Bethesda war memorial

logo for Bethesda town councilLink to French translationBethesda war memorial

This monument was erected in 1923 to commemorate the people of Dyffryn Ogwen (the Ogwen Valley) who died on active service in the First World War. The names of those who died in the Second World War were added later, on stone blocks flanking the cenotaph tower.

To read their details, choose a category:

First World War

Second World War

Many of the men who died were quarrymen before enlisting. Slate production was not considered vital enough for quarry workers to be excused from military service after conscription was introduced in 1916. However, some Bethesda quarrymen were given temporary permission to continue in their work because they were the only means of support for their widowed mothers.

The metal arch in front of the memorial carries the words “Er cof am y milwyr” (In memory of the soldiers). It was originally a separate memorial outside Bethesda Chapel, and went into storage when the chapel closed. It was erected here in 2005 after new railings had been designed and installed, with the help of a £250 grant from the War Memorials Trust.

The cenotaph was designed by RJ Hughes and built by Richard Williams. Above the FWW names on the cenotaph is the inscription: “Y Rhyfel Mawr 1914-1918. Cofarwydd o edmygedd trigolion Dyffryn Ogwen o aberth y gwŷr dewr hyn o’r ardal a gwympodd dros eu gwlad.” This translates as: “The Great War 1914-1918. A token remembering the admiration of Dyffryn Ogwen’s residents for the sacrifices of these brave men from the area who fell in the service of their country.”

Below it is an englyn – a form of short Welsh verse – which speaks of the grief of parents who lost their sons. It reads:

O gofadail gofidiau – tad a mam
     Tydi mwy drwy’r oesau.
Ddysgi ffordd i ddwys goffhau
     Y rhwyg o golli’r hogiau.

With thanks to Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front Museum, and Hazel Pierce, of The History House

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