Royal Navy Memorial, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England

Over hundreds of years, many men of the Royal Navy have lost their lives at sea. Since the end of World War One, a permanent memorial has stood in Portsmouth, UK.

Royal Navy Memorial

Clarence Esplanade




United Kingdom

At the end of World War One, the Royal Navy decided to commemorate its members with no known graves. This was a vast list as many deaths occurred at sea. As no permanent memorial can stand on the oceans, Portsmouth commissioned the Royal Navy Memorial.

Royal Navy Memorial

A memorial to the fallen of the Royal Navy by the seafront in Southsea near Portsmouth. Photo taken on 5th June 2014.

Along with two other naval manning ports in Chatham and Plymouth, they erected identical obelisks. The memorials stand on the shore and are visible from both land and sea.

The design of the obelisk was by Sir Robert Lorimer, the sculptor, Mr Henry Poole. The monument was first unveiled by the Duke of York on 15th October 1924.

Royal Navy Memorial

A memorial to the fallen of the Royal Navy by the seafront in Southsea near Portsmouth. Photo taken on 5th June 2014.

The Second World War Memorial

With the end of World War Two in 1945, each memorial soon required extending. The Royal Navy suffered many further losses in the years following 1939.

Royal Marines Band in Portsmouth

Imperial War Museum Photo: A 2184 (Part of the Admiralty Official Collection). With the Royal Naval Barracks visible in the background, Drum Major William Day leads the band of the Royal Marines across the parade ground in Portsmouth.

Sir Edward Maufe designed the extension to the Portsmouth or Southsea memorial. He was also the designer responsible for the Royal Air Force Memorial at Runnymede. The extension differs from those at Chatham and Plymouth due to differences in the sites.

Charles Wheeler, William McMillan, and Esmond Burton completed the impressive extension. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother unveiled the extension on 29th April 1953.

Yarn Bombs in Southsea

A local artist yarn bombs a display of red poppies opposite the Royal Navy memorial in Southsea. Photo taken on 5th June 2014.

The memorial today

Also featured on the memorial are a series of storyboards. Erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, these tell the story of the men, women, and vessels involved in the conflict.

In honour of the Navy and to the abiding memory of those ranks and ratings of this port who laid down their lives in the defence of The Empire and have no other grave than the sea.

Royal Navy Memorial – Portsmouth

24,588 men and women’s names are on this monument. 9,666 died during the First World War and 14,922 in World War Two. This number includes 75 from Newfoundland who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

War Memorial in Southsea

The RAF Red Arrows swoop down past the Royal Navy memorial in Southsea as part of Portsmouth’s D-Day 70 commemorations. Photo taken on 5th June 2014.

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