Veterans were disgusted when two stone tablets went missing from the war memorial in Bishopstoke, Hampshire.
A local engraver was watching a report of the theft on the news when he realised he had the tablets sitting in his workshop. The parish clerk had brought them in for repairs, perhaps underestimating the impact their abrupt disappearance would have on the local community!
Watch report from BBC News
A campaign has been launched to raise £60,000 to help restore the memorial in Alexandra Park, Hastings (East Sussex).
Read more from BBC NEWS
The Hastings memorial was unveiled in 1922 and commemorates those from the local borough who lost their lives in several wars.
It is not unusual to find later conflicts added to First World War memorials (in this case the Second World War and Korean War) but it is much less common to find First World War memorial retrospectively commemorating earlier wars, as this memorial does with the Boer war.
Several bronze plaques listing the names were stolen in 1990. Theft of memorials and parts of memorials (particularly bronzes) is not a new problem, but has certainly increased dramatically in recent years, as we reported in May.
At Hastings the stolen name plaques were replaced with replicas the following year.
War Memorials Trust, a charity that works for the protection and conservation of war memorials in the UK, announced today that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is to become their new patron.
Read more from War Memorials Trust.
We often work closely with War Memorials Trust and have distinct but complementary roles in the preservation and appreciation of UK war memorials.
UKNIWM acts as an archive, compiling historical and current information about all UK war memorials, while WMT fulfils a more conservation-focussed role providing advice and grants to help preserve and restore memorials.
Last week thieves stole a life-sized bronze figure of a boy scout from the scout camp at Stoke D’Abernon. The figure was part of a memorial to commemorate those local scouts who died in the First and Second World Wars.
The camp itself was bought by the Boy Scout Association in 1928 as a memorial to its members. The life-sized statue was unveiled when the camp opened in 1929.
The statue had been re-erected only four months ago following restoration work after an attempted theft in 2005 had left the statue badly damaged.
Read more about the theft
Visit our online database record
A war memorial, that had lain forgotten in a disused chapel in the Staffordshire village of Outwoods for 25 years, has been recovered and will go back on display from tomorrow.
The memorial plaque was discovered by a local couple who spent six months arranging to have it moved to St Mary’s Church in the nearby village of Moreton. The Bishop of Stafford will conduct a rededication service at St Mary’s tomorrow.
Read more from the Staffordshire Newsletter
The Outwoods memorial can now be added to our database. If you know any more details about this memorial, such as the exact inscription, please let us know.
We had an enquiry today, one we receive relatively frequently, asking how to find out who owns a particular war memorial. This query most often comes from people who are either looking to carry out some restoration work to the memorial or to add a new name. Sadly, with the increase in casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is becoming more common.
However, ownership of war memorials may not be straightforward and can often entail no small amount of detective work. The knowledge may have become lost over time, or it may never have been clear-cut. Where it is known to us, we do record the owner on the UKNIWM online database, so it’s always worth trying us first.
UKNIWM Search Screen
Other options include the local branch of the Royal British Legion and asking around the local community. Potential owners can include the local authority, a committee, church, club or private individual. If you cannot determine who owns the memorial, Local Authorities were given the power by the War Memorials (Local Authorities’ Powers) Act of 1923 to maintain, repair, protect and adapt war memorials in their area, whether they own them or not. However, they are not obliged to do this and it is entirely up to the individual Local Authority to decide what action, if any, to take.
It is likely that this Battlefield Cross was recovered from a cemetery on the Western Front by Captain Drury’s relatives and placed in their local church grounds as a memorial. But who owns it now, the church or the descendants of Captain Drury’s family, if they’re even aware of its existence? This becomes even more of an issue with redundant churches.
‘Ownership’ might perhaps seem a rather inappropriate concept for memorials that were often paid for by public subscription and erected for the benefit of all members of the local community. Perhaps ‘custodianship’ would be a better word for what is hopefully a role of protection and oversight.