Newbridge War Memorial


Why do we have war memorials?

We have war memorials as tributes to the people who died in conflict, including the two World Wars during the last century.

They are particularly important for people who have lost loved ones and have no grave to visit.

War memorials can vary widely in type from small monuments, sculptures to squares and even gardens.

Where does the war memorial in St Fagans come from?

This is the Newbridge War Memorial from Caetwmpyn Park in Caerphilly.

It commemorates 79 local soldiers who died in the First World War (1914 -18) and a further 37 men who died in the Second World War (1939 - 45). All their names can be seen on a bronze plaque on the side of the memorial.

What does the word ‘cenotaph’ mean?

Poignantly the word ‘cenotaph’ means ‘empty tomb’ in Greek.

A memorial is intended to celebrate the memory of an event: in the case of the war memorial at the Museum, it is the two World Wars.

On Remembrance Sunday a special service is held at the Museum as in many other places in Britain.

Wreaths of red poppies are placed in front of the memorial to commemorate all those who have died in the two world wars.

Why is the poppy associated with Remembrance services?

In the Napoleonic wars in the early 19th century, red poppies grew in the fields of where soldiers died.

In 1914 the poppy was one of the few plants to grow on the battlefields.

The Canadian surgeon John McCrae (1872 – 1918) wrote a poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ which recognized the ultimate sacrifice made by soldiers fighting in the First World War. It became a symbol of later conflicts including the Second World War and the Falklands War.

The poppy is now universally a symbol for peace to remember all casualties of war.

Points of interest

When the Newbridge War Memorial was dismantled, a beer bottle was found inside it bearing the names of the original builders. When it was rebuilt at the Museum, the craftsmen put a bottle of Brains beer in it as well as another bottle with the builders’ names written on a piece of paper.

You may have heard of the Welsh poet, Hedd Wyn (Ellis Humphrey Evans). He was a Welsh language poet from Trawsfynydd, North Wales. Much of his poetry was written while he was working as a shepherd on his family’s farm.

He was killed on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele in the First World War. He was posthumously awarded the Bard’s Chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod. Hedd Wyn is Welsh for ‘white peace’.

Welsh bard falls in the battle fields of Flanders

There are other well-known other war memorials to soldiers who died in conflict in other parts of the world.

Here is the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium.

It is dedicated to British and Commonwealth soldiers in Ypres battlefields and whose graves are unknown.

The walls of the memorial bear thousands of names as seen in the photo below.

Field Marshal Plumer who spoke at the inauguration of this memorial in 1927, as a comfort to people whose relatives were never found, said ‘ He is not missing, he is here’.

For more information about how National Museum Wales tells the story of the First World War in Wales through its collections, please see the link below.

Remembering the First World War – Creating a Digital Legacy

Click here to visit the Newbridge War Memorial website.


Building facts:

  • Original Location: Caetwmpyn Park, Newbridge (Monmouthshire)
  • Date originally built: 1936
  • Dismantled and moved to St Fagans: 1995
  • Date opened to the public: 1996
  • Visiting information