Diocesan press releases

Haunting WW1 art installations and Remembrance films projected onto church walls

A small village church is hosting a stirring silhouette installation to commemorate its 40 World War 1 casualties.

The five striking silhouettes, made of Perspex, have been installed at St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Cwmbach as part of the There But Not There campaign.

It is one of many churches throughout the diocese that are hosting the silhouettes and holding special commemorative events, including St Mary’s Church in Whitchurch, Cardiff, that will also project a video remembering those from the parish who died in the conflict onto the outside of the church.The Venerable Christopher Smith, Archdeacon of Morgannwg, and priest-in-charge of Cwmbach said, “To some people, 100 years seems a long time, but many people will have strong family links to those who lost their lives in World War 1 or those who survived but carried the scars of that conflict for the rest of their lives.

“In remembering them, we are committing ourselves to a future of peace, forgiveness and hope.  Those who gave their lives did so that we might live in peace; we must do all we can to work for that peace, for ourselves and for those who come after us.”

At the outbreak of World War 1, Cwmbach was a small mining and farming village outside Aberdare. The war memorial in St Mary Magdalene’s Church lists the names of 40 men who were killed in action during that conflict, devastating that community.

Archdeacon Smith said, “Those people have never been forgotten, and alongside those who lost their lives in World War 2 and the Falklands Conflict, they will be remembered on 11 November 2018. The formal act of Remembrance will begin at 10.45am but before that, the morning worship at 9.30am will be on the theme of remembrance and peace.

“The parish has supported the There But Not There campaign as part of this Act of Remembrance. Members of the congregation have been seeking the descendants of those named on the memorials to invite them to join this act of Remembrance.

“World War 1 has often been referred to as the War to end all wars. Sadly, that proved not to be the case, and we will also remember those who lost the lives in other conflicts, including civilians in Cwmbach who lost their lives because of enemy action,” added the Archdeacon.

After the Act of Remembrance an exhibition of war time memorabilia will be on display in the hall while refreshments, including a trench cake, made to an original recipe, will be served.

Other churches in the Llandaff Diocese supporting the There But Not There campaign include St Illtud’s Church in Llantwit Fadre that has eight silhouettes, St Elvan’s In Aberdare that has four and St Mary’s, Whitchurch, that has two.

The Remembrance video produced by St Mary’s contains remarkable footage of some of those buried in the churchyard and will be projected nightly onto the outside of the church walls in the lead up to Remembrance Sunday.

The video was produced as part of a project to map the graveyard and a subsequent fundraising drive to place poppy wreaths on all the 45 war graves in its cemetery to mark the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War 1. Some of these will be laid on November 9, in preparation for Remembrance Sunday. A display for the church porch has also been produced commemorating the names of all those the Graveyard Project team discovered. To view the commemorative video visit https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R2rfA0LmXxzdIFLMN6vPIfOYq2Ia_4-G/view?fbclid=IwAR2qpijDHRNN5bVKRVe2IDv3ob49cmQMihpEiC53rhiI6Xlt7NGVsm-xesY

Rector of Whitchurch, the Revd John Davis said, “I think that remembrance is something that we do at every Eucharist, but this act of Remembrance really touches the heart of our society and connects us with the wider community.

“As a Church we need to go out and engage with the community rather than wait for people to come to us and this is us going out and doing just that – being a visible presence.”

In Aberdare, St Elvan’s also plan to project photographs of local former serviceman, memorialised in its war memorial chapel, with images of their home and history, onto a large screen. This will happen during its Remembrance events. The silhouettes will be used as part of a permanent heritage exhibition at the church. They will have name tags and knap sacks containing pictures and objects that soldiers used in the war.


  • All Saints Church, Penyfai, will hold a special Festival of Remembrance from November 10 to 18, during which a new memorial will be dedicated. Members of the WI have knitted and crocheted in excess of 400 poppies to be displayed in a ‘weeping’ installation from the church pulpit.
  • A Remembrance Garden has been created and is open daily at Saint Martin in Roath to especially remember the many young people from the parish who died between 1914-18. A commemorative booklet has also been produced giving brief biographies of those from the parish who died between 1914-18 and 1939-45.
  • St Martin’s Church in Caerphilly is hosting a WW1 Commemorative Exhibition from November 4 to 11, plus a number of other events including a WW1 Poetry Afternoon Tea on November 9, a sing-along coffee morning featuring old war time tunes on November 8 and a Music for Heroes concert featuring Peter Karrie on November 10.
  • In Aberavon there is a Book of Peace which people are signing, and a commemorative flower festival will be launched in St Agnes’ on November 8. At St Theodore’s every year there is a garden of remembrance for all who have died in conflicts since 1914.For more information about the There But Not There campaign visit: www.therebutnotthere.org.uk