Type War Memorial , War Memorial
The war memorial is free standing and acts as a public roundabout. The central Runic Cross is encircled with a life-like group in the round (eleven figures of heroic size, larger than life) whose limbs and drapery overflow the plinth.
The figures include; three soldiers (one wounded) are depicted protecting groups of women and children - the injured soldier is tended to by a nurse; a seated woman cradles a group of infants; a frightened girl stands guarded by her brave young brother; a boy scout stands with the soldiers, protected. There is a surrounding enclosure which has four seating areas. Each seat has a wreath decoration and inscription, against the parapet of the enclosure are Bas Reliefs, breaking forward in the round, of the armed forces, which ring the base.
These represent; The anti-aircraft group with Vicher's gun in action (NW); the Royal Naval services on the bridge of an armed trawler with Lt. Commander and a seaman scanning the sea for submarines and the helmsman at his post, keeping a steady course (SW); the military services - a body of infantry firing a Lewis gun (SE); the Red Cross (men of the RAMC) (NE); children offering wreaths and garlands. Half of the width of the monument is taken of gradually ascending approaches to the monument proper. The parapet is broken by four flights of easy radiating steps giving access to the village cross on an octagonal plinth. The front and the back sides of the octagonal cross base have inscriptions. The other six hold the names of employees of the company who died in the two world wars (alphabetically). The four intervals between the steps are filled with flower beds. The cross and plinth act as a refuge for the bronze figures, and the fact that more children than adults are depicted underlines the 'Defence of the Home' theme, apt for the village. The overall effect is not of a continuing narrative, but of a juxtaposition of action and symbolic scenes, giving a whole dramatic coherence.
In 1895, Edmund Grosse appealed for sculpture to 'come to us untrammelled, in all our forms, give us the best you have to give, be broad versatile, modern.'
This is very evident in John's work. In 1916 (the year the 'Engine Room Heroes' was completed) Goscombe John was invited by friend Lord Leverhulme to design Port Sunlight's War Memorial. This is John's major work from the First World War. What he missed in terms of first hand war experience, he made up for in sympathetic consideration of his subject. A free hand was given in the design and John was also responsible for the Architectural elements of the War Memorial (which he was less able at).
Granite base (front top):THE MEMORIAL/ERECTED BY LEVER BROTHERS LIMITED/AND THE COMPANY'S EMPLOYEES IN ALL/PARTS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE AND IN/ALLIED COUNTRIES WAS UNVEILED ON/DECEMBER 3RD 1921 BY/SERGEANT E.G. EAMES OF PORT SUNLIGHT/WHO LOST HIS SIGHT AT THE FIRST BATTLE/OF THE SOMME IN FRANCE 1916 AND BY/PRIVATE R.E. CRUISHANK OF THE LONDON/BRANCH OFFICE WHO WAS AWARDED THE/VICTORIA CROSS IN 1918 FOR CONSPICUOUS/BRAVERY AND DEVOTION TO DUTY IN PALESTINE.
Granite base (front bottom):THE NAMES OF ALL THOSE WHO SERVED NUMBERING OVER FOUR/THOUSAND ARE RECORDED IN A BOOK DEPOSITED BENEATH/THIS STONE AND ALSO IN SIMILAR BOOKS PLACED IN /CHRIST CHURCH AND IN THE LADY LEVER ART GALLERY.
Granite base (back top):THESE ARE NOT DEAD/SUCH SPIRITS NEVER DIE./ON THE ADJOINING PANELS ARE INSCRIBED/THE NAMES OF THOSE/FROM THE OFFICES AND WORKS OF/LEVER BROTHERS LIMITED/AND THEIR ASSOCIATED COMPANIES OVERSEAS/AND ALSO FROM PORT SUNLIGHT/WHO LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR/1914-1919.
Granite base (back bottom): 1939-1945
Bottom corner of seat opposite back inscription on base: THIS MEMORIAL WAS/DESIGNED AND EXECUTED/BY SIR W. GOSCOMBE JOHN R.A./ MCMXXI
Around the outside of the parapet: DULCE ET DECORUM/EST PRO PATRIA MORI/THEIR NAME/SHALL REMAIN/FOR EVER AND/THEIR GLORY/SHALL NOT BE/BLOTTED OUT.
Back of each seat (4 times):TO OUR GLORIOUS DEAD
PMSA recording information