Merchant Navy War Memorial, Marine Parade Gardens, Dover Seafront, Kent, UK

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Comments (15)

John Latter on May 5, 2010

After many years lobbying for recognition of the part merchant seamen played in World War I, World War II, and subsequent affairs, Merchant Navy Day became an official day of remembrance on the 3rd of September, 2000, the same day the Merchant Navy Association’s official website opened.

Eight years later, on 3rd September 2008, the Dover Merchant Navy War Memorial, 2m 80cm high and mounted on Cornish granite, was unveiled by Winston Spencer Churchill, grandson of Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, the Second World War Prime Minister.

A quarter peal of 1280 Cambridge Surprise Major was rung at the Church of St Mary the Virgin and a copy of Winston Spencer Churchill's speech is available at the Merchant Navy Memorials website.

Click to see a video of the television coverage given to the ceremony.

The Merchant Navy statue is located on Marine Parade Gardens (1), Marine Parade, Dover, with the Gateway Flats as a backdrop. The figure itself looks out across the harbour and through the Western Entrance between the Southern Breakwater and Admiralty Pier to the English Channel beyond.

The inscription reads:

South Face (on the left in the above photo)

In rememberance of Merchant Navy Seamen who lost their lives in World War II - 1939 - 1945

They sustained heavy losses, 1 in 3 Merchant Navy Seamen did not survive the war.

Merchant Navy Seamen killed: 30, 248

Missing: 4,654

Wounded: 4,707

Prisoner of War: 5,720

Total of Casualties: 45,329

Look out to sea and say a prayer

For those who rest beneath,

They gave their lives, that you may share

A Europe that is free.

(Donald Hunter, 2008)

East Face (on the right)

In rememberance of Merchant Navy Seamen who gave their lives in Operation Neptune, the code-name for the D-Day landings June 6th to September 1944, the large seabourne operation to land and supply our armies in Normandy, France.

Its objective was to free France and so complete the first phase of the liberation of Europe.

One of these convoy routes to the landing beaches was from London Docks via the Dover Straits to Normandy.

The enemy attacks on this convoy route along the French occupied and heavily fortified coast took a heavy toll in the lives of Merchant Seamen.

North Face

This Merchant Navy War Memorial was funded by donations to the Dover and District Merchant Navy Memorial Fund, in rememberance of the Merchant Navy Seamen who lost their lives in World War II.

Founder and Fund-raiser: Donald Hunter, Legion D`Honneur M.N. (WW II)

Sculptor: Vivien Mallock.

West Face

The Battle of the Atlantic.

This was the longest battle of World War II which lasted from September 1939 until May 1945.

During the battle the Merchant Navy sustained their heaviest losses in ships and their crews.

In rememberance of those seamen who gave their lives in order to keep Britain's 'lifeline' open to transport troops and vital war materials.

They paid a heavy price.

End of inscription

The Vivien Mallock website entry for the memorial states:

The Dover Merchant Navy Memorial Fund was set up to finance a permanent memorial in Dover to all merchant seamen who were lost during World War 2. Planning permission was obtained for a life size bronze figure to be installed on a granite plinth overlooking the harbour entrance. The figure is depicted on watch with a pair of binoculars, and could be either an ordinary seaman or an officer.

Extract from Vivien Mallock's biography:

Vivien Mallock’s work, principally in bronze, covers a wide spectrum from portraiture and large monuments to small figurative pieces of both human and wildlife subjects.

She became an Associate of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1998 and is much in demand for bronze portraits and pieces which rely for their effect on atmosphere and movement.

Her largest work to date, the nine-foot Memorial to the Royal Tank Regiment, unveiled by HM The Queen in 2000, stands in Whitehall Court and depicts the five-man crew of a Comet tank.

Elsewhere on the photo:

The hills in the background are the Western Heights.

To the right of the statue - level with the collar - a small section of brickwork belonging to the Drop Redoubt can be seen. The Drop Redoubt is part of an extensive, and largely hidden, Napoleonic and Victorian defense system. At the bottom of the Western Heights are houses of Adrian Street with a side-wall of the 64 Steps visible under high magnification.

To the left of the statue - level with the chin - is the Southeast Entrance to the Drop Redoubt Moats. At the base of the hills are the Pilot`s Meadow allotments: in 1852, when Pilot's Meadow really was a meadow, Charles Dickens used to relax there.

The taller part of the white buildings in front of the statue is an end view of Camden Crescent, which is where Charles Dickens stayed during the 1852 visit (while writing part of Bleak House - see the Dover: Indian Mutiny, Charles Dickens, Roman Empire photo).

(1) There are currently two other statues situated on the Marine Parade Gardens: Captain Matthew Webb (first recorded swimmer of the English Channel), Charles Stewart Rolls (first non-stop flight across the English Channel and back on June 2nd, 1910); The Waiting Miner is nearby (originally sited at Richborough Power Station, this statue is due to be moved again soon).

Click to see photos of other Dover statues and memorials.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

keepclicking on May 27, 2010

Far less grand than the memorial to the Merchants than the shot I took of the one in London, but somehow far more apt.

John Latter on May 27, 2010

keepclicking, on May 27th, 2010, said:

Far less grand than the memorial to the Merchants than the shot I took of the one in London, but somehow far more apt.

I did look through your "Statues & Monuments" tag, but didn't recognize the photo you're referring to.

I think the Dover Merchant Navy War Memorial has an added dimension because it's "in situ", if you see what I mean.

I don't know if you're interested:

"Dover in World War Two: 1942", is a ten minute British Ministry of Information film, released by the US Office of War Information, and narrated by the American journalist, Edward R. Murrow.

John

keepclicking on May 27, 2010

Its on my first page. The relevance is, it is sited in Trinity Square EC3 so named due to Trinity House being there, which is the Royal Chartered Company created to run all the UK's lighthouse's and merchant shipping needs. The Company became a trust once the last of the lighthouses were automated, but still run the enormous crane ships, salvage tugs and service vessels for oil rigs ect. They were also responsible for building lighthouses and also built the light ships, which you can see if you look at my docklands tag with regard to Trinuty House bouy ect as seen on GE at Creekmouth on the Thames opposite the Dome.

John Latter on May 27, 2010

keepclicking, on May 27th, 2010, said:

Its on my first page. The relevance is, it is sited in Trinity Square EC3 so named due to Trinity House being there, which is the Royal Chartered Company created to run all the UK's lighthouse's and merchant shipping needs. The Company became a trust once the last of the lighthouses were automated, but still run the enormous crane ships, salvage tugs and service vessels for oil rigs ect. They were also responsible for building lighthouses and also built the light ships, which you can see if you look at my docklands tag with regard to Trinuty House bouy ect as seen on GE at Creekmouth on the Thames opposite the Dome.

The memorial certainly has a presence, keepclicking - and thank you for the Trinity House info!

John

John Latter on June 30, 2010

Deep.blue, on June 30th, 2010, said:

Was most impressed by your coverage of Dover and the comings and goings there.I pass through the docks (ferry terminal) from time to time and am usually so concentrated on the lanes,that i dare not look left or right.After that,im concentrating on adapting to driving on the other side of the road!! On this topic,good shot and information.i recently came across a Merchant Navy memorial tucked away in Paimpol,NW France and just managed to get it all in the frame with some written detail.been here over 7 years but i had not noticed it.I did put on a "merchant navy" tag,there appear to be few.john

Thank you for your comments, Deep.blue :)

Next time you pass through Dover, maybe you'll have time to pull into a lay-by and see what ships are about - mind you, you'll probably get some good photos as the ferry leaves port (something I haven't done yet).

A good shot of the "War Memorial Merchant Navy, Paimpol" - as you say, you managed to get everything into the frame!

John Latter on July 1, 2010

Deep.blue, on June 30th, 2010, said:

Thankyou john,yes,you are right,i could take a little time there.i sometimes stop at tesco on the way home to stock up,and on the ferry,im usually heading either for the car or the restos when the boat is in the port.thankfully there are those like you who capture that which us foreigners miss.As for shots from the ferry,i may try it albeit i would much prefer to wander around,discovering shots,rather than taking a few quick snaps as i arrive or depart.i shall see what happens next time around.And thankyou for the compliment :-) john

You're welcome, Deep.blue :)

I realize you are only passing though Dover and so have to keep to a schedule, but I wasn't thinking of shots from the ferries as "snaps" - I thought you would get some views (of the castle, etc, not just ships) that can't be got "on the ground".

Anyway, I intend to do a day-trip just so I can get photos like that - when I get around to it, that is!

keepclicking on July 4, 2010

John, I've just posted new shots of Trinty Sq that may interst you. The detail is astonishing. Every single man killed is named under the ship he sailed on: in both world wars and the Falklands conflict. I have commented on all of them. Regards.

John Latter on November 28, 2012

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on May 3, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2010/05/03 07:22:27
    • Exposure: 0.003s (1/320)
    • Focal Length: 55.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/9.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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