Special status for war memorial with a proud tradition

Burwash War Memorial. Image: Google Maps
Burwash War Memorial. Image: Google Maps

Burwash War Memorial, the focus of a proud but sad duty throughout the year in the village, has been Grade II* Listed by Historic England.

A light is turned on at the top of the memorial on the evening of the anniversary of the death of each of the village’s soldiers, sailors and airmen. There are some 100 names and dates recorded there.

The original lantern which shone from the memorial tower beside the church was introduced at a time when there was no street lighting and the electric light of today shines just as bright in honour of the men who never came home.

The memorial was opened after the First World War by the man whose name has become synonymous with Burwash, the writer Rudyard Kipling. Tragically, among the names it bears is that of his son John, who was killed at the Battle of Loos in August 1915 six weeks after his 18th birthday.

A total of 78 war memorials across the South East have been listed this year as part of Historic England’s pledge to protect 2,500 memorials by 2018, marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.

While the majority of war memorials have been listed at Grade II, Burwash is one of only a handful to be Grade II*.

Built by communities in the years following the conflict, all these memorials are a poignant, physical reminder of the sacrifices and loss the First World War brought about. One hundred years on, Historic England says, it is time to come together again to ensure our memorials are in good condition, and properly recognised by listing where appropriate.

It is asking the public to help look after their local war memorial. Many are not protected by listing and Historic England needs help to recognise these important monuments to make sure those they commemorate aren’t forgotten.

Duncan Wilson, CEO Historic England, said: “Researching, recording and recommending up to 2,500 more war memorials for listing over five years is a major task but one that Historic England is proud to undertake. These memorials will gain a place on the National Heritage List for England to tell the story of this country’s sacrifice and struggle.”

Elsewhere in East Sussex, Grade II status has been applied to the war memorials at Hailsham, Crowborough and Etchingham.