The villages of Doddington and Newnham are closely allied to each other; at one time, the Street on the south side was part of the Parish of Newnham. In 1919, the villages jointly erected the simple but imposing memorial on the boundary between the two parishes.
It is inscribed:
"In grateful memory of the men from Doddington and Newnham who gave their lives for their country in The Great War".
The names of the heroes face the village from whence they came. Further inscriptions were made following the Second World War. The Memorial reminds us of the great sacrifice made by these men to ensure our freedom.
Apart from replacing the turfed steps with concrete ones, no changes have been made to the Memorial site since the 1921 dedication (see below). This is soon to change, to accommodate access by wheelchair and to make better standing room for people at the yearly ceremony. Plans to carry out terracing of the slope and pave the area immediately surrounding the memorial are currently being discussed. This work will be paid for by both Newnham and Doddington Parish Councils, together with matched outside funding from the Wolfson Foundation
Newspaper Report of the unveiling of the Memorial
As reported by : 'The Faversham & North East Kent News' 9th April 1921
Supplied courtesy of Mary Chastney & Sue Gunner
"DODDINGTON & NEWNHAM WAR MEMORIAL
UNVEILING AND DEDICATION
In brilliant sunshine last Sunday afternoon, on the peaceful and picturesque countryside between the villages of Doddington and Newnham, Major-General Thuillier, C.B., C.M.G., commanding the Thames’ and Medway Area, unveiled the memorial to the men of those two parishes who fell in the late war.
The memorial takes the form of a cross of Devonshire granite, standing on a massive three-tier base of the same stone, the total height being twelve feet. It has been supplied by Messrs. Nankivell and Rooke, of Tavistock and has been erected by Messrs. Whiting Bros., of Ospringe.
The site chosen is appropriately halfway between the two villages, on a piece of land given by Brigadier-General and Mrs. Jeffreys, of Doddington Place. The land is part of a piece of timbered pasture, standing high above the roadway, which gives the memorial a commanding aspect and also a very beautiful setting. Turfed steps lead up to it from the road and a fence has yet to be placed around the memorial.
A committee, of which Brig.-General Jeffreys is chairman, was appointed for the promotion of the memorial, and the cost is being met by subscriptions raised in the two villages and from a few other friends. The subscriptions amounted to just over £170 and the memorial is fully paid for.
On the front face of the memorial is the inscription: “In grateful memory of the men from Doddington and Newnham who gave their lives for their country in the Great War 1914-1919.” On the west and east faces are inscribed the names of the fallen officers and men – 26 in all. The names are as follows:-
LT. Guy C. O. Oldfield, Queen’s R.W.S. Regt. 2nd Lt. L. J. Field, R. Berkshire Regt.
Pte. S.F. Rite, Queens’s R.W.S. Regt. Stoker E. B. Atkins, Royal Navy
Pte. W. H. Caryer, Buffs E.K. Regt. Corpl. W. C. Smith, Buffs E.K. Regt.
Pte. J. Davis, Buffs E.K. Regt. Pte. H. Filmer, Buffs E.K. Regt.
Pte. P. Forster, Buffs E.K. Regt Pte. H. H. Hayesmore, Buffs E.K. Regt.
Pte. H. V. Higgins, Buffs E.K. Regt. Pte. F. Knight, Buffs E.K. Regt.
Pte. W. Butcher, Border Regiment Pte. A. Midgett, Buffs E.K. Regt.
Pte. F. Mills, Queen’s Own R.W. K. Rgt. Pte. C. T. Raines, Buffs E.K. Regt.
Pte. H. Philpott, Queen’s Own R.W.K. Regt. Pte. W. W. R. Sears, Buffs E.K. Regt.
Pte. S. J. Pullen, King’s R. Rifle Corps. Pte. W. T. Mann, Queen’s Own R.W.K. Regt.
Pte. L. C. Jarvis, R. Dublin Fusiliers Pte. A. E. Piles D of C Own Middlesex Regt.
Pte. H. M. Chapman, R. Munster Fus.
Corpl. F. Butler, Machine Gun Corps.
Pte. A. E. Slingsby, The London Regt.
Pte. G. T. Hills, 29th Canadian Infy.
The ground around the cross is being got into order by the voluntary effort of men of both villages.
Practically the whole population of the parishes attended the ceremony on the Sunday afternoon to do honour to the fallen. Drawn up in a double line behind the cross were some sixty returned ex-Service men who had mustered a little distance down the road and marched to the memorial under the command of Capt. Alured de Laune. Then on either side (completing three sides of a hollow square) stood the relatives of the fallen, who had brought with them floral tributes to be deposited at the base of the cross. Others in the vicinity of the memorial were the choirs of Doddington and Newnham Parish Churches (the girls of Doddington being conspicuous in their violet hats and cloaks), the members of the Doddington Division of the St. John Ambulance Bridge, under Supt. Potts (who had marched up with the ex-Service men), and the local Troop of the Boy Scouts, members of which formed a guard of honour around the memorial. The general public congregated in the roadway below.
Major-General Thuillier came in company with Brig.-General and Mrs. Jeffreys, with whom he had been lunching, together with Col. C. G. Oldfield brother of Mrs. Jeffreys and father of the late Lieut. Guy Oldfield, one of those whom the memorial commemorates, Mrs. Oldfield (his aunt), Mr. Jack Oldfield (his cousin), Mr. Anthony Jeffreys, Major Edmund de Laune, Capt. Hastings Wheler, and Lt. Col. D’Apice (S.A.A.G. to Major-General Thuillier).
The Vicar of Doddington, Rev. A.R. Kent, and the Vicar of Newnham, Rev. T.H.A. Greenland, both took part in the ceremony. Following the hymn “O God, our help in ages past” there were prayers by the Vicar of Doddington, and Major-General Thuillier then released the Union Jack which had covered the cross, at the same time saying that he unveiled this memorial to the glory of God and in memory of the men from Doddington and Newnham who gave their lives for their country in the great war. The Last Post was then sounded. This was followed by a brief and impressive silence, after which all joined in the hymn “For all the saints who; from their labours rest.”
In the course of an address, Major-General Thuillier remarked that in our country villages there was seldom found anything marking the great events of past times. In the great world outside kings and governments succeeded each other, great wars were waged, epoch-making inventions were born and brought to fruition, political and industrial changes came and passed away, but in the English village where agricultural life continued undisturbed from century to century there was nothing to mark events of that sort. In the future, however, that would not be so. After the events of 1914--1919 memorials similar to this were being erected to remind future generations of what was the most remarkable and inspiring event in the long centuries of our history. And what was it these memorials would say to those who came after? They would remind them that in the beginning of the 20th century the manhood the British nation was in no way decayed, but that in the great virtues and qualities of patriotism, endurance, grit and self sacrifice the men of this period were fully equal to those of the past. The memorials would remind them that when war came men came forward from every town and village and every walk of life, without compulsion, to endure hardness and face dangers, and alas! In the case of many of them – as of those whom they commemorated upon this cross – to give their lives that others might live in freedom.
Continuing, the General said we erected these memorials that the names of the fallen might live for evermore. But they must be something more than signs of honour to the dead; they must be symbols of inspiration to the living. Although the war was over the need for patriotism, courage, endurance and self sacrifice was not past. It was idle to imagine that war might never occur again. We could wish it might be so but a glance at the state of Europe and the world generally dispelled any such idea. Even now enemies open and concealed threatened the peace of our country; industry and the finance of the country had not recovered; and the great problems of unemployment and of consequent distress were not yet solved. To meet and overcome these troubles the country required the co-operation of all men of all classes, goodwill, a sense of friendship and fair play for all, courage and hard work. Was it to be said of us by those who looked upon these memorials in the years to come, that while those whose names they recorded knew how to die for their country those who remained did not know how to work for it – that in the years following the Great War we were occupied in fighting one another as to what wages should be paid and what amount of work we should do, and that we hadn’t the grit to show in the walks of peace the spirit which the fallen had shown on the filed of battle? He was sure we were all agreed that that must not be said of us. Might this cross, then, be a reminder to all who passed and saw it that they had their duty to do even as these who had names inscribed upon it did theirs. In conclusion the General urged the duty of impressing the rising generation with all that was done and of everyone handing on the example of patriotism and self-sacrifice. Then the memory of those commemorated by our memorials would be kept alive in very truth.
At the conclusion of the address the Vicar of Newnham dedicated the memorial and read out the names of the fallen, after which the floral tributes were deposited about the base. Brig.-General Jeffreys first of all, as Chairman of the Committee, deposited a large and beautiful wreath of laurels and lilies, from Mrs. Jeffreys and himself “to the memory of the men of the two parishes”. Capt. De Laune (a wreath from himself and Mrs. De Laune) and Major de Laune followed, and then came several wreaths from the ex-Service men, the Ambulance Brigade and the Boy Scouts, and after them the relatives. When all had placed their tributes the base was covered with laurels and flowers.
Following this, a “Comrades” hymn, written for the occasion by Capt. De Laune, was sung by the ex-Service men (to the tune of the hymn “For those at Sea”). We give the three verses:
O God who made the battle roll,
And wrote the names on honour’s scroll
Of those who died in bitter strife,
And found in death eternal life
Grant those at home and oversea
Where'er they roam, may comrades be.
Lord, now the cannons cease to roar
And peace again at home once more –
Grant those who died on land and sea,
And conquered death in victory,
Comrades, who did their country save,
May meet again beyond the grave.
Now those who died, their work is done,
No more they hear the booming gun;
They’re safe upon the heavenly shore,
With Thee, dear Lord, for evermore;
Grant us who follow them that we
May join our comrades, Lord, with Thee.
The sounding of the Reveille and the singing of the National Anthem in its entirety concluded the ceremony.
The singing was accompanied by three violinists – Miss P. Norrington, Mr. W. J. Atkins and Mr. F. Forster."
Thanks must go to Mary Chastney for supplying a copy of an old newspaper cutting of the above report.