A NEWPORT artist who has won international acclaim for his expert woodcarvings has dedicated his latest creation in Caerleon to fallen soldiers.

Chris Wood, who decided to become an artist after being made redundant from his job as a steelworker in the 1990s, was commissioned by Caerleon Remembers Committee and Caerleon Arts Festival to create a piece of artwork to commemorate the centenary of World War One.

Thirteen months on, members of the groups could not be more pleased with what Mr Wood has created.

The memorial bench under the guise of an old veteran peering over the River Usk is based on the last surviving soldier in World War One, Harry Patch, who died in 2009 aged 111.

South Wales Argus:

The sculpture at Hanbury Arms pub also lists the number of people who died in World War One in Europe, Britain, and in Newport.

“When I was asked to do this over a year ago, I really wanted to make something that mattered to people,” Mr Wood said.

“My father served in World War Two and suffered with PTSD, so I wanted people to be able to reflect on what soldiers went through when they look at the bench.

“I gathered a few photos of Harry Patch because I often find it is better to create an image in my mind before I begin doing the work.

“I’m really pleased with it overall. It’s been a difficult process, especially finding a big enough piece of wood and the right materials.”

South Wales Argus:

The bench also consists of intricate designs to highlight the lasting impact conflict can have.

“I’ve put photos of World War One at the back of the eyes to show a veteran reflecting on his days in the war,” Mr Wood added.


“I also put a poem written by Hedd Wynn in there written in both English and Welsh, because I wanted to make sure it was relatable.

“I don’t think it matters that Harry Patch was English though - PTSD and the troubles people experience during and after war are universal, which is what I wanted to capture.

“Even now we see soldiers coming back from conflicts troubled both physically and mentally.”

South Wales Argus:

Chair of Caerleon Arts Festival’s committee Tim Davidson thanked Mr Wood for creating the memorial, and confirmed that it will be transported across the road to the Caerleon Arts Festival field in time for this summer’s annual celebration.

“It’s a very fitting tribute to the men and women of Europe, Britain and Gwent who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Mr Davidson. "It will be nice to see it in the meadow where people can take some quiet time to reflect."

For more information on Caerleon Arts Festival, visit the committee’s website at https://www.caerleon-arts.org/