Header comprises of the following images: 'Anibyniaeth sydd yn galw am ei dewraf dyn' [1914-1918] (Published by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, London -Poster no. 148; Printed by Roberts & Leete Ltd. London WT. 16434/763). Letters written to his mother in Llanio, co. Cardigan. Donated by David Jones's sister, Mrs E. M. Rees, Lampeter, 1994. Llyfrau Ffoto 988. Egypt 1917. National Library of Wales.

The Sheppard family from Caerphilly

  • August 8, 2013 - morfuddniajones

During our WW1 Roadshows in March a lovely lady called Sandy Crane came to see us at Haverfordwest with a wonderful collection of WW1 memorabilia relating to her family.

One feels quite privileged to be given the opportunity of looking through personal items which hold such mixed emotions and memories.


This is a picture of Frank with his mother Flora in 1917

There was an exercise book which contained some interesting entries written by Frank. Sandy’s father was Frank’s nephew.   Within the pages of the exercise book, Frank Sheppard  gives  the most detailed account of his days from joining the 11th reserve Cavalry Regiment at Tidworth.  The entries date from December 21st 1915 through to sometime in 1917. Franks descriptions for learning to ride a horse and doing the musketing course paints a vivid picture of his experiences during this time and shows how the soldiers were trained in preparation for battle during the war. Frank came from Caerphilly.

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10 pages from the exercise book and many other images contributed by Sandy Crane will form a larger collection which will be available to view on the People’s Collection Wales website later this year as part of the WW1 Commemoration project.  www.peoplescollectionwales.co.uk

This photo shows Walter Sheppard who was Frank’s brother during WW1 sitting on a camel with the pyramids in the background. We have no information with regards to the other people in the photo other than Walter is on the left camel.


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Story by Hazel Thomas


Update – August 1, 2013

  • August 1, 2013 - robphillips

Again, it’s been a busy month.

  • The work on the descriptive metadata is complete and al the content is ready to be ingested.
  • The work on the audio files has been completed, and the transcripts are now on the test website.
  • The third workflow for ingesting material into Vital is now working, and we are testing the final workflow – for archival material – on the live system. The workflow this is much more complicated but significant testing on the test system has been carried out. Material is being ingested through the other workflows.
  • We are about to publish a newspaper advertisement requesting information about copyright holders.
  • We have conducted the first test session on the interface, and we have made a couple of changes to the way the archive structure is displayed as a result. A further experiment this month and in September.
  • The metadata and scanning teams have visited Glamorgan Archives and Conwy Archives in the last month in preparation and scanning material from Glamorgan, Gwent, Conwy and Flintshire. There is more work to do in Conwy Archives and we are preparing to ingest this data in September.
  • And finally, I hand over the project and move on to a different job from today. An enthusiastic and experienced team will continue the work over the coming months.

Hedd Wyn

  • August 1, 2013 - robphillips

On July 31st 1917, Ellis Humphrey Evans, better known by his bardic name of Hedd Wyn died at Pilckem Ridge. A native of Trawsfynydd, he was conscripted into the army as a result of the Military Service Act 1916 and won the chair at the National Eisteddfod in Birkenhead a few days after his death.

The National Library has already digitised a copy of  winning poem, Yr Arwr, but further material from Bangor University has also been digisited as part of the project and will be available to view later in the year.

Remembering the War

  • July 15, 2013 - robphillips

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.

Creating ARCW metadata at Llandudno

  • July 1, 2013 - morfuddniajones

Four of us visited Conwy Archives last week to create the ARCW metadata for Conwy and Flintshire Archives for the project.  The weather was cold and wet, so it was lovely to be given such a warm welcome and a warm cup of coffee!  Here are some pictures of our visit.




Rob was enthralled with the Penmaenmawr War Memorial committee minutes, and will blog about this at a later date …



And finally, this was the amazing view from the Great Orme on Thursday night!



Project update – June 2013

  • June 17, 2013 - robphillips

Some time has passed since I last gave an update on the progress of the project on the blog. Since the fire back in April we have been working hard to ensure that work on the project continues and will finish on time. There is much to report.

The preparatory  and scanning work has now been completed.  253,800 images have been created and over 550 minutes of recordings of oral history interviews have been digitised. We have created electronic text files from typed transcriptions of the content of the recordings to enable searching, and these have been checked by volunteers. We are transforming these files to TEI format.

We are also working to ensure adequate metadata for each item. Catalogue records for items from the collections of the National Library already exist, and other libraries have provided metadata for their material. The staff here are working to convert this metadata to catalogue records in the Virtua system  following agreed standards for project metadata. The intention is to complete this work by the end of the month.

The development team has been busy ensuring workflows for ingesting digital assets to the National Library’s digital repository, Vital, are completed. We’ve had to develop new workflows for different types of material, two of them are now ready for use and the final two, for images and archival material, are scheduled to be ready by early July. We have begun to ingest material to Vital, using these new workflows.

Dafydd Tudur, NLW’s Rights Manager is continuing to assess IPR risks on items in the National Library’s collection and contacting potential sources of information about rights holders. Work on assessing IPR risks for material from partner libraries is nearly complete.

A lot of work has taken place on developing an interface for the project. A test version of the website has been created, using test data, although significant development work still needs to be completed before we can begin user testing.

Good progress on the work with local archives. Back in March we went to Gwynedd Archives to prepare metadata and scan items from the collections. As a result of this work we were able to plan further digitisation of collections from Gwent, Glamorgan, Conwy and Flintshire Archives. Work has begun at Gwent and Glamorgan, and the team will visit Conwy Archive next week.

So much has been done in recent weeks with more to keep us very busy.

Creating Metadata at Glamorgan Archives

  • June 17, 2013 - morfuddniajones

Four of us visited Glamorgan Archives last week to create metadata prior to scanning their material as part of the project. Here are some pictures of us hard at work.

Rob and Rhys outside Glamorgan Archives

Rob and Rhys outside Glamorgan Archives

Rob and Rhys preparing to create metadata

Rob and Rhys preparing to create metadata

Rhys and Nia hard at work creating metadata

Rhys and Nia hard at work creating metadata


Family connections

  • June 14, 2013 - robphillips

Early in the project it was decided not to include the books from the National Library’s collections in the list of material to be digitized. We didn’t have workflows for them and there were plenty of other material in terms of archives, manuscripts, images and newspapers for digitization.

Since then some of the library’s private funds have been earmarked to digitise more material that conveys the experience of the people of Wales during the First World War, so we looked at the list of material we had initially identified in our collections, but which we’d decided not to include. Among this material were the books.

I noticed  one book, Abercynon to Flanders and back by Wilfred Bowden. My family is from the local area so I started reading some of the story. Mr. Bowden joined the army in 1915, when he was technically too young, he served on the Somme and Mametz Wood before being wounded and captured by the Germans in 1918.

He came back to Wales after the war, and took a job with the Great Western Railway in Abercynon, and became a locomotive driver. My father worked on the railway in Abercynon after leaving school so I wondered whether Wilfred Bowden was still working when my father joined the railway. Did they know each other? I read on – Mr Bowden didn’t retire until 1963 so the chances were that my father had worked with him!

Later I called my father to ask if he remembered Wilfred Bowden. It turns out that fireman on the engine my father had worked many times with the man who had fought on the Somme and who had been a prisoner of war in 1918. My father spoke of a respected man who as well as being an engine driver was a magistrate, a local union official and member of the council. Wilfred Bowden spent the years after the war making a great contribution to the local community. It was a miracle he came back alive from the war, but really this is an example of one Welshman’s experience of the Great War.

Story of Captain Hugh Jones from Borth Ceredigion

  • May 16, 2013 - morfuddniajones

Follow this link to see how Captain Hugh Jones’ Story has captured the interest of the Berria newspaper  at  http://www.berria.info/dokumentuak/dokumentua1251.pdf   go to pages 6 and 8 here is the translation of the article.


Captain Hugh Jones Story By K M Evans

I am the youngest daughter of Captain Hugh & Ann Jones of Surrey House Borth. My father was born on 31st October 1874 & had been connected with the sea all of his working life .I did not know my father as he drowned on the 5th October 1918 & I was born the 2nd September 1917 .My elder sister Anna Jane Jones was born on the 20 April 1909 & she died on 1st March 1959 at Bow Street and she could remember my father.

I married Ronald Evans 11th April 1941 at Soar Chapel Borth & since our marriage we have been trying to find out the circumstances how my father died. My eldest son Hugh was born in Borth in 1943 has along with my husband has been very interested in the Captain Hugh Jones story. In 1960 Ronald Evans my husband, me (Kathleen Evans nee Jones) & our two sons Hugh & Neil left Southampton on route for Vigo Spain .We motored up through Spain to Bilbao & paid a visit to my father’s grave, the first visit from any member of his family since he was buried there .


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The Evans family with the 3 Spanish fishermen who found Captain Hugh Jones’s body


The Story of Captain Hugh Jones of Surrey House Borth

                  It was three o’clock in the morning of October 5th 1918 and though the world did not know it, the Great War had little more than a month to run. Only a few more men had now to die.     On board the British steamer “Heathpark.” 1,963 tonne Captain Hugh Jones of Surrey House Borth & his crew were bringing their boat home in convoy from Bilbao, heavy with iron ore for their country’s war effort.      There were five of them in the convoy, including the Spanish steamer “Mercedes” 2,164 tonne and a Norwegian vessel, and they had sailed from Bilbao at 10.0 p.m. on the previous day, hugging the coast to avoid the attentions of German submarines.  That was the last that was heard of them. In that night of ruthless destruction all five ships disappeared. From the Spanish, there were three survivors, who told of the submarine they had seen before the torpedoes struck.  The other Borth person’s on Heathpark were David L Lewis aged 26 of Dalston House & David Kenneth Jones aged 16 of Glanmore House

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Captain Hugh Jones and his crew who were torpedoed by a German submarine during WW1 – All lives were lost

Four days later ,on October 9th ,four miles off the little port of Gustaria, a fishing boat saw a body , equipped with a lifebelt floating in the sea ,picked it up and landed it the same day at Ondarroa, a Basque fishing village .

     Captain Hugh Jones had come to his last port .With great reverence & respect the fishing village of Ondarroa found him a resting place in the cemetery there, after an inquiry, conducted by two British Vice-Consuls, had identified him and delt with his personnel effects.

 At a ceremony in the Sailors Institute in June 1919, the British Government represented by the vice-consul, Mr James Inns, made monetary gifts to all the members of the crew and presented a framed photograph of Captain Hugh Jones with the caption: “Hugh Jones Captain of the English steamship “Heathpark,” torpedoed off the east coast on October 5th 1918 .This photograph is dedicated to the crew of the fishing smack ‘Isabelita for recovering his body, which lies in the cemetery of Ondarroa.” After distributing the gifts, Mr Inns thanked the crew “in the name of the family of the heroic sailor who, in fulfilling his duty, would have disappeared in the depths of the ocean like his companions were it not for the conduct of the fishermen.”

Captain Hugh Jones was exhumed and re buried in Bilbao British Protestant cemetery in July 1925. This cemetery, created in 1775, ceased to be used as a cemetery in 1929, and all those buried there were removed to a new site in Lujua.  And there, splendidly cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission a new gravestone was erected which was inscribed with the badge of the Mercantile Marine and below it the words :- “Master Hugh Jones, S.S.”Heathpark” 5th October 1918, Age 49. Died for King and Country. Rest in Peace. Never Forgotten.”

         Our family in 1960 visited Ondarroa being the only members of the family ever to visit Captain Hugh Jones grave .The Isabelita is no more but its captain, Sr Jose Arteche now aged 73 and two members of the crew Sr Simeon Echano (69) and Sr Mauro Bericua (78) were there to greet the captain’s daughter Mrs Kathleen Evans nee Jones and it was an unforgettable experience for all of us.

Staff at the People’s Collection Wales office at the National Library of Wales have uploaded images on behalf of the family and they can be viewed if you follow this link. http://www.peoplescollectionwales.co.uk/User/hugh-evans

All of these images and more will form a larger collection on The People’s Collection Wales website to commemorate WW1

Hazel Thomas – The People’s Collection Wales

Visitors From Cambridge University Digitial Library

  • May 7, 2013 - robphillips

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We recently had a visit from Huw Jones and Maciej Pawlikowski from Cambridge University Digital Library. Huw and Maciej both work on the Board of Longitude project which is also funded by JISC, and as projects we are clustered to share good practice and act as critical friends. During their visit they visited our prep and scanning sections, our web team, Screen and Sound Archive, and our developers.

Both Huw and Maciej and staff at NLW found the visit really useful. We were able to discuss different approaches to the interface and the digitisation workflow at length. The visit also co-coincided with the annual staff association quiz, held at Y Cwps at the bottom of Penglais hill. The team made up of Huw, Maciej, Lyn Dafis and myself kept our honour and came one from last!