Merchant Navy memorial, Newport

Merchant Navy memorial, Cardiff Road, Newport

This memorial is dedicated to the local Merchant Navy sailors who died in the First and Second World Wars. It was unveiled in April 1991 in response to local sentiment that the Newport men’s achievements and sacrifices in the Merchant Navy had been inadequately recognised. To read details of local war dead from the Merchant Navy, choose a category below.

We are grateful to Shaun McGuire for allowing us to draw on his comprehensive research on Newport’s war dead, which you can read on his website.

Among those who died was Roy Widdicombe, who survived 70 days adrift in a ship’s lifeboat in 1940 after the ship was sunk by a German surface raider. Having recovered in the Bahamas from severe sunburn and malnourishment, he died when the ship on which he was travelling back to Britain was torpedoed.

In the 1980s a former seaman called Jim Blackborow had begun a campaign and fund-raising for a memorial, which was then taken forward by the local authority.

The council and the Welsh Arts Council held a competition for a suitable design. The winner was Sebastien Boyesen, who sculpted the figure of a navigator which tops the memorial. The memorial is made of steel, brick and concrete and stands 7m tall.

Mr Boyesen’s other work in Wales includes a depiction of the legend of Rhys and Meinir, at the Nant Gwrtheyrn language centre, Gwynedd.

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Other SHIPWRECK HiPoints in this region:
Penarth lifeboat – saved the captain’s wife and baby from a German shipwreck in 1896


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