Description: Swanley War Memorial
Date Listed: 5 November 2007
English Heritage Building ID: 503004
OS Grid Reference: TQ5121568746
OS Grid Coordinates: 551215, 168746
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3976, 0.1723
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994/0/10026 ST MARY'S ROAD
05-NOV-07 SWANLEY WAR MEMORIAL
War Memorial. Portland stone with bronze sculpture and plaques designed by the sculptor Louis Frederick Roslyn. 1922.
DESCRIPTION: The allegorical bronze statue of 'The Spirit of Sacrifice' (according to an article in the local paper after the dedication), by the sculptor Louis Frederick Roslyn of South Kensington, is a draped, winged, female figure standing on a globe. She holds a laurel wreath in her right hand and a downward pointing sword, grasped by the blade, in her out-stretched left hand. The statue is mounted atop a tall Portland stone obelisk which rises from a square plinth with a two step square base. Inscribed on the east face of the obelisk is the following inscription: TO THE / GLORY OF GOD / AND IN GRATEFUL / MEMORY OF THE / MEN OF / SWANLEY / WHO/ LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES / IN THE / GREAT WAR / 1914-1918. Below this inscription is a bronze wreath and below this a bronze tablet stating: AMONG THE NAMES RECORDED HERE IS THAT / OF STAFF PAYMASTER JOSEPH T. GEDGE. THE FIRST / BRITISH OFFICER TO FALL IN THE GREAT WAR. / KILLED ON H.M.S. AMPHION AUGUST . 6 . 1914. Added below this plaque, on the plinth of the memorial, is a bronze plaque with the inscription: IN THE MEMORY OF THE MEN OF SWANLEY PARISH / WHO DIED ON ACTIVE SERVICE / WORLD WAR II 1939-1945 followed by the 28 names of the fallen. On the north and south faces of the obelisk are two identical large, wreath-topped, plaques recalling, in relief, the 104 names of the fallen in two columns.
HISTORY: The Swanley War Memorial was paid for by public subscription and unveiled at Swanley Cross (350m south-east of its present location) in March 1922. The sculpture was designed by L F Roslyn who had designed several war memorials including one at The Slopes, Buxton, a model of which had been exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1919. The 'Observer and District Times' of 10th March 1922 commented that since the memorial recorded Staff-Paymaster Joseph Gedge, of Swanley, killed in action on August 6th 1914, when HMS Amphion was sunk in the Thames Estuary and the first British officer killed in action in World War I, it was, in a sense, unique. The memorial was moved to its current location and rededicated on 26th October 1980.
The war memorial at Swanley is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* As an eloquent witness to the impact of tragic world events on this relatively small Kentish town
* For the high quality bronze statue by the London sculptor L F Roslyn who designed many war memorials
* For the local and national historic interest as a memorial to the death of Staff Paymaster Joseph T Geddes, the first British officer to be killed in action in World War I
Observer and District Times, 10 March 1922
United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials Ref: 1149
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.