No 72: Welsh Voices in the Great War
In Blog No 46 in September 2010 I wrote about the "The Welsh Voices in the Great War" Roadshows which were being held in various locations to encourage people to take their photos, letters and artefacts relating to their family's time in the Great War. In Blog No. 47 I wrote about my experiences in attending the Roadshow in Llanberis and about the postcard which I show again. It was this event that got me started on telling the story of my mother's Uncle Tom in these blogs during the months that followed.
Since then the website www.welshvoices.com has been considerably developed and there are 7 sections showing items that were contributed at Roadshows held at Aberystwyth, Blaenavon, Newport, St. Fagan, Swansea, Wrexham and the one I attended in Llanberis. When you click on one of these you see an original photo of a soldier or groups of soldiers (or sailors or airmen), a photo of an object or photos of letters sent home by servicemen. There is no index and you work your way through the items and may see something that is of interest to you. I saw a photo that my wife had submitted at the Llanberis show. There is also a section for items that have been submitted online or by other means. For those who are interested in the Great War it's worth spending some time looking at these items.
Also on this page there is a link "Welsh Voices Project Items". If you click on this you'll find a long, long list of all the items that were handed in at the Road Shows. I found that 8 of the postcards that I submitted, including the "Some Jolly Boys from Wales" postcard.
On the left hand side of the home page there is a list showing other sections including one "Examples". If you click on this you'll see a list of stories about individuals in the Great War. One of these is about Griffith John Owen of Deiniolen who drowned following the sinking of the Transylvania on 4th May 1917. This tells his story and there are numerous photos and copies of documents including a list of all those who were lost in the sinking. There is also a photo of a bronze plaque which was sent to families of servicemen who had been killed in the war. This became known as the "Dead Man's Penny" and thousands of families would have had one of these at the time. There are several references to the "Dead Man's Penny" in other sections of this website.
There are currently 16 of these stories and they include a wide range of experiences including the experience of a conscientious objector. These have been written by members of the family or friends but there is another section on the left hand side headed "Articles" and these are articles written by academics from Cardriff University who have been running this project. There are currently 8 of these articles which take a theme which bring in many aspects.
One of these articles is by Dr Toby Thacker entitiled "A Corner of a Foreign Field which is Forever Wales? Welsh Identities in the Great War". This article examines the identities of the Welsh in the war and he takes as his starting point the above postcard which I had handed in - the postcard shown which had been produced by John Robert Gethin Jones which featured in Blog No 47 back in September 2010. It's an interesting article and I'm pleased that use has been made of this postcard.
Gwynedd Family History Society, www.gwynedd.fhs.org.uk
Meetings for the next four weeks are:
Caernarfon, 29 January (In Welsh, last Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the Library, Lôn Pafiliwn: Keith O'Brien: "Hanes Camp Milwrol Traws"
Bangor, 7 February (In English, first Tuesday of each month) 7.00pm at the Quakers Meeting Hall, Dean Street: Peter Brindley "Welsh Comic Postcards"
Conwy, 13 February (In English, second Monday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Ebenezer, Abergele Road, Old Colwyn: Hywel Roberts: "My Great Grandfather's Misfortune"
Pwllheli, 20 January (In Welsh, third Friday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Seion, Lon Dywod: Dr Richard Roberts: "Rhydychaen, Paris a Phwllheli: Golwg ar waith John Gwenogfryn Evans"
Dolgellau, 9 Chwefror (In Welsh, second Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the Royal Ship Hotel: Gweithdy yn yr Archifdy
Llangefni, 19 January (In English, third Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Smyrna, Ffordd Glanhwfa: Workshop in the NEW Llangefni Archives
Clwyd Family History Society, www.clwydfhs.org.uk
The meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month (except August) at 2.00 pm at locations that rotate within the former county of Clwyd.
Saturday 11 February: 2.00 pm at The Community Centre, Ruabon, LL14 6LE
Joy Thomas: "Basic Sources for Family History"