Dorking Museum War Memorial Project

Dorking Museum War Memorial Project

This project is the work of volunteers from Dorking Museum and Heritage Centre. It will be an invaluable tool for researchers but also a memorial to and memory of those who fell in the Great War, reminding us of their lives and sacrifice. It could not have been produced without the help and enthusiastic cooperation of many others who have devoted time and energy to the subject. We are very grateful to them

Coldharbour Church

Memorial Window, Christchurch, Coldharbour

As the war claimed the lives of their sons and heirs, wealthy families from the mansions that surrounded Dorking installed memorials and windows in local churches. Amongst the most notable locally are the Cubitt chapel at St Barnabas on Ranmore, the stained glass windows in Newdigate church to the sons of Mrs Janson of Newdigate Place, and the stained glass windows  at Christ Church, Coldharbour, in memory of Raymond Leopold Grieg Heath, son of Arthur Raymond Heath of Kitlands.

Keeping a record of those who were serving and who had died, particularly while enlistment was still voluntary, had been a feature of local participation throughout the war. Churches and schools had regularly printed lists of those serving in end of year reports and parish magazines. From the summing of these records at the end of 1918 came moves to install permanent memorials to all who had died, not just those whose family could afford a memorial. As villages, churches, sports clubs, community halls and schools sought too commemorate the loss of members committees were formed to raise money and to commission memorials.

Often it was proposed to honour not just those who died, but all those who had served, including civilians – and even women – who had worked for the war effort. Some villages considered using the funds to provide facilities for the living – community halls, electric lighting, or playing fields – in memory of the dead. But in almost all cases it was a memorial stone or plaque to the men who died that was eventually installed.

The commissioning of war memorials was not a scientific, well researched business;  record keeping was ad hoc and war memorials contain errors and omissions. Differing criteria applied for inclusion from village to village. In some the fallen had to have been born in, or lived in, the village; in others the link could be tenuous: having a mother who had moved to the village or coming from a family which owned land in the area. Some of the fallen are commemorated in multiple memorials: in their local church, school and village. Others – and particularly those who died after 1920, though of wounds sustained during the war – are not commemorated at all. Some who appear on memorials were not dead but marrying and fathering children years after inclusion on memorials.

Dorking Museum has started researching the memorials in our town and is working with other village groups to research and record as many names as we can on the many Memorials across the area.

This project is still on going and the links below will be updated and other villages will be added to the lists as the information is collected and recorded.

Abinger                 – St James Church Cross

…………….   …….– Village Green Memorial

Betchworth           – St Michael’s Church Cross
Dorking Museum sincerely thanks Karen Wilson from Betchworth Villlage Archive for allowing us to publish her research.

Brockham              – Christ Church Cross

Capel                     – St. John the Baptist Memorial
Dorking Museum is very grateful to Bernice Forsyth and Mary Day from Capel Local History Group for letting us publish their research.

Coldharbour           – War Memorial

Dorking                  – South Street Memorial

…………………….– Dorking High School (Ashcombe)

Forest Green         – Village Green

Holmbury              – St. Mary’s Church Memorial

Men with Local Connections

Mickleham             – St Michael’s Church Cross
Dorking Museum appreciates Leatherhead Local History Group generosity in letting us share their research.

Newdigate              –  St. Peter’s Church War Memorial
Dorking Museum is extremely grateful to John Calcutt for sharing his expertise and research.

North Holmwood    – St John the Evangelist Church Memorial
Dorking Museum is indebted to Jim Edwards for his research in producing a booklet for St John’s Church and his generosity in letting us reproduce his work in full.

Ockley                   – St Margaret’s Memorial
Dorking Museum thanks the Friends of St Margaret for allowing us to reproduce their research.

Okewood Hill          – St John the Baptist Church Memorial

Ranmore                 – St Barnabas Church Memorial (opens to Ranmore’s own website)
Thank you to Margaret Maynard for letting us link through to their website.

South Holmwood   – Church of Mary Magdalene
……………………..– South Holmwood Memorial

Westcott                 – Holy Trinity Church (opens to Westcott History Group website)
Thank you to Peter Bennett for letting us link through to Westcott History Group’s research.

Wotton                    – St John the Evangelist Church Memorial

Those Who Survived

Click here for a transcript of a talk Museum Chairman Nigel Arch gave at St. Martin’s Church in September 2014.

Click here to read Peter Bennett’s article on Westcott Men on the Somme