The principal consequence of war is death and, in the First World War, it occurred on an unprecedented scale. The fatal casualties sustained by the armies of the British Empire were approximately a million. These had to be buried – or remembered – as more than half the casualties were ‘missing’, their bodies never found or identified. This problem was new. But, in this World War, the whole population was involved and public opinion demanded that the dead had to be buried decently or their names recorded on permanent memorials.
Solid stone and bronze memorials were, inevitably, and aftermath of war, so Country Life had to wait a few years before any could be illustrated. This 1926 Frontispiece shows the newly unveiled Guards’ Memorial opposite Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, designed by H. Chalton Bradshaw.
This advertisement, published in 1917, showed the shape of things to come, as many war memorials in the 1920s would be of the character of the unidentified one illustrated.
This studio photograph with the poem Requiem seems as much a comment on the passing of the year as on the trauma caused by the war.
The magazine published increasing numbers of advertisements relating to memorials, such as this from 1917, as families and institutions arranged to have them made.
Those touched by the war were as busy creating private memorials as public ones, although the former are largely forgotten. This 1921 advertisement offered imposing frames for these personal but official mementoes of the war.