The largest collection of wooden First World War crosses in West Wales has gone on display in St Katherine’s Church, Milford Haven.
They have been rescued from a damp corner of the church by the vicar, Fr Harri Williams, who decided they should have pride of place in the newly-refurbished Memorial Chapel.
Each one bears the name of a soldier, sailor or airman who died. “It’s particularly poignant for me because many of them were so young,” Fr Harri said.
“We have boys in our youth group who are 17, and to think that 100 years ago many of them would have been expected to fight is quite frightening.
“This is the largest collection of original First World War crosses we have in west Wales and yet most people in Milford Haven know nothing about it, which is a great sadness to me.
“To be able to present this part of history in a proper way is important, particularly in a building that’s been part of the fabric of the town for 200 years.”
The crosses will be displayed alongside a book produced this year by the Royal British Legion and Milford Haven School, which gives details of those who died.
“People can go in the chapel, look at the name on the cross, open the book and their story comes to life,” said Father Harri.
“It’s a very poignant reminder of their sacrifice but also a tremendous tool for teaching the next generation about the sacrifice of war and what it meant.
“I hope it is something that will last for a very long time.”
A service of dedication for the chapel will take place on Friday, November 9, at 7pm.
Funding for the work has come from the Royal British Legion, Pembrokeshire County Council via the Welsh Church Act Fund, Mission to Seafarers through the Trafalgar Institute, Milford Haven Town Council, the Friends of the church and parishioners.
Picture courtesy of the Milford Mercury