This Armistice Day The Royal London Hospital unveiled a historical memorial which was the centre point of one of the Barts Health remembrance services.
The RLH memorial commemorates students and staff of the hospital who lost their lives in both World Wars. It was originally erected in the foyer of the former Royal London Hospital to record those who died in the Great War of 1914-18 and was subsequently adapted in 1946 to include the names of those who died in the war of 1939-45.
The service at The Royal London was attended by 256 Field Hospital reservists, officers and veterans working across Barts Health as well as staff and patients who came to pay their respects to those who fought for our freedom. A second service was held at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the city which also hosts a memorial carrying the names of staff and students who gave their lives in the two world wars.
Before the first installation of The Royal London memorial, hospital staff were asked if they wanted to contribute towards the cost, and £160 was donated. The memorial was designed by J.G. Oatley, the hospital's surveyor, and made by Messrs Powell. At the request of the hospital's house committee, a life size copy of the intended memorial was put up in the entrance hall in October 1921 and Mr Oatley was on hand to receive suggestions. As a result, it was decided to incorporate a model of the national memorial in Whitehall, the Cenotaph, a painted steel model of which was given for the purpose by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII.
After some delays, it was agreed in 2017 that the memorial would be relocated to the Stepney Way atrium where it now stands. The memorial is accompanied by a plaque which provides an overview of its history.
Ebenezer Nii Lartey Gberbie completed his career with the Army in March 2016 and is currently an equipment and stock manager and BME site lead for The Royal London and Mile End Hospitals. He attended the event and said: ‘’It was an honour being part of the service to remember fallen heroes and those serving all over the world, especially staff of this hospital who passed in both World Wars in who’s honour the memorial was commemorated."
As we remember staff and comrades who paid the ultimate sacrifice, it is useful to also recognise the contribution that the many veterans and servicemen and women alike working in the Trust are making towards the NHS - thanks to projects like #StepIntoHealth and the Armed Forces Recognition Scheme for facilitating the transition from forces to NHS.’’
Alwen Williams, Group Chief Executive at Barts Health NHS Trust said: “It is fantastic to see the memorial with us again in the new hospital, and in time for what was a very special remembrance service. My thanks goes out to our staff reservists, officers and veterans who joined us. Lest we forget.”