Provincial press releases

Cathedral marks 75 years since blitz raid

Llandaff Cathedral will mark the 75th anniversary of a blitz raid next weekend which killed 165 people in Cardiff and devastated the Cathedral.

The bomb on the night of January 2 1941 tore off the Cathedral’s roof and caused extensive damage in what turned out to be the most severe attack on any UK Cathedral, apart from Coventry.

Photo from Media Wales
Photo from Media Wales

While the Cathedral was almost destroyed, no one on the site was killed as the Dean and the head verger, who had been on fire duty inside it at the time, managed to escape. However, elsewhere in the city that night the blitz killed 165 people and 427 more were wounded with about 350 homes destroyed.

A vigil of prayer, thanksgiving and reconciliation to mark the anniversary will be held on Sunday, January 3 at 3.30pm and everyone is invited to attend.

Following the raid, Llandaff Cathedral underwent a major programme of restoration under the architect George Pace and it was another 17 years before the whole building was back in use.

The Majestas, Llandaff Cathedral
The Majestas, Llandaff Cathedral

A memorial chapel to the Welch Regiment was constructed and Sir Jacob Epstein commissioned to create the figure of Christ in Majesty which is suspended above the nave on a concrete arch and is now one of the defining sights of the Cathedral. The Queen attended a service celebrating the completion of the restoration in 1960.

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial stone
Memorial stone

The place where the bomb fell, just outside in the grounds of the Cathedral, is now a garden of remembrance for those who have died, and is marked by a stone memorial.

The Dean of Llandaff, Gerwyn Capon, said, “This vigil will be a chance for us to remember that awful night in Cardiff when so many people lost their lives and their homes and our Cathedral was terribly damaged. It will also be a service of reconciliation when we pray for peace and an end to all conflicts.

“In the years that followed the Cathedral was restored and enhanced so that today we are blessed with a beautiful building that is a tremendous asset for the whole of the city.”

The black and white photos show the damage to the Cathedral (credit Media Wales).

Llandaff Cathedral
Llandaff Cathedral today