Immediately after the cessation of hostilities in 1918, plans were made to commemorate the town's fallen with a suitable memorial. A £100 first prize was offered for the best design and in November 1919 it was announced that the winner had been chosen. Over 80 designs were submitted, and the judging committee chose that of Mr Ernest G. Theakston, F.R.I.B.A. (designer), and Mr S. Nicholas Babb, R.B.S. (sculptor). Both men had offices in Lincoln's Inn, London, Mr Theakston being one of the youngest architects of the country. Models of the memorial were on view at Harry Davis & Co., of Prospect Street, opposite the chosen site.
The man honoured to unveil the new memorial was Captain Alfred Francis Blakeney Carpenter, V.C., R.N., but he was ordered to sea just before the event, and his place was taken by Captain S. H. Radcliffe, C.M.G., R.N.
[Research has discovered that Captain Carpenter gained his V.C. at Zeebrugge in Belgium on 22nd/23rd April 1918 and he ended his naval career as a Vice-Admiral. Born in Barnes, S.W. London, in September 1881, he died near Lydney, Gloucestershire, in late December 1955. His V.C. is held by the Imperial War Museum, Kennington.]
The unveiling of the cenotaph took place with due pomp and ceremony at 3pm, on Sunday, 10th July, 1921, following two processions through the town. The cost of the memorial was funded by public donations.
Additional name panels were affixed to the memorial following the second world war and each year on Armistice Day a service of remembrance is held on the site.