Monday, 10 November 2014

Memento Mori – Cambridge World War I Memorials Trail from Art Alive in Churches

Pembroke College Memorial - photograph by Mike Dixon

East Anglian charity, Art Alive in Churches has produced Memento Mori World War I Memorials in Cambridge, a trail leaflet featuring colleges, churches and Mill Road Cemetery. Download the trail leaflet here.

Complementary trail leaflets are also available for Norfolk and Suffolk and can be downloaded from Memento Mori in the projects section of Leaflets can also be picked up at participating colleges and churches.

Jennie Hawks, Director, Art Alive in Churches said: “Art Alive aims to increase understanding and appreciation of the wealth of heritage, arts and crafts in East Anglian churches.  With this year’s 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, we decided to focus on the memorials to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war.”

“The range of memorials is quite amazing. We have selected 10 locations in Cambridge, with 17 in Norfolk and 13 in Suffolk. I recommend exploring our trails as a way to begin to understand the impact of the war on local communities, as well as appreciating the care that went into creating these permanent memorials to the catastrophe of the Western Front, along with Gallipoli, the Middle East campaign and the war at sea. The memorials at Cambridge colleges are a stark reminder of the terrible loss of both students and academics in the war.”

Cambridge churches and colleges featured: Jesus College, Sidney Sussex College, Great St Mary’s, Clare College, St Catharine’s College, Little St Mary’s, St Botolph’s, Pembroke College, Emmanuel College and Mill Road Cemetery.
Mill Road Cemetery - photograph by Mike Dixon

Examples of Memorials 

Mill Road Cemetery – there is an online trail at featuring 19 First World War Commonwealth War Graves. More than 100 Cambridge men who died overseas are commemorated on family graves. The Friends of Mill Road Cemetery are researching the stories behind these memorials and further trails will be created.

Clare College – the memorial in Clare College Chapel demonstrates the impact of the war on Cambridge colleges. Among the seemingly endless list of names is William Denis-Browne (1888-1915) who was a composer, pianist, organist and music critic. A close friend of Rupert Brooke, he was commissioned into the Royal Naval Division with Brooke and died at Gallipoli on 4 June 1915. Memorial Court (architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott) was also built to commemorate those who died in the First World War.

The First World War poet and writer Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) was a Clare College alumnus spending one year at the college from 1905-6. His semi-autobiographical Memoirs of a Fox Hunting Man (1928), Memoirs of an Infantry Officer (1930) and Sherston’s Progress (1936) graphically record his experiences in the trenches of the Western Front. Sassoon was made an Honorary Fellow of Clare College in1953.  

Pembroke College – the memorial, close to the entrance to the chapel on the west side of the Hitcham cloister, features 308 former members of the college community who were awarded thirty-four Military Crosses, four Croix de Guerre, six Distinguished Service Orders, and three Victoria Crosses. A full list of those who died including their military career and where they are buried is available via the ‘Lest we Forget’ section of the Pembroke College website