Swanley war memorial gets £14,000 facelift in memory of lost officer

Coun Ayres with the restored memorial.

Coun Ayres with the restored memorial.

First published in News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

A Swanley war memorial featuring the first officer to be killed in the First World War has been given a £14,000 facelift.

The memorial at St Mary’s Church includes the name of Joseph Gedge, who was just 36 when he and 150 other men lost their lives on August 6, 1914 after their ship HMS Amphion struck mines in the Thames Estuary.

Staff Paymaster Gedge has family connections to Swanley and the memorial was first unveiled in 1922 at a cost of £970 by his mother Mary.

The recent work, paid for by Sevenoaks District Council, included cleaning the Portland stone and re-coating the bronze statue and plaque.

Swanley Councillor Leslie Ayres campaigned for the restoration.

He said: "I realised the significance of the memorial in relation to Staff Paymaster Joseph Gedge as I was researching for The Imperial War Museum.

"I went about making enquiries to obtain the funds to have the memorial refurbished as I thought that it was in a pretty bad state.

"It was a long journey but we have achieved it before the centenary in August, for which I am very pleased and grateful."

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