The Hollybrook Memorial is cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission - CWGC (Photo: Centenary News)

Focus on the Hollybrook War Memorial, Southampton

Posted on on 27 August 2018
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Britain’s Maritime Archaeology Trust has released an online guide to a First World War memorial in Southampton honouring more than 1,900 members of Commonwealth land and air forces who have no grave but the sea. 

The stories of those remembered on the Hollybrook War Memorial are told through an interactive 3D model, accompanied by a booklet and video.

Many of the men and women named on the monument's 109 panels died in sinkings of hospital or troopships, mostly in UK home waters. The port of Southampton played an important part in supplying the front and receiving the wounded. 

During the 2014-2018 Centenary, the Southampton-based Maritime Archaeology Trust has researched 1,100 wrecks along England’s south coast. Now its 3D model of Hollybrook  provides a virtual tour of this international memorial site, highlighting the vessels and nationalities of those commemorated.

Of the 1,930 service personnel listed, 596 were members of the South African Native Labour Corps who perished when the troopship SS Mendi was sunk in a collision off the Isle of Wight in February 1917. Their names alone cover 16 panels. In August 2018, the ship's bell was presented to South Africa.

Among hundreds more remembered are 13 nursing staff, lost while serving on hospital ships, and Britain’s War Minister, Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, who died when the cruiser HMS Hampshire struck a mine off the Orkney Islands in 1916.

The Hollybrook Memorial, situated in a cemetery near Southampton General Hospital, was unveiled in 1930 on land donated by the city’s corporation.

It was built by the Imperial War Graves Commission - today CWGC - to commemorate members of Commonwealth land and air forces in the Great War who were lost or buried at sea or whose final resting place is unknown.

Sailors of the Royal Navy who have no grave but the sea are commemorated on the Naval Memorials at Chatham, Portsmouth and Plymouth. Their counterparts in the mercantile marine are remembered on the Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill in London. All of these sites are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Matron Katy Beaufoy (first panel from left) is among medical staff of the hospital ship, Glenart Castle, remembered on the Hollybrook Memorial (Photo: Centenary News)

The Maritime Archaeology Trust's virtual tour of the Hollybrook Memorial, together with the video and booklet, are freely accessible here - Forgotten Wrecks of the First World WarThe WW1 Centenary project is supported through the UK Heritage Lottery Fund. 

See also in Centenary News:

MAT project researching German warship wrecks found in Portsmouth Harbour

Source: Maritime Archaeology Trust-MAT

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: CN Editorial Team