Remembering the War

Most of the items we have digitized as part of the World War 1914-1918 and the Welsh Experience project, dates from the war itself. They reflect the experience of the people of Wales as was written down actually during the War. We’ve also digitised some items of the post-war period that looked back on the experience; a good example of this category is the South Wales Miners’ Library oral history interviews. However, the legacy of the conflict was felt for many years after the ceasefire in 1918 and capturing this is also important. So great was the impact of the war on communities that there was a need to ensure the memory of the war; to remember the individuals who died and remember the sacrifice of those who served. It was part of building “a land fit for heroes” as promised by David Lloyd George.

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Communities across the country formed committees to raise memorials in the form of statues, plaques, playgrounds or community buildings. Such a committee was set up in Penmaenmawr on February 3rd 1919 and the minutes of the committee are now held at Conwy Archives. This is one of the items selected for digitization, and the story is fascinating.

An the initial meeting, the committee decided to build a community hall with a library. Almost immediately there was a conflict with the Men’s Institute who were also planning to build a hall. There were problems raising funds and a further public meeting was called. The outcome of the meeting was a new committee and a vote amongst the residents on the options of a hall, library, playground or scholarships or various combinations. Once again the people chose the hall but by November it was clear that such a plan was unaffordable. The committee the decided to erect a memorial in the form of a Celtic cross but location was not confirmed until November 1920 and at that meeting there was further opposition. A proposal was then agreed to cooperate with the Men’s Institute and combine their plan for a new hall and memorial.

By November 1923 the committee discussed the wording of the memorial wall and by May 1925, they were organizing the unveiling. The last meeting of the committee was on 14 September 1926, almost 8 years after the war ended. The committee’s problems however were not over, there was a £400 deficit to raise but Penmaenmawr got its memorial and it stands proudly to this day.

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