Ystalyfera Fallen

War Graves & Remembrance Graves

Pontardawe Technical School Memorial

Several of the fallen on the Ystalyfera War Memorial were graduates of the Pontardawe Technical School, and were remembered on a memorial plaque at that school, a plaque whose whereabouts are unknown since the closing down of the school.

From the South Wales Voice newspaper, 6th July 1946 comes this article on the meeting held to discuss the creation of a war memorial:-

A meeting of the Old Students of the Technical School Pontardawe, on Tuesday, considered the question of a memorial to those Old Students who had paid the supreme sacrifice in the last war. Very many old students attended and before an address by Principal John H Davies M.E. F.G.S., a minute's silence was observed.
Officials selected for the Old Student's Memorial Fund were: president: Principal J H Davies; chairman: Cyril B H Lewis; secretary: Oswald Thomas; treasurer Thomas Llewelyn.
Committee members, chosen to represent the various localities were:
Clydach: T J Power and George Stone.
Pontardawe: R M Jones and Geoffrey Mainwaring.
Ystalyfera: Grenville Price and Glyndwr E Jones;
Cwmllynfell: Llewellyn Evans and Aneurin Williams;
Gwauncaegurwen: Warren Thomas and John R Jones.

After discussion it was resolved to erect a memorial plaque in the school and to buy as many reference books as possible to form a memorial library. This it was felt, would be used by many students, old and new, thereby forming a reminder of the sacrifice given by the old students of the school.
Contributions were to be invited from all Old Students but the amount was left open. Although suggestions were made to hold social functions to augment the fund, it was resolved that the memorial should be the responsibility of the Old Students, who would, it was confidently asserted, collect an adequate sum to erect a worthy memorial.
It is known by the Committee that the following Old Students died on active service:

Henry Eifion CLEMENT Velindre
Evan John EVANS Pontardawe
Glyndwr GUERRIER Ystalyfera
Cyril Gordon JENKINS Godre'rgraig
George Kenneth JONES Ystalyfera
Glyn Stephen PRICE Trebanos
John Michael RYAN Clydach
Heddwyn Ieuan WILLIAMS Godre'rgraig

If there is any other name of which the committee does not know, the Secretary would be glad of all details.

The South Wales Voice newspaper reported on 24th January 1948 about the unveiling of the memorial at Pontardawe Technical School:-

In a ceremony, the simplicity of which was poignantly impressive, the old students and staff of the Pontardawe Junior Technical School on Thursday evening perpetuated the memory of the 8 Old Boys who gave their lives in the Second World War.
Opening the ceremony, Principal J H Davies M.E. F.G.S., spoke feelingly of the young men he had known so well at school and afterwards, and sympathising with the parents and relatives, said:
'The tragedy of the loss of lives of promise is mitigated by the knowledge that they have not given their lives in vain. Their names will stand on the great roll of heroic men who died at the call of duty, and will be an inspiration to teachers and students alike in the school, and to their parents and kinfolk. There can be no more noble death, and we are deeply sensible of the honour they reflect upon the school, upon their teachers and fellow students, as upon their own families by their supreme sacrifice.'
A similar testimony followed by Mr Elwyn James, on behalf of the Old Boy's Association, and then came the actual unveiling of a memorial tablet, erected by the old students and staff, inscribed on which were the names of:

1 Flying Officer Henry Eifion Clement RAF (killed whilst returning from a bombing raid on Stuttgart on the 4th April 1943)

2 Lance Corporal Evan John Evans Welch Regiment (killed in action on the Gothic Line Italy on 11th September 1944)

3 Flight Sergeant Glyndwr Guerrier RAF (killed in action in air operations over Cologne 2nd February 1943)

4 Cyril Gordon Jenkins Merchant Navy (drowned in the North Atlantic)

5 Sergeant George Kenneth Jones RAF (shot down over the Bay of Biscay 1943)

6 L.A.C. Glyn Stephen Price RAF (killed in action in Belgium 18th December 1944)

7 Trooper John Michael Ryan Royal Tank Regiment (killed in action at Caen Normandy 8th August 1944)

8 Sergeant Pilot Ieuan Heddwyn Williams RAF (died after flying operations in Lincolnshire 31st October 1942)

In the absence, owing to illness of the chairman of the governing body, County Alderman D D Davies, the unveiling was performed by County Alderman D T Jones J.P., Cwmllynfell. In the course of his address, Alderman Jones observed that two great wars had occurred in the lifetimes of older people, and he expressed the fervent hope that the younger generation would be spared the experience in their time.
The dedication service which followed was conducted by the Rev Evan Islwyn Davies of Llangybi Lampeter, an old boy of the school. The hymns, 'Abide with me' and 'Crugybar' were sung, with Mr D M Williams, a member of the evening staff, acting as conductor and the 'Last Post' and 'Reveille' sounded by Mr Idwal Davies.
The ceremony was attended by parents, relatives, old students and members of staff and amongst the gathering were many prominent educationalists, including County Councillor David Morgan, chairman of the Further Education Committee and vice chairman of the governing body.
In passing, it can safely be said that the Junior Technical School, despite its comparatively brief history, has proved its value to the community. Its students have achieved success in every walk of life, but of infinitely more value are the attainments of the school in the moral and intrinsic spheres. Thursday evening's ceremony was symbolic of all that is decent and worthwhile in school life and beyond. Throughout the years to come these eight honoured names will stand for a creed, a creed of loyalty, self sacrifice and devotion to duty, - the things that endure when book learning is forgotten.

Remembering The Fallen
The war graves and remembrance graves of Ystradgynlais and of Ystalyfera form an important part of local history, and on separate domains we have established websites dedicated to preserving the memory of those who fell in the world wars. These websites also index local cemeteries, memorials and monuments, as well as include many excerpts from the Llais newspaper, archived at Ystradgynlais Library.
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