We (Friends of Margravine Cemetery) are proud of our slightly faded Green Flag fluttering aloft proudly showing we have won a Green Flag Award. To be fair they dish a lot of these out and not just in London but all over the world.
Last year I was part of a posse escorting two Green Flag judges round the cemetery. We bragged about our six Listed buildings and monuments, our enthusiasm for bio-diversity and we made them squint at the peregrine falcons flying over Charing Cross Hospital. For their part they grumbled that there was no car park or childrens playground but there wasn’t any litter either. Nevertheless we got our award. Award winners are listed on the Green Flag Awards website but like Alice in Wonderland everyone seems to be a winner.
Now, and this may seem like a ludicrous digression, I have to take my old car, entering its 18th year, for a spin once a month or so, especially in cold weather, to keep the battery charged. On Thursday I remembered how often I had driven past a turn off on the A40 to the Polish War Memorial. I felt right at home there.
The memorial dates from 1948 but was extensively refurbished in 2010. It didn’t look pristine on Thursday after a storm with high winds had just blown through; there were branches all over the place and a fence had blown over. Nor is it a place of quiet contemplation as it is beside a busy roundabout. In all other respects this Grade II Listed monument is a fitting tribute to the plucky Poles who fought alongside the Allies.
Inscriptions on memorials are tricky to photograph but for once this is legible. You are no doubt wondering if there is anything similar to honour the Czechoslovak forces who served in WWII. There is a bronze plaque in the west cloister of Westminster Abbey, designed by Franta Belsky and unveiled by the Marquess of Cholmondeley.
Now you want to know if there’s a Polish War Memorial near you? Well, quite likely.
There are numerous other Polish war memorials in the United Kingdom. In England they are in St Clement Danes Church in London and at Audley End, Bradley, North Yorkshire, Brookwood Military Cemetery, Buckden Pike, the former RAF Chailey, between Terminals 2 and 3 at Manchester International Airport (which had been RAF Ringway), the National Memorial Arboretum, Newark-on-Trent and Plymouth. Wales has Polish monuments in Cardiff and Wrexham. Scotland has Polish monuments at Douglas, South Lanarkshire, Duns, Invergordon, Perth and Prestwick. (Wiki)