St Albans War Memorials
The St Albans City memorial stands at the junction of St Peter’s St, Catherine St and Hatfield Rd. It was built as a memorial to First World War dead in form of a stone cross constructed of Portland Stone, which was funded by public subscription. The architect was Sir Edgar Wigram and it was built by the stonemasons Charles Alderton of Harpenden for a contract price of £372.
It was dedicated and unveiled on 22 May 1921 by Lord Cavan who had local battalions under his command in the war. A series of stone panels were later set into the circular wall surrounding the base of the memorial on which names of Second World War dead are inscribed.
Of the 640 men lost from St Albans in WW1, more than 100 were from the Abbey Parish. In all other local parish churches, war memorials were put up inside or outside the buildings listing the dead from that parish. In the Abbey parish 10 memorial street plaques were put up in Albert Street, Bardwell Road, Fishpool Street, High Street, Holywell Hill, Lower Dagnall Street, Orchard Street, Pageant Road, Sopwell Lane and Verulam Road.
All are embedded within the walls of private houses with the exception of the High Street plaque which is on business premises.
There are 2 other street plaques, not part of the Abbey parish scheme. The first is a memorial to employees of Vyse’s Hat Factory, formerly of Ridgemont Road. Following redevelopment of the original building on which this was attached it has been re-mounted at Ridgemont Plaza Car Park, Ridgemont Road, on the car park wall of Anthony Gibbs House.
The second is a plaque recording the loss of employees from Edwin Lee’s Boot Factory which was similarly remounted following re-development. This is now on the wall of the Car Park opposite the Ziggurat, Grosvenor Rd.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission ensures that 1.7 million people who died in the two world wars will never be forgotten. It cares for cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations, in 153 countries.
Its Register of war dead is one of the largest of its kind in the world. It lists the names of all the war dead under the Commission’s care including the graves of more than 935,000 identified war dead and almost 212,000 unidentified individuals. Its Register can be searched on line by surname, date, war, rank, regiment, awards or any combination of those.’