© This Month - July

There is no lecture in July. The 2018-19 season of lectures starts again in September.


The Home Front in Abergavenny exhibition in Gunter Mansion is open throughout August on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10.30am to 4pm

The following article can also be seen in the July edition of the Abergavenny Focus

War, What War?

Looking at the newspaper front pages published during World War One, you would have no idea of the bloodshed on Flanders’ fields. Helen Morgan reports:

A century ago, the front pages were taken up with adverts for humdrum goods and services, notably the steam laundry in Merthyr Road. Only on turning to page 2 do you see snippets about the war overseas and adverts encouraging the people of Abergavenny to buy war bonds during Tank Days and War Weapons Week. 

In July 2018, ration books arrived. So, too, did Spanish Flu although its eventual effects were not yet realised. Overall, however, little emerges in the press of life on the home front thanks to the Defence of the Realm Act, known as DORA. Barely mentioned are the miners’ strike in July 1915 or the plight of war widows who faced starvation.

Maindiff Red Cross Hospital received wounded British soldiers for rehabilitation. The War Office paid about two-thirds of the cost of each patient but the hospital had to raise the rest from subscriptions and fund-raising events. The Abergavenny Chronicle regularly listed a who’s who of donations including milk, eggs, pheasants, rabbits and walking sticks. This was in line with the Charities Act of 1916 which was designed to ensure that the public would know that their money was going where intended. The Tobacco Fund was one of the earliest and the emphasis on providing tobacco and cigarettes for the men at the front is in marked contrast to the attitude towards alcohol. Wales was no stranger to the Temperance movement and its attempts to convert the working classes from alcohol to abstinence. In 1914, DORA reduced pub opening hours and the strength of beer to ensure that munitions, engineering and other work were not affected by absence due to drunkenness. In Abergavenny, the YMCA in Frogmore Street became popular as a Soldiers’ Rest, providing writing materials, cups of tea, and the chance to play billiards and bagatelle without the temptation of getting drunk.

In February 1915 came news that underwear was not part of the uniform issued to the troops and that socks were desperately needed. The women and children of Abergavenny hit their knitting needles. This together with their immense generosity, whenever the call came, is why Abergavenny received a WWI tank to display after the Armistice.


The YMCA in the early 20th century

Abergavenny Local History Society 
          Charity Number 1098582              

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