Westminster Abbey’s First World War connections

Abbey staff

Twelve members of the Abbey staff who died are remembered on a tablet in St George’s chapel.

Allenby, Field Marshal Edmund

A distinguished commander whose ashes are buried in St George’s chapel. His Order of the Bath stall plate is in the Lady Chapel.

Banner

A processional banner was given to the Abbey in memory of members of the Church Lads Brigade who died.

Beatty, David, lst Earl

Commander in Chief of the Grand Fleet who fought at the battle of Jutland. His Bath stall plate is in the Lady Chapel.

Birdwood, Lord

He was Commander of the ANZAC forces and his Bath stall plate is in the Lady Chapel. An annual service for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps has been held in the Abbey since 1954.

British Expeditionary Force (the “Old Contemptibles”)

A commemorative tablet in the west cloister remembers the force which prevented the German advance on the Channel ports in 1914.

Byng of Vimy, Viscount

His Canadian corps captured Vimy Ridge in 1917. His Bath stall plate is in the Lady Chapel.

Canadian regiments

Many regiments laid up their colours on the monument to General Wolfe prior to departing for the Front. After the war two flags were presented to commemorate this and still remain on the monument.

Churchill, Winston

He was First Lord of the Admiralty at the outbreak of war but resigned after the Gallipoli failure. He fought for a short time at the Front and then became Minister of Munitions. His memorial stone is just west of the Unknown Warrior’s grave.

Citizens of the British Empire

In St George’s Chapel is a memorial to the Million War Dead of the Empire (the original inscription had been composed by Rudyard Kipling but was slightly altered after the second world war).

Fraser, Ian

Lord Fraser was blinded on the Somme and has a memorial containing a Braille inscription in the west cloister.

French, Sir John

Commander of the British Expeditionary Force, he has a Bath stall plate in the Lady Chapel.

Haig, Douglas, 1st Earl

Army Commander who has a Bath stall plate in the Lady Chapel. He assisted in the establishment of the Royal British Legion and his funeral was held at the Abbey.

Jellicoe, John 1st Earl

He fought with Beatty at the battle of Jutland in 1916. His Bath stall plate is in the Lady Chapel.

Kitchener of Khartoum, Horatio, Lord

Secretary of State for War. His image was used for the poster “Your Country Needs You”. The altar in Lady Margaret Beaufort’s chapel is his memorial and he also has a Bath stall plate in the Lady Chapel.

Lloyd George, David

Prime Minister in the wartime Coalition Government. Commemorated by a floor stone in the nave.

Padre’s, or Ypres, flag

Army chaplain David Railton used this Union Flag as an altar cloth and funeral pall on the battlefields. He presented it to the Abbey in 1921 and it hangs in St George’s Chapel.

Page, Walter Hines

American Ambassador, called the “friend of Great Britain in her sorest need during the Great War”, has a memorial in the Chapter House vestibule.

Pall, Funeral

The Abbey funeral pall was presented by the Actors’ Church Union in memory of their members who died. It was used at the burial of the Unknown Warrior in 1920.

Plumer, Field Marshal Herbert

Army commander whose ashes lie in St George’s chapel. His Bath stall plate is in the Lady Chapel.

Poets of the Great War

Fourteen representative poets who fought in the war or wrote about it are commemorated on a stone in Poets’ Corner.

Police, Metropolitan

The Police Roll of Honour in the nave records those who died.

Prisoners of War

James Gerard, American Ambassador in charge of British interests in Germany, gave the stained glass window in the north choir aisle in memory of British Prisoners of War who died in Germany 1914-19.

Queens Westminsters

Their roll of honour is displayed in a case in the nave.

Royal Army Medical Corps

A stained glass window and memorial tablet in the nave remembers those who died (additional panels were added for those who died in the second world war).

Royal Flying Corps

Mrs Louis Bennett of West Virginia presented the window which overlooks the grave of the Unknown Warrior in memory of all those in this force who died, including her son Louis Bennett junior.

St George’s chapel

This area was remodelled in 1932 as the Warrior’s chapel dedicated to the men and women who died in the Great War. It was dedicated to St George in 1944.

Trenchard, Lord

He led the Royal Flying Corps and founded the Royal Air Force. His ashes are buried in the Lady Chapel.

Unknown Warrior

The body of a British warrior, who could be from any of the three services, was brought from France for burial in the nave on 11 November 1920. The United States Congressional Medal of Honor awarded to him hangs on the pillar near the grave.

Verdun, HMS

This ship brought the body of the Unknown Warrior over from France and the ship’s bell was presented to the Abbey in 1990.

Verdun Trophy

On the gates of St George’s Chapel is a circular bronze shield with a sword, presented by the city of Verdun “to the British Army” in 1930. The gift was made to the Lord Mayor of London who laid it near the grave of the Unknown Warrior.

War memorial to the British Fighting Forces 1914-18

A painted wooden triptych in the Samaria chamber within the Deanery records the number of enlistments from Britain and the Commonwealth, with the numbers of those who died.

Wavell, General Sir Archibald

Army Commander, who lost an eye during the battle at Ypres. His Bath stall plate is in the Lady Chapel.

YMCA

The stained glass window in the nave records the services rendered by members of the Young Men’s Christian Association during the Great War  Niches contain small figures of soldiers from all over the world who served with the British forces. (The main inscription was altered after the second world war).


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