This then and now image shows Canadian soldiers during a medal presentation in Warrior Square, St Leonards. The original photograph was published in the Hastings and St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser on 3rd May 1917. The notes accompanying the photograph say:
‘On Sunday morning, two DCMs and six Military Medals were presented to Canadian soldiers by Sir Robert Borden, Canadian Prime Minister, who was accompanied by Major-General Turner VC, DSO’. The photograph shows Sir Robert Borden with Colonel Matthews to his left.
Part 2 will follow next week.
The two photographs used to create the image, and the final combined image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.
This image is part of a continuing series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focused on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.
The building of Warrior Square was completed in 1864 according to the Hastings Chronicle. There doesn’t seem to be much more information about it that I can find. Warrior Square is an expanse of gardens surrounded on three sides by mostly grand Victorian buildings. There has been some considerable reconstruction done in recent years. Fortunately the architects of the new buildings have at least tried to honour the original designs. If you were in this photo and turned 180 degrees from this perspective you’d be looking out to sea.
The view has not changed much in over 100 years as this almost duplicate image taken 1907 shows.
The statue in the centre is of Queen Victoria. It was unveiled in December 1902 to commemorate the old Queens death. Created by Francis John Williamson, Victoria’s own private sculptor, it is now a grade II listed statue. Rumour has it that during World War 2 a ME109 tried to machine gun a woman and her baby as they strolled along the seafront. The pilot missed them but hit the statue. A bullet hole can still be seen clearly today. Whether the story is true, we’ll probably never know.
You can view this photo of Warrior Square full size on Panoramio by clicking on it. You can zoom and pan about and see more detail than in this low resolution image.