Newcastle – St Thomas (War Memorials outside)

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DSC07969St Thomas’s church is across the road from Haymarket metro station, and outside the metro is “The Winged Victory”, a memorial commemorating those who died in the Boer War of 1899-1901. It was not a good day for photos, so you might want to look at the old postcards at the Roll of Honour website. 373 men from Northumbrian regiments died in South Africa. This memorial, 70 feet high, was designed and sculpted by Thomas Eyre Macklin.

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On the south west side of the church is a statue of St George and the Dragon. This is a WW1 memorial “to the memory of the officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the VIth Territorial Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers who gave their lives”. In WW2 plaques were added for the 43rd and 49th Battalions of the Royal Tank Regiment. (There are also stained glass windows in church commemorating them, but I missed them). 1924, sculpture by John Reid. Good close up photo at this website – and there is another WW1 St George statue by Eldon Square.

Searching for “St George Dragon Newcastle” finds me all sorts of statistics about an Australian rugby match between “St George Illawarra Dragons vs Newcastle Knights”. You can also find 21 photos of St George Dragons cheerleaders … (no I won’t give you the link, you can find them for yourself).

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Back to WW1. This memorial is called “The Response”. Full details are here, and a better selection of photos here – the sun was in the wrong place for me, and the memorial is being renovated (hence the buckets etc).

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DSC07927DSC07934DSC07941The memorial is a portrayal of the spirit of 1914 and the patriotic confidence as they entered the War. The memorial was given by Sir George Renwick (local ship-owner and MP) and Lady Renwick to commemorate the raising of B. Coy. 9th Battalion and the 16th, 18th and 19th Service Battalions Northumberland Fusiliers by the Newcastle and Gateshead Chamber of Commerce, August-October 1914. It also celebrated Sir George’s 50 years of commercial life in Newcastle and the safe return of their five sons from the War. In fact the memorial really focusses on the massing of the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers in April 1915. Led by ‘Drummer Boys’ they marched from their camp on Gosforth Park, down the Great North Road, through the Haymarket and on to Central Station, en route for the battlefields of Belgium and France. The route was lined with well-wishers, parents, wives and children, some cheering, some weeping.

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On the rear is a Northumberland Fusilier of 1674,  another of 1919, and St George between them. (He appears on the Regimental badge).

Non sibi sed patriae,

Not for self but for country.

 

 

 

The memorial was unveiled on 5 July 1923 by HRH Prince of Wales – there’s a photo on the Chronicle website. The sculptor was Sir William Goscombe John R.A. (1860-1952). He was born in Cardiff, trained there, then in London, worked in Paris for a year, studying Rodin, and exhibited annually at the Royal Academy from 1886-1948. He is also known for the War Memorial at Port Sunlight and the Titanic Memorial in Liverpool. More photos here.

A trip to the library became a thought-provoking preparation for commemorating WW1.

 

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