Aftermath: remembering the Great War in Wales, Angela Gaffney. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1998
There are many excellent books on First World War memorials and memorialisation. However, Gaffney’s Aftermath remains the only work to focus on the Welsh War memorials that were erected to commemorate the 31,000 to 40,000 Welshmen killed in World War One.
Despite being a feature of almost every Welsh town and village, each of these memorials is as unique as they are numerous from obelisks to halls to statues to hospitals. In this well researched but readable book she discusses a huge number of memorials and the very human motivations for their erection. Gaffney explores the need that was felt for local memorials, and examines the decisions that led to their location, funding and design.
Welsh identity as measured against local and British identities is also a key topic of the book. For me, this book was invaluable during my work on the First World War centenary in Wales, as these memorials remain a focal point of communities and commemorations. An absolute must for anyone interested in Welsh identity and social history following the Great War and the lasting impact it had on Wales’ landscape.
Rhodri E Lewis
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