Visiting the Cenotaph
The Cenotaph in the Guildhall Square is accessible at all times.
ERECTED BY THE
PEOPLE OF PORTSMOUTH
IN PROUD AND LOVING
MEMORY OF THOSE
WHO IN THE GLORIOUS
MORNING OF THEIR DAYS
FOR ENGLANDS SAKE LOST
ALL BUT ENGLANDS PRAISE
MAY LIGHT PERPETUAL
SHINE UPON THEM
The names recorded on the WW1 Memorial are available on separate pages as follows:-
NOTE: Photos of the panels are available via links at the bottom of each page.
Inscription (South Gunner Plaque)
THIS WAR MEMORIAL WAS UNVEILED BY
FIELD-MARSHAL HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS
THE DUKE OF CONNAUGHT K.G.
ON THE 19TH OCTOBER 1921
Inscription (North Gunner Plaque)
THIS MEMORIAL WAS ERECTED
BY PUBLIC SUBSCRIPTION
IN HONOUR OF PORTSMOUTH'S SONS
WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1918
COUNCILLOR JOHN TIMPSON K.S.T. J.P.
MAYOR 1918 - 1921
Peace or Conflict Memorial
This white stone plaque on the pedestal to the North Gunner was paid for by Portsmouth City Council and unveiled on 6 November 2003 by Mrs Madeleine Dunn who heads the Portsmouth War Widows.
SERVING THEIR COUNTRY IN
TIMES OF PEACE OR CONFLICT
WE WILL REMEMBER
World War 2 Memorial
AND THE CITIZENS OF PORTSMOUTH
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN DEFENCE
OF THEIR COUNTRY DURING WORLD WAR II
For 60 years following the end of World War II the only memorial to the men and women who lost their lives was a low stone wall at the rear of the Cenotaph with the words 'IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN WORLD WAR II 1939 - 1945' inscribed upon it.
On 8th November 2005 a memorial to those who lost their lives in WW2 was unveiled by Princess Alexandra. That this memorial should exist at all is almost wholly down to the dogged determination of Jean Louth whose father Harry Short had died on the beaches of Dunkirk. It was Jean Louth with the help of organisations such as the Normandy Veterans Association and the Portsmouth South Branch of the Royal British Legion who lobbied for funds to raise this memorial. This though is only the first stage as they need to raise another £80,000 to add the names of the 3,380 people who fell in the war. Jean is still collecting funds for the final part of the memorial; donations should be sent to Jean at 194 Wakefords Way, West Leigh, PO9 5QD.
Further information is available at the Portsmouth City Council website.
Preparations for the construction of the Cenotaph began almost as soon as the Great War ended, but it was not until 1920 that invitations to subscribe to the cost were made. A list of all who donated money and the amounts they gave is held at the Central Library in Guildhall Square.
At the same time, local people were asked to nominate the service persons whose names should appear on the memorial, the criteria being 'That the man was born in Portsmouth, (or) that he resided in Portsmouth when the war began, (or) that his home was in Portsmouth when the war began'. Great stress was laid on the concept that 'Not a single name should be omitted', however a perusal of the local parishioners memorials shows a considerable discrepancy on this matter.
For a general description of the way that civic memorials were conceived, funded and designed and the way in which the names to be included was decided see:-
The sculptures of the Gunners are by Charles Sargeant Jagger (1885-1934), an artist who was a veteran of WW1 and a recipient of the Military Cross. He was wounded at Gallipoli, and again, near-fatally during the Western Front campaign of 1918.