Upwell and Walsoken war memorials listed by British Heritage

Upwell War Memorial.

Upwell War Memorial. - Credit: Archant

Two war memorials have been listed by English Heritage as moving reminders of the great sacrifices made in past conflicts and for their architectural beauty.

Walsoken War Memorial.

Walsoken War Memorial. - Credit: Archant

Other war memorials across the Fens could also be line for listing after the Culture Secretary announced up to 2,500 memorials will be listed in the next five years.

Upwell War Memorial is thought to have been carved by a local apprentice stonemason, William Gray, and erected in 1922.

It is made of stone and consists of an angel raised on three steps above a tall, tapered, square pedestal surmounting a stepped plinth and base.

Upwell Parish Council chairman Prue Lester said: “There was a huge amount of people who gathered at the memorial for Remembrance Sunday, which demonstrated that it matters greatly to the community.

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“We are very pleased that it has been Grade II listed and are about to embark on a restoration process, including the repair of the angel’s hand, which we hope will be completed in time for the centenary of the First World War next year.

“It is one of the centrepieces of the village and a much loved feature.”

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Walsoken’s War Memorial, in the Church of All Saints’ graveyard, was erected by public subscription following the First World War.

The memorial, which lists the names of 140 war casualties, was unveiled by former King’s Lynn MP Captain Jodrell in 1921.

It has a panel added after the Second World War to commemorate six casualties, four of whom died in Japanese prisoner of war camps.

The memorial is made of red granite and consists of the statue of a soldier carrying a rifle, facing forward but with his body turned to one side, raised above a tall, slightly tapered, square section pedestal.

It was vandalised 15 years ago, with the end of the rifle being broken off, but has been repaired and is in good condition.

Less than 10 per cent of free-standing war memorials are listed, something culture secretary Maria Miller is keen to change.

She is calling on the public to nominate their local memorials to be considered for listing.

Mrs Miller said: “This centenary comes at a point where living memory becomes written history, so it is absolutely essential that our work to mark it speaks clearly to young people in particular.

“War memorials are a precious part of our heritage that keeps alive the ultimate sacrifice that so many made.

“Whether we have relatives whose names are on local memorials, or who fought alongside those who died, we all have a connection with remembrance.

“I would urge everyone to make sure their local memorial is in good condition.

“If it isn’t, then English Heritage, the War Memorials Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund all have grants and advice available. “English Heritage will be working with the War Memorials Trust and others to ensure that all war memorials are properly recognised and cared for, and encouraging volunteers to get more involved than ever before in the designation process.”

Roger Bowdler, designation director at English Heritage, said: “Researching, recording and recommending up to 2,500 more war memorials for listing over the next five years is a major task but one that English Heritage is proud to undertake.

“These memorials will gain a place on the National Heritage List for England to tell the story of this country’s sacrifice and struggle.”

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