Laindon and District War Memorial

It is your opportunity to have your say as to where it should be relocated.

By Ken Porter

Photo:Memorial in front of Laindo Shpping Centre

Memorial in front of Laindo Shpping Centre

Ken Porter - 2004

The Laindon and District War Memorial currently stands in front of the Laindon Shopping Centre, prior to that it stood in front of the British Legion Hall facing the High Road. The hall itself was built in the early 1920’s and had stood next to Laindon High Road School until it was sold and finally demolished in 1975. The memorial then languished in a store house near Pitsea tip, until it was rescued and relocated to its current position.

Photo:Memorial outside British Legion Hall

Memorial outside British Legion Hall

The War Memorial was unveiled on Saturday afternoon the 19th September 1935 , the following is the report from the local paper: -

“On Saturday the memorial to those who fell in the Great War was unveiled. It is a simple column of blue pear Aberdeen granite, surmounted by a cross of the same stone and stands outside the hall of the British Legion in the High Road. It is the gift of Mr A.E. Symes, of Brentwood and Stratford . Twenty branches of the British Legion from different parts of Essex were represented at the unveiling, each with its standard. The ceremony was to have been performed by Mrs Symes but she was called away to a daughter who had been taken ill and Mrs J McLachlan, another daughter, took her place. The gathering sang “O God, our help in ages past”, and there was a Scripture reading by Mr J. Tourie. Mrs Mclachan, releasing the Union flag that veiled the column, said: “To the memory of the Glorious Dead I unveil this memorial.”  All the standard bearers dipped their flags until after the dedication by the Rector of Laindon (the Rev. M.N.Lake) chaplain to the branch. Prayers were offered by the Rev. T.W. Shepherd, of the Langdon Hills Baptist Church and “The Supreme Sacrifice” was sung.

Buglers from Warley Barracks sounded the “Last Post” and after two minutes’ silence, the “Reveille.” Capt. F Cornish said although some people might remark upon the memorial being unveiled at such a late hour, he, personally, could think of no more fitting or opportune moment. but The memorial did not belong to the Legion but to everybody in the district. Mrs Mclachlan laid a wreath on the memorial and there were wreaths from the women’s section and a number of private ones. Visitors were entertained at tea by the branch and at night the memorial was floodlit”.

The memorial is inscribed commemorating both the two world wars:

"TO THE GLORIOUS DEAD 1914 – 1918 LAINDON AND DISTRICT 1939 – 1945’ “AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN , AND IN THE MORNING, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.”

It is non-denominational and there are no individual names inscribed.

The Laindon service is unusual in that, unlike others, it is always held in the afternoon of Remembrance Sunday, a tradition believed to have started when the war memorial was first installed because the local Rector of Laindon-cum-Basildon Rev. M. N. Lake had a morning service to run.

Prior to this memorial the only remembrance of those fallen in the Great War was the ‘Garden of Roses’ on the junction of St Nicholas Lane and Basildon Drive and the Memorial Hall built by voluntary labour. It stood more or less where the Laindon Community Centre is to day until it was demolished in 1967.

The original British Legion Hall was built in the early 1920s and stood facing the High Road next to Laindon High Road School until it was sold and demolished in 1975. The current hall is at the Triangle centre in Langdon Hills. One or two of its members are petitioning the council to let them remove the memorial to the Triangle centre.

Photo:Royal Silver Jubilee Fountain

Royal Silver Jubilee Fountain

Ken Porter - 2004

So many Laindon landmarks have now disappeared, so if Laindon is to retain its identity in the larger Basildon, it must fight to save what little is left. The War Memorial is one; the other is the King George V and Queen Mary 1935 Royal Silver Jubilee Water fountain that currently stands nearby. Previously this had stood next to the junction of the High Road and St Nicholas Lane called Hiawatha corner opposite the doctor’s house by the same name ‘Hiawatha’. I understand that it was the children of Laindon who decided on the Silver Jubilee fountain instead of a party.

Photo:Memorial and Fountain

Memorial and Fountain

Ken Porter - 2004

If you want the memorial to stay in Laindon let your councillors know, you have until September 2011.

This page was added by Ken Porter on 14/08/2011.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

There are many suggestions as to where the war memorial should be placed, possibly where it has the most chance of being noticed and remind people of the debt owed to the fallen and in the case of WW1, those who returned with damaged bodies and who were cast onto the scrap heat by society.

If we accept the words "At the going down of the sun and in the mornings we will remember them", the only place this can occur is in our hearts and minds.  Wherever a monument is placed, I suggest for many the remembrance happens on only a few days per year when it should be with us always as part of our daily lives.

By W.H.Diment
On 05/01/2014

Very true words David but this is Laindon which seems to be controlled by the Developer, and its inhabitants along with their feelings come second.

By Barry Ellerby
On 04/01/2014

I remember as a youngster in the 70's when dropping my elder brothers off at the Laindon School with my dad and seeing the overgrown plot with the war memorial on it and wondering what it was.

Perhaps I am an old stick in the mud but a war memorial is like someones or many persons only thing they left in the world after dying very probably a horrible death.

The grieving local communities in the 1920s/30s paid for these I would imagine expensive items to commemorate their fallen loved ones and in a couple of decades the modern community (if we can call it that now) move it, not once but its looks like now twice. It should never have been moved in the first place to my mind. its very sad state of affairs.

It needs to go somewhere where it stands out for all to see and no further developer should ever be allowed to build near it or buy the land it sits on.

By David
On 04/01/2014

Concerning the 'Jubilee fountain' I well remember the sunny day in 1935 when the fountain built to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George fifth and Queen Mary was dedicated. I was a member of the 3rd Laindon (Manor Mission) troop of boy scouts and our brass band led the procession along Laindon High Road to the site on "Hiawatha' corner of St Nicholas Lane. It was a drinking fountain complete with metal cups secured by chains to the fountain.  It carried a suitable inscription remembering the sovereigns' silver jubilee.  As I remember, it became vandalised with the cups being stolen and some damage to the fountain.

I am very pleased that it has been rescued and on my next visit to Laindon will seek it as one of the few relics of the Laindon that I knew it in my youth in the 1930s'

By harry rossiter
On 11/07/2012

In the 1950s all the youth organisations joined in the march past. Believe me, to carry the Girls Life Brigade flag at the "Royal Salute" angle on a windy day was a hard job. We then all marched into the Radion for the remembrance service

By Mary Cole
On 12/01/2012

I've registered to add my support to Andrea and Richard's suggestion; the grass area at the junction of Church Hill and St Nicholas Lane would be an ideal location for the war memorial, highly visible to the thousands who walk, drive and cycle past every day and with parking available next to the church or at the school in the event of a service. 

I've lived in Laindon for 30 years and only discovered the memorial and fountain when I took up cycling this year and saw them hidden amongst the trees as I rode past.

I'm very pleased they are to be moved but I feel they were commissioned at different times, for different reasons and from different materials so, as long as the fountain is re-sited somewhere visible I don't see any reason for it to be co-located with the memorial. It could though be sited further along St Nicholas Lane on the same grass slope.

By Paul Reeves
On 04/10/2011

I suggest it goes on the wide verge near Hilly Road, probably near where Andrea is talking about above. This spot has not changed in my memory at least and is representative of Laindon as it was. Also there is room around it for gatherings etc. I looked at the spot a few weeks ago and it is ideal.

By Richard Haines
On 27/09/2011

Put them back near to where they belong War Memorial on the roundabout at Link Road & High Rd. The Fountain on roundabout at Nicholas Lane & High Rd., near to the old St Peter Church.

Editor: The roundabouts may be a little impracticable but the intent is clear.

By Peter Evenett
On 26/09/2011

From Basildon Town Centre, I feel it is always pleasant to arrive on the road to Laindon - the green grass, trees and bushes at the base of St Nicholas Church would be an inviting home for the War Memorial for all to see.

By Andrea
On 05/09/2011