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17 March 2014
WWl Exhibition at Briton Ferry
Briton Ferry Library hosts WWI Exhibition
Currently on show in the Briton Ferry library building is an exhibition on the men of that district who fought and died in the First World War. This superbly presented exhibition is one not to be missed by those with relatives who served back then and by anyone wanting to know more of this conflict which brought about profound changes  in this country and abroad. Prepared by Jonathan Skidmore who's researched the impact of the First World War locally in preparation for the centenary commemorations starting this year, the exhibition is both touching and illuminating. There are photos not only of men in military uniform but also with their families, their work colleagues and sports teams, reminders of the wide-scale impact their loss made on the community. While we usually picture the First World War in terms of the stalemate of the Army on the Western Front, we're reminded that men served in all sorts of roles and war theatres.There are images of naval men who served on armed merchantmen ships as well as in Royal Navy vessels, of members of the fledgeling air services, and of the Glamorgan Yeomanry pictured here which acts as a reminder that the war was also being fought outside of the European continent. I found particularly touching those letters from commanding officers to the next of kin and the photos of men with their wives and children, people whose lives would be forever scarred by the events of 1914 - 1918. You are reminded too of the many who returned and enjoyed good post-war lives. The exhibition continues for another week or two and its location, upstairs in the old Briton Ferry District Council offices with its faded desks, old civic life photographs and period posters on the wall, all add to the feel of the time. It is hoped that this exhibition will also encourage more people to come forward with information on relatives who fought in this war. Some of us are the last generation of those who knew participants in this conflict and are guardians of precious memorabilia and information which needs to be recorded on the occasion of this centenary. A national objective for the centenary commemoration of WWI is that the torch be passed on to a younger generation, reminding them of the impact this war had on every family in the country. Recording the names and personal histories of these men is vital therefore to preserving the collective memory in our society of the First World War. Should you be able to contribute information then please contact Jonathan Skidmore on his emailmailto:jrlskidmore@hotmail.com;; tel. no.07950 933 264, or by leaving a message with your contact details at the library for him. Jonathan will also be presenting another exhibition on the men of Neath and district at the exhibition venue in Victoria Gardens at Neath during the Easter week from 19th to 26th April. If you are interested in local history and have relatives who took a part in this war then these two excellent First World War exhibitions are not to be missed.
Jeff Griffiths
And a follow up video by Mike Davies:

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