OUR CITY is commemorating the centenary of the end of World War I with a series of events and activities this week.
The guns on the Western Front ceased firing at 11am on November 11, 1918, and schools, communities and local people are participating in events across the city in the countdown to Remembrance Sunday.
Apart from formal events at the Cenotaph on the Swansea seafront and a Service of Remembrance at St Mary’s Church there will also be a special event on the beach at Swansea Bay organised as part of the Danny Boyle’s Armistice commission Pages of the Sea, a commemorative event at 32 beaches across the UK.
Artists will be drawing a portrait in the sand of 19-year-old ‘munitionette’ Dorothy Watson, who lost her life along with three colleagues in a munitions factory explosion in Pembrey in 1917. The joint funeral of Dorothy and her 18-year-old colleague Mildred Owen brought the city’s High Street to a standstill
Dorothy’s portrait will be created in the sand and in textiles on the 11th November. ‘A Stitch in Time’ will guide participants to follow pre-drawn lines on 30 cotton handkerchiefs which assembled will reveal Dorothy’s image. Cross stitch ‘kisses’, the initials of people to whom participants may wish to say goodbye and words from Carol Ann Duffy’s poem will be added.
In the countdown there are also a range of exhibitions and events at Swansea Museum, Dylan Thomas Centre a number of council libraries, schools and other venues around the city.
The weekend’s events are the culmination of activities and events which have taken place over to mark the centenary of the end of World War I including the installation of commemorative benches around the city, last month’s Now the Hero production and exhibitions at Swansea Museum and Dylan Thomas Centre.
June Burtonshaw, Swansea Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said: “It is no understatement to say that the Armistice of World War I was a moment in British and world history that will be remembered forever.
“It changed our world and its effects are still being felt to this day in countries and communities around the globe. November 11 at 11am is an opportunity for us all to pause and reflect on the sacrifice of those in the armed forces who put their lives on the line – and continue to do so – for our safety.”
Silence in the Square will be taking place in Castle Square from 10.30am to noon where this year there will be performances from Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr, Kirsten Orsborn and award-winning performance arts school Dancerama.
Swansea’s Central Library will also be open on Sunday for a number of events supporting the Pages of the Sea event as well as children’s poppy-making craft session and World War I displays and advice on family history research activities.
The Lord Mayor, Cllr David Phillips and Lady Mayoress, Cllr Sybil Crouch, will also attend a remembrance assembly at Gowerton Comprehensive School on Friday November 9, a Royal British Legion festival of remembrance at the Brangwyn Hall on Saturday November 10, as well as the Royal British Legion remembrance service at service at St Mary’s Church in the city centre on Sunday November 12.
Cllr Phillips said: “So many local people have made the ultimate sacrifice over the years, giving their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom that many of us sometimes take for granted.
“I’d urge as many people as possible to take a few minutes over the weekend to reflect on the sacrifices of the fallen and recognise the on-going service of our Armed Forces personnel to protect the democracy that we cherish.”
St Thomas Library will be hosting a Centenary community display commemorating the 69 men from the Kilvey area who died during World War I and are listed on the Kilvey All Saints Memorial.
Also remembered are the 430 men of the Kilvey parish who fought alongside them and the men of the neighbouring districts of St Thomas, Danygraig, Pentrechwyth and Port Tennant.
The display officially launches on Tuesday 6th November at 10.30am and will be at the library for several weeks.
Pontarddulais Library and Morriston Library will have Local History Displays and book displays for Remembrance.