Tadley War Memorial

Tadley War Memorial

The first war memorials, listing the names of those who died, date back to the Crimean War (1853-56); today there are estimated to be over 100,000 in the UK. After World War I many memorials, plaques and boards in churches, chapels and halls were erected by public subscription as focal points for memorial services. The war dead of the parish are listed on the memorial, often in alphabetical order and showing their military rank. The names of those who died in World War II have in most cases been added to the same memorial at a later date.

Tadley War Memorial

Tadley Schools in about 1911, with the flagstaff clearly visible in front of the building.

Unfortunately, no record has to date been found relating to the inception of the Tadley War Memorial project. It is presumed that, as in other villages, a committee was set up, but no reference to one has been found in parish council records between 1918 and 1929. The earliest reference to a memorial in Tadley found so far is in The Hants and Berks Gazette for 26 July 1919, when a report on Tadley’s peace celebrations, held on 19 July 1919, stated that: “A notable feature of the proceedings was the placing of a temporary memorial cross under the flagstaff in front of the Schools to those who have made the great sacrifice.”. A later report in the same paper on 18 November 1922 reported: “The 10th Tadley Troop of Boy Scouts paraded to St Saviour’s Church on Sunday last… After the service the troop paraded in front of the Memorial Cross in the school yard…”. This is believed to have been a temporary wooden cross stored at the school.

It is thought that Tadley’s war memorial was made by a local builder, George Naish from Pamber Heath. The War Memorials Trust works for the protection and conservation of memorials but the responsibility for maintenance usually falls to local authorities, as laid down in the War Memorials (Local Authorities’ Powers) Act 1923.

Tadley War Memorial

A view of the memorial in its original location surrounded by open land.

Tadley War Memorial

A well attended Armistice Day service in the 1930s, clearly showing the original location of the war memorial, directly opposite ‘The New Inn’ and what is now known as Rowan Road.

Originally, the memorial listed 30 men from the locality who died during World War I. Of these, three are recorded as having been awarded gallantry medals for outstanding service. In addition, after World War II, the names of those who had died in that conflict were added to the same memorial. In 2011 the name of Frederick Nash (who died on 19 May 1918) was added; there followed a Service of Dedication at St Paul’s Church on 24 July 2011. The memorial does not include names from more recent conflicts; for example Korea, Malaya, Oman, Northern Ireland, Falklands, Gulf War (Kuwait), Bosnia and Gulf War (Iraq).

Tadley War Memorial

The unceremonious journey of the memorial in 1963.

The memorial has, over the years, had three different locations. It was originally located on the western side of Mulfords Hill/Tadley Hill, opposite what is now known as Rowan Road. With the postwar increase in traffic through Tadley and proposed road widening schemes it was decided to relocate the memorial. In 1963 it was unceremoniously transferred on the front of a Chaseside mechanical digger to the front of Tadley Memorial Hall on The Green. In 1967 the memorial was moved again to its present location in the grounds of St Paul’s Church which had recently been built nearby on the other side of The Green.

Today there is a memorial garden with a commemorative stone cross located near Hicks Close, just north of New Road. Established by Heath End Gardening Club, it marks the approximate site of the original memorial.

Tadley War Memorial

Tadley memorial garden.

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Page updated: Wednesday 16 August 2016.
Review date: 31 December 2016.