A year or so ago, I blogged about a small war memorial in Highgate which was quite literally falling apart - and with it remembrance of those who served at Highgate Camp and lost their lives in the First World War. That's the memorial as it was on the left. When I chanced upon it this afternoon, I discovered that it has been splendidly restored.
There are two memorials either side of a gateway at the top of Swains Lane, just a minute's stroll from Pond Square. There was something elegiac about the manner in which they were crumbling away - and part of me wonders whether that is the most poetic fate. But I imagine those whose forbears are commemorated here will much prefer this new lease of life for the memorial - and now in a century's time, the names should still be decipherable, and some of those who stop and take notice will ponder on the tragedy which befell this nation - indeed the world, for this was a global conflict - in what contemporaries called the Great War.
The facing memorial, to J. Dawbarn Young, has also been replaced. This wasn't as tarnished, but it's clearly appropriate that both memorials should match. James Dawbarn Young was a barrister whose passion for yachting led him to enroll in the naval reserves, and reach the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He died 96 years ago this week.
These are of course memorials not graves. But just a short distance down Swains Lane lies Highgate Cemetery, which in the spring has a quiet enchantment to it. I hope you agree.
Yes, I was watching 'The Village' last night. And yes, it did put me in mind of the memorial in our local village, Highgate village. It stands at the top of Swains Lane, though you easily walk past the plaque without spotting it. And as you can see, some of the names are already undecipherable and in a few years all will have been weathered into anonymity.
You can find out a little about the memorial at what was once Highgate Camp here - the names are slightly more legible on the photo on this site. I do hope someone has taken the trouble to set down the inscription before it started to wear away. This is what I make out the names to be, with some of those on the right-hand column rather less then certain transcriptions:
RAYMOND C. BRICE CYRIL P. MADDAX
ERNEST JOHN DODD CHAS BERNARD MILLER
EDWARD E. GRIMWADE ALFRED MOORE
HERBERT HEAVINGHAM HENRY MORLEY
FRANK J. HOCKING, D.C.M. KENNETH H. RE...
ALAN J. HOPKINS JOHN WOODWA...
FELIX E. JONES, M.C. J.D. YOUNG
The memorial is on a gate, and opposite is a tablet which has survived the decades slightly better. There's more about James Dawbarn Young here.
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