St. Paul’s commemorate WWI with crosses bearing models of war torn towns


St. Paul’s Cathedral proudly displays in its walls at the entrance two large crosses featuring models of war torn towns. The white crosses are part of the 100th commemoration of the First World War this year.

The crosses measures over six meters bearing the models of towns ravaged by the war in its arms. The crosses are painted all white — the color of the thousands of crosses which line the graves of fallen service men during World War I. The twin crosses and can be seen at the head of the nave. Visitors would not miss the displays as they enter the cathedral. 

The towns in the crosses are honeycombs of the structures of modern-day towns which were destroyed by war. These include towns in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The crosses are the creation of London artist Gerry Judah.

The commissioned artworks are memorials of the First World War itself according to their creator. He said that creating scenes of war from the contemporary period is synonymous to carving up the Ottoman Empire.

He also hoped that his creations will make people look at the war 100 years ago as well as the war of today. Although the wars of today are not as massive as the Great War, Mr. Judah thinks that the wars are still a tragedy. He went on to say that what is important is the “remembering”. With the fusion of the wars from all periods, the model produces a “poignant” picture and effect.

Mr. Judah also expressed his happiness at being selected to create the twin cruciforms. He takes pride in his creations which will take part of the World War I commemoration of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The building has been a symbol of hope and redemption amidst turmoil and the crosses will form part of the symbol.

He hopes that the cruciform sculptures make people hope for a brighter future. While the sculptures are intended to make people empathize and relate to feelings of pity, Judah hopes that the Cathedral will also urge people to contemplate and meditate.

Mr. Judah has also created a sculpture that depicts the Auschwitz concentration camp that is now on display at the Imperial War Museum. He completed the artwork in 2010. He also made similar scultures for St. Mary Brookfield Church in London in 2012.

The twin crosses are to remain in the cathedral during the centenary of the war in August. The Chancellor of the cathedral, The Reverend Canon Mark Oakley, said that the sculptures will present to the generations of today the realities of war and the destruction it will bring. The lattice of destroyed buildings lacquered in white would be the reminder.

The cathedral is set to make an unveiling of the twin crosses on Palm Sunday.


Siegphyl is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE