The memorial is surrounded by flower beds and stands to the side of St Thomas the Martyr church, in front of the Civic Centre. It depicts soldiers responding to the call-up for the First World War. They march to the beat of a drum carried by a young man, while high above the flag is the figure of ‘Renown’. Most all the men carry guns and children are seen to be saying farewell to their loved ones. The large and striking memorial was given as a gift by Sir George Renwick Bt DL and Lady Renwick in commemoration of three events.
Sir George Renwick, local ship-owner and MP for Morpeth, proposed to donate the memorial to the city in 1922, in commemoration of three events. First is, the raising of the Commercial Battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers by the Chamber of Commerce Military Committee before World War One. Second, the safe return of all five of his sons from the war. Thirdly, his attainment of fifty years of commercial life on Newcastle Quayside in 1916.
The memorial was sculpted by Sir William Goscombe John R.A., who had studied under Rodin in Paris and was unveiled on 5th July 1923 by the Prince of Wales. Detailed information can be found on the Public Monument and Sculpture Association National Recording Project website.
The expectant soldiers and anxious loved-ones are portrayed with sympathetic naturalism, whilst the relief is given dynamic impetus by the crush to the left of the composition around the flag and figure of ‘Renown’, who flies above the crowd with raised trumpet.