The Recording Angel memorial in St Stephen’s Porch, Westminster Hall

I got the chance this week to see The Recording Angel Memorial, which is located at the south end of Westminster Hall in St Stephen’s Porch, within the Palace of Westminster. The memorial consists of eight panels surrounding a central figure – the Recording Angel – and sits below a stained glass window bearing the family arms of Members who died in World War II.

Members of the House of Commons and Officers of the Commons and Lords
Sons of Members of the Commons (Adamson-Cawley) which includes Raymond Asquith.
Sons of Members of the Commons (Chaloner-Law).
House of Peers which includes Lord Kitchener & the Earl of Longford.
The Recording Angel.
Members of the House of Commons including William Gladstone (RWF) & Valentine Fleming (QOOH).
Sons of Members of the Commons (Law-Seely).
Sons of Members of the Commons (Seely-Younger) which includes Frank Seely, son of J.E.B. Seely.
Sons of Officers of the Commons.
IMG_3626 gives the following narrative:

The Recording Angel memorial in St Stephen’s Porch is dedicated to Peers, MPs, officers and their sons. This memorial is the main memorial to Members and staff of both Houses, including police officers, in the First World War. Designed by Sir Bertram Mackennal in 1921 the statue was damaged during the Second World War and one of the upper statuettes remains detached from the memorial.

The stained glass window above the Recording Angel is another memorial commemorating Members and staff of both Houses who died in the Second World War.

I also saw the House of Lords War Memorial, situated in the Royal Gallery, but unfortunately photography was not permitted there.


Henri Charlier & the Uza “monument aux morts”

On a recent rip to the Landes region of Aquitaine, we came across the village of Uza – a fascinating place with the deserted remnants of an ironworks, dating back to the 16th Century, overlooked by the Chateau des Lur Saluces. The forges were fed by a manmade lake, employed 200 people by the end of the 18th Century but were finally closed in 1981.

Between the lake – L’Etang d’Uza – and the Église Saint-Louis is a beautiful war memorial of carved stone, 1.3m tall. The memorial was erected in 1926 and is the work of Henri Charlier.

In 1915, Charlier volunteered for war service, although he was exempt for reason of health. He was mobilized as a medical orderly. After his military training he was billeted at Épernay where he treated the wounded. There he organized a studio for himself in a spare corner where he could devote himself to painting in his free time. In March 1916, he was transferred to the sixth section of medical orderlies at the hospice of Commercy (in the Meuse region). Charlier was demobilized from the military in March 1919. For more on Charlier, see the Présence des Charlier website which covers the work of both Henri and his brother André, a writer.

The Whitehall Mystery – where’s Haig?

On a recent post-Royal Wedding visit to London, we followed the wedding route through Horse Guards onto Whitehall. At several places there are helpful maps of the local attractions supplied by The Royal Parks – useful for identifying the various statues in the vicinity.

I had a problem though – the statue I was coming to photograph apparently did not exist anymore. According to the map, turning right out of Horse Guards the first statue would be John Mills’ “Women At War” erected in 2005. Had “the Chief” been moved? Confusion was resolved a few minutes later – he was still there alright.

Determined to point out the error on the map, I contacted The Royal Parks. I noted that while Wolseley, Roberts & Kitchener were included, Haig had been omitted – was this simply a mistake?

Their answer: “Viscount Wolseley, Earl Roberts & Lord Kitchener – are all inside the park. Women of World War II & The Cenotaph – (were) chosen as key landmarks for navigation.”

On the face of it, technically correct – is it me or does this all have a slight air of rewriting history to fuel the “Donkeys” view of the war?

Memorial Plaques – St Nicholas Church, Harpenden

A nice set of brass memorial plaques from St Nicholas Church in Harpenden including a member of the Boer War Imperial Yeomanry. The two Lydekker brothers both served with the 1/5th Bedfordshires with Cyril dying at Suvla Bay in August 1915 while Gerard died at Alexandria in June 1917.