Cross of Sacrifice

The Cross of Sacrifice instantly identifies a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) war cemetery.

It is a tall, carefully proportioned, sand or limestone [1] Latin cross usually standing on an octagonal base with a downward pointing bronze sword attached to its face. Together, the sword and cross embody the military and spiritual nature of the cemetery. The Cross was intended to represent the faith of the majority of the dead it overlooked.

A Cross of Sacrifice is a feature in all war cemeteries with 50 or more burials [2]. Depending upon the size of the cemetery, it can range in height from 4.5 to 9 metres. It is always precisely positioned so as to enhance the overall design of the cemetery and provide a point of focus.

Sir Reginald Blomfield designed the Cross of Sacrifice. Blomfield was one of the first principal architects for CWGC, and fought in WW1.

 View of the Cross of Sacrifice and cemetery from Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, France  The Cross of Sacrifice at Perth War Cemetery  Catafalque party on duty at the Cross of Sacrifice at the unveiling of the Yokohama War Cemetery, Japan in 19????
View of the Cross of Sacrifice and cemetery from Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, France The Cross of Sacrifice at Perth War Cemetery Catafalque party on duty at the Cross of Sacrifice at the unveiling of the Yokohama War Cemetery

Footnotes

  1. Sandstone is used in Australia and Papua New Guinea, and various types of limestone in Europe.
  2. Certain cemeteries with fewer than 50 burials also contain a Cross of Sacrifice.