War Memorials

Well over 10,000 men from Reading voluntered to join the army or navy in the Great War. Many of them were either killed or died from wounds or diseases contracted in the field. A few died as a result of an accident and at least one was murdered.

Many churches, schools and other institutions began compiling lists of names of serving soldiers. These lists were displayed in church porches and prayers were said for their safety. At the end of the war it was felt that a more permanent memorial was needed and steps were taken to collect lists of names and raise funds for a war memorial.

They took many different forms. The commonest was a painted board or stone tablet but there were also parchment scrolls and brass plaques. Several churches erected Calvaries outside, reminiscent of the Calvaries often found at road junctions in France. In Brock Barracks the Royal Berkshire Regiment commissioned Edward Lutyens to construct a cenotaph very similar to the one in Whitehall.

There was no common standard for determining whose names appeared, generally an appeal was launched by a committee and people supplied names of those they remembered. In many cases people submitted names of their own relatives who often had no other connection to the town other than that they had a relation here which is very frustrating for present day researchers trying to find out more about the man behind the name.

Reading has a very large number and we have been cataloguing war memorials of all eras across Berkshire so CLICK HERE to visit the Reading section of the Berkshire Memorials website.

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