Newbridge War Memorial
The Newbridge War Memorial was unveiled in October 1936, it was surrounded by iron railings and the design resembled the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London.
Situated at the top of the hill in Caetwmpyn Park, the Memorial commanded a view of almost the whole of the town and was a visible reminder of the sacrifice made by the people of the town.
Why it took until 1936 for the Memorial to be built is a mystery as it was funded by a collection among the people of Newbridge during the early years after the Armistice. In comparison, most of the other civic memorials in the area were erected ten or more years earlier - Abercarn 1923, Crumlin 1926, Cwmcarn 1922 & Pontllanfraith 1924, perhaps initial efforts in Newbridge were centred on the Celynen Institute Memorial Hall.
"At Newbridge War Memorial" - South Wales Weekly Argus - 31st October 1936 "Unveiling of War Memorial" - Western Mail - 26th October 1936 "War Memorial unveiled" - South Wales Argus - 26th October 1936
The memorial was unveiled on 24th October 1936 by Sir John Beynon. Referring to those to whose memory the Memorial had been erected he said:
"At the call of their King and country, they left their various occupations to take up arms. This Memorial will be a reminder to the youth of the district of what their fathers did before them, and I am confident that if the dread call comes, they will be as ready as in 1914."
The procession assembled at Parry’s square before moving on to the memorial in Caetwmpyn Park. Heading the parade was the band of the 2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment under Bandmaster Bowen, and W. Catley who was the acting drum-major, followed by the 2nd and 3rd Battalions Monmouthshire Regiment.
Colonel L. Pugh Evans, V.C., C.M.G, D.S.O (Brigade Commander), was present along with Colonel D. L. Jones, Commanding Officer 2nd Mons, Captain A. T. A. Brown, M.M., Captain Douglas, Lieutenant Treasure, Lieutenant Bevan, Second Lieutenant Carter. 3rd Mons: Captain T. F. Smith, M.C.
Next came the guard of honour of the British Legion standard-bearers, the branches present being: Abercarn, Abertillery, Blaina, Blackwood, Beaufort, Crumlin, Cwm, Cross Keys, Cwmcarn, Ebbw Vale, Llanhilleth, Newport, Newbridge, Oakdale, Risca, Cwmbran, Ystrad Mynach, Pontypool, Pontllanfraith, Usk, Abertysswg, Nantyglo, Maesycwmmer, Pontnewynydd, Abergavenny, Blaenavon, Aberbeeg, Pengam & Fleur-de-Lys, Markham, Brynmawr & Abersychan
The chairman of the memorial committee, Mr T. Lewis, presented the memorial to the Abercarn Urban District Council on behalf of the people of Newbridge.
The service commenced with the singing of "O God our help in ages past" and this was followed by the reading by Rev. R. Leonard Rees. The Rev. E. Roberts and the Rev. R Menai Jones both offered prayers before the singing of "Fight the good fight".
Following an address by Sir John Beynon the guard of honour of the Legion Standard Bearers presented arms. The "Last Post" was sounded by the buglers of the 2nd Mons., and one minute's silence was observed.
"Reveille" was sounded followed by the dedication of the Memorial by the Vicar of Newbridge, the Rev. D. Evan Thomas
The location of the Memorial, high on the hill in Caetwmpyn Park began to be an issue in the mid 1990s as ageing veterans were finding the location difficult to access on Remembrance Sunday and the isolated location also made it an easy target for vandals who were regularly defacing it.
Something had to be done and in 1995 the Newbridge British Legion agreed to dismantle the Memorial and a new one was erected in the town close to the police station. The image below is the new memorial in High Street, Newbridge.
Moving to St Fagans
Islwyn council approached St Fagans: National History Museum in Cardiff to see if they would be interested in moving the memorial to Cardiff. The museum took up the offer and the Memorial was dismantled and re-erected next to the Oakdale Institute in the museum
The foudation stone was re-laid in July 1996 by Tasker Watkins V.C. and the Memorial was re-dedicated in its new home on 19th October 1996 by the Archbishop of Wales the Most Reverend Alwyn Rice Jones