Boer War Memorial (Hartlepool, F.W. Doyle Jones, 1905)

Image: Hartlepool Library Service

Status: Stolen (1968)

Francis William Doyle Jones (1873-1938) created a statue in memorial to the 320 men from the town of Hartlepool who fought in the 1899-1902 Boer War in South Africa. Twenty-three of the men died during the conflict; their names are carved onto the granite plinth below.

A 6-foot-tall bronze figure of a soldier – his helmet on the floor beside him – the statue (and its plinth) were paid for by public subscription and unveiled on July 19th 1905 in Ward Jackson Park. It stood for over 60 years before being stolen in early 1968 (the plinth still remains).

Doyle Jones was a local of the town who created a number of war memorials across the UK, including one in nearby Middlesbrough. He was trained in sculpture by one Édouard Lantéri, who created the statue of Middlesbrough industrialist and MP, Samuel Sadler (which still stands in the town).

Sometime in early 1968, the rifle was stolen (after previously being damaged). Soon after – on the night of the 13th March – the whole statue was taken, leaving only the boots behind. The scrap value of the bronze was said to be the motivating factor, with one local scrap merchant venturing that in would be worth £130 once melted down.

The remains of the statue after its theft (Daily Mirror – Thursday 14 March 1968)

Although the original is long gone, a replacement was recently unveiled after a £31,000 fundraising campaign spearheaded by local businessman Stephen Close. You can read more about that one in an article we’ll be publishing soon.

Thank you to Stephen Close for his assistance in this article.

The statue in 1905 (Hartlepool Museum Service)

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