Wilmington’s War Shrine/Memorial
Although we refer to Wilmington’s War memorial it is in fact a ‘shrine’ - for the reasons why please see the Page headed ‘Remembrance and Commemoration’
Wilmington’s Shrine/Memorial is unique in that it -
- was unveiled in 1917 when other local Memorials were unveiled in the early 1920s (Dartford in 1921 and Swanley in 1922)
- is located outside a school when usually a Memorial a prominent open public space was chosen at at Dartford and Swanley or near a church like the one at Sutton at Hone
The Dartford Chronicle and District Times newspaper of 13th July 1917 reported the unveiling of the Wilmington Shrine as follows -
‘A war shrine for the men of the village who have died on service during the war was unveiled at Wilmington on Sunday afternoon. The shrine is the first of a permanent character to be erected in the vicinity. It is of white marble, beautifully designed and wrought; and inset in an erection of red brick, the names being inserted on two panels.
The memorial has been provided through the kind generosity of Mr C J Morgan of Hulsewood, Chairman of the Parish Council, and it has been erected on the bank of shrubs in front of the schools, where many of the gallant dead were educated. It is proposed at some future time to place a seat in front of the memorial.
The unveiling was performed by Mrs Morgan, in the presence of a large gathering of people, including many of the relatives of those whose names are inscribed on the tablets.
Owing to the inclement weather, the original arrangements had to be abandoned, but a short service of dedication was conducted by the Vicar, the Rev W Cole Greenway, suitable hymns being sung by the choir and congregation.
The proceedings terminated with the singing of the National Anthem.’
The shrine remains Wilmington’s unaltered memorial today, on its original site in the High Road near the Memorial Hall, outside what was Wilmington Primary School.