Newhaven’s Memorial Garden in South Way is the setting for three war memorials and is the location for annual remembrance ceremonies, not only in November, but also in August to commemorate the anniversary of the Dieppe Raid of 1942.
The first memorial to be placed in the gardens was the Royal Canadian Engineers Memorial. This memorial was erected in 1977 in honour of members of the Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers who lost their lives as a result of the Dieppe Raid of 19th August 1942. It was erected and financed by a group of veterans of the Royal Canadian Engineers, based in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, who chose Newhaven as the location for their memorial because so many of them trained here before sailing for Dieppe from Newhaven, and because so many of the wounded were put ashore at Newhaven following the Raid. Although strictly speaking the memorial is dedicated to 27 men of the Royal Canadian Engineers, it has come to be regarded as a tribute to all the Canadian forces who took part in the Raid, and indeed to all those who served during World War II.
The two other memorials in the gardens were originally erected elsewhere in the town after the First World War. The first to be moved was the Newhaven Transport Memorial, erected to commemorate the officers and men of the Merchant Navy who lost their lives whilst sailing in and out of the port of Newhaven. These men were engaged in the essential work of getting supplies to the troops in the trenches in France. Newhaven was one of the major supply ports during the First World War. There are 99 names listed on the memorial and it is perhaps a mark of the esteem in which the townspeople held these men that this was the first memorial to be unveiled after the War, in August 1920. Originally sited at the junction of Dacre Road and Meeching Road, the memorial was moved to the Riverside to make way for the one-way system around the town centre in the 1970s. In the 1990s it was moved again to its present position in the gardens due to the development of the West Quay.
The third memorial is the Newhaven Town Memorial, which was originally erected at the junction of Chapel Street, South Road and Fort Road to commemorate the men of Newhaven who gave their lives for their country during the First World War. There are 120 First World War casualties listed on the memorial, which was designed by Mr C T Hooper, the Town Surveyor of Newhaven, who had also designed the Transport Memorial. The memorial was moved to its present position in the gardens in 2005, thus uniting all three war memorials in one setting. The addition of the names of the 90 Newhaven people who lost their lives as a result of the Second World War was completed in 2007.