A new war memorial is to be unveiled on Remembrance Sunday in Herne Hill station by MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, Helen Hayes.
Southeastern, in association with the Herne Hill Society, has commissioned the hand-engraved Welsh slate plaque in memory of “all the people of Herne Hill” who suffered as a result of the 1914-18 war.
The memorial plaque, which was carved by Canterbury-based artist Mark Brooks, commemorates not only the Herne Hill servicemen who died in the First World War, but also the impact and suffering faced by all local people during this time.
It will be installed in the newly refurbished ticketing hall, so that passengers walking through the station will be able to view and reflect on its significance for the local area.
The war memorial is in addition to the work undertaken by the Herne Hill Society to establish a commemorative website that aims to tell the story of all those from Herne Hill who served and died in the First World War.
The project, which is National Lottery-funded, has now compiled and edited over 530 records on its database, with help from the students of the Charter School North Dulwich and other local people.
The website contains stories about Herne Hill servicemen, and also local families that were affected by the First World War, including the families of casualties and people of German origin.
The unveiling on Remembrance Sunday will be followed by a performance of The Last Post by young musician Walter Feeny before a two minutes’ silence at 11am.
David Statham, managing director at Southeastern and former Herne Hill resident said:
“The railway played a vital part in the war effort during the First World War, particularly in transporting troops on their way to France and helping to keep resources moving to and from the front. While we are proud to be the custodian of the railway in Kent and South London today, it is important to reflect on its significant past.
“It's a fitting privilege that Herne Hill station will serve as the site for a permanent memorial in commemoration of all those residents who died, were wounded or otherwise suffered in that terrible conflict.”
Colin Wight, Chair of the Herne Hill Society, said:
“When we began our National Lottery-funded research project together with the Charter School North Dulwich two years ago I never imagined that it would lead to the creation of a new First World War memorial.
“I would like to thank Southeastern, who have generously funded this superb artwork, and in particular their MD, David Statham. The station, at the heart of our community, is a place through which countless men passed on to France and Flanders, and seems the most appropriate place for a permanent memorial. I invite people to join us at Herne Hill Station at 10:45am on Sunday 10 November to meet artist Mark Brooks and see the memorial unveiled by Helen Hayes MP.”
Herne Hill station has undergone significant regeneration in recent years, with investment of £1.5million to refresh the station façade, platforms and most notably the booking hall, which is now more accessible and includes improved retail facilities.
Notes to editors
Notes to editors
For further information contact:
Southeastern Press Office
Southeastern runs train services into London from Kent and East Sussex, operating over 2000 trains a day, carrying more than 640,000 passengers a day, serving 176 stations and covering 540-miles of railway infrastructure.
Southeastern is owned by Govia, a joint venture between the Go-Ahead Group (65 per cent) and Keolis (35 per cent). Govia is the most enduring partnership between transport operators delivering rail franchises in this country.
It is the UK’s busiest rail operator, responsible for 28.7 per cent of UK passenger rail journeys through its four rail companies, Southern, Southeastern, Govia Thameslink Railway and London Midland. Further information on Govia is available at: www.govia.info Go-Ahead Group plc is one of the UK's leading providers of passenger transport services operating in the bus, rail and aviation services sectors.
Keolis is a French-based operator of transport services in 13 countries worldwide and is owned by SNCF, AXA Private Equity, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, and Keolis management.
Inscription on memorial plaque:
Herne Hill 1914-1918
In memory of all the people of Herne Hill who suffered in consequence of the war, including more than 500 who lost their lives
Never such innocence again
This stone was placed here in 2019 on behalf of
The Herne Hill Society * The Charter School North Dulwich * London & South Eastern Railway Limited
“Never such innocence again” is a quotation from Philip Larkin’s poem “MCMXIV”.
About Mark Brooks:
Calligrapher and stone-carver Mark Brooks is based in Canterbury, though his formative years were spent in Kennington, Walworth Road, Stockwell, Crofton Park, Honor Oak, Forest Hill, East Dulwich and Crystal Palace. Mark says: “I am proud to be making something interesting and appropriate for this important memorial”.
The Herne Hill Society and “Remembering Herne Hill 1914-18”:
Founded in 1982, the Herne Hill Society is a registered charity of volunteers working to improve the area for the benefit of residents and visitors. Members of the Society have been researching the personal histories of the soldiers, sailors and airmen of Herne Hill who fought in the Great War. It has found and investigated more than 500 who were killed in action or died subsequently from wounds or disease. The total figure may be as high as 600, and work continues. Last year it launched a website which indicates the house in which each casualty lived, how they died and where they are buried.
Mayall Road alone had 28 fatal casualties - three from the navy and 25 from the army. In Railton Road there were 22 who died, including Louisa Tearle, a stewardess on the RMS Falaba, sunk by a German U-Boat in 1915.
Herne Hill men died in France, Belgium, Malta, Egypt, India, Kenya, Palestine & Israel, Iraq, Russia, Turkey, Greece, Afghanistan, Syria, Tanzania and Italy.
The youngest casualty was 16-year-old Rifleman Bertram Harold Fowler of 19 Ardbeg Road.
For more about the research project and to view the casualties from your road