HILL MEMORIAL, London
Graves Commisison (CWGC) Tower Hill Memorial commemorates men
and women of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who died in both
World Wars and who have no known grave. It stands on the south side
of the garden of Trinity Square, London, close to The Tower of London.
the First World War, the civilian navy's duty was to be the supply
service of the Royal Navy, to transport troops and supplies to the
armies, to transport raw materials to overseas munitions factories
and munitions from those factories, to maintain, on a reduced scale,
the ordinary import and export trade, to supply food to the home
country and - in spite of greatly enlarged risks and responsibilities
- to provide both personnel and ships to supplement the existing
resources of the Royal Navy. Losses of vessels were high from the
outset, but had peaked in 1917 when in January the German government
announced the adoption of "unrestricted submarine warfare".
The subsequent preventative measures introduced by the Ministry
of Shipping - including the setting up of the convoy system where
warships were used to escort merchant vessels - led to a decrease
in losses but by the end of the war, 3,305 merchant ships had been
lost with a total of 17,000 lives. In the Second World War, losses
were again considerable in the early years, reaching a peak in 1942.
The heaviest losses were suffered in the Atlantic, but convoys making
their way to Russia around the North Cape, and those supplying Malta
in the Mediterranean were also particularly vulnerable to attack.
In all, 4,786 merchant ships were lost during the war with a total
of 32,000 lives. More than one quarter of this total were lost in
home waters. The First World War section of the Tower Hill Memorial
commemorates almost 12, 000 Mercantile Marine casualties who have
no grave but the sea. The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens
with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick. The Second World War extension,
designed by Sir Edward Maufe, with sculpture by Charles Wheeler,
bears almost 24,000 names.