Derbyshire War Memorials
Copyright Roy Branson
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We need to use some technical terms to identify features as accurately as possible, and the armed services are notorious for the abbreviations and acronyms that they use. We hope that our glossary will make it all clear.
Definition of a war memorial
There is no legal or official definition of a war memorial but the organisations involved with them have developed notes for guidance. We have used those notes to develop our own more flexible approach. Full details are in our definition.
Types of war memorial
Any object can be created or adapted to be a war memorial and human emotion has generated an incredible variety. A brief selection of types includes:
- Monuments such as crosses, obelisks, cenotaphs, columns, sculpted figures, etc.
- Boards, plaques and tablets.
- Documents such as rolls of honour or books of remembrance, paintings, prints and photographs.
- Buildings and other structures such as community halls, hospitals, chapels, bus shelters, clock towers, gates etc.
- Tapestries, flags or banners, including laid-up regimental colours.
- Church fabric or fittings like windows, bells, organs, pews, lecterns, lighting, altars, screens, candlesticks, religious relics, etc.
- Trophies and relics such as a preserved gun or wreckage marking an aircraft crash site.
- Body art.
- Land including parks, gardens and woodland.
- Gravestones and additions to gravestones.
- Trusts and funds including endowed hospital beds.
- Temporary memorials erected pending the erection of a permanent one.
- Temporary displays, tableaux, well dressings etc.
Some types which we do not normally record include:
- Gravestones or memorials that are the responsibility of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. (Other projects do this: it is beyond our resources and pointless to duplicate other efforts.)
- Commercial products. (The label on Batemans’ Dark Lord beer states that it is brewed to commemorate Black Tom who fought in The Battle of Winceby near Lincolnshire’s Bolingbroke Castle in 1643. Black Tom was a courageous soldier who inspired his men with his ‘never say die’ attitude. But we do not consider it to be a war memorial.)
- Buildings named after personalities or events. (The Lord Nelson pub or the Battle of Hastings pub would not be recorded unless they bore plaques or other specific commemorations.)
- Items such as Next of Kin Memorial Plaques (dead man’s pennies), certificates (scrolls), citations or service medals, unless they formed part of a display clearly stating a suitable commemoration.
Numbers of war memorials
We already have information on about 3,000 memorials in the county and from the known churches, cemeteries and village halls yet to be visited we are confident of finding several hundred more. A conservative Derbyshire estimate is therefore about 3,500. Comparing the county’s 1911 population with that of the whole UK we estimate that there may be nearly a quarter of a million war memorials throughout the country.
Our research area covers the modern ceremonial county of Derbyshire. We record any war memorial that has been located within that area. We do not record war memorials to Derbyshire residents, or anyone associated with Derbyshire, which are erected outside of Derbyshire.