Memorial commemorating the Second World War

Memorial commemorating the Second World War

This picture shows a memorial commemorating the Second World War in the Grand Entrance at the V&A. Staff of the V&A were keen to have a memorial for those colleagues who had lost their lives during the Second World War.

A modest plaque was proposed at a cost of £81. But trying to find the funding proved more difficult; staff contributions were not enough to cover the full ammount. After some consideration, it was decided that the Purchase Grant Fund of the Museum should be used to cover the rest. However if it was going to use the Fund's money then an exemplary piece from an acknowledged master should be sought, as in the case of the First World War memorial made by Eric Gill (and also located in the Museum's Grand Entrance).

In 1951 the War Memorial Fund Committee finally decided to ask Reynolds Stone to carve the memorial. Reynolds Stone (1909-79) was principally known as a designer of printed material and engraving, but in the late1930s had started to carve lettering in stone. His payment was £150 (the equivalent of about £2,800 at today's prices). It is thought that the memorial was erected in 1952.

There are fourteen people commemorated on the stone, nine killed in action and four due to enemy action (bombing raids) and one in an accident while on active duty after the war. The most senior member of staff, Assistant Keeper of Woodwork John Roberts, a Lieutenant in the Life Guards, was killed in action in June 1944 during the Italian Campaign.