Gavrelle memorial in France
WWI

Royal Marines Memorial Damaged In Car Crash

The monument in Gavrelle in northern France now needs rebuilding with part of it having being destroyed.

Gavrelle memorial in France

The memorial in northern France was dedicated in 1991 (Picture: Royal Navy).

There is a call to rebuild a memorial to Royal Marines killed during the First World War which was damaged when a car was accidentally driven into it.

The monument in Gavrelle in northern France now needs rebuilding with part of it being destroyed.

The Royal Navy says legal efforts are being made to cover some of the cost, but say extra donations may be needed to fully restore it.

It was built nearly 30 years ago in tribute to sailors and Royal Marines killed in the Battle of Arras in 1917.

Over six days, the Royal Naval Division - a mix of sailors serving in the trenches as soldiers and Royal Marines Light Infantry, suffered 3,794 dead, wounded and missing, including the single bloodiest day in the Corps’ history when 846 marines died.

Memorial of Gavrelle was damaged in July 030719 CREDIT Royal Navy.jpg
The Battle of Arras memorial before it was hit by a car (Picture: Royal Navy).

The memorial recreates the ruins of a red-brick cottage typically found in the region 100 years ago, with a three-ton anchor which was recovered from the seabed and donated by the Royal Navy.

Plaques mark the names of the naval formations which once fought in Gavrelle.

The monument stands on the site of the old German frontline, which in the present day is just feet from a dual carriageway.

Since the memorial was dedicated in May 1991, personnel and families have been regular visitors, with some leaving cap tallies tied to the anchor as a mark of respect.

The monument was sited on the old German front line.

Today it’s just a few feet from the main dual carriageway between Arras and Douai.

"I am a passionate follower of the Royal Naval Division and have visited there many times,” said logistician Petty Officer John ‘Kipper’ MacRae of East Midlands reservists unit HMS Sherwood.

"The memorial is in a shocking state and to see it like this is heartbreaking."

"Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Marines units in particular need to be made aware of the state of this memorial – and would possibly contribute towards rebuilding this unique and totally naval monument."