Kennington Park War Memorials
Kennington Park has two war memorials; one commemorates the military war dead and stands by the "Theatre" gate at the northwest corner of the park, by the junction with Kennington Park Place. The other is a memorial to the local people who died in the air raid shelter in the park during World War Two, in October 1940. It stands close to the sunken flower beds and the Tinworth Fountain on the western side of the park.
The war memorial is built of Portland Stone and was designed by Captain Thomas Lodge. Unveiled in 1924, it was to commemorate the Great War casualties of the 1st and 2nd Battalion of the 24th The London Regiment, known as the Queens, our local battalion, based in Braganza St, now New St. Their regimental badge was the Lamb of Lambeth and a flag bearing the cross of St George. The World War One battle honours were carved on the monument and are France, Flanders, Salonika and Palestine. Originally the memorial had a metal (possibly bronze) sculpture of military banners and machine guns, rifles, bayonets and hand grenades, this has now disappeared. The battalion became the 1st and 2nd 7th The Queens (Royal West Surrey Reg) and their World War Two battle honours were added at the sides in 1947. This is now the local war memorial for all military casualties. In 2012 it was cleaned and restored with monies raised by the Friends. In 2014 the railings surrounding it were damaged by a falling tree, but were then repaired. It a well attended ceremony in July 2014, the 90th anniversary of its unveiling, the memorial was re dedicated. It was listed grade II in 2017 by English Heritage.
The history of the 24th Londons puts their Great War casualties as 42 officers and 853 men. The youngest was Bernard Arthur Johnson from Carlisle who was killed on 26 May 1915, 71 days after he had arrived in France, he was 17 years and 8 months of age. The oldest was possibly Sergeant Robert Robertson who died of sickness in January 1919 aged 58.
To commemorate Kennington Park's connection with World War One, in November 2018 it was declared a Centenary Field by Fields in Trust. It had been nominated by Lambeth Council. It means that the park is a living memorial to the casualties of what we now call the Great War. This dedication signifies a clear commitment to the importance of the park.
During the dedication service on 21 October 2018 attended by the Friends of Kennington Park, local residents and the congregation of St Mark's Kennington, a number of local casualties were remembered:
Private Thomas Basketfield of Vauxhall St, who worked for a motor car manufacturer, he was killed in May 1916 just 10 weeks after he had arrived on the Western Front, he was 22
Corporal William Duke of 7 Offley Rd who died in France of wounds on 19 September 1918 aged 21. William’s sister was married in St Mark’s Church in 1915 and William is listed on the church's memorial.
Drummer Charles Matkin, of 29 Doddington Grove, killed in action in August 1917 and buried near Ypres, his headstone reads “God’s finger touched him and he slept”
Pte Horace Charles Porter of Carroun Rd, killed in May 1915, 10 weeks after the 24th Londons landed in France, he was just 18. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Le Touret memorial. His name was on the street shrine erected at St Mark's in October 1916 and he is on their war memorial.
The park's other war memorial is to the the local people who died in the air raid shelter in the park during World War Two. There were shallow trench air raid shelters dug in the south field of the park and on Tuesday 15 October 1940 they took a direct hit during an air raid on Waterloo Station. Only 48 bodies were recovered – they were later buried in Streatham Cemetery. But it's estimated that 104 people died on that terrible day.
The damage was hurriedly covered up to prevent any propaganda being made of the disaster, and many bodies still lie beneath the park. This was Lambeth’s worst WW2 civilian incident. It was largely forgotten, until 2002 when two local Lambeth Councillors held a memorial held a memorial service in St Mark’s Church when all the names of the known casualties were read out. The Friends of Kennington Park, through Lambeth’s Opportunities Fund, commissioned a permanent memorial. Using Caithness stone, local resident Richard Kindersley designed and carved the standing stone. It was unveiled in 2006 at a ceremony attended by family members of those who died.
In 2010 there was a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the incident.
At noon on 15 October 2020, the 80th anniversary, only a small service was possible because of Covid restrictions. It was led by Rev Steve Coulson, with members of hi St Mark's congregation, representatives from the Friends of Kennington Park and a local residents whose mother had used the shelter on that night.
Kennington Park Air Raid Casualties – 15 October 1940
Baker Leonard Arthur, 13 Milverton St, aged 14
Baker William Charles, 13 Milverton St, aged 39
Banks Derrick, 64 Key House, Kennington Park Estate, aged 2
Banks Sulvia Gladys, 64 Key House, Kennington Park Estate, aged 13
Banks Violet Ellen, 64 Key House, Kennington Park Estate, aged 34
Banks William Edward, 64 Key House, Kennington Park Estate, aged 39
Campbell Martha Amelia, 42, Gosling Way, aged 41
Campbell Martha Harriet, 42 Gosling Way, aged 14
Campbell Ronald, 42 Gosling Way, aged 2
Campbell Rosina Ann, 42 Gosling Way, aged 11 months
Cannon Thomas Charles, 50 Alverstone House, Kennington Park Estate, aged 15
Carter Walter, 40 Lohmann House, Kennington Park Estate, aged 30
Cashion Ada Gladys, 8 Black Prince Rd, aged 29
Crick Abert Edward Ernest, 18 Newington Cresc, aged 54
Cutler Emma, 228 Hillingdon St, aged 73
Cutler George, 228 Hillingdon St, aged 73
Dale Alice Elizabeth Annie, 12 Ravensden St, aged 57
Dale Julia Mary, 12 Ravensdon St, aged 59
Gange Thomas William, 61 Mountain House, Vauxhall Gardens Estate. Aged 72
Gebbie Charles Henry Clump, 177 Kennington Rd, aged 29
Godfrey Irene Florence, 21 Offley Rd, aged 20
Godfrey Patrick Terence, 21 Offley Rd, aged 3 months
Grew Charles Leonard, 39 Mountain House, Vauxhall Gardens Estate, aged 26, a fireman
Grew Edith Elizabeth , 39 Mountain House, Vauxhall Gardens Estate, aged 55
Grew Margaret Isabel , 39 Mountain House, Vauxhall Gardens Estate, aged 19
Holland Frances Mary, 81 Fairburn Rd, aged 45
Holland Frederick Charles, 81 Fairburn Rd, aged 46
Hopkinson Doris, 21 Offley Rd, aged 40
Hopkinson William Frederick, 21 Offley Rd, aged 69
Jackson, Constance Margaret, 48 Alverstone House, Kennington Park Estate, aged 14
Kiff Amelia Rebecca Josephine , 63 Royal Terrace, aged 57
Kiff Elizabeth, 63 Royal Terrace, aged 75
Kiff Rose Catherine, 63 Royal Terrace, aged 41
Lovett Henry, 73 Gosling Way, aged 9
Ludlow Dennis William, 7 Reedworth St, aged 17
Ludlow Eva Maud, 7 Reedworth St, aged 52
MacIntosh Donald, 42 Methley St, aged 42
Margiotta Victor, 103 Lothian Rd, aged 39
Moore Ella Lilias , 24 Eastcote St, aged 38
Osborne William Frederick Victor, 83 St Agnes Pl, aged 16
Osborne William Frederick, 83 St Agnes Pl, aged 64
Otten Albert Ernest Edward, 354 Gosling Way, aged 41
Pottle Olive Joan, 28B Newington Butts, aged 14, died 21 October 1940
Poulton Alfred George, 58 South Island Pl, aged 62
Powell John Henry, 4 Morat St, aged 59
Read Sarah, 23 Kilner House, Kennington Park Estate, aged 74
Smith Matilda Alice, 396 Gosling Way, aged 43
Stearn Alice Louisa, 21 Offley Rd, about 40
Stearn Louisa Rose, 21 Offley Rd, aged 18
Terry George, 12 Ravensdon St, aged 58
Terry Sarah Louisa Maud, 12 Ravensdon St, aged 51
Thomas Lionel David, 77 Braganza St, aged 16
Ward Samuel Alfred, 4 Willow Walk, aged 39
White Frederick Henry, 11 Vassall Rd, aged 37
Woods Edward, 33 Read House, Kennington Park Estate, aged 48.