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War Memorials

NEWTON ABBOT WAR MEMORIAL 1914 - 1918

 

Newton Abbot War Memorial - 2006
Newton Abbot War Memorials - 2006

©Richard J Brine

 

 

Postcard view of the unveiling ceremony in 1922.

Before the memorial was erected, an enormous ancient oak tree

had stood on this spot. The Memorial was unveiled by Sir Charles Woollcombe DSO on the afternoon of Sunday 23 July 1922

From our postcard collection

 

Although not quite as its original designer intended, this memorial has become one of the most admired in Devon. It is lovingly maintained and in its prominent position is a constant reminder for all who pass it.

In 1922, long after most places in Devon had erected a War Memorial, the Newton Abbot Urban District Council instructed its Borough Surveyor, Coleridge Dingley White, to design a town memorial that reflected the importance of the town and the great contribution its young men had made to the war effort.. But the final outcome of White's plan was not as we see it today. The centrepiece was  the four-sided plinth containing four panels with the 1914 - 18 names, topped by an elegant pillar and set in the middle of a triangular piece of land at the road junction with space around it. There was no wall at the rear - that was not needed until names from the second world war had to be added plus the names of all who have died in the wars and skirmishes that have occurred ever since.

But then, Coleridge Dingley White, had a brilliant idea. He had already contacted an up and coming young artist who had just come to live in Ilfracombe in the north of the county, and asked him to complete a figure intended for Newton Abbot's Courtenay Park, which was nearing completion - suppose, just suppose, that that figure was placed on top of the column and incorporated in the War Memorial.  It would be most appropriate as the figure intended for the park was that of Victory and and what a  beautiful result this change produced - re-focusing the viewer's attention on the heavens above as they stare up at it, having read the names below. The young sculptor was Courtney Edward Maxwell Pollock RBA who went on to do great things and continued to do so until his death on 7 June 1943.

 

Victory breaks from from the chains that bound her

Victory finally breaks from the chains that bound her

by Courtney Pollock RBA

©Richard J. Brine

 

 
 
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