One hundred years after the end of the First World War a large number of ceremonies and religious services have been organised in Monmouthshire to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two world wars and later conflicts.
Monmouthshire’s Chairman, Councillor Peter Clarke will lay a wreath on behalf of elected members and officers of the council in County Hall at 11am on Friday, 9th November. Later that day, he will attend the Llanelly Hill Action Group Armistice Service.
On Remembrance Sunday, the Chairman and Mrs Clarke will be at Usk Castle for a Royal British Legion service and tree planting ceremony starting at 10.30am before setting off for the National Service of Thanksgiving at Cardiff’s Llandaff Cathedral.
Other members will represent the council at Remembrance ceremonies throughout the county. Vice Chairman, Councillor Sheila Woodhouse and her escort Chris Woodhouse will participate in a parade assembling at 10.30am in Abergavenny’s Nevill Street before attending an afternoon service at St Elli Parish Church in Gilwern.
Leader Peter Fox OBE will be present for the service at St Mary’s Church in Caldicot and Councillor David Dovey will be at the Cenotaph in Chepstow. In Monmouth, Councillor Richard John will attend the town’s War Memorial while the county’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Laura Jones, will join a ceremony at the castle, the headquarters of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers.
Councillor Penny Jones will be at Raglan’s War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday at 11am, Councillor Brian Strong will gather in Usk with members of the Royal British Legion at 2.30pm and Councillor Lisa Dymock with Councillor Frances Taylor will represent the council at an 11am ceremony in Magor Square.
Many other ceremonies and events will take place across the county including a full programme in Monmouth where a partnership between the county council, the town council, the Royal British Legion, the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers, Rotary Monmouth and other local organisations will commemorate and honour those who contributed to the war effort one hundred years ago. The programme will focus on Monmouth’s First World War service men and women as well as their families and in addition to concerts and exhibitions, people will be able to join in historical walks, period object handling, poetry and drama.
The Savoy and The Blake theatres, Monmouth Museum and Shire Hall, with its emotive handcrafted poppy display, will host events while Monmouth’s churches will provide opportunities for remembrance. The week’s events will culminate in the annual Remembrance Parade on Sunday 11th November and a recreation of the Armistice announcement made by the Mayor of Monmouth, William Sambrook in November 1918.
Other events and ceremonies taking place on Sunday 11th November include the lighting of Remembrance beacons at Chepstow Rugby Club and Shirenewton, both at 7pm, and a Big Tea Party at 2.30pm at St Arvans Memorial Hall to remember those local people who gave their lives or contributed in so many ways in the Great War. On Friday, 9th November St Arvans Memorial Hall will host an evening illustrated talk – St Arvans in WWI – by David Priddis.
Abergavenny’s Borough Theatre is the venue for a remembrance-themed concert – The Last Post – at 7.30pm on Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th November featuring Abergavenny Borough Band, Abergavenny Tenovus Choir, the Strike a Chord Choir and others. Tickets at £6 can be obtained by contacting the box office – https://boroughtheatreabergavenny.co.uk/ – or telephoning 01873 850805.
Many of Monmouthshire’s schoolchildren will take part in remembrance ceremonies. Among them will be pupils at Raglan VC Primary who will deliver a special assembly on Friday 9th November while the school will host a remembrance eucharist in conjunction with St Cadoc’s Church on Monday 12th November. In Rogiet, schoolchildren will attend the village commemoration on Remembrance Sunday for the dedication of a mosaic designed by a pupil. In addition, members of Rogiet and Shirenewton school choirs will perform a newly written piece at Caerwent Church on at 6pm on Sunday 11th November based on the story of Welsh-language poet Hedd Wyn who perished at the Battle of Passchendaele.
Pupils at Overmonnow Primary School and other schools in Monmouth will participate in the town’s remembrance events as well as enter competitions to design a commemorative mug and contribute towards a new book of poems. Among the events planned by the school is a visit to the Monmouth Regimental Museum in the castle grounds. Overmonnow will also work with pupils from Kymin View and Osbaston Primary Schools to decorate a model tank for exhibition in Shire Hall.
Deri View Primary School in Abergavenny will hold a remembrance service led by Year Five pupils at 10.30am on Friday 9th November. It will feature ceramic poppies made by all the school’s pupils. In Chepstow, St Mary’s RC Primary School will have a special assembly at 11am on Monday 12th November.
On Sunday 18th November 2,500 ceramic poppies created by Monmouthshire District Scouts will feature at Raglan Castle. In the afternoon the county’s scouts will attend a memorial service at the castle in recognition of the sacrifice made by Monmouthshire in conflict.
Monmouthshire’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Laura Jones said: “At this time of year we remember the contribution of those brave men and women who served in the two world wars and later conflicts. This year is particularly poignant as it is one hundred years since hostilities ceased in the fields of France, Belgium, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Africa and the Middle East as well as at sea. I hope people will wear their poppies with pride and pause to remember those who served to guarantee the freedom we enjoy today. We will be forever grateful.”