War Dead Cemeteries
CHATHAM NAVAL MEMORIAL
||Chatham, Kent, U.K.
||First & Second World War
Overlooking the town of Chatham in Kent is the Chatham Naval Memorial. It commemorates more than 8,500 Royal Navy personnel of the First World War and over 10,000 of the Second World War who were lost or buried at sea.
More than 45,000 men and women lost their lives while serving with the Royal Navy during the First World War. After the Armistice, the naval authorities and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission were determined to find an appropriate way to commemorate naval personnel who had no grave.
From the Brompton Barracks Chatham - At the traffic signals turn right onto Globe Lane - A231 (signposted 'Historic Dockyards'). Keep in left hand lane then turn left onto Dock Road (signposted Gillingham). At roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Wood Street - A231 (signposted Gillingham). Turn Right on Mansion Row (The memorial is signposted from here), then 1st left on Sally Port Gardens and finally 1st right on King's Bastion. Follow road through the housing estate, the car park to the memorial is at the end of this road. The Memorial overlooks the town of Chatham and is approached by a steep path from the Town Hall Gardens. A copy of the Memorial Register is kept in the Naval Chapel of Brompton Garrison Church and may be consulted there. The keys to the church are held at the Gate House, which is always manned. Copies of the Memorial Register may also be consulted at: Chatham Library - Tel: 01634 337799 Medway Archives & Local Studies Centre - Tel: 01634 332714.
Public access is limited to the hours of 08:30 to 17:00. Should for any reason the Memorial be closed during the stated hours, contact the Guard Room at Brompton Barracks on 01634 822442. A Visitor Information Panel has been installed to provide information about the war casualties commemorated here. This is one of many panels being erected to help raise awareness of First and Second World War casualties in the UK.
After the First World War, an appropriate way had to be found of commemorating those members of the Royal Navy who had no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided.
An Admiralty committee recommended that the three manning ports in Great Britain - Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth - should each have an identical memorial of unmistakable naval form, an obelisk, which would serve as a leading mark for shipping.
The memorial was unveiled by The Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII, on 26 April 1924.
After the Second World War it was decided that the naval memorials should be extended to provide space for commemorating the naval dead without graves of that war, but since the three sites were dissimilar, a different architectural treatment was required for each.
The extension was unveiled by the Duke of Edinburgh on 15 October 1952.
Of the three memorials, Chatham's is the only one sited on a hill, making it visible over a wide area.
Among those commemorated at Chatham are most of the crews of HMS Natal and HMS Vanguard who lost their lives when these ships were destroyed by internal explosions in 1915 and 1917.
In 2016, a commemoration service was held at the memorial to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland. The Battle of Jutland, which began on 31 May 1916, was the only major naval battle of the First World War.
Our dead commemorated here (click name to view):
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from information supplied by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. www.cwgc.org.
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