Pangbourne War Memorial – from Vera’s diaries

In August 1919, soon after the birth of her second daughter Veronica in June, Vera decided to try her hand at the Pangbourne War Memorial, inspired, Vera says in her diary, by the war memorial at Mortimer. That Autumn she was working on both her war memorial drawings and those for the Roll of Honour at Mapledurham.

In October she also helped her sister Mable who was organising door-to-door collections to raise money for the war memorial. That month she also went to Burlington House to see the war memorial exhibition – some good lettering. Then on 23 October the local War Memorial Committee chose her drawing. In November she handed the finished drawing over to Johnny (who seems to have been responsible for the actual erection of the memorial).

Nothing more is recorded on the war memorial until September 1920.

15 September: This afternoon had a most awful shock, as the war memorial is up, looks horrible. Tried to get hold of Johnny but in vain.

16 September: I couldn’t sleep thinking about the war memorial –went to meet Johnny before the 9 o’clock train to ask him to have it altered but he wouldn’t say anything but caught his train.

22 September: Mab and I went down to the war memorial and I had a great talk with Johnny. It looks well except for the capital, which is too large and very ugly. Decided to have it altered.

23 September: Spent practically the whole morning, afternoon and evening going backward and forwards to the war memorial, got the capital started to being reduced.

24 September: I was still agonised about the war memorial – spent the day hard at work measuring and reducing it…At tea time I had done as much alteration as possible.

30 September: Worked all day making out the inscription for the war memorial.

1 October: About 10 o’clock went down with my inscription drawn and helped the mason to trace it on.

7 October: General Waddington officially unveiled the war memorial. Vera was in Bognor Regis, where the children had been with Nanny since mid-September; the next day she records that Mervyn came down to Bognor by train after work and brought her some photos of the unveiling, probably including those reproduced here.

Enlarge Reading Standard October 16 1920
Enlarge Reading Standard October 16 1920