Angels, Tanks, and Minerva: Reading the Memorials to the Great War in Welsh Chapels

  • Gethin Matthews


Prior to August 1914, the chapels of the Protestant Nonconformist denominations of Wales prided themselves on their anti-militarist credentials. Yet within weeks of the start of the Great War, the vast majority of chapel ministers had accepted the principle of the just war and were encouraging young men to enlist. The 52 months of fighting led to a variety of responses, as is evident in the memorials which these chapel communities commissioned. Some are clearly “war” memorials and have surprising imagery, such as depictions of tanks and warplanes; others are dedicated as “peace” memorials, with images of angels and declarations of brotherly love or have mixed messages. They tell us how much of a shock to the system the conflict was, shattering many preconceived ideas and heralding the dawn of an uncertain future.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swansea University, SwanseaWalesUK

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