Great Western Railway War Memorial
The Great Western Railway War Memorial is a monument in London, United Kingdom, to the memory of employees of the Great Western Railway who died during the First World War, and it is situated halfway along platform 1 at London Paddington station. The stonework was designed by the architect Thomas S. Tait, and the bronze figure by the sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger; the memorial was unveiled on Armistice Day in 1922 by Viscount Churchill.
Its dominant feature is a large bronze statue of a British First World War soldier dressed in battle gear, wearing a helmet, woollen scarf, and a greatcoat draped over his shoulders. The soldier is looking down, reading a letter from home.
On the stone surround are two stylised reliefs of the emblems of the Royal Navy (rope and anchor) and the Royal Air Force (eagle in flight). Inside the plinth was placed a sealed casket, which was made at the GWR's Swindon Works, containing a vellum roll upon which was inscribed the names of the 2,524 men who gave their lives.
In 2014, as part of the First World War centenary commemorations, Jagger's GWR Memorial was featured – uncredited – in a project, "Letter to an Unknown Soldier", which invited members of the public to write a letter to the serviceman portrayed by the statue. It also featured in 2014's Talking Statues initiative.
The Inscriptions on the plinth read:
IN HONOUR OF THOSE WHO SERVED IN THE WORLD WARS
1914 † 1918 1939 † 1945 3312 MEN AND WOMEN OF THE GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR KING AND COUNTRY. THE NAMES OF THOSE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES ARE INSCRIBED ON A ROLL OF HONOUR DEPOSITED BENEATH THE BRONZE FIGURE.
Inside the waiting room behind the memorial is a plaque marking the unveiling of the memorial, which includes the inscription:
THE GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY WAR MEMORIAL
ON PLATFORM No 1 IMMEDIATELY OUTSIDE THIS ROOM WAS UNVEILED ON ARMISTICE DAY, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11TH 1922
BY THE RT. HON VISCOUNT CHURCHILL, G.C.V.O. AND DEDICATED BY HIS GRACE THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY.
THE BRONZE FIGURE WAS EXECUTED BY MR. C.S. JAGGER, M.C., R.B.S. AND THE ARCHITECTURAL WORK BY MR. T.S.TAIT A.R.I.B.A.
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The soldier reading his letter
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Jagger's signature on the plinth
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Jagger's signature on the plinth
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Detail - air force emblem
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Detail - naval emblem
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The memorial on Remembrance Sunday, 2012
- "'Great Western Railway War Memorial'". Institute of Railway Studies. from The Great Western Railway Magazine, December 1922, pp. 537-40. 1 November 2001 [December 1922]. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- "Letter to an Unknown Soldier". Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- English Heritage. "War memorial, Paddington Station". Retrieved 2007-11-05.
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- War memorial, Paddington Station - English Heritage
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- Great Western Railway War Memorial - York University Institute of Railway Studies and Transport History