Amgueddfa Blog: First World War

Gan gofio bod llai na blwyddyn ers diwedd yr Ail Ryfel Byd prin iawn yw’r sylw a gawn gan Kate Rowlands o ran sgil effaith y rhyfel ar ei theulu a’i chymuned. Dydi hynny ddim yn syndod i’r rheiny ohonoch ddilynodd ei hanes ym 1914 – wrth ei ddarllen, digon hawdd oedd anghofio fod cysgod y Rhyfel Mawr ar drigolion y Sarnau.

Fodd bynnag, sawl un ohonoch sylwodd ar ei chofnod y ddoe?

      21 Gorffennaf 1946 - Adref trwy'r dydd. Dewi Jones (Tai mawr) yn pregethu yn Rhydywernen. Dechreu Rations ar y bara.

Ar drothwy’r Ail Ryfel Byd roedd Prydain yn mewnforio 60% o’i bwyd. Wrth gofio am y prinder yn ystod y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, cyflwynodd y llywodraeth y sustem dogni ym mis Ionawr 1940. Dosbarthwyd llyfrau dogni i bawb a bu’n rhaid i bob cartref gofrestru gyda chigydd, groser a dyn llefrith lleol. Roedd y rhain yn derbyn digon o fwyd ar gyfer eu cwsmeriaid cofrestredig. Y bwydydd cyntaf i gael eu dogni oedd menyn, siwgr a ham. Ymhen amser cafodd mwy o fwydydd eu hychwanegu at y sustem, ac fe amrywiai swm y dogn o fis i fis wrth i’r cyflenwad o fwydydd amrywio. Dyma enghraifft o ddogn wythnos un oedolyn:

               Bacwn a ham                     4 owns               

               Menyn                                2 owns

               Caws                                  2 owns (weithiau caniatawyd 4 neu 8 owns)       

               Margarin                             4 owns

               Olew coginio                     4 owns (ond yn aml cyn lleied â 2 owns)

               Llefrith                                3 peint (weithiau dim ond 2 beint, ond caniatawyd

                                                               paced o lefrith powdwr bob 4 wythnos)

               Siwgr                                  8 owns

               Jam                                    1lb bob 2 fis

               Te                                       2 owns

               Wyau                                  1 wy yr wythnos os oeddynt ar gael

               Wy powdr                          paced bob 4 wythnos

O fis Rhagfyr 1940 roedd popeth arall gwerth eu cael ar y sustem ‘pwyntiau’. Cai pob person 16 pwynt y mis i brynu detholiad o fwydydd fel bisgedi, bwyd tun a ffrwythau sych, gyda’r gwerth y nwyddau’n codi yn dibynnu ar eu hargaeledd.

Roedd hi’n dipyn o dasg gwneud i’r dognau bara’ tan ddiwedd yr wythnos, ac roedd yr ymgyrch ‘Dig for Victory’ yn annog y boblogaeth i balu eu gwelyau blodau a’u troi nhw’n erddi llysiau. Cafodd pawb eu hannog i gadw ieir, cwningod, geifr a moch - rhywbeth oedd yn ail-natur mewn cymuned wledig fel y Sarnau. Efallai nad oedd siopau lleol Kate wastad yn gallu cael gafael ar y danteithion megis y bisgedi, y bwydydd tun neu bysgod ffres o’r môr fel siopau’r trefi a’r dinasoedd, ond roedd manteision i fyw yn y wlad a’r wybodaeth gynhenid o fyw ar y tir. Doedd dim angen cwponau na phwyntiau i hela cwningod gwyllt, colomennod, brain a physgod dŵr croyw. Byddai’r plant yn cael eu gyrru i gasglu ffrwythau gwyllt a fyddai'n cael eu defnyddio i greu cacenni a phwdinau blasus, yn jamiau a jeli. Byddent yn casglu cnau cyll, cnau ffawydd a chnau castan, madarch, dail danadl poethion a dant y llew – ac mae’r arfer hwn o fynd i chwilota am fwyd gwyllt wedi dod yn arfer ffasiynol unwaith eto i’n cenhedlaeth ni.

Gwaethygu gwnaeth y sefyllfa bwyd ar ddiwedd y rhyfel. Yn dilyn cyfnod sych a chynhaeaf gwael, bu’n rhaid dogni bara ar y 21ain o Orffennaf 1946. Roedd hwn yn benderfyniad dadleuol a gythruddodd y boblogaeth – nid oedd bara wedi cael ei ddogni yn ystod y rhyfel. Ysgwn i faint o wahaniaeth gafodd hyn ar deulu Kate? Gwyddom ei bod yn parhau i bobi bara ceirch yn ystod 1946 – dyma oedd y bara a fwyteid fwyaf cyffredin yng Nghymru tan y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg. Gwyliwch y ffilm hyfryd o’r archif yn dangos o Mrs Catrin Evans, Rhyd-y-bod, Cynllwyd, yn paratoi bara ceirch.

Daeth dogni bara i ben ar y 24ain o Orffennaf 1948, a chodwyd cyfyngiadau ar de ym 1952 – rhyddhad mawr i genedl o yfwyr te! Tynnwyd hufen, wyau, siwgr a da-das neu fferins oddi ar y sustem ym 1953 a menyn, caws ac olew coginio ym 1954. Daeth 14 mlynedd o ddogni i ben ar y 4ydd o Orffennaf 1954 pan godwyd y cyfyngiadau ar gig a bacwn. Mae hi’n anodd amgyffred y rhyddhad a deimlwyd, yn arbennig o ystyried yr ystod eang o fwydydd a danteithion sydd ar gael i ni heddiw.

In 2017 St Fagans National History Museum will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Oakdale Workmen’s Institute. The building was at the heart of Oakdale village community for 80 years until it closed in 1987 and then moved to St Fagans.

Exactly 100 years ago, on 3 July 1916, the work of building the Institute in Oakdale began when a ceremony was held to lay the first foundation stones. This type of ceremony is common when large public buildings are built to mark the beginning of the main construction phase. During the ceremony, a trowel is used to place the mortar where the foundation stone is laid and a trowel is then engraved to commemorate the ceremony.

Two foundation stones were laid at the ceremony for the Oakdale Workmen’s Institute in 1916, one on either side of the main entrance door. The stone on the left was laid by Harry Blount on behalf of the workmen of Oakdale Colliery and the stone on the right by Alfred S. Tallis representing the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company, owners of the colliery.

Harry Blount was one of the original members of the Oakdale Workmen’s Institute Committee, formed in 1913. Their meeting place in the early years was in the ‘Huts’, the old barracks which once accommodated the workers of the Oakdale Colliery shafts. In the minutes of the Committee it notes that on 6 January 1914, Harry Blount proposed that they should ‘proceed with the new Institute at once’. At the same meeting Arthur Webb was appointed as the architect and within a month his sketch plan had been accepted by the Committee.

Alfred S Tallis, Managing Director of the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company, was involved with the Institute from the beginning with the promise of a financial loan for the building work. He was also the main promoter of the idea of a model village at Oakdale for the company’s workforce with modern housing built in a rural area, away from the colliery. The work of building the new village began in 1909 and the first street, Syr Dafydd Avenue, was completed in 1913 and designed by the Institute’s architect, Arthur Webb, Tallis’s brother-in-law.

The minutes of the Committee briefly mentions the arrangements for the ceremony held on Monday 3 July 1916; there was to be a cold lunch at the Oakdale Hotel with the full Committee attending and the Oakdale Colliery Band were to play around the village half an hour before to advertise the event. The ceremony itself was at 5 o’clock and Sir Charles Edwards, M.P. was asked to attend and to speak.

The two foundation stones can still be seen either side of the Institute’s main door at St Fagans and the commemorative trowels from the ceremony are displayed on the wall of the Institute Committee Room. Both trowels were donated to the Museum in the months before the Institute re-opened at St Fagans in 1995, by Harry Blount’s grandson and by Alfred Tallis’s grand-daughters.

In 2017, the year of the centenary of Oakdale Workmen’s Institute, the Museum is planning to bring the building alive once again, to reflect its original purpose as a place for the community. We’ll be updating you on the project as we go so look out for #Oakdale100 news in the coming weeks and months.

This project is supported by the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant Scheme.

 

Yr wythnos hon, mae amgueddfeydd ledled y wlad yn dathlu ac yn hyrwyddo cyfraniad arbennig eu gwirfoddolwyr. Yma yn Sain Ffagan, mae ‘cymuned’ o wirfoddolwyr yn chwarae rhan bwysig yng ngweithgarwch yr Amgueddfa. Gallwch weld eu gwaith ar draws y safle – o’r gerddi i’r adeiladau hanesyddol. Canrif yn ôl – yn ystod y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf – roedd gwirfoddolwyr yn gadael eu hôl ar Sain Ffagan o dan amgylchiadau pur wahanol.

Yn ystod y Rhyfel, sefydlwyd bron i 18,000 o elusennau newydd ym Mhrydain ac fe welwyd ymgyrchu gwirfoddol ar raddfa heb ei debyg o'r blaen. Ynghyd ag Urdd San Ioan, roedd y Groes Goch Brydeinig yn ganolog i'r ymgyrch hon. Yn 1909, daeth y ddwy elusen ynghyd i sefydlu cynllun y Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD), gyda'r bwriad o roi hyfforddiant meddygol i wirfoddolwyr a'u paratoi i wasanaethu gartref a thramor mewn cyfnodau o ryfel. Yn ôl ystadegau'r Groes Goch, erbyn diwedd y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf roedd 90,000 o bobl wedi cymryd rhan yn y cynllun - yn eu plith Elizabeth Radcliffe o bentref Sain Ffagan.

Yn ferch i ofalwr capel y pentref, roedd Elizabeth a’i theulu yn denantiaid i’r Arglwydd Plymouth o Gastell Sain Ffagan. Ganwyd chwech o blant i William a Catherine Radcliffe – pedwar mab (William, Thomas, Robert a Taliesin) a dwy ferch (Elizabeth a Mary). Cyn y Rhyfel, bu Elizabeth yn gofalu am blant James Howell – un o berchnogion y siop enwog yng Nghaerdydd. Ond erbyn 1916, roedd hi nôl yn Sain Ffagan ac yn gwirfoddoli fel nyrs VAD yn yr ysbyty ategol a agorwyd ar dir y Castell ym Mawrth y flwyddyn honno. Ar y pryd, roedd hi’n ddi-briod ac yn 28 mlwydd oed.

Roedd y rhan fwyaf o nyrsys Ysbyty Sain Ffagan yn wirfoddolwyr lleol – menywod o’r pentref, yn anad dim, a oedd wedi derbyn hyfforddiant sylfaenol gan y Groes Goch. Dim ond 70 o wlâu a dwy ward oedd yn yr ysbyty, felly milwyr ag anafiadau ysgafn oedd yn cael eu trin yno. Roedd gofyn i’r gwirfoddolwyr wisgo iwnifform swyddogol y mudiad, sef ffrog las a ffedog wen gyda chroes goch wedi ei phwytho ar y frest. Mae llyfrau cyfrifon Ystâd Plymouth yn cynnwys sawl cyfaniad ariannol at gostau prynu gwisgoedd i staff yr ysbyty. Mae’n debyg fod siop J. Howell & Co. ymhlith y cyflenwyr.

Yn ffodus iawn, mae gwisg Elizabeth Radcliffe o’r cyfnod hwn wedi goroesi, ynghyd â llun ohoni yn ei lifrai. Rhoddwyd ei ffedog a'i llewys i gasgliad yr Amgueddfa yn 1978, ac yn ddiweddar cawsom ragor o wybodaeth amdani a’i brodyr gan aelodau’r teulu. O’r pedwar brawd aeth i’r ffrynt, dim ond un ohonynt – Taliesin – ddaeth adref i Sain Ffagan yn fyw. Mae enwau William, Thomas a Robert Radcliffe i’w canfod ar gofeb rhyfel y pentref, ynghyd ag Archer Windsor-Clive - mab ieuengaf yr Arglwydd Plymouth - a laddwyd ym Mrwydr Mons. Mae’n amhosibl i ni amgyffred â mawredd y golled i Elizabeth a’i rhieni – un teulu ymysg y miliynau a rwygwyd gan erchyllterau’r Rhyfel Mawr.

Os hoffech ddarganfod mwy am waith y Groes Goch yn ystod y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, mae adnoddau gwych ar wefan y mudiad, gan gynnwys rhestr o'r holl ysbytai ymadfer a agorwyd ym Mhrydain. Mae llu o wrthrychau a delweddau perthnasol yn y casgliad yma yn Sain Ffagan hefyd. Ewch draw i'r catalog digidol i ddarganfod mwy.

 

I actually visited the Mametz Wood exhibition twice. The first time was the official opening, but as I didn’t see anyone that I knew, I spent most of the time hovering at the back during the speeches and the opera recital (which sounded beautiful, but as I know nothing about opera it went over my head a bit), while feeling spectacularly under-dressed next to all the soldiers in their shiny, smart uniforms.

I enjoyed the exhibition itself very much. The work we had done in youth forum had provided helpful context which meant I could appreciate what I was seeing a whole lot more; the Christopher Williams painting was of course a highlight, as was the World War One stretcher and a pistol owned by Siegfried Sassoon, who had fought at the battle.

It was also great to see the work of the very talented Margaret Williams, who I hadn’t heard of before I joined the youth forum, showcased alongside her male counterparts. However, due to the fact that it was an opening, it was very crowded, and being too British to ask people to move slightly aside I missed some of the exhibits. 

I decided to go back a few days later, and this turned out to be a very good idea. This time, there were old music hall and war songs playing quietly in the background. Combined with the ghostly sketches of soldiers, surrounded by their old possessions, it really made you feel as though you had stepped back in time, which surely is a sign a museum has done its job.

It also seems to enhance the sense of the futility of it all. I was surrounded by images and descriptions communicating the brutality, violence and bloodshed, the enormous sacrifice, and in the end, this was all that was left. A pipe, some faded documents, the stretcher rather than the people it had carried, a few old songs, and a collective national sense of loss. It was hard not to feel emotional. All this suffering may have created beautiful art, but the suffering itself hadn’t been worth it at all. 

There was also a video screen showing an actor reading a section of In Parenthesis, originally by David Jones, now adapted for a new opera. Whether it was because of the skill of the actor (whose name escapes me) or all the things I’d just seen and felt, I found I didn’t need to put the headphones on to understand what he was trying to say. 

So, to conclude. War’s Hell: The Battle of Mametz Wood in Art is well worth a visit. And next time I get invited to an exhibition opening, go with a friend and make more of an effort than just jeans and a jumper.  

The National Waterfront Museum’s current exhibition Forget me not: Postcards from the First World War features a fantastic selection of all types of postcards from the industry & transport, and social & cultural history collections. One case tells the amazing, but tragic, story of Captain Anthony Starkey of the S.S. Torrington.  

Captain Anthony Starkey was master of the S.S. Torrington. The ship was built in 1905 by William Doxford & Sons of Sunderland and was owned by the Tatem Steam Navigation Company of Cardiff.

Ship model of the S.S. Torrington.

On 8 April 1917 the ship was sailing from Italy to Cardiff to load coal for the Italian railways. Shortly after 11.30am she was torpedoed by a German submarine, 150 miles off the Isles of Scilly. The torpedo hit forward of the bridge. A submarine then surfaced and opened fire on the ship. Capt. Starkey ordered his men into the lifeboats, but the submarine came alongside. Capt. Starkey was ordered below deck of the U-boat, which he did thinking he could save his men. Some of the crew went on the deck of the U-boat, whilst others remained in a lifeboat. The captain of the U-boat then ordered the vessel to dive remarking that “the others could swim”. Through the submerging of the U-boat about 20 member of the Torrington’s crew were washed off and killed. The remaining crew in the lifeboat were never heard of again. In total thirty four members of the crew were killed and Capt. Starkey was the only survivor.

S.S. Torrington with inset portrait of Capt. Starkey.

Capt. Starkey was held prisoner aboard the submarine for fifteen days. He was then held in four different prisoner of war camps in Germany, including Brandenburg, Holminden, and Strohenmoor. Prisoners were poorly treated in these camps, and Capt. Starkey commented that “We would have starved if it had not been for the food we received from home. We were there for two months and a half on German rations and looked like shadows when the time was up. Then food began to arrive from home and we certainly enjoyed that. The food in the camps was always potato soup, not always good potatoes, cabbage soup and some bread.”

Photograph from the scrap album showing meal time at one of the POW camps. Probably serving the potato or cabbage soup Capt. Starkey mentions.

During his time in the various prisoner of war camps Capt. Starkey put together a ‘scrap album’. This album contains over 55 postcards and photographs, along with German bank notes, and documents such as ration cards, camp theatre tickets, letters and telegrammes. Some of these photographs show everyday life in the camps, such as meal times and entertainment. This album in on display in the current exhibition, along with other photographs, and two newspaper cuttings pasted onto the back board of another scrap book. These describe the whole story in detail.

Photograph sent home to Mrs Starkey of Cardiff. Capt. Starkey is standing at left, and is at the POW camp of Brandenburg, near Berlin.

Page from scrap album showing German bank notes, and a photograph of some of the entertainment.

Page from the scrap album showing stamps and some theatre tickets for entertainment in the POW camps.

Newspaper cuttings describing the events of 8th April 1917.

Forget me not: Postcards from the First World War runs until 19 June 2016 at the National Waterfront Museum.

To discover more about the First World War collections at Amgueddfa Cymru view this online catalogue.

 

Mark Etheridge
Curator (Industry & Transport)
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW