#Somme100: Remembering for Peace

To mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, the Welsh Centre for International Affairs have opened the #RememberingforPeace exhibition at Cardiff's Temple of Peace - opposite the Welsh War Memorial in Cathays Park.

Wales marks #Somme100

The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest battles not only of the First World War, but in human history. Between 1 July and 18 November 1916, over a million dead and wounded represented the loss of a generation across Europe. 4,000 Welsh men were killed in the Battle of Mametz Wood alone (featured in Christopher Williams' painting, above); and by the end of the First World War, over 35,000 Welsh men and women were never to return, memorialised in Wales' Book of Remembrance in Cardiff's Temple of Peace.

Communities across Wales have held events, services and vigils to remember those who lost their lives. Coordinated through Cymru'n Cofio / Wales Remembers, First Minister Carwyn Jones led an overnight vigil at Llandaff Cathedral, which concluded with a public service at the National War Memorial in Cathays Park at dawn on Friday (1st July).

The National Museum of Wales exhibition "War's Hell" (30 April - 4 Sept) conveys the horror of the Battle of Mametz Wood through art, poetry and accounts of soldiers; and the Welsh National Opera production of David Jones' 'In Parenthesis' will be available through online streaming from 1st July. And the Welsh Centre for International Affairs, as well as hosting parts of the UK 'Challenging Histories' conference with Birmingham and Cardiff University's Voices of War and Peace, have opened the Remembering for Peace exhibition at Cardiff Temple of Peace from 1st July.

Exploring Wales' First World War Book of Remembrance

At the heart of the #RememberingforPeace exhibition is Wales' beautiful, tragic and poignant First World War Book of Remembrance. With funding from HLF Cymru, WCIA have worked with the National Library of Wales to digitise the book and make it accessible for future generations. In the vestibule of the Temple of Peace, visitors can explore the book on a touchscreen in a way that is impossible with the priceless original - which can be viewed, in it's specially built crypt of French bronze and Belgian marble in the foundations of the Temple of Peace, on guided tours at 1pm Friday lunchtimes throughout the summer of 2016.  

Through 2016, WCIA and NLW will be working with volunteers to transcribe the book, with the aim that by 2017, people will be able to search for names of specific relatives and / or community members, and to research Soldiers Stories to share through the Wales at War App

Soldiers' Stories

WCIA's exhibition aims to explore the impact of war, loss, and to explore the people behind the names. The temple display and tour features 3 very different soldiers's stories. 

  • Captain David Jones, from Aberystwyth, was killed in the Battle of the Somme. His story echoes that of many thousands of young Welsh men.
  • John Leonard Nuttall, from Bodelwyddan, survived the trenches but was so traumatised by his experiences of the front that he committed suicide. His story has been sensitivbely researched by volunteer Pat Satchell for Flintshire War Memorials and the Remembering for Peace exhibition.
  • David Davies of Llandinam , an MP at the age of 26, was drawn into WW1 as commander of the 14th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Horrified by the war, from 1919 he dedicated his philanthropy to the pursuit of peace, endowing the world's firsty international relations department in Aberystwyth University, and the construction of Wales' Temple of Peace.    

Peace Now: Get involved with a Summer Programme of Activities

DOWNLOAD PROGRAM HERE

  • Visit the Remembering for Peace exhibition at the Temple of Peace, weekdays 9-5pm; and join a 'Temple Tour' every Friday from 1pm (8th July - 23rd September). 
  • Peace projects open evening for volunteers, 13 July,
  • Peace Festival, Temple of Peace - Saturday 16 July, 10,00-16.00
  • National Eisteddfod in Monmouthshire: From 30 July - 6 August WCIA and Wales for Peace will be hosting the Peace Tent at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny, working alongside Cymdeithas y Cymod and CND Cymru. Programme of events, to include the launch of our new 'Belief and Action' exhibition, TBC shortly.
  • UNA Exchange International Volunteers Peace Camp 'Growing Peace Stories', August 9th - 23rd.
  • Challenging Histories conference: On 29-30 June, WCIA worked with Voices of War and Peace to support and host the UK Challenging Histories conference in Cardiff University and the National Museum of Wales. Wales for Peace and the National Library of Wales presented a paper on 'digital engagement and empathy through transcription of the Book of Remembrance'. The team piloted the first public tour of the Temple of Peace with James Cowan of Cardiff History; and hosted a moving reception and musical performance at the Temple of Peace.  

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