The War Memorial
In the quiet moments at the end of the War, people here struggled with the grief of losing a loved one - or glowed with the joy of welcoming one home. But 324 Newton Abbot men never came home - their graves scattered - in the corner of a foreign field. The Town readjusted. Quietly the subject of a Memorial arose. Lest We Forget....
The War Memorial Committee picked a site in Queen Street, raised £1,745 from local subscribers and called for designs. A column with bronze name plaques was chosen - and Courtenay Pollock came forward “...my home is Devon... I should feel it an honour to have the opportunity of making a bronze figure for your memorial...”
The bronze figure he sculpted was ‘Freedom’ - in her hands are the broken chains of oppression.
The casting of the figure was delayed by Courtenay Pollock’s illness, and post-war labour problems in the foundry. ‘Freedom’ and the 4 bronze plaques of names arrived by two trains from the Parlanti Foundry Works in London, the scaffolding went up on the Queen Street column. The Town Council Chairman received the Monument as a gift from the Subscribers and have maintained it ever since.
The Unveiling and Dedication of the War Memorial was on Sunday 23 July 1922 at 3pm. Local cadets, service personnel and ex-servicemen were joined by officials and the relatives of the men named on the Memorial. Speeches were made, hymns sung and over 70 wreaths laid by local people.
Mrs Viola Hamlin was asked to place a white wreath on the new monument. She had lost two sons within the first three days of the start of the War on board HMS Amphion.