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. One such memorial was raised at Meopham as a permanent testament to the sacrifice made by the 53 members of the local community, who lost their lives in the First World War. Following the Second World War, the details of 14 men who fell in that conflict were added.
The memorial was designed by Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA. In his early work for the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission Baker made a proposal for a cross to stand in all of the Commission’s cemeteries, but a design by Sir Reginald Blomfield was chosen. Although the Commission’s architects were free to use crosses of their own choice within the cemeteries that they designed, the Blomfield cross proved to be the universal choice. Baker, nevertheless, used variants of his cross design for a number of English war memorials, including that at Meopham.
Sir Herbert Baker FRIBA RA (1862-1946) was born, and died, in Cobham, his English home. Articled to Arthur Baker in 1881, he was Assistant to Messrs Ernest George and Peto (1886-90) and attended the Royal Academy Schools. During the 1890s he was in South Africa, designing the Prime Ministerial residence ‘Groote Schuur’ and many private residences as well as government buildings following the South African union. From 1912 he collaborated with Sir Edwin Lutyens in India on New Dehli. From 1917 to 1928 Baker was one of the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission principal architects, for whom he designed 113 cemeteries on the Western Front including Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. He was also responsible for four Memorials to the Missing including those to the South Africans at Delville Wood and the Indians at Neuve Chapelle. He designed twenty-four war memorials in England. During the inter-war years his work at home included South Africa House (Grade II*), Rhodes House (Grade II*) and, his last major public commission, the Bank of England (Grade I).
You should be standing in front of the memorial. There is a sentence that runs around the top of the plinth above the names. This is an octagonal memorial so call the start of the sentence panel 1 (which begins To...) then number the sides 1 to 8 clockwise and work out some numbers from the below where (5,3) equals (5th panel, number of letters in 3rd word on that panel).
A (6,2), B (3,3), C (5,1), D (2,1), E (1,1), F (4,1)
The container can be found at:
N51 21. D*E C-D A+D
E0 21. C-F B+D-(A/A) B-D
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