Heading down to Maidstone, and what did I see when glancing out of the window as the train zoomed toward Shoreham – but a large Christian Cross cut out of the chalk hills.

War Memorial in Kent

Christian Crosses of that scale and visibility are not the sort of thing I would expect to see in the English countryside – we are more a country that prefers naked men and weird looking horses.

Getting home and Wikipedia explains all (as usual).

There is a white memorial cross in the hillside opposite the village church. It was dug in 1920 as a memorial to local men killed in action.

Shoreham was also the birthplace and home of Private Thomas Highgate, who, aged 19, became the first British soldier to be shot for desertion after the First World War Battle of Mons on 8 September 1914. However, there is no sufficient evidence to suggest that he was deserting his post; Pte Highgate was undefended at his court martial because all his regimental comrades had been killed, injured or captured.

In 2000, Shoreham Parish Council voted not to include his name on its war memorial. However, after a posthumous pardon in 2006, it was considered that his name might be added.

You can also see the cross from above on Google Maps.

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