Wales’ Role in the WWI

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  • Created by: Pip Dan
  • Created on: 01-06-16 22:58

Wales’ Role in the WWI


Welsh support

The people of Wales were generally supportive of the monarchy (when George V came to the throne in 1910, one of the first acts was to change his family name from the German Saxe-Coburg to the English Windsor).  In the spirit of patriotism engendered by the war, the movement in Ireland to press for Home Rule was considered treason in most of Wales. It was highly ironic, that many of the plans for the future independence of Ireland were hatched in a prison camp at Frongoch, near Bala, North Wales.

However, not all the people of Wales supported the government. Attempts at producing more coal at no increase in pay led to a strike in the South Wales coalfield in the summer of 1916. The enormous increase in coal industry profits was not being passed on to the miners, who naturally wished to have their share. Over two hundred thousand miners in Britain refused to be intimidated by the Munitions of War act that made striking a criminal offence. In Scotland, in displays of solidarity with their fellow workers in the rest of Britain, striking shipyard workers caused so much discontent that the area around Glasgow became known as "Red Clyde" to signify communist infiltration of the trade unions. 

Welsh soldiers

Many thousands of her soldiers answered the call to fight for Britain during the World War I that began in 1914. Before the war had ended, some 40,000 South Wales miners had joined the armed forces "to protect their homes against the barbaric forces of the Hun." 

Welsh solders played significant roles in the great battles of the Somme and Ypres. By suffering alongside their fellows from all parts of the British Isles, Welsh soldiers began to feel less Welsh and more British, less provincial, less "different." There was a growth in national consciousness that received an enormous impact from the Conscription Bill of 1916, and by the end of the war more than 280,000 Welshmen had served sometime in the armed forces. 

The war finally ended; its terrible loss of life had devastating…


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