WCIA marked Remembrance 2023 with a week of events at the Temple of Peace, including two ‘Temple Tours’ focusing on the story behind the Wales Book of Remembrance – housed in the Temple’s Crypt – and on Wednesday 15 November, A48 Theatre’s performance “AVIATRIX“, exploring the experiences of women who signed up as RAF pilots in WW2.
The play ‘Aviatrix’ – by Cardiff-based playwright, Jim Blythe – tells the true story of 5 women – all very experienced fliers – and their fight to be recognised as R.A.F. pilots. A parallel story recounts the last moments of renowned Aviator, Amy Johnson, who was also changing attitudes to the potential and status of women. This is a Cabaret-style production touring to venues related to the themes of the play, from RAF St Athan to the Temple of Peace, Wales’ memorial to the fallen of all wars. Purchase Tickets here.
Temple Tours: Wales’ WW1 Book of Remembrance
WCIA’s home, Wales’ Temple of Peace & Health, was built as Wales’ memorial to the fallen of World War One, and houses the Wales WW1 Book of Remembrance – the rollcall of 40,000 fallen men and women of Welsh birth, parentage and serving with Welsh regiments over 1914-18 – within a purpose-built Crypt, symbolically in the heart of the Temple’s foundations. For decades following the Temple’s creation it was a place of pilgrimage for 7,000 visitors a year, remembering their loved ones, who would come to participate in a ‘Turning of the Page’ ceremony. With 1,205 pages in the book, each page of names would come up every 3 1/2 years, so for those whose loved ones came up for display – advertised several weeks beforehand thrugh the Western Mail – it was a special and very moving day that would often bring them together them with families of fallen comrades. The ‘Turning of the Page’ was followed by a 2nd ceremony in the Hall of Nations above, called the ‘Pledge to Peace’, where visitors would share ideas for action to further international cooperation, inspiring many mass participation peace campaigns by WCIA’s predecessor bodies, the Welsh League of Nations Union (WLNU) and UNA Wales (United Nations Association).
Our first Remembrance Temple Tour, on November 9th, re-enacted this ceremony, with visitors Tamsin – a Communications Consultant – leading the address, and Cardiff History student Nawajesh performing the ‘turning of the page’, reading out names from the Army Cyclist Corps in remembrance. Many thanks to both for volunteering and continuing this longstanding tradition.
Visitors can register here for Remembrance Temple Tour on 15 Nov, as well as other tour dates over coming months.