Permission granted for HMS Hampshire commemorative wall

Work begins on the Kitchener Memorial restoration (image: Orkney Heritage Society)
Work begins on the Kitchener Memorial restoration (image: Orkney Heritage Society)

Have you heard the good news? Yesterday Orkney Islands Council’s Planning Committee granted planning permission for our HMS Hampshire commemorative wall, to be built alongside the Kitchener Memorial at Marwick Head, Orkney.

We issued the following press release to the media.

Graham Brown

Kitchener & HMS Hampshire Memorial project press release

Volunteers working to “better remember” 737 men who died when HMS Hampshire sank off Orkney during the First World War have secured planning permission for a commemorative wall engraved with the names of all those lost.

The wall will be a little over a metre high, made of Orkney stone, and laid out in an arc shape alongside the existing Kitchener Memorial tower. The wall will be capped in sandstone with a pillar at each end. Artist-designed carved sandstone panels will be incorporated in the pillars and the internal face of the wall will be faced in dark coloured granite to list the names.

The Kitchener & HMS Hampshire Memorial project will also see the Kitchener Memorial restored. Work began on the tower’s restoration last week (week beginning Monday 29 June) and involves restoring the stonework to its original condition, inspecting and repairing the roof, reinstating the ventilation and restoring the inspection doorway.

The contractor chosen by Orkney Heritage Society for the tower restoration and to build the wall is Casey Construction Ltd of Kirkwall.

Permission for the wall was granted by Orkney Islands Council’s Planning Committee today (Wednesday 8 July).

Graham Brown, a member of the memorial project committee, said: “We are delighted to have secured permission for the commemorative wall. We believe that, together with a restored tower, this will make a fitting place of remembrance for next year’s centenary and beyond.”

Now the volunteers have to secure funding to ensure the commemorative wall can be completed. They estimate they need at least another £15,000 to realise the project.

The Kitchener Memorial, a 48-feet high stone tower, was unveiled in 1926 to commemorate Earl Kitchener, Britain’s Secretary of State for War, who was among those lost when HMS Hampshire sank just off Orkney’s Atlantic coast on 5 June 1916.

The restored tower and wall will be officially unveiled at events marking the centenary of the sinking on Sunday 5 June 2016. Relatives of some of those lost are expected to attend.

The project committee would like to hear from anyone who may have artefacts linked to HMS Hampshire for a planned exhibition around the time of the centenary. Please email kitchener.memorial@gmail.com or write to Orkney Heritage Society, PO Box 6220, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 9AD.

Anyone who wishes to donate towards the project can do so online at justgiving.com/orkneyheritagesociety/ or send a cheque payable to Orkney Heritage Society.

Follow the progress of the project on Facebook (@Kitchener.Memorial), Twitter (@kitchenerorkney) and via a blog at kitchenerhampshire.wordpress.com/.

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Kitchener Memorial restoration begins

The Kitchener Memorial (image: Orkney Heritage Society)
The Kitchener Memorial (image: Orkney Heritage Society)

I am delighted to report that work to restore Orkney’s Kitchener Memorial ahead of centenary commemorations next year is due to begin this week (beginning Monday 29 June).

Visitors to Marwick Head will see scaffolding on the memorial as work begins to restore the stonework to its original condition, inspect and repair the roof, reinstate the ventilation and restore the inspection doorway.

The contractor chosen by Orkney Heritage Society for the work is Casey Construction Ltd of Kirkwall.

The Kitchener Memorial, a 48-feet high stone tower, was unveiled in 1926 to commemorate Earl Kitchener, Britain’s Secretary of State for War, who was lost when HMS Hampshire sank just off Orkney’s Atlantic coast on 5 June 1916.

The restored tower will be officially unveiled at events marking the centenary of the sinking on Sunday 5 June 2016. Relatives of some of those lost are expected to attend.

Visitors to Marwick Head may be surprised to see the Kitchener Memorial surrounded by scaffolding but we think people will understand this is necessary, for a short while, to safeguard this iconic structure and ensure it is in fine condition for the centenary events.

Volunteers from the Society have now identified the names of the last of the 737 men, including Kitchener, who were lost that night. In addition to the restoration we hope to build a low arc-shaped commemorative wall alongside the tower engraved with all the men’s names. This element of the project is subject to receiving planning permission from Orkney Islands Council and sufficient funds being raised.

Anyone who wishes to donate towards the project can do so online at justgiving.com/orkneyheritagesociety/. Or, send a cheque, payable to Orkney Heritage Society, to Orkney Heritage Society, PO Box 6220, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 9AD.

Follow the progress of the project on Facebook (@Kitchener.Memorial), Twitter (@kitchenerorkney) and via this blog.

Graham Brown