First World War Memorial Cross
Standing tall and proud in the grounds of St. James’ Church and School, Pokesdown, is a monument to the bravery of local men who left the parish and their families to fight in the First World War. The 10′ 9″ high St. James’ Memorial Cross, with Fleur de Lys arms and mounted on an octagonal base, was built as a fitting tribute to the men who gave their lives in the Great War. It was unveiled by Lieut. Colonel H. Page-Croft, C.M.G., M.P. and dedicated by Rev’d. E. W. G. Ferris in 1921.
On the front side of the base is the following simple inscription : “To the honoured memory of the men who gave their lives in the great war 1914-19. Their name liveth for evermore.” On three of the other sides were carved the names of 52 men who fell and, at a later date, a further 14 names were inscribed on a fourth side.
These 66 men fought in the major engagements of the war, from the Battle of Coronel and the First Battle of Ypres in August 1914 through to the Armistice in November 1918, and died as far from home as Greece, Gallipoli and Tanzania; Over a third of the men have no known grave, and of the 66 only 19 are also commemorated in the Bournemouth Roll of Honour.
Second World War Memorial Plaque
Twenty years later the aspiration that WWI was the ‘war to end all wars’ faded with the start of the Second World War and a new memorial was created to commemorate the soldiers who fell in that conflict. This memorial is a wrought iron gateway, the entrance to St. James’ Church and St. James’ School on Christchurch Road. The Pokesdown War Memorial was dedicated by The Right Reverend, The Lord Bishop of Winchester on 16th July 1951.
The inscription includes the names of twenty five people who fell during the Second World War. They fought in Europe and the Far East, giving their lives from the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940 through to Allied victory in 1945. A few were regular members of the services, but most were volunteers.
The people of the parish of St. James went to war enthusiastically, proud to do their patriotic duty, and endured stoically the horrors and hardships of total war; They will forever deserve our thanks, our respect and most of all our remembrance.
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