The war memorial is situated on the Great Lines, to the North of the town centre, and is dedicated to the memory of those sailors from Chatham-based ships who died during The Great War (1914-18) and World War 2 (1939-45), and who have no known grave.
The names of 8,500 of those who died in The Great War are located on plaques on the central memorial, which bears the inscription "In honour of the Navy and to the abiding memory of those ranks and ratings of this port who laid down their lives in the defence of the Empire and have no other grave than the sea".
The memorial was designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, as a counterpart to the similar ones in Portsmouth and Plymouth. It was the first of the three memorials to be completed and was unveiled by the Prince of Wales on 26th April 1924. It was also intended to act as a guide to shipping.
After the Second World War the memorial was extended by the addition of the outer wall, which forms a semi-circle on the side of the memorial away from the town to give protection against the wind. 10,112 names are commemorated on the fifty plaques on the extension.
The inscription above the gates in the Second World War Extension Wall is taken from Chapter 44 of the Book of Ecclesiasticus, and reads "All these were honoured in their generations and were the glory of their times". The extension was unveiled by The Duke of Edinburgh on 15th October 1952.
As you may have seen on the Forts and Strange Things pages, Dave wrote to me and had the following to say about the war memorial:
Once we were playing at the War Memorial on the Lines, on the centre of the memorial where the metal plaques are, there is one with a keyhole, we found this open one day and had a look inside. Not only does it go up, it goes down too. We were chased off by the men that were inside.
All photographs copyright 2000 - 2003 Jason Ross