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Aber Valley Heritage Museum
Gwern Avenue
Senghenydd
CF83 4HA
Tel: 02920 830445
E-mail:  senghen.heritage@btconnect.com

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Sculpture and service to honour mining victims

16.10.2014

The new sculpture at the National Mining Memorial in SenghenyddA new sculpture commemorating those who lost their lives in the Universal Colliery Disaster of 1913 has been unveiled in Senghenydd.

Members of the Senghenydd community were joined by visitors from far and wide for a special service to mark the 101st anniversary of the explosion at the Universal Colliery Disaster in Senghenydd that claimed the lives of 440 men and boys.

One of the most iconic photographs depicting that terrible day was of a young Agnes May Webber (later Agnes May Bowden) holding her baby sister Gwynedd Webber (later Gwynedd Ives) as she looked out over the colliery.
That image has now been transformed into an eye-catching sculpture by local sculptor Dai Edwards, made from the trunk of a sycamore tree that stood in the grounds of the National Memorial Garden.

Aber Valley Heritage Group’s Chair Jack Humphreys and Patron Roy Noble unveiled the new sculpture at the end of a fitting service. The ceremony saw tributes from local schools including St Cenydd Comprehensive School, Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, Cwmaber Infant and Junior Schools, Ysgol Ifor Bach and Nant y Parc Primary School, while representatives from organisations across the county borough laid wreathes in the memorial garden.

Jack Humphreys, Chair of the Aber Valley Heritage Group, said: “Despite the weather, we’ve had a marvellous turnout once again in Senghenydd and the service was well conducted by Father Coombes. I’m pleased that we have been able to unveil this sculpture as an iconic memorial to all those who lost their lives in the Senghenydd explosion.”

Cllr Keith Reynolds, Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, said: “It was an honour to be able to join members of the local community to once again pay our tributes and respects to all those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy.

“The National Mining Memorial is a poignant way of ensuring that we never forget those who lost their lives at the Universal Colliery in 1913, as well as other mining disasters across Wales, and this new sculpture is a welcome addition to this special place of remembrance.”

The National Mining Memorial was officially opened on October 14th 2013 on the 100th anniversary of the tragedy at the Universal Colliery in Senghenydd. The memorial features a bronze statue, wall of remembrance, path of memory and the newly unveiled yew tree sculpture.

PASSCHENDAELE (THIRD BATTLE OF YPRES)

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.