Unknown British Soldier
Location: Christ Church, Kings Road, Higher Bebington, Wirral CH63 8LX
The cross is prominently displayed near the front of the church on the right hand side as you face the altar. The cross commemorates an unknown British soldier.
Details on cross:
There are 2 GRU tags on the cross:-
a GRU tag at the top and a tag which reads ‘unknown British soldier’ on the cross member. It looks like there was originally another tag on the cross member which is now missing, but it’s hard to tell as the cross is positioned quite high up.
There is also a small brass plate underneath the cross member which is illegible but would have read ‘This cross temporarily marked the grave of an unknown British soldier in Flanders and was presented by the British Legion’.
Text type (e.g. hand-written, GRU tags, carved): 2 GRU tags.
Cross dimensions (millimetres please)
Shaft Height: 1143mm
Cross beam width: 381mm
Width of wood: 59.4mm
Thickness or depth: 25.4mm
Mounting to wall: The cross is attached to a block of wood and held by string from a nail on the pillar. There is also a metal bracket on either side of the cross member and shaft for support.
Evidence of use in field (earth marking, cracking, staining, shrinkage): There is discolouring towards the bottom of the cross.
Surface insertion depth (into ground if apparent): 304.8mm.
Finish (varnish, paint, oiled, unfinished etc): Dark stained wood.
Condition (cracked, paint peeling, woodwork, damage etc): The cross is quite rough and chipped in places. At the top of the shaft a piece of wood has been chipped out, so the GRU tag is close to the right edge.
Biographical notes and observations:
There is a large carved decorative wooden plaque set on the wall next to the cross which commemorates the names of the fallen. On the shelf underneath there is also a small commemoration to the men lost in WW2 along with some remembrance crosses. The cross itself is surrounded by four British Legion flags, and underneath there are poppy wreaths. The church itself is grade II listed, is very welcoming, and has strong links within the local community. It has a large state of the art community centre attached to the church which was completed in 2011, and provides services for the benefit of the wider community. The church also has a very unique feature just inside the porch. A slab of stone set into the wall contains the fossilised tracks of a pre historic carnivore called Cheirotherium. They were discovered in a local quarry when mining the stone for the church. The monster was dominant in the Mesozoic period 252 million years ago. This must be the only church in the country to contain the tracks of a dinosaur! The church also contains some beautiful stained glass windows, and has an interesting churchyard which is worth a wander around.
Survey and photographs courtesy of Beverley Goodwin/Margaret Draycott
Date of survey: 8th February 2017