Battle to protect War Memorials stepped up

Contributed by editor on Nov 05, 2011 - 02:05 AM

War memorials in villages and towns in Kent and across the country are increasingly being targeted by heartless metal thieves.

A national project to coincide with the upcoming centenary of the First World War in 2014 has been set up to protect Britain's memorials as well as identifying and recording them.


There is thought to be approximately 100,000 war memorials in the British Isles ranging from the 7th century to the present day.


The concept of In Memoriam 2014 is to encourage local communities and youth groups to identify and get involved with war memorials. The information obtained from those that apply will be used by War Memorials Trust to help its work protecting and conserving war memorials. The increased awareness of war memorial issues that this campaign will create will enable the charity to promote the importance of best conservation practice through its advisory and grant-making activities.

At present the memorials are under increasing threat from thieves and vandals attempting to steal the metal despite it having relatively little monetary value.

It is estimated that on average one war memorial a week is being targeted by thieves looking to illegally remove bronze, copper or other metals to sell on for scrap.

In Memoriam 2014 is a partnership between War Memorials Trust and the SmartWater Foundation. The project is seeking to offer greater protection to war memorials across the UK. It aims to prevent anymore communities witnessing the desecration of their memorials.

Thousands of custodians already spend considerable effort on maintaining monuments through the country and In Memoriam 2014 will be calling on those volunteers to unite under its banner, as well as pushing for even more willing hands to join the effort to protect those memorials which risk being forgotten.

Among the organisations offering crucial support to the project are the UK's tri-service cadet forces, which will involve members in the huge task of locating and recording memorials, many of which may be small and hard to find, due to development in the years since they were placed.

To combat the threat of theft each monument will be forensically marked with SmartWater, assigning them with a state of the art forensic signature that can only be seen under UV light. Once applied SmartWater is virtually impossible to remove and can withstand burning, sand blasting and long term exposure to UV.

Anyone wishing to take part in this project or register a war memorial can visit  for more information.

Hawkinge Gazette and Channel Coast News 2011©