Ystalyfera Fallen

War Graves & Remembrance Graves

Ystalyfera War Memorial dedicated 1922

In December 1922, the Ystalyfera War Memorial in the form of a cenotaph was dedicated in parkland donated by Colonel Gough, in Alltygrug.

In a service presided over by the Lord Bishop of Saint David's, the cenotaph was dedicated. This newspaper extract from the South Wales Daily Post describes the emotional scenes. The photograph to the right is reproduced courtesy of Mr Hughes, and shows the original memorial in its surroundings.

16th December 1922

Ystalyfera War Memorial

In memory of the men of Ystalyfera who fell in the Great War.


The original memorial had a cenotaph design

From the South Wales Daily Post newspaper, 18th December 1922 :-

Valley War Memorial Unveiled

As reported in our Saturday's editions, the unveiling and dedication of Ystalyfera War Memorial was performed by the Lord Bishop of Saint David's with due reverence and ceremony. All the shops closed from 1:30 to 4pm.

There are 73 names on the tablet, mostly men of the Breconshire Regiment, whose 'C' Company's headquarters are at Gurnos, Ystalyfera. The monument is situated out of the main thoroughfares of Ystalyfera and on a site intended for a park, and given by Colonel Gough. It looks down on the valley from a hill in Glynwyn-road, but is difficult to be seen from the town. It is the work of Messrs. White Bros., Birmingham, and the supervisor and designer is Mr J.D. Rees, Ystalyfera, whilst the contractor who laid the foundations was Mr J. Williams.

A posse of police, in charge of Inspector James, Pontardawe, took part in the procession, and also members of 'C' Company Brecon and Mons., in charge of Captain D.J. Williams. The local ex-service men, in charge of Captain Griffiths, and Boy Scouts also took part. Following the procession and at the monument four military bearers were posted on the four corners of the edifice.

The whole ceremony was filmed by a London operator for reproduction in Ystalyfera and other places.

There were some touching scenes at the ceremony when, after the singing of the hymn 'Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past', wreaths were placed by relatives round the cenotaph. Women and children were weeping bitterly, and some had to be sustained by their friends. The scene was one which will be remembered in Ystalyfera as moving in the extreme.

A platform was erected on the side of the monument, on which were seated the Bishop of St. David's, Mr H.J. Powell, J.P. (chairman of the Memorial Committee), the Vicar of St. David's, Ystalyfera (the Rev Secundus Jones), Mr D. Lloyd, Mr G.H Strick, J.P. and Mrs Strick, -. Peters, Mr Aneurin Edwards, County Councillor D.W. Davies, Messrs F. Rees, E.R. Powell, Barclays Bank (treasurer of the Memorial Committee), W. Jeffreys (Glanrhyd), J.R. Williams (builder), J.D. Rees, W.G. Rees, and Dr W.J. Lewis.

Ministers of the Gospel of other denominations on the platform were :- The Revs. Ben Davies (Pantteg), E.D. Lewis (Caersalem), and John Thomas (Gorsen).[*]

The proceedings were carried out in Welsh. First a prayer by the Rev E.D. Lewis, then reading of a portion of the Scriptures by the Rev. Ben Davies, the dedication ceremony by the Bishop, and a short address followed.

* This is probably a mistake in the South Wales Daily Post. The Llais newspaper records that John Thomas, minister of Gurnos Chapel, Ystalyfera, was present, so it is probably this that the reporter meant to write.

Over time, the location of the memorial became more isolated from everyday life in Ystalyfera, and the planned parkland became an area for children and young people to play in. The memorial became vandalised and decrepit and eventually was taken down to be replaced by the new Ystalyfera War Memorial in Commercial Street, dedicated in July 1983.

The names on the side of the cenotaph

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