Visiting Eastbourne War Memorial, England, by British/Swiss Sculptor Henry Charles Fehr (1867-1940)
A British/Swiss contribution in Eatbourne to peace and war
War memorials may be many in number — in certain countries especially — but they are certainly not all the same.
This War Memorial in Eastbourne, England, which was officially unveiled in 1920 to commemorate the fallen of World War One (1), has its own special characteristics.
The Memorial depicts an angel holding a sword: the Angel of Victory, precisely executed in bronze in a rigorous, flowing design. There are no names on the Monument to recall Eastbourne's solemn contribution among the war dead of World War One, although these are named at the Town Hall not far away.
Its inscription reads:
"THE TRIBUTE OF/ EASTBOURNE/ TO HER GALLANT/ SONS AND DAUGHTERS/ WHO WERE FAITHFUL/ UNTO DEATH/ IN THE GREAT WAR/ 1914 – 1918/ THEIR NAMES/ ARE RECORDED/ ON OAK TABLETS/ IN THE TOWN HALL." (2)
If one looks historically at what actually happened in 1918, rather than in 1945, Germany and the Allies signed an Armistice which took effect on November 11, 1918; while Imperial Germany was beleaguered by the end of World War One, it was was not nearly the defeat that Germany suffered in 1945, at least, not immediately: the Armistice was replaced by the (so called) Peace of Versailles in 1919, for which negotiations the German government was at first unwilling to agree to its stringent terms.
So yes, for Germany, a defeat of sorts (although it could be argued that the real defeat came in the Versailles Peace treaty negotiations afterwards).
So yes, the Angel of Victory as a poignant symbol is not technically inaccurate. The underlying reality of this Victory is perhaps somewhat more nuanced.
Another interesting background feature of the Eastbourne War Memorial is the fact that the British sculptor was from a Swiss background: Henry Charles Fehr (1867-1940), who was responsible for many prominent works (3). Significantly or not, this allegorical memorializer of one of history's greatest conflagrations had a family background from a country with both a strongly neutral stance but also — further back in history — with a history of supplying many mercenaries to other countries wars. A family antecedent of Henry Fehr served as President of Switzerland.
Eastbourne War Memorial is located at Memorial Roundabout, South Street, Eastbourne, East Sussex.
May 15, 2018
(1) Inscriptions referring to those who served in subsequent wars were added later.
(2) See also: https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1441521
(3) Other works for which Sculptor Fehr was responsible include ones at Middlesex Guildhall on Parliament Square, London and Cardiff City Hall, Wales.
Also worth seeing
In Eastbourne itself, notable sights include: Beachy Head and lighthouse, which lie within the town's limits; the Pier, the Promenade, the Martello Wish Tower, and the Redoubt Fortress attract many summer visitors; the Town Hallis architecturally distinguished; Sovereign Harbour is reputed to be Europe's largest marina; there are many fine examples of ecclesiastical architecture.
At Pevensey (distance: 6.6 kilometres), the castle is partly Roman and partly Norman in origin.
How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York - Newark to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. (Distance from London Heathrow to Eastbourne : 146 kilometres.) For access by road, take M25/M23/A23/A27. There are rail links to Eastbourne from London Victoria railroad station. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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