The First World War occasioned an unprecedented wave of public commemoration. Tens of thousands of memorials were erected across the country to commemorate the fallen. The official policy of not repatriating the dead meant that in many instances the memorials provided the only tangible point of grief for families and friends of the deceased.
As noted in The Gazette there were ‘many people who were not in a position to erect a memorial’ therefore it was only right that ‘the whole community make a memorial’.
Memorials took many forms. Of these, the memorial cross is perhaps the most familiar, a recognisable landmark in many towns and villages. Tring’s war memorial was unveiled on the 27th of November 1918. Tring’s expeditious erection of a memorial cross was commented upon in several national newspapers including the Cardiff Evening Express which featured a photograph of the memorial with the caption ‘The only War Memorial as yet properly completed and with the names inscribed’.
Memorials were also put up in factories, sports clubs, railway stations, schools and universities. The war memorial standing in the garden at Apsley commemorates Dickinson’s employees.
In addition to more visible monuments a large number of commemorative stained glass windows were installed in churches. St. Peter’s Church in Berkhamsted and St. Mary’s Church, to name two with windows, are striking examples dedicated to the memory of the fallen.