The War Memorial Cross

The aftermath of the First World War saw large scale public commemoration, with tens of thousands of memorials erected across Britain and Ireland. One such memorial was erected in Hemel Hempstead to commemorate the soldiers from the town who died during the conflict. 

On Sunday, 26th June 1921, 2000 townspeople gathered at Moor End, close to where the Plough or "Magic Roundabout" stands today, to see a War Memorial Cross unveiled by Lieutenant Colonel Lovel F. Smeathman D.S.O., M.C. He was a fitting choice having known many of the men who fell, commanded a number, and sadly lost two brothers named on the memorial, Cecil and Julian, who had died on the same day, 24th October 1914. Their parents received telegrams, less than 30 minutes apart, two days later confirming their sons’ deaths.

Following the Second World War, Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), Aden Emergency (1963-1967), Falklands War (1982) and the war in Afghanistan (2001-2014), tablets were added to commemorate those who lost their lives during those conflicts. The memorial was moved from its original location at Moor End to it's present position close to St. John the Evangelist church in Boxmoor in the late 1950's.