8th London Howitzers

8th London Howitzers 8th London Howitzers

Erection date: 1923


{Incised on the front, between the top and the ledge:}
To the glorious memory of our fallen comrades of the 8th London Howitzer Brigade, R.F.A. T.F. (Royal Field Artillery, Territorial Force} who gave their lives in the Great War of 1914 – 1918.

{On the front of the main plinth:}
This memorial was erected by their comrades and friends.

The way this monument meets the sloping ground has been well thought out: a small platform edged with a low ridge and connected to the path for wreath-laying purposes. There is a moat-and-drawbridge feel to the layout.

We find the miniature ceramic memorial rather charming, espceially now that it is beginning to suffer some deterioration. It also has a little platform with steps providing access (for the fairy wreath-layers, perhaps).

On the front of the main body of the monument is a ghost outline, with a sinuous top, which shows where a plaque was at one time attached. It would have obscured the inscription. Researching we discover that the, now lost, plaque carried names and was added when, after WW2, it was decided also to commemorate the 65th and 118th Field Regiments of the Royal Artillery. At Plumstead Stories we found a postcard showing the monument with the plaque in place. Presumably it has been stolen for its metal value. More information at Geograph.

And lastly, looking round the back for any further inscription, we were startled to find a swastika at the top, clearly part of the original design, not vandalism. We know that the swastika is an ancient symbol which has meant many things in different parts of the world at different times. To quote Wikipedia: "By the early 20th century, it was used worldwide and was regarded as a symbol of good luck and success." But it is still a shock to find it on a British war memorial.

Site: 8th London Howitzers (1 memorial)

SE18, Plumstead Common Road, Plumstead Common

As you can see from the map this war memorial is, unusually, positioned away from the road. Perhaps the Common was used by the Brigade for practise.

2015: We thank J. Kelleher for telling us that “the The Drill Hall of 8th London (Howitzer) Bgde was in St Margaret's Grove and is now the site of the Shree KS Swaminaryan Temple”. The Temple seems to be close behind the very nice Victorian buildings for St Margaret’s CE Primary School . That website says: “The original School building dates back to 1856 with additional classrooms and buildings added in the 1970s. The original St Margaret's Church was situated a short distance from the School on the other side of the Common. High maintenance costs led to the Church being demolished during the 1960s ...

On old maps we located the church - it was on the site just to the east of the school, between Vicarage Park and Blendon Terrace. It seems likely that the memorial used to be at the school/drill hall and was moved when those buildings were extended, or it was at the church and was moved when that was demolished.

2017: At one stage we thought the memorial may have originally been erected nearer the school/drill hall or church (to the north of the common) but we are grateful that, via Facebook, Deborah O'Boyle has convinced us otherwise. She points out that the memorial “can be seen clearly from the main road ... and is located exactly where the 8th Howitzers trained (and played) - all local men and formerly the 9th Kent Artillery Volunteers. It is on the convergence of paths and is next to where a bandstand was located, which drew crowds on Sundays and bank holidays. … The memorial was specifically for the 8th Howitzers and was erected by comrades and friends…. It has recently been re-cleaned and was listed in January this year. The swastika was the brigade sign.”

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
8th London Howitzers

Subjects commemorated i

World War 1

We'd always assumed that this war was known as the Great War until WW2 came a...

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8th London (County of London) Bde. R.F.A.

London unit which served in WW1.

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