Jones seeking memorial for the fallen in conflicts since 1945

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the first Remembrance Day services, staged at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1919. Inevitably, much of the focus of such ceremonials is on those who fought and died in the 20th Century’s two world wars.

The Croydon Cenotaph on Sunday: badly stained and neglected by the council

But now Sarah Jones is campaigning to commemorate, by name, all those from Croydon who have died in service since the end of the Second World War in 1945.

“The loss of life across two world wars was devastating, but it is important to remember that over the last half-century brave members of our community have fought and died so that we can continue to be safe,” said Jones, who has been MP for Croydon Central since 2017. “They deserve to be honoured just as highly.”

Jones might do well to use her influence to get the council’s chief executive to get out a steel brush and some detergent to clean up the Croydon war memorial outside the Town Hall. During ceremonies on Sunday, the Croydon Cenotaph, a Grade II-listed memorial, was looking badly stained and neglected, with moss growing on what is supposed to be white stone.

The Croydon Cenotaph is an unusual war memorial in that it was intended to commemorate all the victims of war, whether those in the military or those who died on the home front.

The memorial was unveiled in October 1921, designed in Portland stone by James Burford, and it was updated after the Second World War and again in 1997. It is framed by bronze statues of seated figures by Paul Raphael Montford, one depicting a wounded soldier from the East Surrey Regiment, the other a widow holding her child.

It includes the words, “A tribute to the men and women of Croydon who died and suffered.”

The further inscription, “And in memory of those who lost their lives in wars and conflicts since”, was added 22 years ago.

Sarah Jones: wants a memorial for all those from Croydon who have died in combat since 1945

Jones now wants to go further. A stone of remembrance in Croydon Cemetery memorialises “those who died in the service of their country since 1945” but does not currently include names.

She has begun an appeal for information from the Croydon community to help build a complete list of Croydon’s fallen war heroes killed since 1945.

The roll of honour from 1914 to 1918 and 1939 to 1945 is held in Croydon Central Library.

A list secured by Jones from the Ministry of Defence indicates 24 service personnel killed in action were originally born in Croydon. This list does not include those who were born outside Croydon, but lived the majority of their lives in the area.

The appeal aims to make contact with family members and descendants of Army, Navy and Air Force servicemen and women. Jones is asking anyone with information to submit it online at www.sarah-jones.org/fallenheroes.

Jones hopes to secure the backing of local organisations including the Croydon branch of the Royal British Legion and local cadets groups.

The list of Croydon’s fallen since 1945, obtained from the MoD, only includes those who were born in the town

As Croydon Central’s MP from 2017, Jones worked with the family of Danny Simpson, who died while serving in Afghanistan, to help their campaign for a commemorative military plaque in Croydon Cemetery.

Speaking yesterday, Jones said, “Today we remembered those from our community who lost their lives in service. Commemorating those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country is a powerful reminder of the importance of the freedom we all enjoy, the freedom they gave their lives for.

“The loss of life across two world wars was devastating, but it is important to remember that over the last half century brave members of our community have fought and died so that we can continue to be safe. They deserve to be honoured just as highly.

“Our first task is in seeking a comprehensive list of the names of Croydon’s fallen heroes.

“I hope our community can pull together and raise awareness of this campaign, and that by next year’s Remembrance Day their names are suitably commemorated.”


About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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3 Responses to Jones seeking memorial for the fallen in conflicts since 1945

  1. Stephen Pollard says:

    I have noticed for some long time now that the war memorial outside the Town Hall is looking in a very poor state. Just a decent clean with heavy duty stone cleaner and a high pressure jet washer would make a major difference This should be done on a yearly basis before Remembrance Sunday as just a small extra token of respect to the brave fallen men and women of Croydon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. #plimsoll line# says:

    Those listed in the article up until end of 1953 will either have a Commonwealth War Graves Commission grave or be buried in a United Nations cemetery if they died in the Korean conflict. Those graves will be well maintained; the neglected ones will more likely be the isolated individual graves in local church Cemetery in this country.
    The point of Remembrance Sunday is to remember those that died, not those that served. This is why the names of seventy-seven civilians are recorded by CWGC at Purley and Coulsdon Memorial – many of whom would have been killed in air rais.
    It is not about bravery or heroism, but about those that didn’t make it.
    There is already an online Roll of Honour for various areas across the country to which names can be appended and details submitted of how a casualty occurred. However, collectively when we remember we shouldn’t be heroising, but sadly recalling those whose lives were cut short by war or conflict – not because they fought but because they died.

    Like

  3. croydonres says:

    Respecting the supreme sacrifice of those who died, would it also not be right to widen the scope of the memorial , to remember all Croydon Service people — and maybe, all Croydon Citizens — who died or were injured in all conflicts? With Korea, The Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan, the geography of wars involving the UK since WW1 has sadly been even more extensive than in the two World Wars.

    Also, for every person who died in the service of the country– there are many more who were wounded, and many subsequently disabled, or afflicted by mental health problems since serving. In many cases, their lives have been cut short or severely affected for the rest of their lives.

    Should a war memorial for our times acknowledge the long-term suffering of all these people too ?

    I think so.

    Around 1990, I had the great privilege of working out the wording for the inscription on a new war memorial in Downham, near Catford. My colleague , a fellow landscape architect, designed a simple block of Portland stone surmounted by a cast in bronze of a real WW1 helmet worn by a British “Tommy”.

    We thought long and very hard about suitable wording.

    The wording is ” In memory of service men and women and people of Downham who gave their lives in all conflicts. We will remember them”.

    The local branch of the British Legion approved these words. Nice that they endorsed the idea of remembering the service people, and others in the Downham community, who lost their lives.

    If I were doing this now I would be inclined to say “who died or were injured ” .

    Like

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