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Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regimental War Memorial

A Grade II* Listed Building in Kempston, Bedford

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.1248 / 52°7'29"N

Longitude: -0.4833 / 0°28'59"W

OS Eastings: 503931

OS Northings: 248470

OS Grid: TL039484

Mapcode National: GBR G24.QMM

Mapcode Global: VHFQ7.KVWJ

Entry Name: Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regimental War Memorial

Listing Date: 17 May 1984

Last Amended: 27 July 2017

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1114178

English Heritage Legacy ID: 36726

Location: Kempston, Bedford, MK42

County: Bedford

Civil Parish: Kempston

Built-Up Area: Kempston

Traditional County: Bedfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Bedfordshire

Church of England Parish: Kempston The Church of the Transfiguration

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

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Listing Text


TL 04NW KEMPSTON URBAN BEDFORD ROAD

2/89 Regimental War Memorial
-
- II

War memorial. 1920-21 and 1949-50, by George P. Allen F.R.I.B.A. Sited
opposite entrance to the Kempston Barracks of the Bedfordshire and
Hertfordshire Regiment. Originally erected to commemorate those of the
Regiment who fell in the 1914-18 war, later altered by the same architect to
commemorate those who fell in the 1939-45 war. Portland stone. Slate roof.
Neo-classical style. Small circular temple with domed roof, set into centre
of low semi-circular wall which terminates in square piers at roadside. 2
freestanding obelisks, between the piers, flanking view to temple. Temple:
cella wall has ionic plasters and round-headed niches flanking doorway with
moulded architrave. 2 Ionic columns to semi-cirular portico. Wall piers have
carved rectangular panels imitating form of classical military trophies but
including wreaths. LH obelisk, removed from original position, commemorates
dead of First World War. RH obelisk commemorates dead of Second World War.
The Bedfordshire Times and Standard, Nov 17th, 1950, p.8).


Listing NGR: TL0392948472


This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 16 January 2017.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Summary

War memorial. Erected 1920-21, after the First World War, to the design of the architect George Allen by the builder Samuel Foster of Kempston. Altered in 1950 when an obelisk was added to commemorate the fallen of the Second World War.

Description


War memorial. Erected 1920-21, after the First World War, to the design of the architect George Allen by the builder Samuel Foster of Kempston. Altered in 1950 when an obelisk was added to commemorate the fallen of the Second World War.

MATERIALS: Portland Stone ashlar obelisks, screen wall and temple, which also has bronze doors and a slate-covered dome.

PLAN: a circular memorial temple flanked by two obelisks in front and a concave screen wall behind.

DESCRIPTION: the memorial is situated on the north side of Bedford Road opposite the former Kempston Barracks. It is built in Neo-classical style as a symmetrical composition formed of a circular memorial temple flanked by two obelisks set in front and a low screen wall behind. The temple has a semi-circular portico comprising two ionic pilasters supporting a frieze, dentilled cornice and dome. On the frieze is the inscription: THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE. The roof of the dome is covered in slate and terminates in a finial with a gilded cross. Beneath the portico is a cella wall with two ionic pilasters and two niches either side of a central doorway with a moulded architrave and eight panelled bronze door. Internally it is lit by three stained glass windows of Jesus Christ, St Alban and St George. The floor is paved in three type of marble: Dove colour, pale Sienna and white Sicilian; there is a moulded and ribbed plaster ceiling. The roll of honour book rests on an oak altar. Flanking the temple is the concave screen wall, which has a stone bench set into it along the whole length. It terminates in a pier on each side, which have carved rectangular panels and two reliefs in a form to imitate classical military trophies. The left hand panel comprises: a rose and garland, Lewis gun, entrenching tool, a base plate for a trench mortar, a laurel wreath and four hand grenades, whilst that to the right has: a rose and garland, Vickers machine gun, entrenching pick axe, water bottle, haversack, laurel wreath, helmet and four hand grenades.

On the left of the temple is the First World War obelisk. It has a two-tiered stepped base, pedestal and a shaft decorated with a Sword of Sacrifice and the regimental badge carved in relief and surrounded by a laurel wreath. Between the badge and sword are inscribed the dates of the conflict: 1914 and 1919. On the front (south side) of the pedestal is the inscription: TO THE SACRED/ AND/ GLORIOUS MEMORY/ OF THE OFFICERS/ WARRANT OFFICERS/ NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS/ AND MEN OF THE/ BEDFORDSHIRE REGIMENT/ WHO FELL IN/ THE GREAT WAR/ THIS MONUMENT HAS BEEN ERECTED/ BY THEIR COMRADES AND FRIENDS/ OF THE REGIMENT.

On the east side of the pedestal is the inscription: THE NUMBER OF THOSE WHO/ FELL IN THE WAR OVERSEAS/ WHILE THEIR NAMES WERE/ ON THE ROLLS OF THE/ BEDFORDSHIRE REGIMENT/ WAS 366 OFFICERS AND/ 5745 OTHER RANKS, BUT/ THE ROLL OF HONOUR/ INCLUDES HUNDREDS MORE/ NAMES OF THOSE WHO HAVING/ SERVED IN THE REGIMENT/ DURING THE WAR WERE/ TRANSFERRED TO OTHER/ REGIMENTS IN WHICH THEY/ GAVE UP THEIR LIVES FOR KING/ AND COUNTRY/.

The west side is inscribed: THE BEDFORDSHIRE REGIMENT DURING THE GREAT WAR/ CONSISTED OF TWENTY-TWO UNITS, NAMELY/ 1ST BATTALION/ 2ND BATTALION/ 3RD RESERVE BATTALION/ 4TH EXTRA SPECIAL RESERVE BATTALION/ 5TH TERRITORIAL FORCE BATTALION/ 6TH SERVICE BATTALION/ 7TH SERVICE BATTALION/ 8TH SERVICE BATTALION/ 9TH SERVICE BATTALION/ 10TH SERVICE BATTALION/ THE BEDFORDSHIRE TRAINING DEPOT/ 2/5TH TERRITORIAL FORCE BATTALION/ 3/5TH TERRITORIAL FORCE BATTALION/ 1ST GARRISON (F.S.) BATTALION/ 2ND GARRISON (F.S.) BATTALION/ 3RD GARRISON (F.S.) BATTALION/ 11TH TERRITORIAL FORCE BATTALION/ 12TH TRANSPORT WORKS BATTALION/ 13TH TRANSPORT WORKS BATTALION/ 51ST GRADUATED BATTALION/ 52ND GRADUATED BATTALION/ 53RD YOUNG SOLDIERS’ BATTALION/.

The names and dates of the battles and operations in which the regiment were engaged are carved into three sides of the obelisk.

On the east side: 1914/ MONS/ LE CATEAU/ THE MARNE/ THE AISNE/ LA BASSEE/ MESSINES/ ARMENTIERES/ YPRES/ 1915 NEUVE CHAPELLE/ HILL 60/ AUBERS RIDGE/ FESTUBERT/ GIVENCHY/ YPRES/ LOOS/ SULVA BAY/ ANZAC. On the west side: 1916/ THE SOMME/ MONTAUBAN/ LONGUEVAL/ TRONES WOOD/ THIEPVAL RIDGE/ THE ANCRE/ SCHWABEN REDOUBT/ SINAI PENINSULA/ 1917/ ARRAS/ MESSINES/ YPRES/ CAMBRAI/ UMBRELLA HILL/ GAZA/ JAFFA. On the north side: 1918/ THE SOMME/ THE LYS/ AMIENS/ ARRAS/ HINDENBURG LINE/ THE SELLE/ MEGIDDO.

On the right of the temple is the Second World War obelisk. It matches the design of the adjacent obelisk with a stepped base, pedestal and a shaft decorated with a Sword of Sacrifice and regimental badge. Between the badge and sword are inscribed the dates of the conflict: 1939 and 1945. On the front (south side) of the pedestal is the inscription: TO THE SACRED/ AND/ GLORIOUS MEMORY/ OF THE OFFICERS WARRANT OFFICERS/ NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICERS AND MEN/ OF THE BEDFORDSHIRE AND/ HERTFORDSHIRE REGIMENT AND/ THE HERTFORDSHIRE REGIMENT/ WHO DIED IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR/ THIS MONUMENT HAS BEEN ERECTED BY/ THEIR COMRADES AND / BY THE MEN AND/ WOMEN LIVING IN THE COUNTIES OF / BEDFORDSHIRE AND HERTFORDSHIRE.

The west side is inscribed: THE NUMBER OF THOSE WHO/ WERE KILLED IN ACTION/ OR WHO DIED OF TERRIBLE/ PRIVATIONS IN ENEMY HANDS/ WAS 1074 ALL RANKS.

The names and dates of the battles and operations in which the regiment were engaged are carved into two sides of the obelisk.

On the west side: DUNKIRK 1940/ N. W. EUROPE 1940/ TOBRUK 1941/ TOBRUK SORTIE/ BELHAMED/ TUNIS/ NORTH AFRICA 1941-43/ CASSINO II/ TRASIMENE LINE/ ITALY 1944-45/ ATHENS/ GREECE 1944-45/ SINGAPORE ISLAND/ MALAYA 1942/ CHINDITS 1944/ BURMA 1944. On the east side: NORMANDY LANDING/ N.W. EUROPE 1944/ MONTOR SOLI/ GOTHIC LINE/ MONTE GAMBERALDI/ MONTE CECO/ MONTE GRANDE/ ITALY 1944-45.

On the plinth below is a list of battalions of the regiment during the Second World War: THE BEDFORD AND HERTFORDSHIRE REGIMENT/ 1ST BATTALION/ 2ND BATTALION/ 5TH BATTALION (TERRITORIAL ARMY)/ 6TH BATTALION (TERRITORIAL ARMY)/ 7TH BATTALION/ 8TH BATTALION (BECAME 14TH BEDS. AND HERTS. MEDIUM REGT. R. A.)/ 9TH BATTALION/ 30TH BATTALION/ 70TH BATTALION/ 71ST BATTALION/ HERTFORDSHIRE REGIMENT./ 1ST BATTALION (TERRITORIAL ARMY)/ 2ND BATTALION (TERRITORIAL ARMY).

On the north side of the obelisk is the inscription: UNVEILED BY/ HER MAJESTY/ QUEEN ELIZABETH/ COLONEL IN CHIEF OF THE REGIMENT/ ON/ 11TH NOVEMBER 1950.

History

The aftermath of the First World War saw an unprecedented wave of public commemoration with tens of thousands of memorials erected across the country, both as a result of the huge impact the loss of three quarters of a million British lives had on communities and the official policy of not repatriating the dead, which meant that the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss. One such memorial was raised at Kempston, Bedfordshire, as permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment.

The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment was an infantry regiment of the British Army. It can trace its origins back to 1688. In that year it was raised as ‘Archibald Douglas’ Regiment of Foot’ by order of King James II during heightened tensions with William of Orange. The regiment was ordered to London to fight William’s forces (who had been invited by British political and religious leaders) but refused. James II fled the country and the Dutch Prince of Orange became King William III, joint sovereign with his spouse Queen Mary II. The regiment’s first county association was with Buckinghamshire. In 1809 this changed to Bedfordshire, the unit becoming officially known as The Bedfordshire Regiment in 1881. During the First World War, it saw extensive action from Mons onwards; a total of 22 battalions were raised during the war. In 1919 the regiment was renamed The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, in recognition of the Hertfordshire men who had served during the conflict. In 1958 the British Army was reduced in size and the regiment was merged with the Essex Regiment to form the 3rd East Anglian Regiment. In 1964 it merged with three other regiments to form The Royal Anglian Regiment.

A successful appeal for funds and subscriptions towards a regimental memorial was made in 1921, with a leaflet circulated to this effect. The site for the war memorial, opposite the Kempston Barracks, was given by Mr and Mrs Harold Howard of Kempston Grange, in memory of their son, Lieutenant Addison J Howard, who died whilst serving with the regiment on the Somme in 1916. They also gave the Grange and its grounds for use as a park by the people of Kempston at a later date. The memorial was designed by the local architect George P Allen as a circular ‘shrine’ or temple with a domed roof supported by columns, flanked by a curved screen wall containing benches, with a single obelisk in front of it. Relief panels were carved on piers at each end of the screen wall, designed to imitate classical military trophies. These carvings are similar to those in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery at Louverval, France, which were the work of the sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger, who also designed the Bedford Peace Memorial. Held within the temple would be a roll of honour, illuminated and bound in red Morocco leather, listing all those who had lost their lives in the conflict (the book was later placed at Warley Barracks for safe keeping). The builder was Samuel Foster of Kempston and the foreman was Mr S. Ball.

The memorial was unveiled during a service on 11th November 1921. A guard of honour and relatives of the fallen gathered around the memorial. The ceremony commenced with the hymn ‘O God our Help in Ages past’ before the unveiling by Mrs Whitbread, wife of the Lord Lieutenant for Bedfordshire, Samuel Whitbread. It was followed by the sounding of the Last Post and the singing of the National Anthem. The Bishop of St Albans performed the dedication.

Another obelisk, designed by the same architect, was added in 1950 to commemorate the 1074 men who died whilst serving with the regiment during the Second World War. The existing obelisk was moved so that both obelisks flanked the circular temple in a symmetrical composition. The new obelisk was unveiled on 11th November 1950 in a ceremony attended by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother as Colonel in Chief of the regiment, and dedicated by the Bishop of St Albans. Behind the memorial is a garden of remembrance.

Reasons for Listing

The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regimental War Memorial, erected in 1920-21 at Kempston, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Historic interest: as a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment during the First and Second World Wars;

* Architectural interest: an elegant and impressive Neo-classical composition formed of a circular memorial temple flanked by obelisks and a concave screen wall;

* Sculptural interest: for the finely crafted obelisks and the unusual relief panels that are carved with First World War weaponry and equipment in a form to imitate classical trophies;

* Materials: a well-constructed memorial in high quality materials such as Portland Stone ashlar, Dove colour, pale Sienna and white Sicilian marble, and bronze;

* Group value: for the strong visual relationship and group value with the adjacent Grade II listed former regimental ‘keep’, built in 1876 as a secure armoury, store, guardhouse, lock up, quarters and entrance block to the regimental barracks.

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