Marine and Navy Memorial


The Tower Hill Memorial in London is the only memorial which commemorates merchant seamen exclusively. Those from the other Commonwealth countries are on dual (or mixed) memorials.

The Tower Hill Memorial stands on a fine site near the Tower of London and commemorates (civilian) seamen of the Mercantile Marine (as it was known in the 1914-1918 War), and the Merchant Navy (1939-1945 War), and Fishing Fleets who died as a result of the two wars and have no grave but the sea. In one respect, the memorial is similar to the naval memorials at Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth, in that a 1914-1918 War memorial to those lost but who have no grave but the sea has been extended to take the more numerous names of the 1939-1945 War.

The 1914-1918 War Memorial was designed by Edwin Lutyens and takes the form of a portico or vaulted corridor. Bronze panels inside commemorate 12,000 British seamen, including two, Masters Parslow* and Smith, who won the Victoria Cross. It was unveiled by Queen Mary on 12th December 1928, in place of King George V, who was seriously ill.

The memorial is linked to the 1939-1945 War memorial, which was designed by Edward Maufe, by flights of stone steps leading into a sunken garden. The names of the 24,000 British and 50 Australian seamen are on bronze panels set against the retaining walls of the sunken garden. Between the 1914-1918 Memorial and Extension are two tall columns against which stand sculptured figures representing seamen of the Merchant Navy. These are the work of Charles Wheeler.

The memorial was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth 11 on 5th November 1955.

*Now, 1988, known to be buried in Cobh Old Church Cemetery, Co. Cork, Republic of Ireland.

spacer The text on this page has been taken from Courage Remembered, by Kingsley Ward and Major Edwin Gibson.

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