A History of YALDING, Kent, England



The Memorial as it was originally designed, and as it is today. The names were re-engraved onto bronze plaques to celebrate the millennium.

Towards the end of 1919 details were being announced of the proposed memorial on the Green and of the tablet to be placed in the church. During 1920 progress was being completed on the many such memorials of different designs throughout the country, and also with the shortage of such skilled craftsmen as required, ours took its turn with the rest. In the mean time contributions were being collected towards the total project cost for the two memorials of £ 500, the design was on view in the post office, and the list of names was published for people to check for accuracy.

As the cross on the Green neared its completion, arrangements were being made for its Dedication and Unveiling to take place on Sunday afternoon October 31st 1920.

A recent letter from South Africa revealed that the writer as a little girl, lived at Boughton Monchelsea. She remembers often coming to Yalding with her father Henry Cole who was a stone mason, to repair headstones in the churchyard. She was with him when he erected our memorial.

A report published in the November issue of the Parish Magazine for 1920 reads:-

“It was an afternoon which was bound to carve itself indelibly upon the imagination, to move to seriousness even the ordinarily thoughtless, and to underline the hideous cruelty of war. To some, the late war brought well-deserved honour and distinction; to some, wealth – even beyond the dreams of avarice – and to countless others (thousands of them) penury and desolation, sadness and sorrow, the scars of which they will carry with them all their days. Such is the way of life here: yonder, we like to believe, things will be different, for ‘God is faithful,’ and He has promised ‘to wipe all tears from all eyes’. Meanwhile, ‘he who is wise will ponder such things’. ‘Lest we forget! Lest we forget!’

The memorial was designed by Mr Cecil Burns, a brother of Captain E B Burns, of Riverside, who had his full share of war experience at the hands of the Turk. It was executed by Messrs Burslem of Tunbridge Wells, and is described in the local press as being one of the most artistic and beautiful of its kind in the county. We were fortunate in being able to secure the Bishop of the Diocese for our Memorial Dedication, and in catching between trips to France, Colonel A D Borton, V C, CMG, DSO, to perform the Unveiling ceremony.

Colonel A D Borton is, as all in Yalding knows, the elder of those two distinguished and deservedly highly-decorated sons of our Colonel Borton, of Cheveney, to whom Yalding owes so much, and thanks to whose active interest our War Memorial has become an accomplished fact. Colonel A D Borton, like his distinguished younger brother, is covered with medals. For his bravery he won the V C, and in doing it, so impressed the men who served under him and followed him into action, that ever after they endearingly spoke of him in private as ‘the bloke who took the Turkish guns with his walking stick’. It may not be known however, except by those of his intimate circle, that in civil life this same gallant soldier is one of the most retiring and diffident of men. To have to face an audience in any public capacity is more than effort to him: therefore we are full of gratitude to him for coming to us to perform the unveiling ceremony.                                                                                               Next.