DescriptionLike the other regimental memorials designed by Lutyens, the commissioning of the Memorial to The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment seems to have been straightforward. The regiment was one of two that decided that it wanted a smaller scale reproduction of the Cenotaph in Whitehall (the Royal Berkshire regiment was the other) although they did not want any provision for flags – either stone or silk. The memorial is two-thirds of the size of the original.
It was built by a local firm, Messrs G E Wallis and Sons, and was unveiled on 30 July 1921 by Major General Sir Edmund Leach KCB, the Colonel of the Regiment. The dedication was performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. (Contributor: Tim Skelton) Cenotaph in Brenchley Gardens. 1921 by Lutyens, like his Cenotaph in Whitehall, but two-thirds the size and without the stone flags. (Pevsner, 2012, p.397)
This is one of eight cenotaphs in England designed by Lutyens, and one of two that is a reduced scale copy of the original in Whitehall with minor changes (in this case, two-thirds full size). The earliest of Lutyens’s cenotaphs to be erected was at Southampton, in 1920; the latest was that at Norwich, in 1927.
A Regimental Memorial Committee was appointed in December 1918 and Lutyens was duly approached with a request to design a replica of the Cenotaph in Whitehall, to two-thirds size. It appears that he was happy to do this, in contrast to his approach to his Stone of Remembrance which, he insisted, could never be reduced in size. The memorial was built by a local company, Messrs GE Wallis and Sons. Other than in size, it also differs from the Whitehall Cenotaph in that it is unadorned by flags.
The memorial, commemorating 6,866 officers and men of the regiment who had died fighting during the First World War, was unveiled on 30 July 1921 by Major General Sir Edmund Leach KCB, the Regiment’s Colonel. The Archbishop of Canterbury dedicated the memorial and the address was given by Lieutenant-General Sir EAH Alderson KCB. Of c40,000 serving soldiers, the regiment had suffered c26,000 casualties. Following the service the King’s Colours of the Territorial and Service Battalions of the regiment were laid up in All Saints’ Church.
Inscriptions commemorating those servicemen of the regiment who died fighting during the Second World War were added at a later date. (Historic England, list entry 1086395)
BibliographyPevsner N (2012) Kent: West and the Weald. The Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Historic England.The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment Cenotaph. [Online] Available from: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1086395
Also Cited InGliddon, G. and Skelton, T.J. (2008) Lutyens and the Great War. London: Frances Lincoln.