National War Memorial For White Cliffs

A national war memorial commemorating the 1.7 million men and woman who died during the first and second world wars is planned for Dover's white cliffs.

The names of all the servicemen and women, merchant navy personnel and civilians who died in defence of the British Isles will be inscribed on the wall, which will be built at Western Heights, according to David Foley, chairman of the National War Memorial (NWM) campaign.

Mr Foley said: "Although countless small memorials exist throughout the Commonwealth, there is no single permanent and visible representation recording the losses sustained in the two largest conflicts of the twentieth century.''

The wall has been designed by Craft:Pegg Architects and will consist of 12 white granite walls representing each year of both world wars.

All those who died in defence of the British Isles will be inscribed on the memorial according to the date of their sacrifice, with no deference to rank or nationality, Mr Foley said.

Organisers are hoping to complete the wall, which is still in the early stages of planning, by August 4, 2014, the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Mr Foley said: "It is expected that the sheer power and beauty of the physical inscriptions will create a profound personal resonance among nearly every family in Britain and the Commonwealth; a grouping which encompasses 2.1 billion people, nearly one third of the world's population.

"What better place to have a memorial than on the white cliffs looking out towards France?''

Mr Foley said the wall has the support of the Royal British Legion and that there will also be an educational element to the project as schoolchildren will be able to see thousands of names whether they take a step to the left or the right of the memorial.

He said: "Almost every family in the UK has a connection with World War I and World War II, and with those who perished in the two greatest conflicts of the twentieth century.

"It is our hope that that the physicality of a permanent memorial will contribute towards increased respect for those who serve and have served in our armed forces, and perhaps cause us all to reflect a little longer before risking the lives of our young people in an overseas conflict.''

Councillor Bernard Butcher, chairman of Dover District Council, said: "My personal view is that a war memorial of this size, and placed in such a predominant position looking out across the channel, would be a magnificent visual testament of our eternal gratitude and respect for our heroes who perished that we might live.

"I think that the position is also appropriate because our stretch of coastline was the first in the forefront of all attacks by air, sea or the channel gun.''

Charles Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, said: "`I am both proud and humbled that Dover has chosen to take up the challenge to build a National War Memorial to the fallen of the two world wars.

"Honouring our debt here highlights the significance of Dover at the frontline of freedom and as a symbol of home for those on active service throughout those terrible years of conflict.''