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01 December 2014
WWI Exhibition

WWI Exhibition at Victoria Gardens

Neath Port Talbot Council organised a ceremonial start to a week of World War One remembrance on Saturday 22 November. Army Cadets from Dyfed and West Glamorgan staged Beating Retreat in the Victoria Gardens. Splendidly turned out in the scarlet dress uniforms of the Royal Welsh Regiment, the band was small in number but gave a fine account of themselves, the mostly female drummers giving a bravura performance. Instituted as a means of bringing the troops back to their garrison for the night, the ceremony ended with the lowering of the flag performed jointly by the Mayors of Neath Port Talbot, Councillor Hugh James, and of Neath Town, Councillor Alan Carter, accompanied by skilful bugle calls. Shillingfords, the neighbouring fish and chips shop, generously provided food for the band on the day.

The ceremony in the park was a preview to the WWI exhibition that opened officially on Monday 24 November. NPT officer Deborah Brambley and the staff at the Victoria Gardens were congratulated on the first class exhibition which has been mounted in the Community Building. As well as a large range of contributions from local people there is a trench recreation together with 'George', a finely crafted wickerwork horse modelled on a South Wales Police horse of this name, which was unveiled at the opening ceremony. The exhibition has its own model poppies, especially created for the exhibition, along the lines of those seen at the Tower of London. Neath's exhibition displays one hundred of these poppies to mark the centenary commemoration of World War One. The exhibited items, portraits and stories are proof of the impact that the war still influences on many local families. Jonathan Skidmore hopes the event will yield further information on local men who fought and died for his forthcoming Neath and district Memorial Volume. He can be contacted at jrlskidmore@hotmail.com and information/photos can be left at the exhibition which closes on Monday 4th December. It was announced that the town intends to stage further WWI events to mark the four-year centenary commemoration.

Jeff Griffiths

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