History in Structure

8th London Howitzer Brigade War Memorial

A Grade II Listed Building in Greenwich, London

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Latitude: 51.4819 / 51°28'54"N

Longitude: 0.0756 / 0°4'32"E

OS Eastings: 544226

OS Northings: 177924

OS Grid: TQ442779

Mapcode National: GBR NK.CQW

Mapcode Global: VHHNR.80BT

Plus Code: 9F32F3JG+Q7

Entry Name: 8th London Howitzer Brigade War Memorial

Listing Date: 16 January 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1441884

ID on this website: 101441884

Location: Plumstead Common, Plumstead, Greenwich, London, SE18

County: London

District: Greenwich

Electoral Ward/Division: Woolwich Common

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Greenwich

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Plumstead St Mark with St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Southwark

Tagged with: War memorial

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First World War memorial, 1923, dedicated to the fallen of the 8th London Howitzer Brigade.


MATERIALS: Portland stone.

DESCRIPTION: the war memorial to the 8th London Howitzer Brigade is located on Plumstead Common. It consists of an altar-style memorial, said to convey the idea of sacrifice, with a stele rising from the back. The rear of the stone has a raised carving of a swastika, the brigade sign. The memorial is set upon a two-stepped base.

The memorial has a later incised inscription on the front face where a plaque was located. This reads: TO THE/ GLORIOUS MEMORY OF/ OUR FALLEN COMRADES/ OF THE 8TH LONDON/ HOWITZER BRIGADE/ R.F.A. T.F./ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE GREAT WAR OF/ 1914 TO 1918. The top step of the base is inscribed: THIS MEMORIAL/ IS ERECTED BY THEIR COMRADES AND FRIENDS.


The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across the country, both as a result of the huge impact the loss of three quarters of a million British lives had on communities and 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 Plumstead Common 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 erected in 1923 to the 105 men of the 8th London (Howitzer) Brigade RFA who lost their lives in the First World War. The corps was formed in 1859 and were first known as the 9th Kent Artillery Volunteers later being reconstituted into the 8th London (Howitzer) Brigade. The First Line was mobilised 5 August 1914.

The memorial was unveiled by Lieut-General Sir J F Noel Birch KCB, KCMG Director General of the TA and was dedicated by the Rev H A Hall CF, chaplain to the brigade. The memorial was created by Hoare and Sons and was sited not far from where the men were mobilised and trained. The drill hall and drill ground labelled on the 1916 Ordnance Survey map were located nearby to the north of the Plumstead Common immediately south of the corner of St Margaret's Terrace.

After the Second World War a bronze plaque was fixed to the front face of the memorial when it was decided also to commemorate the 65th and 118th Field Regiments of the Royal Artillery also. The plaque carried the list of the names of the fallen and was surmounted by the badge of the Brigade. It included two embossed figures standing either side of the list of names. The right hand figure was depicted holding a palm and symbolised Peace in mourning. The left hand figure held a torch turned downwards with the flame rising representing death and resurrection. Between the figure was an urn to represent the unity of purpose in life and the unity of death.

The plaque was lost sometime before 1990 and an inscription was inscribed into the stone memorial instead. The railings around the memorial have also been replaced. The memorial was cleaned in 1999.

Reasons for Listing

The 8th London Howitzer Brigade War Memorial 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 community, and the sacrifices it has made in the conflicts of the C20;
* Architectural interest: an elegant yet dignified memorial in Portland stone.

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