All Saints Church
Details on cross:
2 / LIEUT G. H. SWANN
GERALD HUDDART SWANN
KILLED IN ACTION
18 October 1917
Aged 18 years
THE EARTH HOLDS NOT
A FINER GENTLEMAN
On brass plaque at foot of cross:
THIS SINGLE CROSS, TAKEN FROM THE BATTLEFIELD, IS HERE TO COMMEMORATE NOT ONLY THE SACRIFICE OF HIM WHOSE NAME IT BEARS, BUT TO REMIND US OF ALL OUR PARISHIONERS WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR, 1914-1918. REMEMBER THEIR SOULS BEFORE GOD, AND THE CAUSE FOR WHICH THEY DIED.
Text type (e.g. hand-written, GRU tags, carved): First four rows are GRU tags. Remaining text is handwritten. Brass plaque at base is engraved.
Cross dimensions (millimetres please)
Shaft Height: 1183 mm
Cross beam width: 533 mm
Width of wood: 98 mm
Thickness or depth: 88 mm
Mounting to wall: No visible means of support. I suspect there is a hole in the rear of the cross and this is fixed to a screw/nail embedded in the wall. The brass plaque itself is wider than the cross. To hold this there are two small pieces of wood fixed at either side of the cross, into which the screws holding the plaque are fixed.
Detailing: Evidence of use in field (earth marking, cracking, staining, shrinkage): No apparent sign of insertion – however, the cross has been sawn off just below the brass plaque.
Surface insertion depth (into ground if apparent): Finish (varnish, paint, oiled, unfinished etc): Surface of whole cross is painted in a pale grey/white although this has worn and is faded across the whole surface. Text in black paint on this surface.
Condition (cracked, paint peeling, woodwork, damage etc): Generally, the cross is in a very good condition other than the worn paint mentioned above.
Notes and observations:
Gerald Huddart Swann was the son of Henry Bagehot Swann and Torfrida L A Swann of Hangerfield, Witley, Surrey. He fought in the 41st Squadron of the RFC and is buried in Varennes Military Cemetery. (CWGC). Born on 13th December 1898 in London, G H Swann passed his Royal Aero Club certification on 30th April 1917 at the London & Provincial School, Edgware. Less than six months later he was killed in action.
The cross is in All Saints Witley, close to the organ pipes on the North side of the nave. Mounted quite high on the wall, it is dramatically lit by a light from above which made reading the GRU tags difficult, but was quite striking.
Records on Ancestry (unverified by me) suggest that the surname was an Anglicisation of Schwann, and that his father was originally called Henry Sigismund Schwann.
Survey and photographs courtesy of Alasdair Mackie
Date of survey: 26/11/16