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Historical images

This page shows pictures of war memorials of various types which were taken either during unveiling or dedication ceremonies or shortly afterwards. Most pictures on this page therefore date from the early 1920s and can be used to help young people:


  • compare how war memorials looked when new and how they look now
  • understand what happened when a war memorial was unveiled and how local people may have felt about it
  • develop their skills in using primary sources of information.


Our mystery memorials page shows other historical pictures of war memorials that we need help identifying, and this activity can also help develop pupils' historical interpretation skills.

Please see the Gallery page for further details of how you can use these and copyright details. 


  • Crosses

Dedication of Haughley war memorial, West Sussex © IWM's Farthing CollectionHaughley, Suffolk (WM5091)

This calvary cross commemorates those from the village of Haughley who were killed in the First World War. The names of the fallen are inscribed on the memorial, along with details of their regiments and decorations.



© IWM's Farthing Collection


Dedication of Lympstone war memorial, Devon © IWM's Farthing CollectionLympstone, Devon (WM2860)

This memorial consists of a Latin cross surrounded by a curved stone wall. It was unveiled in 1923 and dedicated by the then Bishop of Crediton. Originally erected to commemorate the 27 men killed in the First World War, four names from the Second World War were added later.


© IWM's Farthing Collection


Dedication of Lifton war memorial, Devon © IWM's Farthing CollectionLifton, Devon (WM2859)

This war memorial, shown here being unveiled, consists of a Latin cross and is situated in the village churchyard. The memorial commemorates the fallen of the First World War. 





© IWM's Farthing Collection  


Thetford war memorial, Norfolk © IWM'sFarthing CollectionThetford, Norfolk (WM4838)

This war memorial, shown here after flowers had been laid at its base, is a granite Latin cross on top of a stepped base, plinth and column. It lists the names of 117 First World War and 45 Second World War casualties. It also shows the seal of Thetford. The memorial was unveiled in 1921.




 © IWM's Farthing Collection


  • Monuments

Weymouth war memorial, Dorset © IWM's Farthing CollectionWeymouth, Dorset (WM1884)

This war memorial is a cenotaph which stands overlooking the sea. It records the names of several hundred service personnel who died during the First and Second World Wars. Originally unveiled in 1921, the addition of names from the Second World War was completed in 1949. Since then, some further names have been added, following the style of the original inscriptions and as far as possible placed correctly in the alphabetical list.




© IWM's Farthing Collection


Portsmouth war memorial, Hampshire © IWM's Farthing CollectionPortsmouth, Hampshire (WM1417)

This large war memorial commemorates approximately 4500 service personnel who died during the First World War. It consists of a raised cenotaph surrounded by a semi-circular wall bearing the names of the fallen on bronze panels. The sides of the monument have relief carvings depicting wartime scenes, and at the entrance to the war memorial area there are sculpted figures.




© IWM's Farthing Collection


Edmonton war memorial, London © IWM's Farthing CollectionEdmonton, London (WM3787)

This war memorial is a cenotaph, and was unveiled in 1924 in memory of local men who fell during the First World War. A later inscription was added in memory of those killed in the Second World War. The memorial carries the inscriptions, 'To Our Glorious Dead,' and, 'Their Name Liveth Forevermore,' and there is a sword and wreath on the front face of the monument.




© IWM's Farthing Collection


The Cenotaph, London (WM2446)

The body of the Unknown Warrior passing the Cenotaph, London, on November 11th 1920These historic postcards depict the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, between the two World Wars. The first picture shown here shows the coffin of the Unknown Warrior being taken past the Cenotaph on the way to its burial in Westminster Abbey, and was taken on November 11th 1920. Further pictures and information about this memorial can be found in our Monuments Gallery.





Historic postcard depicting the Cenotaph, London








  • Sculptures

Dedication of Worthing war memorial, West Sussex © IWM's Farthing CollectionWorthing, West Sussex (WM2634)

This war memorial shows a life size sculpted bronze figure of a soldier holding his helmet aloft and his rifle. This stands on top of a plinth, which has a wreath carved into each face. The memorial was unveiled in 1921, with nearly 7000 local people attending the service, as shown in this photograph). Later, an inscription was also added for those who fell in the Second World War.

© IWM's Farthing Collection


Men of Cambridge war memorial, Cambridgeshire © IWM's Farthing CollectionMen of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire (WM2294)

This memorial is dedicated to the men of Cambridge, the Isle of Ely and the University of Cambridge who died during the First World War. It features a sculpture of a soldier striding forward. The memorial is known as 'The Homecoming,' and was unveiled in 1923





© IWM's Farthing Collection


Dedication of Folkestone war memorial, Kent © IWM's Farthing CollectionFolkestone, Kent (WM3248)

This war memorial is dedicated to locals who died during the First World War and those 'who passed this spot on their way to fight.' The memorial consists of a figure holding a victory laurel and a cross attached to a shaft, on which is a flag at half-mast. 


© IWM's Farthing Collection


Castlegate war memorial, Northumberland, © IWM's Farthing CollectionCastlegate, Northumberland (WM2161)

This war memorial is an angel sculpture holding a wreath. The inscription states that the memorial was erected, 'in honour of all who served, in sympathy with all who suffered and in Remembrance of these the fallen sons of this borough.' The names of the fallen are listed. The memorial commemorates both World Wars


© IWM's Farthing Collection


Unveiling of Alloa war memorial, Clackmannanshire, by Earl Haig © IWM's Farthing CollectionAlloa, Clackmannanshire (WM5262)

The war memorial in Alloa shows a figure of St Margaret standing above a group of soldiers, who have been carved as if half buried in mud. The memorial was unveiled in 1924 by Earl Haig (shown in this photograph). 



© IWM's Farthing Collection


  • Structures and buildings

Dedication of Golders Green war memorial, London © IWM's Farthing CollectionGolders Green, London (WM2776)

This war memorial clock tower is dedicated to the men of Golders Green who died in the First World War and the men and women who died in the Second World War. There is a plaque listing names from the First World War on the front wall of the tower, and a plinth with another plaque was added after the Second World War to list the fallen from that conflict.




© IWM's Farthing Collection

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