Chipping Norton War Memorial was put up in 1951 and was controversial from the start with many townspeople against it as a memorial already existed in St Mary's Church. By the 1970s it had fallen into a state of disrepair and the Town Council was considering demolishing it. However following protests by the British Legion, Veterans and families of the fallen, the memorial was restored.

Since then the memorial has been looked after by the Town Council, The Legion and people from the town. The Legion has initiated several projects to improve the site in conjunction with the Town Council, funded partly by our Armed Forces Trust. This includes adding 11 new names to the memorial, installing a flag pole and wreath bars, planting new bushes and keeping the area tidy. The memorial has been professionally cleaned thanks to funding arranged by Councillor Hilary Hibbert-Biles. 

Inspired by gates that once stood on the site we commissioned and designed new Centenary gates to mark the 100 years since the end of the First World War. These were made by Birdy Blacksmiths of Brailes and unveiled by the Mayor of Chipping Norton, Don Davidson in the presence of Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, The Reverend Canon Glyn Evans at a service on Sunday 14th October.

 

We also told the story of Sergeant Wallace Aries, the 100th man from the town to die in the war. Relatives of Wallace Aries were present at the service and a special wreath remembering him laid by Carol Kemp.

The gates were given their final touch when my friend and local artist Laura Gulbis painted the poppies freehand underneath the figures. This was no mean achievement as it weather was cold and wet and she had to lay on her tummy on the chilly paving slabs to do the job. Thank you Laura we are really pleased with the result.