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Bryn Deri Primary School, Cardiff

Pupils at the Welsh National War Memorial © Matt Horwood, 2014
Pupils meeting HRH The Duchess of Cornwall © Matt Horwood, 2014
Pupils researching names on their local war memorial © War Memorials Trust, 2013
  • County name: Cardiff
  • Group/School name: Bryn Deri Primary School
  • Age group: 5 - 11
  • Group type: Primary School

Bryn Deri Primary School’s Year 6 pupils started the school year in 2013 by studying Remembrance and the First World War. One of their first lessons involved a visit from War Memorials Trust’s Learning Officer and focused on the school’s local war memorial in Radyr, near Cardiff.

The visit started with a lesson explaining what war memorials are, their history and why they were, and still are, important to communities. This included a hands on activity analysing pictures of different war memorials, during which pupils realised that there are many different types and designs of war memorial. They were particularly interested to see some of the more unusual designs and had lots of questions about some of the different features of war memorials and what they symbolise.

Moving on from this, the pupils used a timeline to learn when many of our war memorials were created and discussed the significance of 2014 as the beginning of the centenary of the First World War. They then used War Memorials Trust’s resource sheet containing various war memorial inscriptions to help them understand why communities were motivated to create war memorials, especially in the aftermath of the First World War.

After this lesson, the visit focused more on the school’s local war memorial. Radyr’s war memorial ( consists of a stone column on a two stepped base with a female figure holding aloft a torch and a wreath. Around the sides of the column are inscribed the names of the fallen from the two World Wars. The words ‘To the lasting honour of Radyr’s gallant dead. Also of the one hundred and forty seven others from the parish who also served,’ and the dates of the First World War are inscribed on the front face above a carved figure of an angel kneeling by a cross. On another face, above the names of the fallen of the Second World War, are the words ‘They died for freedom.’

The remainder of the day was spent researching the names on the war memorial so that pupils could understand who the people who used to live in their community were and have a better understanding of the impact of the World Wars on the families in the area. The Trust’s Learning Officer showed the class how to use the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s database to find information about each casualty, and the pupils then demonstrated some impressive ICT skills using iPads to carry out their own research using the database and recording information using War Memorials Trust’s resource sheets. One pupil had even brought some photographs and artefacts relating to his ancestor’s war service, and was able to find out further information about his own family using these. The class enjoyed this task and found that one lesson was not long enough for all the research they wanted to do, so continued the task after War Memorials Trust’s visit.

Because of the success of this visit, War Memorials Trust was delighted to be able to work with Bryn Deri Primary School again in July 2014. This time, the school was invited to attend an event held at the Welsh National War Memorial in Cathays Park, Cardiff ( War Memorials Trust’s Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, marked the war memorial with SmartWater as part of the In Memoriam 2014 project. This project is a partnership between War Memorials Trust and the SmartWater Foundation that was established to provide greater protection for war memorials across the UK. Launched in November 2011 In Memoriam 2014 is offering SmartWater free of charge to the custodians of the UK war memorials. The crime prevention fluid will not only make memorials uniquely identifiable, it also offers robust traceability should a theft occur.  This will act as a significant deterrent to those considering desecrating our war memorials by massively increasing their chances of detection and subsequent arrest.

During the event, as well as marking the gates of the war memorial, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall met with guests including a group of Year 5 pupils from Bryn Deri Primary School. Earlier that day the Trust’s Learning Officer had returned to the school to teach them some key information about the Welsh National War Memorial and the In Memoriam 2014 project and the pupils were able to share this, as well as previous information they had learned about war memorials, with The Duchess. They also enjoyed having a go at applying the SmartWater to other parts of the memorial themselves, to ensure they are protected.

War Memorials Trust was extremely grateful to Bryn Deri Primary School for participating in this event, and was especially pleased to visit the school again in September 2014 to work with the new Year 6 class as they study the World Wars and Remembrance. This visit built on the summer event and the knowledge the pupils had acquired then, and it was great to see how much the pupils that attended the event had remembered! We hope that this relationship with the school will continue.

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