The Twentieth Century Society

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War memorials

Belgium: Memorial to the Missing and Berks Cemetery Extension, Ploegsteert

Architect: Harold Chalton Bradshaw
Owners: Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Location: Comines-Warneton, Hainaut

Harold Chalton Bradshaw (1893-1943) won competitions for the proposed Memorials to the Missing at Lille and Cambrai in 1925 and 1926 respectively. When, in 1926, the French began to express disquiet at the number and scale of the memorials which were to be erected on their soil, it was decided to reduce the number in France. Some were transferred to existing cemeteries, the Cambrai memorial being built at Louverval to Bradshaw’s design. The memorial intended for Lille was moved just across the frontier to Ploegsteert (“Plug Street”) in Belgium, Bradshaw remaining the architect. It was unveiled in 1931 by the Duke of Brabant (the future King Leopold III).

Bradshaw had trained under Charles Reilly at the Liverpool School of Architecture and in 1913 became the first Rome Scholar in Architecture. He served in the Royal Engineers during the war, in which he was wounded and gassed. His academic training is reflected in the rather Beaux-Arts design of the circular memorial. The sentinel lions were by the sculptor Gilbert Ledward. Bradshaw also designed the Guards’ Memorial in St James’s Park and became the first Secretary of the Royal Fine Art Commission in 1924.

There are 404 burials in the Berks Cemetery Extension and 11,447 names carved on the Memorial to the Missing.

Gavin Stamp

Commonwealth War Graves Commission 

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