East Surrey Memorial Chapel

In 1921 the Chapel of Holy Trinity was dedicated as the Regimental War Memorial of the East Surrey Regiment. The Regiment had long enjoyed close connections with Kingston, and the Chapel was refurbished to pay tribute to its men who had died in the First World War.

The East Surrey Regiment’s connection with Kingston dates back to 1782 when county titles were introduced for Regiments of Infantry. The 70th Regiment became the 70th Surrey Regiment and a Depot was established in Kingston to recruit local men. The barracks on Kings Road, Kingston were designed by the Royal Engineers and completed in 1875. In 1881 the 31st and 70th Regiments combined and became the East Surrey Regiment with the new barracks as their Depot. Around 84,000 men passed through the Depot and were trained there during the First World War, between 1914 and 1917.

Work on restoring the Chapel of Holy Trinity started in 1920 and was undertaken by friends and family of the Regiment. The Chapel was reopened and dedicated by the Bishop of Southwark in 1921, and on Armistice Day 1924 the Memorial Gates at the approach to the church from the market place were dedicated by the Bishop of Kingston.

The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regimental Association continues its links with the Memorial Chapel at All Saints. Over the years it has made grants for refurbishments and improvements, and the Association still attends the annual Remembrance Day service as well as civic occasions in the Borough.

Today the Chapel is used as a place for prayer and contemplation. It contains Books of Remembrance, or ‘of Life’, containing the names of those killed in twentieth century conflict. It was made and bound by the Hon. Norah Hewitt in memory of her brother, Captain the Hon. A R Hewitt DSO, who lost his life at Ypres on 25th April 1915. It was enlarged to record the names of the members of the Regiment who lost their lives in 1939-45. The names of those who have died since 1945 are recorded in an additional book on the south side of the Chapel.

The oak panels on the walls are memorials to officers who served in the East Surrey Regiment. There is a section on the North Wall commemorating those who hold the Victoria Cross. The Sanctuary Lamp was presented in 1913 by the Major and Mrs J L Congdon, and burns in perpetual remembrance of those who died in 1914-18.

There are two memorial windows of stained glass in the north wall. One is dedicated to the memory of Major General Sir John Longley KCMG, CB, Colonel, The East Surrey Regiment from 1920-39 and his son Charles Raynsford Longley. Charles was killed at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, and the window was dedicated forty years later in January 1956. The second window is dedicated to the memory of Col H H W Pearse DSO.

To find out more about the Queens Royal Surrey Regiments please visit www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk

One handsome brass plaque mounted on the wall of the South Aisle in the East Surrey Memorial Chapel commemorates Lieutenant Francis Edward Blackwood. During lockdown 2020 John Dewhurst, former churchwarden of All Saints, has undertaken fascinating research and has written a book which explores the story of  Blackwood and life in the Edwardian Army, the training (or lack of it) and social privilege. Please click for more information on the book This Brave Young Officer.