Skip to content
Back to search results

Plymouth Naval Memorial

  • Country United Kingdom
  • Total identified casualties 23217 Find these casualties
  • Region Devon
  • Identified casualties from First & Second World War
  • GPS Coordinates Latitude: 50.36573, Longitude: -4.14223

Memory Anchor tours are available for this site. If you already have the Memory Anchor app, open it an select this site from the list. To download the FREE app for Android or iOS, please use our app link below:


Location information

The Memorial is situated centrally on The Hoe which looks directly towards Plymouth Sound. It is accessible at all times. Copies of the Memorial Register are kept at the Tourist Information Office at Island House, 9 The Barbican, Plymouth, PL1 2LS, and also in the Naval Historical Section at Plymouth Library.

Visiting information



Plymouth Naval Memorial stands in Hoe Park, looking out to sea over Plymouth Sound.


There is pay and display parking along Hoe Road and surrounding streets to the rear of Hoe Park.

Steps lead up pathways which lead to the paved area in front of the memorial from Hoe Road in a number of locations.

There is disabled access and parking spaces in a dedicated parking area to the right of the memorial, on Hoe Promenade. Access is through a gated operated by the Council. There is a ramped pedestrian access adjacent to the disabled parking entrance off Hoe Road.


There are two unique sections to the memorial. The first section is a large stone obelisk topped with a copper globe. The obelisk stands on a platform surrounded by steps.

Access up to the obelisk is by climbing stone steps, onto a flat level stone platform with a smooth surface where the monument has a central position. The Great War bronze name panels are affixed to the memorial on all four sides.

The lower section of the memorial, for Second World War casualties, is located behind and below the obelisk. The lower section is comprised of a long-curved wall, on which bronze panels display the names of casualties.

Two circular pathways, with steps at various points lead down to the lower section of the Memorial from the upper section of the Memorial.

Gently sloping pathways lead from opposite sides of the memorial on the Hoe Promenade to the lower memorial area. Pathways also lead to the lower part of the memorial from the park at the rear of the memorial with steps leading down.

There are low level walls on either side of the path and stairs, with stone bench seating areas located on the lower level of the memorial to the rear of the site. Steps and paved pathways access the bronze panels on the lower section of the memorial.


For access to the lower part of the memorial, there is an open entrance from the pathway to the rear of the memorial.


Plymouth Naval Memorial is permanently open.

Copies of the Memorial Registers are held at the Tourist Information Office, Island House, 9 The Barbican, Plymouth, PL1 2LS.

There is a second copy of the Memorial Registers are in the Naval Section at Plymouth Library.

History information

After the First World War, an appropriate way had to be found of commemorating those members of the Royal Navy who had no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided.

An Admiralty committee recommended that the three manning ports in Great Britain - Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth - should each have an identical memorial of unmistakable naval form, an obelisk, which would serve as a leading mark for shipping. The memorials were designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, who had already carried out a considerable amount of work for the Commission, with sculpture by Henry Poole. The Plymouth Naval Memorial was unveiled by HRH Prince George on 29 July 1924.

After the Second World War it was decided that the naval memorials should be extended to provide space for commemorating the naval dead without graves of that war, but since the three sites were dissimilar, a different architectural treatment was required for each. The architect for the Second World War extension at Plymouth was Sir Edward Maufe (who also designed the Air Forces memorial at Runnymede) and the additional sculpture was by Charles Wheeler and William McMillan. The Extension was unveiled by HRH Princess Margaret on 20 May 1954. A further unveiling took place on 11 November 1956, when panels 101 to 103 honouring those who died on shore, but who had no known grave, were unveiled by Admiral Sir Mark Pizey.

In addition to commemorating seamen of the Royal Navy who sailed from Plymouth, the First World War panels also bears the names of sailors from Australia and South Africa. The governments of the other Commonwealth nations chose to commemorate their dead elsewhere, for the most part on memorials in their home ports. After the Second World War, Canada and New Zealand again chose commemoration at home, but the memorial at Plymouth commemorates sailors from all other parts of the Commonwealth.

Plymouth Naval Memorial commemorates 7,251 sailors of the First World War and 15,933 of the Second World War.