Cross of Sacrifice

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A Cross of Sacrifice in Ypres Reservoir cemetery.

The Cross of Sacrifice was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield for the Imperial War Graves Commission (now Commonwealth War Graves Commission) and is usually present in Commonwealth war cemeteries containing 40 or more graves.[1][2] It is normally a freestanding four point limestone Latin cross in one of three sizes ranging in height from 18 to 32 feet.[2] On the face of the cross is a bronze broadsword, blade down. It is usually mounted on an octagonal base. The Cross represents the faith of the majority of the dead and the sword represents the military character of the cemetery. The Cross of Sacrifice is frequently built into the boundary wall of cemeteries where subsidence is a liability, such as those in Turkey.[2]

Installations[edit]

United States[edit]

There is a Cross of Sacrifice in Arlington National Cemetery by the graves of United States citizens who enlisted in the Canadian military, and lost their lives in the First World War. Proposed in 1925 by Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King, it was in part due to Canada entering the war long before the United States, and many Americans enlisting in Canada to join the fighting in Europe. On 12 June 1925, President Calvin Coolidge approved the request, and on Armistice Day 1927 the monument near the Memorial Amphitheater was dedicated. Attending the ceremony was a guard of honour of more than 200 Canadian soldiers, comprising contingents from the Royal Canadian Regiment, the Royal 22nd Regiment, the pipe band of the 48th Highlanders of Canada and trumpeters from the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and the Royal Canadian Dragoons. The United States Army was represented by a guard from the 12th Infantry Regiment and buglers from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment. President Coolidge was in attendance and an address was given by Dwight F. Davis, the Secretary of War.[3]

The inscription on the cross is to "Citizens of the United States who served in the Canadian Army and gave their lives in the Great War".[4] After the Second World War and the Korean War, similar inscriptions on other faces of the monument were dedicated to the Americans who served in those conflicts.[5]

United Kingdom[edit]

Inscription at the foot of the Cross of Sacrifice in Cathays Cemetery, Cardiff

There are many Crosses of Sacrifice in Britain including: Cathays Cemetery, Cardiff; Peel Green Cemetery, Salford, Greater Manchester; Leigh Cemetery, Wigan; St Lawrence, Wiltshire;[clarification needed] Rosebank Cemetery, Edinburgh; Cannock Chase Cemetery, Huntingdon; Milltown Cemetery, Belfast, Lerwick Cemetery, Shetland[6] and others. Some of the memorials are Grade II listed, such as the one in St. Johns Cemetery, Margate.[7] Most of the memorials have this inscription on the base:[8]

THIS CROSS OF SACRIFICE IS ONE IN
DESIGN AND INTENTION WITH THOSE
WHICH HAVE BEEN SET UP IN FRANCE
AND BELGIUM AND OTHER PLACES
THROUGHOUT THE WORLD WHERE OUR
DEAD OF THE GREAT WAR ARE LAID
TO REST
THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE

Elsewhere[edit]

  • There is a Cross of Sacrifice in the memorial gardens of the same name in Adelaide, South Australia. It is dedicated "to the men who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1920", and is a tribute of the women of South Australia. They form part of the large Peace Park which also incorporates the Prince Henry Gardens, Ester Lipman Gardens, and the Pioneer Women's Memorial Gardens.[9]
  • Gibraltar Cross of Sacrifice in the Territory of Gibraltar has a Cross of Sacrifice where the Military and Civic Authorities lay wreaths every Armistice Day.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Monuments of the First and Second World Wars". The Canadian Encyclopaedia. Historica-Dominion. 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Features of Commonwealth War Cemeteries" (Word document). Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 23 May 2009. 
  3. ^ Gaffen, Fred (1995). "Between the Wars". Cross-Border Warriors: Canadians in American Forces, Americans in Canadian Forces. Toronto: Dundern Press. pp. 37–38, 233. ISBN 978-1-55002-225-4. 
  4. ^ "Canadian Cross of Sacrifice". World War I. War Memorial HQ. 
  5. ^ Peters, James Edward (2000). Arlington National Cemetery: Shrine to America's Heroes. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. ISBN 978-1-890627-92-8. [page needed]
  6. ^ "Lerwick CWGC Cross of Sacrifice". shetlopedia.com. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "War Memorial Margate". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "War Memorial Base". Geograph. Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  9. ^ "Cross of Sacrifice Memorial Garden". Panoramic Earth. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 

External links[edit]