Memorial details

Memorial type
Greater London
First World War (1914-1918), Second World War (1939-1945), Second World War - civilians, Post-1945 war or conflict
  • Unveiled
    Date: 8 May 1921
    Attended by: Brigadier General C H DE ROUGEMONT CMG CB DSO
Not lost
WM Reference

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Current location

outside St Laurence's Church graveyard
Corbets Tey Road
Greater London
RM14 2BB

OS Grid Ref: TQ 55988 86476
Denomination: Undefined

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Ornate celtic cross covered in celtic pattern surmounting stone plinth bearing inscription. Three stone steps at base and the bottom step has the WW2 and later conflicts dedication. The 6 o'clock face of the plinth has the WW1, WW2 and subsequent conflicts dedication plaque (so WW2 and later conflicts have 2 dedications). The 9 o'clock face has the current WW1 names plaque (66 names), the 3 o'clock face has the current WW2 Forces plaque (names A to Pavitt, 76 names) and the 12 o'clock face has the rest of the WW2 Forces names (Pearce onwards + E G Seaward and D Mathers out of order, 36 names, the 6 WW2 Merchant names and the 18 WW2 Civilian names. As of 6 January 2020 the plaques had not yet been replaced with the new, corrected names. The memorial does not have any names for post 1945 conflicts, just the dedicatory wording.
Inscription legible?
Names on memorial
Abraham, S E
Abraham, Sydney E
Adkiss, A C W
Alexander, P T
Allaton, D
Allen, J H W
Alliston, Alfred W
Alliston, A W
Alston, M P
Alston, Mp
See details for all 292 names
  • First World War (1914-1918)
    Total names on memorial: 66
    Served and returned: 0
    Died: 66
    Exact count: yes
    Information shown: surname, initials of forenames
    Order of information: surname
  • Second World War (1939-1945)
    Total names on memorial: 112
    Served and returned: 0
    Died: 112
    Exact count: yes
    Information shown: surname, initials of forenames
    Order of information: surname
  • Second World War - civilians
    Total names on memorial: 24
    Served and returned: 0
    Died: 24
    Exact count: yes
    Information shown: Surname, initials of forenames, service
    Order of information: service (merchant seamen or civilians) THEN surname
  • Post-1945 war or conflict
    Total names on memorial: 0
    Served and returned: 0
    Died: 0
    Exact count: yes
    Information shown: Undefined
    Order of information: Undefined
  • Cross
    Measurements: depth 1500mm, height 2500mm, width 1500mm
    Materials: Stone
  • Plinth
    Measurements: Undefined
    Materials: Stone
  • Steps
    Measurements: Undefined
    Materials: Stone
  • Steps
    Measurements: Undefined
    Materials: Stone
  • Base
    Measurements: Undefined
    Materials: Stone
  • Plaques
    Measurements: Undefined
    Materials: Marble
  • Tablet
    Measurements: Undefined
    Materials: Stone
Listing information
  • Upminster War Memorial
  • Grade II
  • This memorial is protected, and listed on the National Heritage List for England maintained by Historic England. View list entry
  • More about listing and the protection of historic places can be found on the Historic England website
  • Historic England
The Upminster War Memorial has historically been known, almost since it was erected in 1921, to be incorrect, with some names that were added that were not casualties of war, or even had anything to do with the surrounding area. Following WW2, it was decided to overlay the original WW1 stone panel with a new marble facing, and also create WW2 matching marble panels for the casualties of WW2. While this was being planned, a new list of 17 extra men who died in WW1 had been found, and were due to be added to the WW1 list. These 17 names were mistakenly incorporated into the WW2 list and an alphabetical list then created, so it looks as though the 117 names are all WW2 casualties. 19 names from the WW1 list have also been accidentally incorporated into the WW2 list creating 117 WW2 names when in effect there are only 81 WW2 military casualty names on the memorial. The Essex Commemoration Project and Havering Council plan to update and change these panels shortly. - Essex Commemoration Project 13/06/2019
Trust fund/Scholarship
Purpose: Unknown or N/A
  • Unveiling Day and 1930's image-
  • Greys & Tilbury Gazette: 14th May 1921, article entitled "Upminster War Memorial"; 21st May 1921, photographs of the unveiling and dedication ceremony
  • Cockney Ancestor : Journal of the East of London Family History Society, Issue 62, Spring 1994, page 13, update to article in Issue 57
  • Cockney Ancestor : Journal of the East of London Family History Society, Issue 57, Winter 1992/93, article entitled "Upminster: Anatomy of a War Memorial" by Tony Benton
  • [Abridged from pages 32-42 of “Upminster: the Story of a Garden Suburb” by Tony Benton, with Albert Parish (self-published, 1996, revised & reprinted by Amberley Books, 2009, )] It seems that the last Upminster soldier to lose his life during the war was Pte John Flack of the Essex Regiment whose death occurred on 5 November 1918, six days before the signing of the Armistice. Yet this was not the final serviceman’s death. Two months later, on 8 January 1919 Lt Cyril Horncastle of Freshfields, Gaynes Park died of pneumonia in Cairo: he had served in the Middle East for over three and a half years since 1915 seeing and surviving “much arduous service” and had never been home on leave. Only slowly did parish life return to some kind of normality, as over a long period soldiers were progressively demobilised and returned to civilian life. Others were released from their enforced captivity as prisoners of war: in January 1919 for instance, the release of three local men, Lance-Cpl T Williams, Pte W Gorden and Driver H Nice, were reported. Belatedly, in late February, came the notification of the award of a Military Medal for Pte W Mansfield of the 26th Royal Fusiliers. By March 1919 only two cases remained at St Laurence Auxiliary Military Hospital and it was felt that the work of the unit, which had “attended upwards of 300 men sent to them from Colchester, Warley and elsewhere” could now draw to a close. The final phase of its activities was “a social gathering of an informal character … which evoked much gratitude from the patients”. On the 15 March the Grays and Tilbury Gazette reported a presentation made in recognition of work as Assistant Commander of the hospital by Miss Sophia C Reilly, daughter of Charles Reilly of High House. The parish celebrated peace with a number of thanksgiving services but the parading of captured German guns in February 1919 was a more public expression of the victory celebrations. At the start of December 1918 the parish council proposed a permanent memorial to the war dead, with a public meeting arranged as a first step. Discussions began in earnest in February 1919 but there was no agreement about the form of the memorial. What was in no doubt was that public subscriptions would be needed to meet the costs but there was no great enthusiasm to dig deep for this. By 31 March only £31 had been raised and the headline ran “Is the war memorial in jeopardy?” A long debate at the annual parish meeting probably stirred more consciences but the fund crept up only slowly, reaching £100 by late May. Things were obviously not going well, for a new committee was elected. While Upminster was still considering what to do, other nearby parishes were already unveiling their memorials or other tributes. In December 1919, a full year after the question of a memorial was first raised, Upminster held a referendum of parishioners who were asked to choose between a memorial hall or a monumental memorial. Votes split evenly between the two options and as there were insufficient funds for the hall, the monument finally won the day. It was almost a further eight months before work was about to start only £360 of the estimated £610 cost had been raised. A “roll of honour” was exhibited at St Laurence church in August 1919, listing the names of 43 war dead with local connections. By June 1920 the church was displaying a “substantially framed roll of honour in perpetual memory of those men resident in or closely associated with the parish”; this listed 58 names, not all of which were on the first list. On the last Sunday in September 1920 Upminster gained its first permanent memorial to those who fell, with the unveiling by Mr Henry Joslin JP DL of Gaynes of a brass commemorative plaque, naming 13 members of the Congregational church. Yet it was to be seven months before the parish memorial on Corbets Tey Road was unveiled. The public ceremony was finally held before a large crowd on Sunday 8 May 1921 with Brigadier-General C H De Rougemont DSO MVO performing the official duties. Those present would have formally witnessed for the first time memorial, designed by Mr C Harrap, with “a cross with Celtic ornamentation … rising from the massive Portland Stone cenotaph base”, standing on three York stone steps; inscribed on the base were to be seen the names of 66 men with Upminster connections. The deliberations of the organising committee headed by Mr J W Gunnell in drawing up the final list and arranging the inscription of these names have not been preserved. Yet if they had intended the memorial to be a worthy commemoration of the parish’s losses, then surely in the long time from conception to completion they could have taken more care in ensuring that the names of the fallen were accurately recorded, avoiding the several errors which somehow crept in.

This record comprises all information held by IWM’s War Memorials Register for this memorial. Where we hold a names list for the memorial, this information will be displayed on the memorial record. Please check back as we are adding more names to the database.

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