History of the memorial

Following the end of the First World War, it was felt important to record the names of those who had lost their lives. In Wokingham, Councillor H C Mylne, who served as Mayor during the war years, took responsibility for raising funds to provide a fitting memorial. Sadly he failed to see its completion as he died in October 1919.

The memorial you see inside the Town Hall today was unveiled on 10th February 1924 by Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee in commemoration of the Wokingham men who lost their lives during or as a result of injuries sustained in the First World War. It is constructed in English oak and styled in a way that is complimentary to the architecture of Town Hall. The names are painted onto inset panels with their initials highlighted in red.

A lightweight stand had for many years served as a platform for wreaths, but in view of its deteriorating state, Wokingham Town Council in conjunction with the Royal British Legion took the decision to install a new cabinet in which wreaths could be placed and be openly displayed or enclosed within. Local craftsman Trevor Ottlewski was commissioned to design and build the new cabinet in 2007 in English oak in a style which was designed to compliment the character of the existing memorial.

Each Remembrance Sunday, the Town Mayor, Councillors, Dignitaries and a number of organisations join a parade and church service, following which they assemble in the Town Hall for a wreath laying ceremony around the War Memorial.

Names on the memorial

The original criteria used for names to be added to the Town Hall War Memorial was decided nationally: individuals were required to live in Wokingham therefore having a residential address in the town boundary at the time of their death.

All those who had a residential address in the town at the time in 1924 were put on the war memorial but it is important to note that some families didn’t want names added to the Town Hall War Memorial and they chose to have it added somewhere else, e.g. if they were a member of a local Church.

In 1927 the boundary of the town was reformed and outer parts of Wokingham being built up became part of the Wokingham area. The criteria for names to be added remained the same but the boundary was wider. This meant that following the 2nd World War more people were eligible but less names were added as fewer people died compared with the 1st World War. Following that, only one additional name has been added; that of Garth Walter Hawkins who died during the Falklands War.

Wokingham Town Council would always consider additional names on the Town Hall War Memorial within the same criteria; the individual would have been required to have lived in Wokingham at the time of their death.

More information

More information can be found about some of the individuals named on the memorial on www.wokinghamremembers.com. To commemorate the Centenary of World War I in 2014, a War Memorial trail was created by Town and Parish Councils across the Wokingham Borough which identified other memorials in the area. Brochures were produced and are available from the Wokingham Town Hall Information Centre or you can download and view this information on a free app called ‘Wokingham Town History.’

If you would like to visit the memorial, please visit the Information Centre where a member of staff will be happy to arrange a viewing.

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