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08 September 2014
Skewen WWI Open Day
Skewen WWI Open Day
An Open Day on the First World War was organised by the Skewen Historical Society on Monday, 1st September. The village's Carnegie Hall had informative displays about the local men who went to war, many of them never to return. As well as those who fought in the trenches, the story was told of the sinking of the 'SS Main', a coal carrying vessel owned by the Main Colliery Company which employed so many men in this area prior to the outbreak of war. The photo shows a model of the SS Main which is on permanent display at the Carnegie Hall. 
The ship, by then armed for war service, was sunk by a German U boat submarine in the Mull of Galloway in 1917. Twelve lives were lost with only the ship's Captain being saved. Another intriguing possibility concerns a Skewen man who died 11 days after the start of the war from heart failure. Should he be classified as a war victim, he would count as the first British man to have died in WWI in war service. Those who put on this well organised Open Day which attracted around 200 visitors are be congratulated. Anyone wishing to provide information about relatives who were Skewen residents and who played a part in the First World War can contact Mrs Kitty Griffiths, tel. 01792 813651 or email: info@skewenhistoricalsociety.org.uk. Stories of those on the home front are equally as welcome as information about the men who signed up to fight.
The photo (left) shows a fine embroidery which illustrates the flags of the Allied nations which was contributed by a local resident. Skewen is unusual in that it has no First World War Memorial to commemorate all its dead. There are memorial boards in the parish church and in local chapels commemorating particular individuals and a Second World War Memorial stands outside the Carnegie Hall. It is hoped that during the course of the four year WWI centenary Skewen will at last achieve its own First World War Memorial. 
Report by Jeff Griffiths

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