Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

Community

VC Gallery learn ‘Realities of War’

Published

on

The VC Gallery with Pembrokeshire College: At The Military Cemetery

MEMBERS of The VC Gallery attended Pembroke Dock’s Military Cemetery along with students from Pembrokeshire College on Wednesday (May 17), to learn more about the soldiers buried there as part of a project called ‘Realities of War’.

The group were given names on a piece of paper, and then had to find the graves of the people listed. A photography competition was also held, in order to create something beautiful and peaceful.

The Herald spoke to the founder of The VC Gallery, Barry John MBE, who said that the project encompasses photography and art, to be able to get a ‘flavour’ of the loss that pembrokeshire felt during the war.

He said: “We’ve got a huge mix of both veterans of all different ages, as well as young students who are going off to start their careers, and everyone’s got tasks to be able to find and allocate a male or female soldier, or a navy personnel who has died in the firsty or second world war.”

The Herald asked Mr John if he felt it is important that people understand the history of the First and Second World Wars. He said: “It’s so important. Every year we do an art remembrance exhibition and it’s because we want to keep memories alive, and help people understand sacrifice, selflessness, as well as what we have done as a country to provide to war effort.”

The Herald also spoke to Michael Warley from Pembrokeshire College. He said: “We’re working alongside The VC Gallery to help us understand the realities of war, alongside learning about the military history of the area.

“It’s mainly to aid us for our military training. We have exercises in Normandy and Belgium to help us come to terms with the realities fo the job we will eventually be going into, and the realties of conflict itself.

“This project with The VC Gallery is very important and beneficial to the students it supports.”

When asked if he thought people don’t fully understand what happens when people join the army, he said: “To an extent, but with projects like this – visiting memorials and graves – people who may not understand why people join the army or not understand the risks, can come to terms and understand what happens with the job we will do, the sacrifices, the benefits, and the opportunities that open up alongisde the risks.”

Mr John added: “I feel that understanding history before you join gives you a really good balance before you actually take on that job role. The retention of young people going into different job roles within the armed forces, understanding about where they’ve come from, what they’re going to do, and having an understanding about conflict and history and what they’re going to do is really beneficial to them and their families.”

After the students and veterans had a photography competition among themselves, the group were given a tour around the cemetery, and informed of what each person died of. And, interestingly, not everybody there had died whilst in conflict.

Mr John said: “There were so many war casualties that got discharged from the army because of gas attacks, it went into their lungs and they suffered with severe chest injuries. They came home and came back to the local hospitals or went home to their parents or their wives, and they died and were put into unmarked graves or family plots.”

He explained that this represents that they did in fact contributed to the war effort and they suffer terribly, but didn’t die during conflict and instead came back home.

He said: “All of Great Britain has a massive percentage of unregistered war heroes. There were lot of bombs and casualties, and they couldn’t identify people, but in some cases they didn’t know. But, if they did, they would write it in a diary and make a note of it, but unfortunately the people making the notes sometimes died as well, so the information never made it back home.”

The information about the people who had died had come from a relative of Mr John’s, who had received an intriguing family heirloom, that inspired him to start a project that looked into the lives of those who had died.

Mr John said: “A lot of our reference material that we use is derived from a project called the West Wales Memorial Project, set up many years ago by a relative of mine. He got the inspiration because he was given a family heriloom, which was a Bible with a hole in it.

“It was given to keep a soldier safe during the war. This young man went off to Mamets Wood, where 3,000 Welshmen died taking their position, and this young Haverfordwest soldier put the family Bible across his heart.

“But, the snipers were very good at shooting directly into the heart, so as he approached Mamets, he got shot straight through the Bible and straight into his heart. When my relative was given the Bible, he found out a lot about this story, and it sent him on a path to find information about every single soldier or navel personnel that had died within west Wales – he’s covered every single site!”

If you would like to keep up to date with The VC Gallery, you can do so by visiting www.thevcgallery.com

Continue Reading

Community

Ambitious community project to capture untold stories from across Pembrokeshire

Published

on

MILFORD HAVEN’S Torch Theatre is launching ‘The Pembrokeshire Story’, an exciting new community project that aims to connect people across generations in celebrating the Pembrokeshire spirit.

We all love a good story, but they are especially good if they throw light on the place that we are from. The Pembrokeshire Story is trying to bring local artists and our community together by mapping the county through everyday stories told by the people who live here. A story might be something as simple as how life has changed over the years or it might be a special event that you would want to remember. So often these stories remain as legends within our own families, but this is a chance to share them with the world. Everyone has a story to tell and this project will facilitate these stories to be recorded and remembered for generations to come.

The inspiration behind the project originated from the Torch Theatre’s Artistic Director, Peter Doran, who, whilst caring for his father who was suffering with Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic in 2020, encouraged his father to elaborate on stories which previously he had only touched on in passing.

Peter said: “My father told us of his time as an evacuee, having been sent from his home in Liverpool to the Welsh speaking village of Llamberis in North Wales. It was a fascinating tale and one that we might never have heard about had it not been for Covid-19. We’re all so busy, I feel we just don’t spend enough time with each other to allow these wonderful moments to happen, we’re all so busy it would seem.”

Peter’s father has thankfully gone on to make a full recovery from Covid-19 and is continuing to tell many more stories.

The Pembrokeshire Story is being led by Tenby based creative James Williams, who has assembled a team of freelance artists to capture extraordinary stories in different mediums from across the county. These stories are only part of the project and the Torch Theatre requires your help to capture your stories told across the generations.

James added: “Local artists have already been working to gather stories from over the county, and now we’d like to ask you to join in. We are putting out a call for videos made by young people where they interview their grandparents or older relatives about their experiences and stories of Pembrokeshire. These videos will be added to an online Living Archive which will be available for anyone to access.”

All the stories submitted will be added to the Living Archive on the Pembrokeshire Story website which will be launched in April. Videos can be made on a phone or recorded from a digital platform call (ideally filmed in landscape), they can be in English or in Welsh but must be no longer than 5 minutes.

If you would prefer not to film your submission, we would be happy to receive your story as an audio recording (mp3 format) or in writing, with an accompanying photograph.

For more information visit https://www.torchtheatre.co.uk/the-pembrokeshire-story/

If you would like to submit a story, please contact James Williams via this email address marketing@torchtheatre.co.uk

Continue Reading

Community

NHS worker from Pembroke Dock raises over £1,550 in a sponsored challenge

Published

on

An NHS worker from Pembroke Dock has raised over £1,550 in a sponsored challenge with her husband Edd, having been inspired by the support their young niece received as a baby at Glangwili Hospital Special Care Baby Unit.

Donna Reed works in the Communications Team at Hywel Dda University Health Board and wanted to do her bit to say thanks to everyone who nursed Layla and supported the family for several weeks when she arrived very early in 2012.

Donna says, “Born at just 3lbs, Layla is now a beautiful, bubbly and full of beans eight-year-old. As a family we’d like to give something back to the staff who cared for Layla when she was so tiny.”

Donna and Edd raised over £1,000 on a JustGiving page and a donation of £500 was made by Edd’s employer, Valero Energy Ltd, where he works as a Process Operator.

Karen Jones, a Senior Nurse thanked the couple for their efforts. She said, “We really appreciate what Donna and Edd have done to support us. Donations like this are used to purchase items for parents and babies in order for their stay to be more comfortable and to help make the stay less stressful – items such as parent pamper packs, items for the parent’s sitting room and overnight room baby’s journal, items to support breast feeding and items to support premature babies development. They are also used to support specialist neonatal training for staff and purchase specialist neonatal equipment.”

Donna and Edd are planning a series of physical challenges through the year. Donna adds, “A year on since I started fundraising for Glangwili Hospital’s SCBU, and after all but one of my events last year were postponed, I decided to take on a very unique challenge to raise another £100 to get to my target.

“I ran the Narberth Nobbler’s 4 x 4 x 48 challenge between March 5-7. The event involved me and Edd running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours, a total of 48 miles over the weekend. This is an incredibly tough endurance event that will test our stamina, perseverance and mettle.”
Layla’s mother Rebeca said, “As Layla was born prematurely it was a very worrying time, however we knew she was in the best hands in SBCU as they built her up to a healthy weight and did everything they could to reassure us as parents.

“We are so grateful for the care and support that staff gave to Layla and to our family, and to my sister and Edd for raising money for the unit.”
Donna also plans to take part in Broad Haven Triathlon, Cardiff Half Marathon and Snowdon Marathon Eryri, providing they go ahead.
Donna would like to thank everyone who’s supported her fundraising so far and is encouraging people to donate if they can, “Any amount, no matter how small, will help make a difference and 100% of funds raised will go towards helping babies like Layla and their families,” she says.

Continue Reading

Community

Great Western Railway and the Fishguard Ocean Port – How WWI dashed ambitious plans for Fishguard

Published

on

by Doug Evans

ALTHOUGH Fishguard Port is best known now for its easy route to Ireland, it was once part of an ambitious plan to take trans-Atlantic passengers away from the likes of Plymouth and Southampton.

In 1889, the Great Western Railway rook over the North Pembrokeshire and Fishguard Railway, and in preparation of turning Fishguard into a purpose-built ocean liner port, the GWR opened its first station, Fishguard & Goodwick railway station, in 1899 while work on the new port began with the construction of Fishguard Harbour’s East breakwater.

The overlooking village of Harbour Village was built to accommodate workers and the necessary 27 acres site and 900 metre breakwater were provided by blasting 1.6 million tonnes of rock from the cliff face.

A new line would connect the proposed liner terminal on the East Breakwater to the West Wales line. The new 2 mile route, which would have bypassed the steeper gradients and curves on this part of the original line, would have included a deep cutting, embankments and two tunnels.

However, the project to build a breakwater and an ocean-going terminal was abandoned after it became clear silting (which could not be prevented by dredging) would stop large ocean-going ships from using the port.

Local legend has it that the engineer responsible for this mistake committed suicide after realising the port was not suitable for its intended purpose. Another local myth suggests that the breakwater was deliberately built this way as locals didn’t want the harbour to become too large.

The East Breakwater was left unfinished. Two short sections of the planned railway to the new port terminal were completed before the project was ended.

In 1906, Fishguard and West Wales was visited by the largest ship in the world at the time the RMS Mauretania.

Fishguard Harbour, from above

An archived pamphlet for the Fishguard Port from 1913 provides a fascinating insight into the journey from America to London at the time.

It reads: “Fishguard is situated on the south-west coast of Wales, and is the nearest British port to New York used by Atlantic liners. It affords the quickest means of reaching London, and is also a convenient port for the Continent.

“In addition, many parts of England and Wales are within easy access of Fishguard; the Metropolis is 262 miles away and this distance is covered in under five hours.

“Tickets for seats in the special train from Fishguard to London will be furnished to Saloon passengers holding railway coupons. Passengers who do not hold coupons can purchase same at Purser’s Office before leaving the steamer.

“Single tickets and outward halves of return tickets between Fishguard and London are available for three months if purchased in America, or if issued in exchange for vouchers obtained in America. In other circumstances they are available for ten days.

“The baggage of London-bound passengers is ready labeled, “London, via Fishguard,” the lettering being white on a purple ground, the bold lettering and the distinctive coloring precluding the possibility of confusion.

“The route from Fishguard to London, passing through the industrial centres in South Wales and the charming scenes of the Thames valley, is full of interest.

“The speed at which the run is covered is the most potent tribute to the excellence of the Great Western’s iron road and their rolling stock.  Only one stop is made, and this of a very short duration, at Cardiff.

“Between the Fishguard of today and that of even a decade ago there is a great difference. A bay which boasted but of a departing or rather departed fishing industry, and was visited by only a few coastwise traders and fishing craft seeking shelter, has been converted into a splendid harbour, a harbour in which great natural advantages have been ably supplemented by the works which the Great Western Railway Company have constructed.

“At the quay by the railway station the splendid fleet of turbine steamers running between Fishguard and Rosslare (Ireland) are berthed, and here are the most modern appliances for the speedy transfer from ship to train, or vice versa, of goods and baggage.”

Although the ambitious plans for Fishguard were not to be, the Port continues to this day, providing crossings to Rosslare with the Superferry Stena Europe providing two daily crossings all year round.

Transport for Wales operate from Fishguard Harbour and have special trains to connect with the arrival and departures of the Stena Line Superferry Stena Europe that operates to/from Rosslare.

Continue Reading
News3 hours ago

Tenby left ‘strewn with rubbish and smelling of urine’ after hundreds party

TENBY was left with empty cans, broken bottles and fast food wrappers strewn everywhere, after over two hundred young people...

News1 day ago

Protest against ‘draconian’ Police and Crime Bill takes place in Haverfordwest

A SECOND Kill the Bill protest took place in Haverfordwest on Saturday (Apr 17). One of the organisers told  The...

News2 days ago

Approval recommended for dockyard plans

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to develop part of Pembroke Dock’s Royal Dockyard comes before the County Council’s Planning Committee next week. Despite many...

News3 days ago

Primary school teacher would ‘moan’ as he touched female pupils, court hears

A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher would “moan” while he touched his female pupils in a sexual way, a witness said...

News3 days ago

Golden goodbye report likely to be critical

A REPORT by Audit Wales into the departure of former CEO Ian Westley is very likely to contain criticism of...

News4 days ago

Marloes pensioner in child abuse images case

A PENSIONER has been bailed to attend Swansea Crown Court by magistrates sitting in Haverfordwest Law Courts this week. Derek...

News5 days ago

Primary school teacher described as ‘touchy-feely’ on day two of trial

A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher, accused of sexually assaulting his pupils was “very touchy-feely”, Swansea Crown Court heard on the...

Entertainment5 days ago

BAFTA winner Sir Anthony Hopkins visits St. Davids

CELEBRATING his BAFTA win, Sir Anthony Hopkins has been vaccinated and returned to his native country of Wales where he...

News6 days ago

Trial of Haverfordwest primary school teacher starts at Swansea Crown Court

A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher who is accused of sexually abusing eleven children thinks he is a victim of a...

News6 days ago

Kill the Bill protest to take place in Haverfordwest on Saturday

INDIVIDUALS and activists from local groups, including Extinction Rebellion Pembrokeshire, Stand Up to Racism West Wales, Pembrokeshire People’s Assembly and...

Popular This Week