Welsh National War Memorial, Cardiff
Welsh National War Memorial, Alexandra Gardens
This monument commemorates the Welsh people who died in the First and Second World Wars. It was designed by John Ninian Comper (1864-1960) and was unveiled in 1928 by the Prince of Wales. Comper specialised in furnishing churches, and this memorial was his only secular creation.
Wales’ war dead are not named on the memorial, but you can find details of thousands of them via the HistoryPoints pages for the local war memorials listed on this page.
The national memorial is of Portland stone and features four bronze figures: one each representing the army, navy and air force; and a central figure representing Victory. The statues, designed by A B Pegram, were based on a young sailor called Fred Barker, who modelled in uniform and naked. Three leaping dolphins are also depicted.
The memorial was first suggested in 1917. In 1919, the Western Mail opened a national subscription fund and a committee was formed. Four designs were submitted for the memorial. The winner was chosen in 1924.
The memorial commemorated the men who died in the First World War. In 1949, a plaque was added to commemorate those who died in the Second World War.
Above the columns is a Welsh inscription: I feibon Cymru a roddes eu bywyd dros ei gwlad yn rhyfel. MCMXIV – MCMXVIII (“To the sons of Wales who gave their lives for their country in the war of 1914-1918”). Inside is an English inscription, written by Comper: Remember here in peace those who, in tumult of war by sea, on land, in air, for us and for the victory, endureth unto death.
Above each statue are the Latin words: In hoc signo vinces (“In this sign you will be victorious”).
In 2019 the singer and broadcaster Patti Flynn unveiled a separate war memorial nearby which recognises the sacrifices of people from minority backgrounds. She lost her Jamaican-born father and two brothers in the Second World War.
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