IN THE first years of peace after the end of the First World War, cities, towns and villages across the country erected monuments to their dead. They all had suffered and had seen many of their men march to war never to return. Many of those who did come back bore terrible scars, both physical and mental. The memorials were an expression in stone of the trauma visited on these places.

Many list the names of the fallen, all try to express the simple wish of remembrance. They remain symbols of the heavy price these communities paid.


South Wales Argus: Pictured is the Abergavenny War Memorial. (8594809)

IT is one of the most impressive of all Gwent’s hundreds of war memorials. The figure of a soldier, the iconic ‘Tommy’ leans on his rifle and gazes over Frogmore Street in Abergavenny.

The memorial was created by sculptor Gilbert Ledward, OBE, and unveiled in front of a crowd of 5,000 on October 29, 1921. When the losses, particularly those suffered by the Monmouthshire Regiment, were still being felt across the county. One of the inscriptions singles out the local battalion: “To the officers NCOs and men of the 3rd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment who fell in the Great War”.

Ebbw Vale

South Wales Argus:

The Ebbw Vale war memorial strikes a contrasting attitude to many monuments. On top of a square pedestal of Cornish granite stands the figure of a triumphant soldier in bronze, raising his helmet aloft in his right hand and in his left hand holding his rifle. It was created by the Craftsmens Guild, London and designed by Joseph Whitehead & Sons.

The monument stands on Roadside Garden, Libanus Road. It was originally unveiled by Sir Frederick Mills at The Crossing in September 1924 and dedicated by the Archdeacon of Monmouth.

It was moved early in 1950 to allow buses to turn at their terminus and it was thought that it would be better to have the memorial in a garden on land which had recently become available. So on 10 May 1950; it was rededicated by Lord Raglan at its current site.

It is inscribed with the words: Erected in memory of our glorious dead, 1914 – 1918/by the inhabitants of the Ebbw Vale Urban District area/Their names liveth for evermore

The panels represent the Army, Navy, Merchant Marine, Air Force and the Royal Army Medical Corps and the nursing services.


There are many monuments large and small in Newport to the dead. The largest of them will be the focus for Sunday’s parade.


South Wales Argus:

The Newport Cenotaph is both simple and graceful and is modelled on its famous equivalent in Whitehall, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

The name means simply ‘empty tomb’ in Greek because there would be there would be no-one buried there.

It is sited at the junction of Clarence Place and Caerleon Road and was unveiled by Lord Tredegar in June 1923, to commemorate the local people who died in active service in the First World War. It now also commemorates people who died in subsequent wars.

Decorated plainly with gilded wreaths on front and rear faces, it is inscribed with the words:

Their/ memory/ endureth

I’n dewrion/ eu henwau’n perarogli sydd (English translation: To our brave ones/ Fragrant are their names)

1914 - 1918/ 1939 - 1945/ To our/ heroic/ dead

For all those men and women/ Who have lost their lives/ In conflict since 1945

Stow Hill

South Wales Argus:

Another much newer memorial commemorates the blackest day in a war with many days of despair. The memorial on Stow Hill remembers the 86 Newport men of the 1st Battalion the Monmouthshire Regiment who were killed in on May 8 1915 during the Second Battle of Ypres.

The wooden sculpture by artist Chris Wood was lifted into place where the Battalion’s barracks used to stand to commemorate the centenary of the battle on Friday May 8 2015.

It joined an existing slate plaque inscribed with the regimental crest and the words of commemoration which were read out: “They wrote the saddest yet most glorious chapter in Newport’s history on May 8th 1915, when in an heroic stand against great odds before Ypres, The Monmouthshires helped to bar the Germans from the vital Channel ports.”

A small bag of earth was collected from the site of the battle at Frezenberg near Ypres and scattered at the site when the memorial was unveiled.

Orb Works

South Wales Argus:

One of many memorials in Newport linked to workplaces, the memorial to the employees of Orb Electrical Steels lost in both world wars was moved seven years ago.

Orb Electrical Steels was set up in 1898 on the site of a former pig farm where it employed more than 3,000 people.

Many of its employees served in the forces during both world wars and in 1924 the works commemorated 121 of those from the First World War with a plaque which was mounted on a specially built memorial within the works’ grounds. After the Second World War a further plaque was added.

Since then, plaques commemorating those from the 1914-18 conflict from the Lysaght’s factory in Wolverhampton and those from Newport-based Stewarts and Lloyds from 1939-45, were placed at the works too.


South Wales Argus: Pontypool Remembrance Sunday at the Memorial Gates.  Pictured is the Mayor of Torfaen Cllr Mandy Owen laying the first wreath after the service. (12536258)

The names of the war dead of Pontypool and Abersychan are inscribed on plaques on the pillars of the ornate gateway to Pontypool Park. The first plaques were unveiled in 1924 in memory of the local people who died in the First World War, with the names of those who died in subsequent conflicts added later.

The gates date from the 18th century and were reputedly a gift to the then owner of Pontypool Park, Major John Hanbury from the Duchess of Marlborough. They were moved to their current site in the 19th century. The railings on both sides of the gates were supplied by Blaenavon Ironworks.


South Wales Argus: Battle of Jutland Memorial service in Chepstow.

Chepstow’s memorial is unusual in that it is joined by some of the spoils of war. Alongside the conventional memorial in the centre of Beaufort Square, is a gun taken from a captured German submarine.

The monument, designed by Chepstow architect Eric Francis and was unveiled in 1922. The large plinth is of ashlar and is two-tiered, with metal plaques on three sides showing details of casualties, two from the Frist World War and one from the Second. At the base of the plinth on one face is a small plaque listing casualties from conflicts following the Second World War and is topped by a tall urn.

The U-boat gun was presented by King George V to the town in recognition of the award of the Victoria Cross to William Williams who was killed in action after defending a bridge under enemy fire during the Gallipoli landings.

The railings were made by the nearby Army Apprentice School in the 1980s.


Fashioned from Forest of Dean stone, this memorial is unusual in that it shows the soldier holding his rifle pointing upwards. The inscriptions are gilded on a black granite plaque.

The monument, which remembers 300 men from the area, was unveiled in December 1924 by Lord Tredegar and was re-dedicated after the Second World War.

It is one of two designed by London sculptor Newbury Abbot Trent.

On Sunday, these memorials and more will have poppies solemnly placed at their feet in grateful remembrance, their dull stones enlivened with wreaths of red.