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Latitude: 50.551 / 50°33'3"N
Longitude: -3.9952 / 3°59'42"W
OS Eastings: 258746
OS Northings: 74258
OS Grid: SX587742
Mapcode National: GBR Q2.VRK3
Mapcode Global: FRA 27JL.TLZ
Plus Code: 9C2RH223+9W
Entry Name: H M Prison Dartmoor: Obelisk in the French Prisoner of War Cemetery
Listing Date: 18 April 2016
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1427527
Location: Dartmoor Forest, West Devon, Devon, PL20
Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest
Built-Up Area: Princetown
Traditional County: Devon
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon
A memorial erected in c1866-8 commemorating the French soldiers who died at Dartmoor Prison where they were held as prisoners of war during the Napoleonic Wars of 1809-1816.
A memorial erected in c1866-8 commemorating the French prisoners of war who died at Dartmoor Prison during the Napoleonic Wars of 1809-1816.
MATERIALS: Dartmoor granite.
DESCRIPTION: a memorial in the shape of an obelisk set on a raised horse-shoe shaped base. Formerly, as shown on a photograph of the memorial of c1900, the obelisk stood on a granite stone rubble base forming a rockery planted with ferns.
Underneath a bronze emblem of an eagle at the top of the obelisk, is the following inscription: 'IN - MEMORY- OF THE - FRENCH - PRISONERS - OF WAR - WHO DIED - BETWEEN THE - YEARS - 1809 & 1814 - AND LIE - BURIED HERE - DULCE ET - DECORUM EST - PRO PATRIA - MORI'
Underneath is a small bronze plaque added in 2009 on the occasion of the bicentenary of the first French prisoner of war arriving at Dartmoor Prison, reading: '24 MAI - 1809-2009 - HOMMAGE - A VOUS - SOLDATS ET MARINS - DE L'EMPIRE - QUI AVEZ, CHANCUN - PAR VOTRE HISTOIRE - MARQUE LA - GRANDE HISTOIRE - DE NOTRE EUROPE'.
This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Online. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 23 November 2017.
During the Napoleonic Wars of 1809-1816 and the Anglo-American War of 1812-16, 271 American and around 1200 French soldiers died at Dartmoor Prison where they were held as prisoners of war. They were buried in unmarked graves in a field immediately west of the prison outside the prison walls. In the early 1860s, in response to reports that during ploughing of the field human remains regularly came to the surface, the Governor of Dartmoor Prison decided to create two burial grounds east of the prison, outside the prison walls, one for the French and one for American prisoners of war. The human remains were exhumed, divided into two parts and then reburied. The convicts of Dartmoor Prison (by then a civic prison) made a commemorative obelisk for each burial ground.
In 2002 the obelisks to both cemeteries were restored by Dartmoor Prison. On 24 May 2009, on the occasion of the bicentenary of the first French prisoners of war transferring from the Plymouth hulks to Dartmoor Prison, a ceremony was held at the French Cemetery attended by descendents of the prisoners of war and French dignitaries.
The Obelisk at the French Prisoner of War Cemetery, H M Prison Dartmoor, erected in 1866-8 by prisoners of Dartmoor Prison (by then a civic prison), is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Artistic interest: despite its modest design, it is of good quality reflecting its function as a commemorative structure, and having been hand-carved by prisoners of Dartmoor Prison, adds further to its interest and poignancy;
* Historic interest: it is an important and rare example of a monument commemorating the French prisoners of war who lost their lives at Dartmoor Prison during the Napoleonic Wars;
* Group value: it forms an important focal point within the cemetery, and has important group value with the adjacent American Prisoner of War Cemetery laid out together as a matching pair, and with Dartmoor Prison.
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