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MILITARY
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Second World War

During May 1939 gas masks were distributed at Fochriw, Pentwyn and Penybank by P.C. Wadley, special constables, air-raid precautions wardens, and members of the school staff, assisted by local residents.

The Gelligaer Urban District council carried out mock air raid practices on a Sunday in late December 1940 and one of the events took place at Aelybryn, when a gas bomb was supposed to have been dropped. It was reported that “The local air-raid wardens gave a splendid account of themselves in dealing with the "bomb."
In November 1940 a branch of the Women’s Voluntary Service scheme (W.V.S.) was formed at Fochriw for providing comforts for local boys serving in the Forces. Every local boy, whether at home or abroad, was provided with winter comforts for Christmas and the splendid financial effort of the people also made it possible to present them with cigarettes.

In March 1940, discussion took place regarding the provision of the billeting of 40 children in the village should Birmingham suffer air raids. Arrangements were made to carry out a survey of the village. It was announced that the Gelligaer area would receive 800 evacuated children.

During late June 1940 Gunner Wally Jones, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Jones, Glyn Terrace, and Private Norman Mills, son of Mrs. Mills and the late Mr. Charles Mills, Glenview, two of the heroes of Dunkirk, were welcomed home by villagers.

The 24 June 1944 issue of the Merthyr Express gave the following report on a Fochriw nurse on D-Day

Fochriw Nurse One of First In France   A 24 year old Fochriw nurse, Miss Megan Morgan of Aelybryn, was one of the first British women to land in France on D-Day. She was one of forty British nursing officers who embarked on a cruiser at an English port on Thursday week and competed in a race to be first up the Normandy beaches after landing 12 hours later. “I like it a lot. I feel I am doing a real man’s job now,” Miss Morgan to a newspaperman. “You should have seen the expression on those men’s faces as we drove from the beach to the hospital. They rubbed their eyes as if they were seeing things. None of us was sick coming over and we had fun sliding down a canvas chute from the cruiser to the landing craft.”

A Victory Celebration took place during May 1945 as reported in the 19 May issue of the Merthyr Express

Victory Celebrations   Fochriw, Penybank and Pentwyn co-operated to celebrate victory last week. On Tuesday, thanksgiving services were held at all churches. In the evening, open-air dancing took place to music played by the Fochriw Silver Band, conducted by Mr. A. Mantle, assisted by Mr. Emrys Lewis. After dancing, a procession was formed and marched to the Gwrydd Tip, where a large bonfire was lit and Hitler’s effigy was burned.