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Havenstreet

War Memorial

On a small hilltop overlooking the village, difficult of access, is a War Memorial commemorating R.T.C. Willis-Fleming, d. 1916, and others. Open-fronted limestone structure under a hipped stone slate roof, from the crest of which rise two tapering iron turrets, ending in diagonal crosses. (Inscription carved by Eric Gill).1

If, from the north end of Havenstreet's main street, you look farther north towards the corner of Firestone Copse, you will see on the skyline, in the middle of an adjoining filed, an intriguing walled enclosure containing a stone building with an openwork iron cross at each end of the roof ridge.

Inside the open-fronted building is a shrine in memory of 2nd Lieutenant Richard Thomas Cyril Willis-Fleming, killed in action at the battle of Romani in the First World War. This was a field much more distant than Flanders. In the early months of 1916 a British force under General Sir Archibald Murry had been engaged on extending eastwards into the Sinai Desert the Suez Canal defences. On 4 August, the second anniversary of Britain's declaration of war on Germany, the British army encountered a strong Turkish/German force at Romani near the Mediterranean coast of Sinai, and after a heavy battle, they opened the way for an advance to El Arish, and later to Gaza. Young Willis-Fleming was just twenty - his birthday was the day before the battle - and his parents who lived at Binstead House put up this shrine in his memory. It also serves as a memorial for those others from the parishes of Binstead and Havenstreet who gave their lives in the 1914-19 war.2

The shrine on the hill overlooking Haven Street village is dedicated to the memory of 2/Lt RTC Willis-Fleming and contains memorials to other members of the family, in addition to plaques giving the names of those from Haven Street and Binstead who died in the Great War. A further plaque commemorates USAAF Major E W Leach. Inscription: HAVENSTREET PRAY FOR THE SOULS OF THESE GALLANT MEN [names listed]

Sources:
1. Lloyd, D.W. and Pevsner, N. 2006. 'The Buildings of England: The Isle of Wight'. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, p. 159
2. Jones, J. 1989. 'Isle of Wight curiosities; a guide to follies, curious tales, unusual people and architectural eccentricities', The Dovecote Press, p.75
Local List of Buildings, Structures, Parks and Gardens of Architectural or Historic Active Sites & Monuments Record – 4472
Isle of Wight County Archaeology and Historic Environment Service.

Link: http://www.isle-of-wight-memorials.org.uk External link image

This page was last edited on: 4th March, 2015 06:17:15

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