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11 August 2014
World War I
World War One Start Commemorated
The fourth of August marked the day when many paused to commemorate the centenary of Britain entering the First World War. As was vividly demonstrated in another excellent WWI exhibition by Jonathan Skidmore at the old Town Hall, local families still have long memories of their relatives involved in this conflict and treasure memorabilia and photos of the time. Neath's Civic Commemoration service held at St Thomas's church was conducted by Canon Stephen Ryan, the Rector of Neath. It was attended by the High Sheriff of West Glamorgan, Mr. Martyn Jenkins, the Leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, Cllr. Ali Thomas, and the Mayor of Neath, Cllr. Alan Carter, amongst other guests and representatives of local organisations.  
WW1  Exhibition Town Hall Neath - photo by Mike Davies
Standard Bearers outside the church of St Thomas  Neath (Image by Mike Davies)
 Above report by Jeff Griffiths 
To see more images of the WWI exhibition and the Civic Service
 photographed and edited by Mike Davies view here

A commemoration service was also held that same evening at St Matthew's Church at Dyffryn, Bryncoch, which incorporated elements of the Royal British Legion's Lights Out campaign. In a simple but dignified service led by the Vicar, the Rev. Stephen Bodycombe, churchwarden Margaret Thomas first lit and later extinguished a candle as the names were read of each of those commemorated on the parish war memorial. As a group of villagers later stood around the cenotaph in the grounds of the church for the placing there of a candle-lit lantern, the following, based on the scroll given to the next-of-kin of the fallen, was read: 

We will remember them (Image by Jeff Griffiths)

Those whom this cenotaph commemorates are numbered among those who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardness, faced danger and finally passed out of the sight of men by the path of duty and self sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names are not forgotten.

St.Matthews at Dyffryn, Bryncoch (Image by Jeff Griffiths)

Jonathan Skidmore is appealing for further information on those from the district who fought in the First World War so that as comprehensive a record as possible can be collected for his forthcoming Memorial Volumes for Neath and Briton Ferry. He can be contacted at the following email or call in to any public library in the area where they can take information from you to pass on to Mr Skidmore: email: jrlskidmore@hotmail.com. 

Report and Dyffryn Church photos by Jeff Griffiths 

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