A TRIO of Oxfordshire village war memorials built in the aftermath of the First World War have been given special protected status ahead of Remembrance Sunday.

The monuments, which were erected in the years following the devastating conflict, were among tens of thousands put up across England.

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In place of graves, they became focal points for local communities to mourn and honour their dead.

Memorials in Combe, Freeland and Ramsden, all in West Oxfordshire, have now been given grade-II listed status by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

Oxford Mail:

Combe War Memorial

This means they are now protected against future changes.

Combe’s memorial features the 11 members of the village who lost their lives in the First World War.

Following the Second World War a single name was added to the monument.

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It was repaired in 1996 and in 2001 the area around the memorial was re-paved with grant assistance from the War Memorials Trust.

Freeland War Memorial, meanwhile was built by Farmer and Brindley, a prominent firm of architectural masons whose work features on buildings including London’s Natural History Museum. It was unveiled in time for the first anniversary of the end of the First World War on November 8, 1919.

In 2017, conservation work was completed, thanks to a grant from the War Memorials Trust.

Oxford Mail:

Freeland War Memorial

The names of eight soldiers from the First World War were initially listed, with another seven names added in later years.

Ramsden’s monument was designed by Levi Dore, one of two brothers who were local builders and craftsmen.

The memorial takes the form of a miniature mausoleum and includes the name of the 15 fallen soldier from the village as well as their cause of death.

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Heritage Minister Helen Whately said: “War memorials have a special place in communities and remind us of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

“It is right that these monuments to the brave people who sadly never returned from the First World War will now be preserved and protected.”

In 2014, Historic England committed to listing 2,500 war memorials by the end of 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

It achieved this target, listing 2,645, but has decided to continue the work as the organisation had identified many more memorials worthy of listing status.

Oxford Mail:

Ramsden War Memorial

Emily Gee, Regional Director for Historic England in London and the South East, said: “This Sunday many of us will observe the two minutes’ silence, which shows how important we believe it is for us to commemorate those who have died in conflict.

“It is this same respect for the fallen that has inspired us to list these memorials in Oxfordshire and help protect them for years to come.”

Anyone who has more information about the stories behind the names on the three war memorials can add to the archives by visiting historicengland.org and searching for the monument’s name.