TWELVE War memorials built a century ago, including one in Lickey and one in Clent, have now been listed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.
The stone cross Lickey memorial in Monument Lane was put up on November 2, 1919, as a permanent testament to those who died in the First World War.
It was designed by the Bromsgrove Guild of Applied Arts, made of Portland stone and paid for by voluntary donations.
It was originally located in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, but after its installation there was controversy as the Vicar of Holy Trinity had not applied to the Diocese to put it on consecrated ground. There was also opposition to the design, which some local people deemed idolatrous or superstitious.
The Diocese of Birmingham agreed to have the memorial moved to nearby land, granted by The Earl of Plymouth, and the design remained the same. This move took place in 1949 with the support of the British Legion and local church authorities, when the Second World War inscription was also added.
The Clent War Memorial in St Leonard’s Churchyard, St Leonard’s Square, has been Grade II listed for being of historic importance and architectural interest. The elegant wheel-head cross memorial contains the names of the 29 men from the local community who died in the First World War. The names of the eight who perished in the Second World War added after that conflict.
Although the majority of First World War memorials were not constructed until after the end of the war, memorials began to be created prior to this to provide the community with a focus for their grief.
Some were made by individuals to commemorate family members, others by local communities to honour the sacrifices being made or to specific events and places related to the war effort.
First World War Minister Lord Ashton of Hyde said: “As we enter the final year of our First World War centenary commemorations, we want to ensure the bravery and sacrifice of those who served are never forgotten.
“Local war memorials are a poignant reminder of how the war affected our communities and of those who never came home.
“I encourage everyone to visit their local memorial and to learn more about their connection to this pivotal point in our history.”
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “These memorials were an important indicator of how society was feeling and reacting as the war progressed and as the loss of life increased to unprecedented levels.
“They were not just a focal point for people’s grief but also seen as a symbol to those still fighting.”
Newspaper reports suggested there was a desire to create war shrines from 1916 but the move was controversial as some saw them as anti-patriotic and disrespectful to those fighting.
Ultimately these war memorials and shrines became a precursor what was to come – the national movement to memorialise that took place following the war.