TO COMMEMORATE the centenary of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 15 First World War memorials across the country by one of the Commission’s principal architects Sir Herbert Baker, have been listed or upgraded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

Sir Herbert was born in Cobham in Kent in 1862 and is celebrated for designing 113 cemeteries on the Western Front including Tyne Cot near Ypres in Belgium, one of the four memorials to the Missing and the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world.

He is also responsible for three other ‘Memorials to the Missing’ on the Western Front and 24 war memorials in villages and towns all over England.

He also designed many well-known buildings in London built in the inter-war years, including South Africa House, Rhodes House, as well as his last major public commission, the Bank of England.

Sir Herbert had a profound interest in symbolism.

A recurring design is a cross with an octagonal shaft on an octagonal plinth with carved stone roses and lilies, representing England and France, forming a circlet around the cross; as well as a Crusader warship, reversed sword, St George killing the dragon, and heraldic devices.

Among the war memorials that have been upgraded, the War Cloister at Winchester College has been upgraded from Grade II to the highest grade – Grade I.

The memorial is designed in the unusual form of a medieval cloister and it is exceptional as the largest private war memorial in Europe.

It is decorated with symbols which include many coats of arms, angels carrying gilded symbols and badges of the 120 regiments in which the college students served.

There are three new listings at Grade II.

These are: the Hampshire and Isle of Wight War Memorial in Winchester which stands in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral and incorporates a stone from Cloth Hall in Ypres which was destroyed in the war, symbolically linking the memorial to the Western Front campaign; the elegant County of Kent War Memorial Cross which holds a striking position in Canterbury Cathedral’s Memorial Garden and Hatfield War Memorial in Old Hatfield Conservation Area which includes a shelter pavilion that is similar to the shelter buildings built in the cemeteries of the Western Front.

Roger Bowdler, director of listing for Historic England, said: “It’s an honour to pay tribute to the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in this, their centenary year.

“Sir Herbert Baker was one of their principal architects, and designed some of their most important cemeteries.

“At home, he was responsible for numerous war memorials ranging from the utterly exceptional War Memorial Cloister for Winchester College to the simple, yet poignant, cross in his home village at Cobham in Kent.

“We are listing these memorials as part of our response to the centenary of the First World War.”