Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
Past Students Association
Images by permission Rhondda Cynon Tâf Libraries
Click on the thumbnails below to see the full-size pages
Just as fund raising and a resulting memorial unveiling ceremony followed the First World War, the Past Students Association went into action following the end of the Second World War and organised a similar event. The organisation and gathering of the necessary funds lasted three years and eventually in the autumn of 1948 the Plaque, also at that time called ‘the tablet’, and the Lectern were unveiled and dedicated respectively.
The following passage consists of extracts taken from the minute book of the Past Students Association which document the progress towards the culmination in November 1948 of the fund-raising efforts of the past students over the previous three years.
PSA Minute Book
Committee Meeting, Friday, 30th November, 1945 G.P. Ambrose (Chairman)
proposed “the provision of a suitable memorial to those Old Boys of the school
who had lost their lives in the 1939–45 War”. Committee members suggested a plaque,
lectern and a book of remembrance.
“There being money in hand from the last memorial it was decided that the trustees be asked to consider their surplus from the last effort as a nucleus for the present memorial”
Members wanted “an exact replica of what we have now”, [referring to the WW1 Memorial].
At a General Meeting of Old Students on Thursday, 27th December 1945,
Mr Ambrose informed the membership of the feelings of the committee at its last meeting.
As a result, the secretary, Luther James, in the society minute book wrote:
“The following resolutions were agreed to:
(1) That this meeting of Past Students decides to inaugurate a War Memorial Fund to perpetuate the memory of Old Boys who have given their lives in World War II.
(2) That [the] decision on the form of the memorial be deferred until some future date to enable members still absent on War service to offer suggestions”
In the following committee meeting, 11 January 1946, the society minutes record that: “the staff of the school would contribute 40 guineas to the Memorial Fund”, and Mr Glyn Griffiths reported that: “Mr Rowlands had conceded to allow a list of subscribers to the fund to be published in the “Aberdare Leader”.
22 February 1946: The treasurer, Mr. T. Alwyn John, reported that he had opened a separate account at the bank for the Memorial Fund”.
In a committee meeting of May 30th, 1946, it was decided “to approach the Church Drama Club to give a performance in aid of the fund; to write to Mr Austin, Caretaker of the Mountain Ash County school regarding the holding of a Rugby match in aid of the fund; to book a night at the Coliseum and a company to perform a play in aid of the fund; that the trustees of the War Memorial Fund, 1914–18 be not approached re: present fund until we have an equivalent amount”.
18 October 1946: “It was decided to print 1000 copies of the letter drafted in [the] form of an appeal for the War Memorial Fund, in form of a folder. That the secretaries obtain a list of names from the school records and submit the names to the school staff for addresses, — the older past students to be approached first.”
AGM, Friday 3rd January, 1947: “Mr Alwyn John, the treasurer, reported that there was now £117.9s.6d in the War Memorial Fund..”
Committee Meeting 31 January 1947: Following the successful Christmas Reunion Dance which resulted in a surplus of £57.0s.11d, the treasurer “suggested that £60 be transferred to the War Memorial account. This was agreed to.”
Committee Meeting 7 March 1947: “It was agreed that Mr Graeme John be in charge of the arrangements for the cricket match, [between the Glamorgan Club & Ground versus an Aberdare eleven], and that the Past Students Association print tickets, posters, arrange for entertainment of the visiting teams. That the price of admission be 1/- schoolboys, and that admission to the Enclosure be 2s 6d — the nett proceeds to be in aid of the school War Memorial Fund”.
Committee Meeting 4th July 1947: “The Treasurer reported that the Memorial Fund total to date was £246.11s.1d.
The following motion was proposed, seconded and carried: “We recommend [to a General Meeting of Past Students] that the form the memorial should take be
(1) a plaque (2) a lectern (3) a form to be decided upon at the General meeting
The secretary was instructed to write to Miss Blena Davies, and Mr Emrys Prosser, Trustees of the Old Memorial Fund, informing them of the purpose of the meeting — asking them to be present & whether they would be prepared to supplement our funds from the Old Memorial Fund.
Arrangements were made to visit Caerphilly Grammar School on Thursday, July 10th, 1947 to see the plaque set up in that school.
It was decided to put a provisional list of names of those past students who fell in the second world war in the Aberdare Leader — the names to be in alphabetical order — rank after the names, and ask that if any error or omission be found, that the secretary be informed.”
Minutes of The General Meeting, Friday 18th July 1947: The following resolution was passed unanimously after some discussion: “‘That we request the trustees of the First Memorial Fund (Great War 1914–18) to merge that fund with the present fund’.
The trustees agreed to the above proposal. It was agreed that we place on record our sense of great appreciation of the trustees in carrying this out.
The proposal of the committee that the memorial should take the form of (1) a plaque (2) a lectern was adopted.
It was further agreed that the lectern should be a memorial for those who fell in 1914–18 and in 1939–45, & that the funds remaining be kept for further use.”
Committee Meeting immediately following the General Meeting at the school on 18th July 1947:The lectern chosen was No. 1077 obtainable from Messrs J. Wippell, Exeter.
It was agreed to accept the plaque — the cost being £138.10s.
The design for the school crest on the plaque was accepted.
It was decided that the names on the plaque be in alphabetical order — Rank & Regiment following.
It was decided that a Bible be obtained for the lectern.
That the unveiling ceremony be on 10th November 1947, [later amended].
It was unanimously agreed that the plaque be unveiled by the deputy headmaster, T.B. Reynolds, Esq.”
Committee Meeting, 21st November 1947:
“Mr Reynolds gave a detailed account of the business concerning the plaque and & lectern.
It was decided that the date for the unveiling the memorial be Thursday, January 29th, 1948, [later amended],.
It was agreed
(i) that sixty photographs of the Memorial plaque be ordered.
(ii) that letters of invitation to the service be sent out inviting two relatives of the fallen, members of this committee and their wives, members of the staff both teaching and non-teaching and their wives, chairman of the governors and the governors.
(iii) that a letter be printed re: memorial service and the necessary tickets of admission.”
Committee Meeting, 23rd January, 1948;
“It was decided that the unveiling of the plaque and the dedication of the lectern be at the same time, possibly in the April of next term.
The form of the pamphlet for the service was left to the discretion of the Headmaster.
That the announcement of the Unveiling service be printed in the Aberdare Leader, a statement made re: the impossibility of accommodating [all] subscribers, and that the school would be open for the inspection of the tablet.
That an inscription be placed in both the English and Welsh bibles — this was left to the chairman to word and carry out.”
Committee Meeting 8th October 1948:
“Mr T.B. Reynolds gave a detailed statement of the arrangements for the unveiling of the War Memorial Tablet and the Dedication of the War Memorial Lectern.”
“It was decided that the expenses of the Memorial Fund for printing be taken from the General Fund [of the PSA].
The Headmaster announced that he had asked Rev. G. Quick, M.Sc., at present a member of the staff and an old boy of the school, to dedicate the lectern.
It was decided that Rev. A.E. Alder, B.A., be asked to take part in the service.
It was decided that a wreath from the Past Students Association be laid on the tablet by Mr. D.G.J. Hill and a wreath from the School by the Senior Master Mr. J.T. Bowen.
The memorial service to be held on Wednesday Nov. 10th 1948 at 7 p.m.
The invitations to the service were discussed and the procedure approved.
It was decided to print 150 letters of invitation, 255 tickets of admission, 300 copies of the Order of Service.”
“The following additional invitations were to be sent out: The Chairman, Treasurer, Surveyor & Clerk to the Aberdare Urban District Council; The Member of Parliament for the Aberdare Division; Major Boughton of the British Legion; The President & Secretary of the R.A.F. Association; High Constable of Miskin Higher.”
Committee Meeting, Friday 14th January 1949:
Mr T.B. Reynolds gave an account of what had been done with the War Memorial Fund left from the First World War. The trustees of that fund had decided to buy £200 worth of books for the School Library together with a bookcase to hold them also the Encyclopedia Britannica.”
Annual General Meeting, 1949.
“..the memorial Fund being as follows:
It was decided that the £4.3.9 remain in the Memorial Fund for books.”
“The following resolution was passed unanimously: We, as a committee, have appreciated the exceptionally good services rendered to the Association by Mr. T.B. Reynolds, in bringing to a successful conclusion the two War Memorial Funds.”
Following the event the Headmaster, Mr. T.B. Reynolds writes in the School Log Book:
10th November 1948 – T.B. Reynolds writes:
Dedication of War Memorial Lectern and Unveiling of War Memorial Tablet in proud and grateful memory of the past students of the school who fell in the World War 1939–45.
Participants in service:
Invocation : Rev. D.J. Warlow, C.C., member of the governing body of the school.
Prayer : Rev. A.E. Alder, B.A., R.A.F., 1941–45 (Past student).
Dedication of lectern : Rev. Griffith Quick, M.Sc., Chaplain to the Forces, East Africa Command, 1941–47 (Past Student & Member of Staff).
Reading by the chairman of the meeting, T. Alwyn John, LL.B., (President of the Aberdare Branch of the British Legion, R.A.F., 1941–45; past student).
Reading of the Roll of Honour and Unveiling of War Memorial : T.B. Reynolds, B.A., Deputy Headmaster, (past student; Lieutenant, Machine Gun Corps in 1914–18 war).
School Choir : Conductor P.E. Phillips, M.A.
Sounding of Last Post : Alan Rose, form 4A.