THE war memorial situated in Bournemouth Gardens has been Grade II listed.

It has been given the second highest grade as part of an English Heritage scheme, with the aim of listing up to 2,500 war memorials over the next five years to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Mayor of Bournemouth, Councillor Rodney Cooper, said he was happy the structure had been listed and that it was a fitting centrepiece for the annual remembrance ceremony.

“The service is always very poignant and more and more people seem to come every year.

“It is wonderful news that the memorial has been listed. I am delighted it has been afforded this extra protection,” he added.

The memorial, installed in 1921, serves as a reminder of the impact both the First World War and the Second World War had on the community, and contains two bronze plaques commemorating fallen servicemen.

Designed in a classical style by architect Albert Edward Shervey, the memorial includes a pair of stone ‘Canova’ lions by Bournemouth stonemason WA Hoare.

The lions are supposed to be guarding the memorial, with one sleeping while the other roars. With its associated stone steps, enclosure and balustrade the memorial compares well with other Grade II-listed World War I memorials, according to English Heritage.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller urged everybody to ensure the memorials in their area were kept in good condition, adding she was backing the scheme to give more memorials listed status.

She said: “This centenary comes at a point where living memory becomes written history, so it is absolutely essential that our work to mark it speaks clearly to young people in particular.

“War Memorials are a precious part of our heritage that keeps alive the ultimate sacrifice that so many made. It is absolutely right that we cherish and protect them.”