Many different kinds of organisations commissioned their own memorials during or after the First World War. Many of the blog posts on this website focus on chapel memorials, but there are also examples shown of church, workplace and school memorials.
Looking across the board, it is clear that most of these institutions do not exist today as they did in 1914-18. Chapels and churches have shut their doors; workplaces have closed and schools have moved to new premises and rebranded. Sometimes the memorials created by these institutions have been preserved – e.g. chapel or church memorials being relocated to other places of worship – but often they have been lost. For example, the survival rate of colliery memorials seems particularly poor, and although there were 400 coal-mines operative in south Wales at the time of WW1, the location is known of fewer than a dozen of their memorials.
The same rate of attrition can be seen amongst the clubs of Wales. Some clubs have survived in more-or-less the same form, such as Newport’s rugby club: the gates of the club stand today as an impressive WW1 memorial. Others have disappeared over the decades.
One kind of club which was remarkably prevalent in the industrial areas of Wales was the political club. (A special reason for the spread of such clubs in Wales was the ‘Sunday Closing Act’ of 1881, which closed Welsh pubs on the Sabbath but which allowed members’ clubs to serve alcohol). How ‘political’ they were is an interesting question because, perhaps surprisingly, many of these were Conservative clubs – although sometimes the issue was fudged by them being called ‘Constitutional Clubs’. One could question whether most of the members of these were actually Tory voters, and there is a suggestion that in later decades these Conservative clubs were more visible and livelier the stronger the Labour domination of the area. There is a sense that they appealed to men who were aspired to rise up the social ranks, or to be seen to be a cut above the rest.
The club on Walter Road, Swansea, was known as the ‘Salisbury Club’, named after the Conservative Prime Minister who was in power for most of the period 1885-1902. It clearly had a substantial membership of men eligible to volunteer, for a report in a local newspaper in February 1916 names almost 170 members who are serving in the forces (including two, L. Robberechts and Henri Lefeuvre, who were serving in the French Army).
A report after the end of the war noted that the number of club members who served was 243. This report noted the intention to record all their names on a roll of honour – nothing has survived of this, but the memorial tablet to the 28 members who died while serving in the war has survived. It was unveiled in December 1919, but since the Salisbury Club closed down a few years ago it is now preserved in the stores of Swansea Museum.
Contemporary reports from the early months of the war make it clear that these political clubs could be centres for recruiting, with the local political agents seeking to ensure that many of ‘their’ men joined up. Thus there is a report in the Rhondda Leader from September 1914 noting the Conservative agent’s boast that ‘over 600 men’ had joined from the district’s Conservative clubs, and that ‘Labour clubs, too, have supplied strong contingents’.
One of these Conservative clubs in the Rhondda was the magnificently-named ‘Tylorstown Workingmen’s Conservative Club’. After the end of the war this club commissioned an elaborate memorial to all those from the club who served. It names 17 who died and 98 who served and returned (of whom four are noted as having ‘served with distinction’).
The creator’s name can be found at the foot of the document: ‘W. T. Maddock & Co., Designers and Illuminators, Ferndale’. In contrast to a host of other Rolls of Honour around Wales which have an array of Welsh symbols (dragons, leeks and daffodils) on display, this one is resolutely British in its imagery. Britannia, with the Union flag on her shield, is prominent on the left hand side. At the top the flags of various Allies (USA, France, Belgium and Italy) are alongside the Union Flag and the Royal Navy’s ensign.
The photograph of the club which used to be in the middle of the top of the Roll of Honour has faded. The club itself, which was located just across the road from All Saints’ Church, Tylorstown does not exist any more: the memorial is kept in the church.
One Con Club that is still going strong is that in Caerphilly. Now known as the Conservative Club, the memorial refers to the ‘Constitutional Club’. Again, the wording and imagery on display here is resolutely British: THOSE WHO LIVED/ AND THOSE WHO DIED/ THEY WERE ONE IN NOBLE PRIDE/ BRITONS ARE THEY/ BRITONS EVERY ONE. There are the names of ten men who died and 143 who served and returned.
Similarly, the Merthyr Tydfil Conservative Club’s memorial declares it to be the ‘Constitutional Club’. There are nine names of those who were killed in the war, and 101 who served and returned. This memorial is another grand affair, with classical columns and angels framing the names.
It shares many of the features seen in the Roll of Honour for Merthyr’s Zoar chapel.
Further information about 15 of the men who are commemorated on Swansea’s Salisbury Club memorial can be found here. http://www.walesatwar.org/en/memorial/detail/1619 There is currently no transcript available for the Rolls of Honour in Caerphilly and Merthyr, but below is a transcript of the names on the Tylorstown Workingmen’s Conservative Club.
KILLED IN ACTION/
Pte Rees Burton, RFA
Pte D. M. Davies, 9th Welsh
Pte Owen Davies, RWF
Pte Morgan Davies, RWF
Sgt John C. Faulkner, 57th MGC
Pte Wm. Harris, 3rd Welsh
Pte John Kew, 12th YR
Pte Evan Lloyd, Dorsets
Pte Evan Morgan, 3rd Welsh
Pte Regd. Maslin, 11th Welsh
Pte William Moore, RWF
Sgt William Peploe, RWF
Cpl Thomas Penny, 9th Welsh
Cpl Samuel Pendry, 15th Welsh
Sgt Ebenzer Rees, 6th Welsh
Pte Wm. L. Williams, 23rd Welsh
Pte Danl. Williams, RWF
SERVED WITH DISTINCTION Pte Jehu Eastment R.E. Pte David Danl Jones ASC Pte. Richard Owen R.W. Pte James Tustin ASC
Sgt Taff Rogers DCM & Bar,MM Pte Benj Francis 10th Welsh Pte D.T.Jones MGE Sgt Alfred Parry GG Pte John Tudor KOYLI
Sgt Tom Biles DCM MM RE Pte.Stephen Fowler RAST Pte William Jones 16thWelsh Pte George Page RASC Pte Owen Thomas ME
Sgt David John Evans MM SLancs Pte John Fowler RFA Pte William Jones 15thWelsh Cpl Harry Patten Sth Lancs Sgt Harry Williams S Lancs
Sgt Harry Webber MM 14th Welsh Pte Robert Fowler RASC Pte D.J.Jones .13thWelsh Pte Thos Phillips 10th Welsh Sgt Robert Williams S Lancs
Non Com Officers & Men Pte George Ferris 3rd Welsh Pte A.Jeffries 10th Welsh QMS J.H.Price Welsh Sgt Richard Williams 15th Welsh
L.Cpl Oliver Bath 12th Welsh Pte Thomas Farrell RHA Pte Llewellyn Jones 1st Welsh Pte Evan Pyne Welsh Sgt Albert Watts 10th Welsh
Pte Thos Burns Welsh Horse Pte Charles Guy SLI Sgt Hugh Jenkins RFA Cpl George Prosser 17th Welsh Pte Chas Walters RFA
Pte Harry Bulley ASC Pte Albert Gazzard 5th Welsh Pte G.H.Jenkins ASC Pte Gomer Rees 10th Welsh Dvr W.Williams RASC
Pte Jas McCardle RM Pte Wm Gazzard 10th Welsh Pte Thos.Jenkins 13thWelsh Pte Rees Reynolds 1st Welsh Sgt Robert Welsh ASC
Pte Geo Cooksley 1st Welsh Pte J.H.Griffiths RE Pte George King 3rdWelsh Pte William Reece SLI Sgt D.J.Williams 15th Welsh
QMS Geo Winter RE Pte Edwd Griffiths WG Sgt Arthur Lord RFA Pte William Rees RWF Sgt Gus Williams .15th Welsh
Sgt D.O.John S.Lancs Pte William Harris 17th Welsh Pte Arthur Lee S.Staffs Cpl Bert Stockwell S Lancs Pte William Woodland 7th Gloucesters
Pte Thos J.Jones . ASC Pte Alfred Hughes 5th Welsh Pte Walter Lovett WG Sgt John S.Sweet ASC Pte Richd Williams S Lancs
Pte Christmas Davies..KRRC Pte Joseph Hughes 5th Welsh Pte R.C.Martin Welsh Cpl John Sandiland S Lancs Pte Sidney Webber S Lancs
Pte Morgan Day 3rd Welsh Pte Fred Hobbs RHA Pte George Morgan RE Pte Gomer Stephens RWF Pte W.J.Watts RWF
Pte Gwilym Evans 3rd Welsh Pte D.O.Harris RAMC Pte W.J.Evans YR Pte Abraham Smith RWF Pte Percy White ASC
Edwin Edwards HMS Pembroke Pte Herbert Harris KOYLI Pte Tom M.Morgan HSLI Sapper Herbert Smith RE Sgt James Williams ASC
Pte W.H.Edwards RWF Pte Robt J.Hughes 11th Welsh Pte Dan Morgan S.Lancs Pte Ernie Smith .ASC Pte Daniel Williams ASC
Pte Wm Evans DYLI Sgt Lemuel Jones RAMC Pte Stephen Morris RFA Pte Idwal Thomas 20th Batt TC Pte Samuel Young Welsh
g.h.matthews April 18th, 2019
Posted In: Uncategorized
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