Unknown British Soldier

Presented to the cathedral in a special ceremony on July 16th 1931 by Sir Fabian Ware.

Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
St James Mount, Liverpool
L1 7Az

Details on cross:

Metal GRU Tag at top of shaft


further down the shaft a tag with


on the cross member there is a tag

Unknown British Soldier

There are 4 nails below this where a plaque might have been

Text type (e.g. hand-written, GRU tags, carved):

Cross dimensions (millimetres please)
Shaft Height:1140
Cross beam width: 400
Width of wood:75
Thickness or depth: 25

Other information
Mounting to wall: The cross was on display as part of a wider exhibition of Cathedral WW1 memories, to men who served in the first world war, one of them being her Grandfather ( Sergeant Richard Lynam) who had connections to the Cathedral. There is a very detailed booklet to these men available in the Cathedral. The cross is not on permanent display but is kept in the archives and is used by schools doing projects on the first world war and for any commemoration services such as Rememberance Sunday. The cross was free standing resting against the display boards

Detailing: None
Evidence of use in field (earth marking, cracking, staining, shrinkage): Lighter in shading than rest of cross.
Surface insertion depth (into ground if apparent): 510mm
Finish (varnish, paint, oiled, unfinished etc): Standard British Cross light coloured, no staining, pointed at end.
Condition (cracked, paint peeling, woodwork, damage etc): A slight split in wood at end. Otherwise in good condition.

Notes and observations:
We paid a number of visits to the Cathedral to establish the whereabouts of the cross, as it is not on permanent display. We were put in touch with Cannon Val Jackson the archivist at the Cathedral, who was a great help to us. She invited us to the Cathedral to see the display on the first world war which included the cross. Val had done a tremendous job of research and admitted to us that the wars of the 20th century had been a steep learning curve for her. She did a display last year to commemorate the nurses who served and died in the first world war, who are remembered in the Lady Chapel. Next year she is planning an Exhibition on the Chavasse Family running from 12th September through to 8th October 2017.

The exact origin of why the cross is in the Cathedral is not known but Val gave me the following information:

The cross of the unknown soldier; Liverpool Cathedral 20th February 1930: Captain H Smith, Hon Secretary of British Legion, City of Liverpool Branch was interested in the ceremony to present the cross of the unknown soldier at Liverpool Cathedral. There is no mention of how the cross was acquired.

A service was being planned by Archdeacon Howson. Major General Sir Fabian Ware, KCVO; KBE; CB; CMG; Vice-chairman of the Imperial War Graves Commission was invited to preach at the service July 16th 1931 at 8.00pm. The service was titled ‘The Pilgrim’s Service and took place in the memorial Chapel near to the Cenotaph. During the singing of the Hymn “I vow to thee my country,” the cross was taken from the altar and delivered to Sir Fabian Ware who took it in silence to its honoured place on the main altar.

There is a memorial to the 55th West Lancashire Division, in the Derby Transept of the Cathedral “They win or die who wear the rose of Lancaster fifty fifth division” Motto.

Liverpool Cathedral is magnificent and is well worth a visit if you are ever in the city

Survey and photographs courtesy of Margaret Draycott and Beverley Goodwin
Date of survey: 18.10.2016