Chapel of The East Surrey Regiment
In The Parish Church of All Saints, Kingston-upon-Thames
Kingston Barracks & The Regimental Chapel
|The memorial to officers and men of the 2nd Bn The East Surrey Regiment who were killed in action in the Malaya Campaign of 1941-42 or who died as Prisoners of War in Japanese hands between 1942 and 1945. The panel was presented by Lt Colonel G E Swinton MC, the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Bn The East Surrey Regiment.|
The Barracks in Kings Road, designed by the Royal Engineers, were completed in 1875 and in 1881 the combined 31st and 70th Regiments became The East Surrey Regiment with the Barracks as their Depot. The role of the Depot was to train recruits and many thousands passed through its portals. Some 84,000 passed through these gates between 1914 - 1917 alone. Close connections were established with the Borough, particularly during the Second World War when, in May 1944, “the Council of the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames conferred the Freedom of the Borough upon The East Surrey Regiment”. The Freedom and its silver presentation casket may be seen at The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment Museum at Clandon Park, Guildford.
In 1959 The East Surrey Regiment amalgamated with The Queen’s Royal Regiment to form The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment. At the same time the former Old Comrades' Associations amalgamated to form The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regimental Association, which continues its main work of looking after the old comrades of the Regiment.
Whilst the Queen’s Surreys no longer exists, having become 1st Battalion The Queen’s Regiment on December 31st 1966, and subsequently joining with The Royal Hampshire Regiment to form The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, nevertheless The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regimental Association still actively maintains links with the Chapel. This Old Comrades' Association has made grants over the years for improvement in the lighting of the chapel, refurbishment of the memorial gates, upkeep of the Colours and other minor items.
This continuing interest in and concern for our forebear regiment is recognised down the years by the Association’s attendance at the annual Remembrance Day service, when the former Regiment’s Freedom of the Borough, now extended to The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment is recognised. Members of the Association also attend civic occasions in the Borough, as representatives of the Regiments.
The Regimental Chapel
The Chapel of the Holy Trinity dates back to the XVth Century when the Guild of Holy Trinity was formed in 1477. The Chapel, now known as The East Surrey Regiment Memorial Chapel, was restored in 1920 by relatives, friends and comrades of the Regiment in memory of those who lost their lives in the 1914-18 War and whose names are recorded in the Book of Remembrance. The Chapel was dedicated as the Regimental War Memorial by the Bishop of Southwark in 1921 and is regularly used for purposes of prayer and contemplation. Besides the Chapel the Regiment also erected the Memorial Gates which make a fitting approach to the church from the Market Place. Dedicated by the Bishop of Kingston on Armistice Day 1924, the memorial has been further dedicated to commemorate those who died in the Second World War.