DYFED FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY – UPPER TOWY VALLEY BRANCH
Our exhibition theme this year is two-fold – Images of Llandovery and Memories of Passchendaele.
We have a collection of photographs of Llandovery by Mr. Evans, the local chemist and optician, dating back a number of decades – but recent enough for many to be able to recognise friends and relatives – or even themselves!
To mark the centenary anniversary of the start of the Battle of Passchendaele during World War One, we are exhibiting a collection of photographs taken in Autumn 2015, when as a group we had our first trip abroad, to visit the Sites of the First World War in Belgium and France.
At Artillery Wood cemetery near Boezinge village, we saw the grave of “Hedd Wyn”, who was killed on the first day of the battle of Passchendaele. A stone at the entrance to the Welsh War Memorial at Langemark, Pilckem Hill, bade us “Croeso” and the Welsh dragon presided over the memorial: “In remembrance of all those of Welsh descent who took part in the First World War.”
“The Brooding Soldier” at St. Julien’s remembers Canadian troops who died at the second battle of Ypres in the first poison gas attack of the war, when the Germans released 168 tons of chlorine gas. Tyne Cot Memorial in Passchendaele commemorates the 12,000 British and Commonwealth troops who fell near here and – along with four Germans – are buried here, and a memorial to 35,000 – the names of those missing in action with no grave.
At Sanctuary Wood, we walked through to the wood where the actual trenches used by the soldiers a hundred years ago still lie unchanged. We visited the Passchendaele Museum in the Zonnebeke Chateau and grounds then entered Ypres through the Menin Gate, its walls covered by the names of the missing,where the last post has been played each evening at 8.00 p.m. since 1928.
At the Vimy Ridge Memorial – we were taken eight or nine metres underground through communication trenches to the tunnels constructed by Welsh miners from the chalk. This was our last Great War visit – the end of a wonderful tour which was extremely interesting, moving and enjoyable.
The Upper Towy Valley Branch of the Dyfed Family History Society will be holding its Exhibition at the Castle Garage Showrooms. Our Exhibition on Industry last year proved to be very popular; we trust our theme for this year will be equally as interesting. As well as photographs we will also have on display a large number of records and documents which are available for people to look through for information on their families. We are looking forward to a very enjoyable weekend.