was a soldier, recently returned from Flanders with whom the artist corresponded on his return to the trenches. According to Walker the man survived to see photographs of a finished statue.

The same design of the British Tommy, with minor modifications, was also used at Heston, Greater London (1918) and in Sevenoaks, Kent. The Dartford memorial was cast by A.B. Burton of Thames Ditton, Surrey.

The memorial was modified to include the fallen from the Second World War and the Korean War and remains the focus for the town's Armistice Day commemorations.

D.D, 1933, `The Dartford War Memorial; its history and designer' in The Borough Bulletin, July 1933.
Dartford War Memorial: Form of service for use at the unveiling and dedication, Sunday Mary 7th, 1922 at 3 p.m. Pamphlet
Dartford War Memorial: Arrangements for unveiling. Pamphlet
http://www.ukniwm.org.uk, United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials

Dartford town war memorial of 1922 is a handsome monument to the First World War by Arthur Walker with an additional dedication to the fallen of the Second World War and Korean War. It has special interest for the quality of the bronze statue of the British Tommy and the clear historical significance of the monument to Dartford and its inhabitants.

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 30 November 2016.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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