Hundreds of people turned out to support the Council’s Armed Forces Day event in Ferndale
People of all ages lined the route along Lake Street, High Street and Station Street for the Military Parade, led by The Band and Bugles of The Rifles. They then joined the parade to Greenwood Park.
The Council once again recognised and marked this special day as it continues to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
Among those who attended the event was Mayor of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Cllr Rhys Lewis, and Rhondda MP, Chris Bryant. The Parade Marshal was Ken Terry.
The opening address from Cllr Rhys Lewis was followed by the welcome address by Chris Bryant MP and the reading of The Ode by Lt Col (Ret’d) Gareth Pennell TD.
The Royal British Legion Standard Bearers and Cor Meibion Morlais also took part in the event.
The service was conducted by the Mayor’s Chaplain, Reverend Sarah Rogers, with readings by Gareth Scourfield, Secretary, Pontypridd Branch, Royal British Legion, and Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council.
Following representation from Rhondda MP, Chris Bryant, this year’s event took place in the close-knit community of Ferndale, the home town of two First World War soldiers and brothers who sadly never returned from battle.
Henry and Thomas Hardwidge both served with the 15th (Service) Battalion of the Welsh Regiment (Carmarthenshire).
According in newspaper reports at the time, in August 1916, Corporal Thomas Hardwidge was wounded by a sniper’s bullet and his brother Henry swiftly went to his assistance.
Tragically, whilst giving his brother a drink of water, Henry too was shot by a sniper’s bullet and both brothers died on the battlefield in each other’s arms and are buried in adjacent graves at Flatiron Copse Cemetery in Mametz.
During the Armed Forces Day service, The Last Post was sounded, followed by a Two Minute Silence, The National Anthem and the Welsh National Anthem.
Cllr Mark Norris, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services with responsibility for the Armed Forces, said: “Armed Forces Day is a Royal British Legion initiative, supported by the Council, and it is marked every year in our County Borough in order to raise awareness of the contribution made by those who serve and have served in the Armed Forces.
“It was fantastic to see so many people lining the route of the military parade and attending the Raising of the Flag Ceremony to show their support for those who make up the Armed Forces Community – from veterans and serving staff to the cadets, reserves and, of course, the families of troops past and present.
“Rhondda Cynon Taf has a proud record of valuing its armed services, both past and present, and the Council’s Armed Forces Community Covenant is in keeping with such an approach and significantly takes forward the Council and the County Borough’s, objectives to support our Armed Forces Community.”
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is proud of its Armed Forces Community Covenant, which sets out the commitment it shows former and serving members of the Armed Forces and their families, from financial assistance to signposting to support services.
It was one of the first Local Authorities in Wales to establish an Armed Forces Covenant in order to reiterate its commitment and value to the Armed Forces, both past and present.
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