Wokingham War Memorial
DescriptionThe population of Wokingham numbered 4,300 in 1911. By 1918 after 4 years of fighting in conflict around the world, 217 men of the town had given their lives in the service of their country.
This memorial organised by the War Memorial Committee and to which the people of Wokingham subscribed was created in the 1920s together with the Celtic cross in the grounds of All Saint's churchyard. The First World War Memorial Committee and residents of Wokingham also funded the Orthopaedic Hospital in Denmark Street which was opened in April 1923 by the Marchioness of Downshire. This was a huge investment for the benefit of the children of the town.
The memorial in the annex of the Town Hall, upon which is the list of those who died was unveiled in February 1924 by Admiral of the Fleet, Sir F. C. Doveton Sturdee.
Men from Wokingham did not only join the British Army. The period before the Great War was one of much emigration and many local people set off for new lands. When the war came they too took up the fight with Commonwealth forces and five men from Wokingham were killed whilst serving with the Canadian forces and one with the Australians.
Of the 217 men named on this memorial at least 188 served in the Army and 19 in the Royal Navy. The highest ranking man a Lieutenant-General (Samuel Lomax) the lowest rank a "boy" (Frank Potter). The eldest was 63 (William Cockrell) the youngest, 16 years (Frederick Fullbrook).
It was decided quite early on in the war not to repatriate the bodies of those who died abroad but to bury them with their comrades near where they fell, thus only 11 of the men are buried in this country and whilst the majority are buried in Commonwealth War Graves in Europe and the Middle East at least 74 have no known grave thus their names are commemorated on memorials to the missing.
We do not know who decided which names appear here and we know of others from the town who lost their lives but whose names are not here. We honour them too and will continue to research their stories. Please see our website www.wokinghamremembers.com for further details, photographs and family trees.
“Wokingham War Memorial,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed August 14, 2020, https://wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH109.