A new campaign has been launched in Portsmouth to raise £100,000 to inscribe the names of the 3,500 local people killed during the Second World War onto the town’s war memorial.
This case is typical of the situation in many places and it’s not at all uncommon to find there are no names inscribed on Second World War memorials, or indeed no Second World War memorial at all.
The Public desire to raise large numbers of war memorials after the First World War had changed markedly by the end of the Second World War.
In a Mass Observation survey conducted in 1944, 80% of the public were in favour of ‘useful’ memorials, such as halls, scholarships, clinics, homes for invalids, parks, trees and libraries. Less than 10% favoured monuments, which one person went so far as to desribe as “Stone monstrosities on every street corner“.
One woman wrote,
“How I hated it. I knew so many of the lads whose names were engraved there – warm, vital, laughing people – no connection with the lifeless, cold thing which commemorated them.”
Now, more than sixty years after the end of the Second World War, we find attitudes changing once more and people again want to commemorate their war dead by name on monumental memorials.