WALES REMEMBERS THE FALLEN

The Ar­mistice 100 years on:

Western Mail - - FRONT PAGE - AAMIR MO­HAMMED Re­porter aamir.mo­hammed@waleson­line.co.uk For full de­tails, visit page­soft­he­sea.org.uk

WELSH heroes who lost their lives dur­ing the First World War will be com­mem­o­rated on beaches across the coun­try this week­end.

It’s all part of Os­car-win­ning di­rec­tor Danny Boyle’s UK-wide Ar­mistice com­mis­sion, Pages of the Sea, to mark the cen­te­nary of Ar­mistice Day.

The pub­lic are in­vited to the beaches on Re­mem­brance Sun­day to pay their re­spects to those who left their home shores dur­ing the war.

Pages Of The Sea – the com­mis­sion for 14-18 NOW to mark the cen­te­nary of Ar­mistice Day – in­vites peo­ple to gather on beaches across the UK in an in­for­mal, na­tion­wide ges­ture of re­mem­brance for the men and women who left their home shores dur­ing the First World War, where mil­lions of peo­ple served and many left by sea.

Each event cen­tres around the draw­ing of a large-scale por­trait of a ca­su­alty from the First World War, de­signed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye, which will be washed away as the tide comes in.

In ad­di­tion, the pub­lic will be asked to join in by cre­at­ing sil­hou­ettes of peo­ple in the sand, re­mem­ber­ing the mil­lions of lives lost or changed for­ever by the con­flict.

The large-scale por­traits of Welsh sol­diers will be de­signed on Swansea Beach, Fresh Wa­ter West in Pem­brokeshire, Col­wyn Bay and Ynys­las in Ceredi­gion.

Poet Carol Ann Duffy has been asked by Boyle to write a new poem, which will be read out by in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies.

Is­abel Grifin, pro­ducer of the event in Swansea, said: “The idea is that mem­bers of the com­mu­nity can get in­volved in recit­ing the po­ems. It will give peo­ple a chance to learn about the fan­tas­tic his­tory of those who lost their lives.

“It is a very poignant way of re­mem­ber­ing the events that took place. But also, we still see con­flict today and that will be the mes­sage from the poem too, that we haven’t learnt lessons from the war.”

■ At Swansea Beach Dorothy Wat­son, a 19-year-old mu­ni­tions worker, who was killed in an ex­plo­sion at the Na­tional Ex­plo­sives Fac­tory in Pem­brey in July 1917 will be com­mem­o­rated.

A group of men died in the same ex­plo­sion and the joint fu­neral of Dorothy and 18-year-old Mil­dred Owen, who also died in the ex­plo­sion, brought Swansea High Street to a stand­still.

■ At Fresh­wa­ter West, Pem­brokeshire, the event will re­mem­ber Brid­gend-born Ma­jor Charles Al­lan Smith Morris was orig­i­nally part of the Bed­ford­shire Reg­i­ment.

In 1917 he was wounded in ac­tion on the Western Front at La Courcelette and was posted as miss­ing, be­lieved killed.

Sev­eral months later, his Un­cle Char­lie re­ceived a packet from the Red Cross with news that Charles had been found and taken to a Ger­man field hos­pi­tal where he later died.

■ Hedd Wyn, Welsh for Shin­ing Peace, was born in North Wales and was killed dur­ing the Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele, on July 31, 1917. He will be re­mem­bered at the event in Col­wyn Bay.

Whilst in Flēchin, France, wait­ing to move to the Front at Ypres, he fin­ished writ­ing and sub­mit­ted a poem, Yr Arwr (The Hero), to the 1917 Na­tional Eisteddfod.

When the win­ner of the Bardic chair, with the pen-name ‘Fleur-delis’, was called to re­ceive his prize dur­ing the chair­ing cer­e­mony of the Na­tional Eisteddfod in Birken­head in 1917, no­body rose.

Hedd Wyn, the vic­to­ri­ous bard had been killed a few weeks pre­vi­ously on the bat­tle­field in Flan­ders. The empty chair was cov­ered with a

black veil and from then on, the Birken­head Eisteddfod 1917 was known as “The Eisteddfod of the Black Chair”.

At Ynys­las, Ceredi­gion, a por­trait of Richard Davies will be cre­ated. He was born at Borth in 1963, was mar­ried to Mary and they had six chil­dren. Richard worked as a labourer but was also a Royal Naval Re­servist and was re­called to the colours at the out­break of war and was posted to HM Trawler Evan­gel.

On March 25, 1917, Navy trawler Evan­gel was on pa­trol off Mil­ford when she struck a mine which had been laid by the Ger­man sub­ma­rine UC-48. It sank with the loss of 25 lives.

Richard, 54 was among the men killed that day. His body was re­cov­ered from the sea, and he was buried at Peny­garn Calvin­is­tic Methodist Ceme­tery, Tirymy­nach in Ceredi­gion. Peo­ple are in­vited to go along to the beaches to wit­ness the events un­fold­ing – Ynys­las, Ceredi­gion (12.30pm-3.30pm), Col­wyn Bay, Conwy (7.30am-3.30pm), Swansea (11.30am-4pm) and Fresh­wa­ter West (TBC).

A se­ries of com­mu­nity-led events will also be tak­ing place at each beach. Peo­ple who can’t make it on the day will be able to watch the ac­tiv­i­ties and por­traits from most of the beaches on so­cial me­dia.

THE Prime Min­is­ter drew on the words of First World War po­ets to pay trib­ute to fallen sol­diers as she be­gan to mark the cen­te­nary of the Ar­mistice.

Theresa May trav­elled to Bel­gium and France yesterday to take part in a se­ries of en­gage­ments along­side French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron and Bel­gian Prime Min­is­ter Charles Michel.

End­ing her visit at the Thiep­val Memo­rial, she toured the site – which bears the names of more than 72,000 mem­bers of the Armed Forces who died in bat­tle – ac­com­pa­nied by the di­rec­tor-gen­eral and in­terns from the Com­mon­wealth War Graves Com­mis­sion.

In her sec­ond wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mony of the day, she and Mr Macron placed a gar­land com­bin­ing pop­pies and corn­flow­ers, the re­spec­tive na­tional em­blems of re­mem­brance for Bri­tain and France.

On it she left a card with an ex­tract from the poem A Sol­dier’s Ceme­tery by Sergeant John William Streets which read: “There lie the flower of youth, the men who scorn’d to live (so died) when lan­guished lib­erty.”

She came to the cer­e­mony from a work­ing lunch with Mr Macron in Al­bert, the town in the heart of the Somme re­gion which suf­fered sig­nif­i­cant bom­bard­ment dur­ing the con­flict.

The pres­i­dent was born in nearby Amiens and his Bri­tish great-grand­fa­ther, Bris­tol-born butcher Ge­orge William Robertson, fought at the Somme, was dec­o­rated for brav­ery and stayed in France af­ter the war, mar­ry­ing Suzanne Ju­lia Amelie Le­blond in Abbeville in May 1919.

Mrs May be­gan her morn­ing some 80 miles away in Mons with Mr Michel, vis­it­ing the St Sym­phorien Mil­i­tary Ceme­tery.

Set up by the Ger­man Army, it is the fi­nal rest­ing place for Bri­tish and Ger­man sol­diers killed at the Bat­tle of Mons.

The pair were greeted by a guard of hon­our from the Royal Reg­i­ment of the Fusiliers and stood for the sound of the Last Post be­fore a minute’s si­lence.

Later they met serv­ing mem­bers of the Bri­tish and Bel­gian armed forces.

Mrs May was som­bre as she laid wreaths at the graves of Pri­vate John Parr of the Mid­dle­sex Reg­i­ment, who died on Au­gust 21, 1914 – the first UK sol­dier to be killed in the con­flict – and the last to be killed, Pri­vate Ge­orge El­li­son of the Royal Ir­ish Lancers, who died on the Western Front on Novem­ber 11, 1918, at 9.30am be­fore the Ar­mistice came into ef­fect at 11am.

In the note left by the rest­ing place of Pri­vate Parr, Mrs May quoted an­other line of wartime po­etry – The Sol­dier writ­ten by Ru­pert Brooke.

She wrote: “There is in that rich earth a richer dust con­cealed.”

The son­net was writ­ten by Brooke, an of­fi­cer in the Royal Navy, while on leave at Christ­mas and formed part of a col­lec­tion of work en­ti­tled 1914 which was pub­lished in Jan­uary 1915.

Brooke never ex­pe­ri­enced front­line com­bat and died from blood poi­son­ing on April 23, 1915, af­ter be­ing bit­ten by a mos­quito while sail­ing to Gal­lipoli. He was buried on the is­land of Sky­ros.

At the grave of Pri­vate El­li­son, also in blue pen on a headed Downing Street card at­tached to the gar­land of pop­pies, Mrs May wrote: “They were staunch to the end against odds un­counted ... We will re­mem­ber them.”

This was from an­other poem writ­ten by Lau­rence Binyon and pub­lished in Septem­ber 1914 which is often quoted in Re­mem­brance Sun­day ser­vices.

Tonight she will at­tend the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion Fes­ti­val of Re­mem­brance at the Royal Al­bert Hall with the Queen and se­nior mem­bers of the Royal Fam­ily.

On Re­mem­brance Sun­day the Prince of Wales will hon­our the coun­try’s war dead dur­ing the na­tional ser­vice of re­mem­brance by lay­ing a wreath at the Ceno­taph in White­hall.

Dur­ing the ceno­taph event, the Queen will watch the ser­vice from the bal­cony of the For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice build­ing, as she did last year.

Af­ter Charles has laid a wreath on be­half of the Queen, other flo­ral trib­utes will be left by mem­bers of the Royal Fam­ily, se­nior fig­ures from the Govern­ment, in­clud­ing the Prime Min­is­ter, Op­po­si­tion party lead­ers, and other fig­ures from na­tional life.

For the first time, a Ger­man leader will lay a wreath at the Ceno­taph, with Pres­i­dent Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier per­form­ing the duty on be­half of his na­tion in a his­toric act of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.

Af­ter the ser­vice, 10,000 peo­ple, cho­sen by bal­lot, will have the op­por­tu­nity to pay their re­spects to all those who served in the First World War by tak­ing part in the Na­tion’s Thank You pro­ces­sion past the Ceno­taph.

The Na­tional War Memo­rial in Cardiff will also be a fo­cus of re­flec­tion at 11am, as will hun­dreds of me­mo­ri­als across the coun­try.

Dur­ing the day, church and other bells will ring out as they did at the end of the First World War – and a West­min­ster Abbey ser­vice will be held along with oth­ers in Cardiff – at Llandaff Cathe­dral – Glas­gow and Belfast, to give thanks for peace and those who re­turned.

> Vol­un­teers re­hearse cre­at­ing com­mem­o­ra­tive por­traits in the sand

> Ma­jor Charles Al­lan Smith Morris

> Film di­rec­tor Danny Boyle

> Dorothy Wat­son

> Richard Davies

> Hedd Wyn

> Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May lays a wreath at the graves of John Parr, the first Bri­tish sol­dier to be killed in 1914, and Ge­orge El­li­son, the last to be killed be­fore Ar­mistice, at the St Sym­phorien Mil­i­tary Ceme­tery in Mons, Bel­gium, yesterday, while Bel­gian Prime Min­is­ter Charles Michel looks on

> Lance Cor­po­ral Derek Wil­liams, from Cwm­bran, plays the Last Post in trib­ute to the fallen ahead of Ar­mistice Day

> Pop­pies fall through the atrium of the Lloyd’s build­ing in London yesterday

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