War memorials can be researched from various angles: military, social, and family history, and also as artistic objects. The memorials can take the form of the traditional cross in the churchyard or town square, a commemorative plaque or window, or a more practical memorial, and Andover has examples of all of these.
Newspapers are useful sources for those researching war memorials, but it is helpful to have a date to avoid a long search. Local newspapers will probably give details of dedication and unveiling ceremonies, perhaps with lists of names of those on the memorial and possibly those attending the ceremony, sometimes with photographs of the fallen.
Andover’s cenotaph is similar in design to the Cenotaph in Whitehall. It was originally located in the Market Place, in front of the Guildhall, but is now in the Garden of Remembrance in St Mary’s churchyard. It was originally unveiled on Wednesday 5th May 1920, which was quite promptly after the end of the Great War in comparison with some towns and villages.
A programme for the unveiling and dedication ceremony is in the archive here at Hampshire Record Office. The memorial was unveiled by Major-General the Rt Hon J E B Seeley, Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire. The programme includes a roll of the dead, and the service of dedication included the recitation of the names. The dates of the Great War were given as 1914 to 1920, to include the fighting in Russia 1918 – 1920.
Gen Seeley inspected the Guard of Honour, while the mayor, clergy, ministers and committee assembled in the Corn Exchange. Heralded by a fanfare from the trumpeters of the 4th Dragoon Guards, they set off in procession to the monument. The town band played the Dead March in Saul.
The Council had originally planned to erect a tablet in the Guildhall, similar to the Boer War Memorial, but a more public memorial was agreed on, funded by public subscription. It was moved to St Mary’s churchyard to form a garden of remembrance in 1956. Further names were added to the same memorial after the Second World War.
Not all of the men from Andover who died in the First World War are listed on the memorial, and conversely it also includes the names of men who weren’t born in Andover. A similar feature is highlighted by the county roll of honour in Suffolk for those killed in the Great War. This is a result of how the lists of names for war memorials were compiled at the time.
As well as war memorials outdoors in town squares, a community may also have other memorials, perhaps in the local church. Parochial Church Council (PCC) minutes can be useful sources for information on these. Unfortunately, there is no mention of war memorials in St Mary’s PCC minutes from 1918 – 1926.
Faculties are good sources for information about church war memorials, giving details of their funding and erection, sometimes with lists of names and even service details of those to be included on them. Unfortunately, we have no faculties for war memorials for Andover St Mary’s.
Parish or deanery magazines may give monthly progress reports on appeals for funding for memorials. No magazines from St Mary’s have been deposited with Hampshire Archives and Local Studies for the Great War years.
The PCC minutes from St Mary’s are more informative after the Second World War. Those for 16th January 1951 show discussion about arrangements for the unveiling of the new memorial chapel. Earlier mentions of the chapel in the PCC minutes include a donation of £1000 given at the disbursement of the profits of the Services Canteen, and Mr Bleching, who may have been an architect or Diocesan official, turning down the window plans.
The date of the dedication isn’t given in the PCC minutes, so I searched the service register. Other parish records such as this can help with details about church war memorials. Andover St Mary’s register of services for 2nd July 1951 shows the entry for the dedication of the memorial chapel. This later date for the ceremony is explained in an entry in the PCC minutes for 12th February, which states that Messrs Whipples of Exeter, presumably the contractors, could not be ready in time for the date planned for completion.
The costs of the memorial chapel are given in the PCC minutes. All accounts were paid by the PCC meeting of 10th August 1951, when it was stated that leaves in the Book of Remembrance should be turned daily.
Today, the memorial chapel in the north transept includes the war memorial board from New Street Mission Room, and the Book of Remembrance, which covers both World Wars. An RAF standard is on the opposite side of the church, with a commemorative plaque.
Andover cemetery is dotted with Commonwealth War Graves, not only those in a cluster by the stone cross. They date from the First World War through to 1974 and represent a wide range of nationalities and types of servicemen and women. The cemetery register includes two pilot officers in the RAF, a pilot officer from the Polish Air Force, and three unknown German airmen who died in Abbotts Ann, presumably a plane crash.
Andover also has its War Memorial Hospital, paid for by public subscription, but this would make a subject for a blog of its own.
I hope this gives you a flavour of the types of war memorial, and a few examples of the wide range of archive sources which shed light on them, if you would like to find out more about your local war memorial, more than 100 years after the end of the First World War.