On Day Six of War Graves Week, the main CWGC events have moved into Wales and to Cardiff (Cathays) Cemetery. The two Public Engagement Coordinators for the CWGC who cover the West Midlands and Wales are Amy Kitcher and Sarah Moody.
Amy is the Public Engagement Coordinator for the West Region, which covers Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Bristol, Caerphilly, Carmarthenshire, Cardiff, Ceredigion, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan. Amy’s interest in the work of the CWGC can be traced back to her childhood, when she learned that her Great-Uncle was buried at Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore. She has since discovered that she has two more relatives remembered by the CWGC in Newcastle and on the Somme.
Amy found that the first war cemetery she visited, Suda Bay War Cemetery, had a big impression on her. She said: “it was moving to see how much the gardeners and stonemasons care for the individual graves” stated that she felt “very proud” to be part of the team that carries on the Commission’s work in the UK.
Sarah is the Public Engagement Coordinator for the West (Central) Region, which covers Cheshire, Conwy, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire, and Wrexham. Sarah’s interest with the Commission’s work began when she began to trace her own family history and became fascinated by the information she found on the CWGC website. Sarah finds visiting Cannock Chase War Cemetery, one of the most significant sites in her region, with various groups one of the most enjoyable aspects of her work. The area is within one of the UK’s ‘Areas of Outstanding National Beauty’ and the cemetery is a source of incredible local history from both World Wars.
Sarah says that she has experienced some very moving moments working for the CWGC that will remain with her. Many of these involve helping individuals discover the resting place of their relatives, a situation that is often “quite emotional” according to Sarah as much of the information may have been lost to them for a great many years and so people “are grateful to find that these graves will be cared for in perpetuity.”
Cardiff (Cathays) Cemetery
Cardiff (Cathays) Cemetery was opened in 1859, and is today the final resting place of over 700 Commonwealth and Allied servicemen and women of the two World Wars. In addition to members of the Commonwealth remembered here, there are also individuals from the Dutch and Norwegian forces. The site itself contains the highest number of CWGC war graves in Wales; over half of the burials here are sons and daughters of local families, buried here by their kin.
One of the eight women buried at Cardiff (Cathays) Cemetery is Aircraftwoman First Class Barbara Sarah Watkin Williams. She was born in Cardiff and enlisted into the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in 1939, aged just 16. She was serving at an RAF Station in Lincolnshire when she was killed in a collision between two cars during the blackout in June 1940.