Welsh War Memorials

Like Scotland, War memorials across Wales are particularly poignant for the one in the small villages and towns.  From the mining communities in the South Wales Valleys to the Fishing and tourist ports on the North Wales coast.

 

All the communities of Wales were deeply affected by the Great War, not only through the heavy loss of life suffered, for example, at Mwrog Street, Ruthin one man per 2.9 houses never returned; but also through the impact of the loss of Welsh language speakers; it is estimated that around 20, 000 first language Welsh speakers died. The Trawsfynydd poet, Ellis Humphrey Evans, better known by his Bardic name, Hedd Wyn, was also a Royal Welch Fusilier in the First World War (Pictures of his memorial in Belgium are on the Ypres Pages).

 

Many memorials took a sculptural form and listed the names of those who had fallen. The memorial cross — often Celtic in form — was frequently favoured, especially in smaller communities, but there are surprising numbers of expensive figurative sculptures. Many rural communities commissioned monuments with a cast or sculpted soldier in mourning leaning on his rifle butt: the ‘Tommy’ stood for all those who had served in the Great War and depictions of other servicemen (like the sailor at Holyhead) are rare.

 

Soldiers at Lampeter, Carmarthen and Llandaff gaze into the distance, but the carved relief of a soldier at Chirk is very different; surely he represents the stoical ‘Dai Greatcoat’. Allegorical representations of peace are rarer still, and the nude figure of peace at Aberystwyth emerging from the thickets of war has been admired by generations, not necessarily with commemoration on their minds.

Welsh War Memorials

Like Scotland, War memorials across Wales are particularly poignant for the one in the small villages and towns.  From the mining communities in the South Wales Valleys to the Fishing and tourist ports on the North Wales coast.

 

All the communities of Wales were deeply affected by the Great War, not only through the heavy loss of life suffered, for example, at Mwrog Street, Ruthin one man per 2.9 houses never returned; but also through the impact of the loss of Welsh language speakers; it is estimated that around 20, 000 first language Welsh speakers died. The Trawsfynydd poet, Ellis Humphrey Evans, better known by his Bardic name, Hedd Wyn, was also a Royal Welch Fusilier in the First World War (Pictures of his memorial in Belgium are on the Ypres Pages).

 

Many memorials took a sculptural form and listed the names of those who had fallen. The memorial cross — often Celtic in form — was frequently favoured, especially in smaller communities, but there are surprising numbers of expensive figurative sculptures. Many rural communities commissioned monuments with a cast or sculpted soldier in mourning leaning on his rifle butt: the ‘Tommy’ stood for all those who had served in the Great War and depictions of other servicemen (like the sailor at Holyhead) are rare.

 

Soldiers at Lampeter, Carmarthen and Llandaff gaze into the distance, but the carved relief of a soldier at Chirk is very different; surely he represents the stoical ‘Dai Greatcoat’. Allegorical representations of peace are rarer still, and the nude figure of peace at Aberystwyth emerging from the thickets of war has been admired by generations, not necessarily with commemoration on their minds.

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