Welsh Memorial Flanders seeks completion funds

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The campaign to create a memorial to the Welsh soldiers who lost their lives in Flanders during World War I has raised more than £30,000, but requires a further £60,000 to complete its plans.

The monument will comprise a cromlech, similar to those seen atop ancient Welsh burial chambers, topped by a bronze dragon and surrounded by a garden of remembrance.

The regional authority has donated a piece of land on Pilkem Ridge, near Ypres, for the memorial and planning permission is in place. It will bear the inscription: ‘Dedicated to all persons of Welsh descent who took part in the First World War.’

Campaigners point out that Wales suffered particularly high per capita losses during World War I, with Welsh units heavily engaged on the Somme and at the major battles of 1917 and 1918.

Many Welsh soldiers also served in non-Welsh infantry regiments, the Royal Artillery, Army Service Corps, Royal Flying Corps and the tunnelling battalions of the Royal Engineers, which recruited many Welsh coal miners.

While there is a specifically Welsh monument at Mametz on the Somme, there is currently no similar memorial in Flanders, despite the numbers who fell there. The area around Langemark and Pilkem Ridge is a particularly emotive one because it was here that Welsh poet Hedd Wyn was killed in 1917 while serving in the 15th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers as part of the 38th (Welsh) Division.

For more about the memorial and to donate, click here.

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