Aber Valley Heritage Museum
Gwern Avenue
CF83 4HA
Tel: 02920 830445


sponsor a brick

Community gather to remember mining victims


Mining Memorial Statue option 2The Aber Valley community gathered together earlier this week (Monday 15th October) at a special Memorial Service to honour the men and boys who lost their lives 99 years ago in the Universal Colliery Disaster in Senghenydd.

In total, 440 men and boys lost their lives as a result of a huge explosion at the Universal Colliery site on October 14th 1913; a tragedy that affected almost every household in the community.

These victims were remembered, along with the 81 men and boys who lost their lives in the earlier explosion of 1901, at a special ceremony outside Nant-y-Parc Primary School, which stands on the site of the former Universal Colliery.

Reverend Sue Rees, of St Peters and St Cenydd, and Captain Paula Hubbard, of the Salvation Army, led the Service, which brought together members of the community along with local school children to remember all those killed in the two tragic explosions.

Pupils from Cwmaber Infant and Junior Schools, Ysgol Ifor Bach and Nant-y-Parc Primary School performed moving musical tributes to those who died, and the Head Boy and Girl of St Cenydd Comprehensive read a poem that was written by a local woman after the disaster. Flowers were laid on the memorial to honour the dead and a flock of black balloons were released, one for each man or boy who died in the 1901 and 1913 disasters.

Cllr Harry Andrews, Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, paid his respects at the memorial service. He commented, “Each year we remember those men and boys who were killed in the Universal Colliery disasters a century ago. 99 years after the 1913 disaster it is still evident that the two Universal Colliery explosions completely devastated the communities in the Aber Valley. The new memorial, which is due to be in place by the centenary of the 1913 disaster next year, will further commemorate those who tragically lost their lives in the two explosions.”

The new Welsh National Mining Memorial will take the form of a Memorial Wall (to include the names, age and address of each victim of the Universal Colliery disasters), a central sculpture to reflect the sorrow of those left behind and a memorial garden.

On display after the Service were three maquettes designed by the sculptor Les Johnson which show the Three possible designs of the National Mining Memorial Statue.

The maquettes will remain on display in the Aber Valley Heritage Museum, located in the Community Centre, Gwern Avenue, Senghenydd, Caerphilly CF83 4HA until  23rd of October.

Also on display are the Landscape designs by Stephanie Wilkins of Ty Mawr Garden and Landscape Design for the new site.   The Heritage Museum hopes that as many people as possible will take the time remaining to visit and give their views and vote on their preferred option.



A typical act of bravery took place on 17th August 1917 when Sgt Gilbert Lloyd, (Senghenydd), South Wales Borderers who, together with five others soldiers, held an isolated position until his battalion had been relieved and then brought out their wounded whilst still under fire.

He was awarded the MM at a local ceremony held on “The Rec” in August 19, 1919.  At this same ceremony where the villagers turned out in their thousands to see Colonel H E Morgan Lindsay, CB, DSO award the decorations to Sgt Lloyd and the men and also to the families of those Killed in Action (KIA). All listed below.

Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)   Military Medal (MM)

Cpl. Tom Locke Sapper Robert Jackson

Pte. William Higgs Bdr. H C Fleet

Dvr. R G Taylor

Gnr. David Davies

Sgt. King Humphries

Pte. Syd Edwards


Distinguished Conduct Medal Military Cross (MC)

Sgt. T H Brown (KIA) Lt. J A Roberts(KIA)

(accepted by his wife) (accepted by his father)

Photo of Sgt Gilbert Lloyd


Wounded on three occasions before winning the MM in 1917.  Became a


Lieutenant in Home Guard, Aber and

and Senghenydd Platoon 1940-46.

Secretary of local Ex-Servicemen’s

Club for over 50 years.