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HER Number:MDV104050
Name:Bere Alston War Memorial


Memorial to the fallen of the First World War.


Grid Reference:SX 446 668
Map Sheet:SX46NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBere Ferrers
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBERE FERRERS

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WAR MEMORIAL (World War I to XX - 1914 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

'War Meml' marked.

Brine, M. E., 2013, War Memorials, Photo (Website). SDV351333.

Bere Alston war memorial 1914-1918.
Brine's phot shows a Celtic cross atop a square base.

Historic England, 2017, Bere Alston War Memorial (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV360030.

Bere Alston War Memorial is being assessed for listing as part of Historic England's First World War Commemoration project.

The aftermath of the First World War saw the biggest single wave of public commemoration ever with tens of thousands of memorials erected across England. This was the result of both the huge impact on communities of the loss of three quarters of a million British lives, and also the official policy of not repatriating the dead: therefore the memorials provided the main focus of the grief felt at this great loss.

One such memorial was raised at Bere Alston as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the members of the local community who lost their lives in the First World War. The memorial was unveiled on 2 July 1921 by Sir Alfred Croft on the same day as the other memorial cross in the parish, at Bere Ferrers, was also unveiled. It commemorates 41 local servicemen who died in the First World War. Following the Second World War the names of 21 men who died in that conflict were added.

In 2001 the names of 10 New Zealand soldiers who died in a railway accident at Bere Ferrers railway station were added to the memorial. On 24 September 1917 the men had been en route to Salisbury Plain for training, having arrived in Britain at Plymouth dock. Their troop train made an unscheduled stop at Bere Ferrers to let an express train pass. Mistaking the stop for Exeter, where they had been instructed to collect food, the soldiers left the train and started to walk up the track. Nine soldiers were killed by the London Waterloo to Plymouth express train, and one died of his injuries in hospital. They were buried in Efford Cemetery, Plymouth.

The memorial stands outside Bere Alston Parish Hall (unlisted). It takes the form of a tall granite wheel-head cross. The cross shaft rises from a tapering plinth, square on plan, which stands on a three stepped base and circular platform. The middle step supports a low metal railing that is designed to retain wreaths and floral tributes.

The principal dedicatory inscription to the front face of the plinth reads IN/ PROUD AND GRATEFUL/ MEMORY OF THE GALLANT/ MEN OF THIS PARISH WHO/ MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE/ IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914-1918./ (9 NAMES). The other names are recorded on the plinth sides. To the rear of the plinth, the dedication to the New Zealand soldiers reads IN MEMORY OF THE/ NEW ZEALAND SOLDIERS/ WHO WERE KILLED IN/ A TRAGIC ACCIDENT/ AT BERE FERRERS STATION/ ON SEPTEMBER 24TH 1917./ (7 NAMES).

To the front of the memorial a tablet, in the shape of a scrolled roll of honour, is inclined on the lowest steps of the base. Its inscription reads (21 NAMES)/ WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES/ IN THE WORLD WAR 1939-1945/ IN THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM./ “GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN.” All the inscriptions are in applied metal letters.

Historic England, 2017, Bere Alston War Memorial, Station Road, Bere Alston (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV360068.

Decision made to add Bere Alston War Memorial to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

Bere Alston War Memorial, which stands outside Bere Alston Parish Hall, is recommended for listing at
Grade II for the following principal reasons:
Historic interest: as an eloquent witness to the tragic impact of world events on this local community, the sacrifice it has made in the conflicts of the C20, and the sacrifice of Commonwealth troops in the First World War;
Architectural interest: a simple yet poignant granite memorial cross in the Celtic style.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #63520 ]
SDV351333Website: Brine, M. E.. 2013. War Memorials. http://www.devonheritage.org/WarMemorials.htm. Website. Photo.
SDV360030List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2017. Bere Alston War Memorial. Assess Building for Designation. Digital.
SDV360068List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Historic England. 2017. Bere Alston War Memorial, Station Road, Bere Alston. Additions and Amendments to Checklist. Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Feb 21 2017 8:59AM