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Shalford War Memorial Destroyed in Collision, Man in Custody

Published on: 1 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 3 Jan, 2022

The car in the position it came to rest on the memorial. Photo Rob Lowe

By Cecilia Taylor

A 100-year-old war memorial was destroyed on New Year’s Eve, (December 31) when a car left the road in Shalford.

The memorial cross was adjacent to St Mary’s Church, Shalford. There are no reports of any injuries.

The cross as it was today…

Witnesses say the car was traveling south from Guildford. The impact has shattered the stone cross and dislodged the plinth stones on which almost 100 names of the local war dead were inscribed.

… wreaths, laid in November, still in place.

One witness, who did not wish to be named, said: “My partner and I arrived immediately after the crash at around 5.30pm, we saw a Mercedes car that had gone head-on into the memorial.

“Two young men around the ages of 17-22 were grabbing possessions from the car. They ran off at first when they spotted the police car approach, but only ran as far as the path near The Seahorse pub.

“When the police drove up they were both still there and we saw the police speaking to them.”

Shalford Memorial Cross, as it was

The freestanding stone cross, of Doulting limestone, was built as a result of funds raised by a War Memorial Committee in 1919. It was unveiled by the Bishop of Guildford in July 1921 and commemorates those who lost their lives in both the First and Second World Wars.

A ceremony is held at the adjacent St Mary’s Church every Remembrance Sunday where wreaths are laid.

Shalford Parish Council said today (January 1): “The Shalford War Memorial was severely damaged yesterday evening by a vehicle travelling from the Guildford direction.

“A man was taken into custody by the police as a result of the accident. We will be clearing up the damage as best we can later today.”

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Responses to Shalford War Memorial Destroyed in Collision, Man in Custody

  1. Jan Messinger Reply

    January 2, 2022 at 11:49 am

    It is incredibly sad that this has happened. The young people involved sound as if they are much the same age as so many who lost their lives in the Great War. If it is confirmed they are responsible for causing the damage I really hope they pay for a full replacement and are involved in re-instating the memorial. I’m sure many local people will be very upset at its destruction.

  2. V McClure Reply

    January 2, 2022 at 6:25 pm

    I agree with Jan Messinger. I walked past the shattered memorial today and was shocked to see such damage. I am just relieved it was an accident and not vandalism with no one reported to have been badly hurt.

    This seems a particularly dangerous stretch of road. Are people driving too fast? It’s only a short while since the house across the road was badly damaged by a car. Glad to see that has been repaired.

  3. Dave Middleton Reply

    January 3, 2022 at 12:10 pm

    Hopefully, as “owners” of the memorial, Shalford Parish Council should be able to claim the full financial costs in reinstating it from the insurers of the vehicle concerned, assuming of course that the driver was in fact insured.

    While I am glad that the driver and passenger were apparently unharmed in the collision, one cannot help but be unimpressed that their apparent initial reaction was to flee.

    If there can be a bright side to this, at least the memorial stopped the vehicle before it crashed into the cottage a short distance behind it.

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