Unveiling the Memorial - Programme
is below the image)
with thanks to Marilyn Friend
The following notes may explain the reasons for the Committee’s
decision as to the type of Monument to erect in Dover.
The function of War Memorials may be said to be twofold.
Primarily they are the result of the desire felt by most of us
to record, in some fitting and permanent way, the gratitude we
feel towards those who nobly sacrificed their all to save our
Country from becoming the vassal of a foreign power; but also
our wish to acknowledge and show our sympathy toward those who
suffered, and do still, so terribly, from a sense of personal
Few of us wish to perpetuate, by monuments, the joy of victory,
for its own sake – the extent of victory is, and will be, felt
by all, now and hereafter; and since this war was one of
aggression on the part of the enemy, its cessation by our effort
is our reward.
By creating and erecting a permanent Memorial, we consciously or
unconsciously record the character of our intention.
Whether we wish it so or not, the result will speak to and
influence the young and those of the generations that follow, it
is for us, therefore, to very carefully consider the real
meaning of our message to them.
On the one hand the employment of mere masses of masonry and
metal alone are rather pagan methods, and apt to show a lack of
The young may be impressed for a moment by their size or
costliness, or memories of suffering may be awakened in the
minds of the present generation.
Realistic armed effigies, however efficiently done, be they
either used singly or in groups, may illustrate, more or less,
the style of dress worn by combatants, etc., and the types of
engines of war, or other means of destruction or succour used in
These will undoubtedly familiarise the mind of the young with
such things, and possibly excite the desire to create more
deadly ones, or the means of curing the evils resulting from
Records of this kind can probably be more accurately and
economically preserved by illustrative paintings and writings in
history books, etc.
On the other hand, a simple symbolic monument, placed in the
midst of the busy throng of everyday life, may speak to us with
the still small voice of love of duty and self-sacrifice,
reminding us of the choice each individual born amongst us must
make for himself.
The noble example of self-sacrifice the monument commemorates,
may help us to realise that the virtue of our lives be according
to how freely we are willing to give them for our fellow-men
without thought of reward, except that which we shall know in
Having in view the character of the site available, with its
interesting background of Maison Dieu House, and also the
opportunity which presented itself of providing a pleasant open
space of green grass immediately adjoining the Municipal
buildings and main thoroughfare, the Committee very wisely
adopted a treatment which would secure this and at the same time
afford a charming setting for the Memorial in the heart of the
It will be obvious that in designing for such a site, it was
essential that the Monument be of a rather low and spreading
form than vertical in mass, which would have been likely to
dwarf the interesting old Elizabethan building and give the
appearance of being set in too confined a space to give it its
The appearance of the whole work is of a broad and simple
character, and while being extremely permanent and massive has
been designed with granite kerbing surrounding and enclosing the
grass, so that one feels not only the Monument itself, but every
inch of the site is one complete Memorial.
The Monument consists of a central pedestal and two low wing
walls mounted on a plinth some 18 in. in height – the whole
forming a solid base of grey Cornish granite some 15 ft. in
length, approached on either side by paved paths running
parallel to the roadway.
About 14 ft. of grass separating these approach paths and the
Monument from the street pavement.
A bronze Roll of Honour, 14 ft. in length, containing some 700
names, modelled in bold relief, so as to be easily read, is
mounted on the flanking walls on either side of the main central
granite die which bears the inscription, in bronze letters:-
glorious memory of the men of Dover who gave their
lives for the Country in the Great War – 1914-1919”
Surmounting the inscription are the arms of the Borough in
A richly modelled wreath of laurel is placed on either side.
The central symbolic feature of bronze is a life-sized figure of
Youth reaching to grasp a flaming cross, while at his feet is a
tangled mass of thorns, representing the difficulties in the
path of life.
His hand enveloped in flames, symbolic of suffering that may
destroy the body, but cannot harm the spirit.
An interesting and novel method of obviating the use of
unsightly receptacles to contain flowers, so often seen, has
been introduced in the form of 6 bronze vessels sunk into the
granite at intervals immediately below the Roll of Honour and
forming an integral part of the design.
with thanks to PanHandle for the transcription