CROWDS turned out to a variety of events over the weekend to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War.

On Friday, around 50 people including the Penarth mayor Cllr Jon Luxton, AM Vaughan Gething and the head teacher of St Cyres School and military historian Jonathan Hicks, amongst others, gathered at Penarth’s Garden of Remembrance for two ceremonies.

The first was a tree dedication on behalf of Penarth Civic Society, who asked Mr Gething to dedicate the tree on behalf of the group.

Speaking ahead of the event, vice-chairman James Long said: “The Penarth Civic Society is proud to contribute to the World War 1 commemorations by planting a beautiful Rowan tree in the Garden of Remembrance.

“The Civic Society’s aims are to cherish the best of the town’s heritage – and what better way than planting a tree to continue the splendid tree canopy of Penarth in acknowledgement of the sacrifice of the men and women who lost so much in protecting our town and country.”

After the tree dedication there was an unveiling of two Victoria Cross memorial stones to Penarth’s recipients of the Victoria Cross, Captain Richard Wain and Sergeant Samuel Pearse.

The ceremony saw family members attend and lay wreaths in memory of both men.

A reading was given by Dr Jonathan Hicks about the lives of Cpt Richard Wain and Sgt Samuel Pearse, who were both awarded the crosses posthumously.

Cpt Wain was killed at the age of 20 during the Battle of Cambrai on November 20, 1917 while leading a section of tanks in action, while Sgt Samuel Pearse was 22 when he was killed on August 29, 1919 while taking over an enemy blockhouse in Northern Russia. After the reading, wreaths were then laid by Cllr Jon Luxton, Mr Gething, Dr Hicks and representatives from local schools including Cogan Primary School and St Cyres School.

Philip Morris of the Royal British Legion performed the Last Post and Reveille and Richard James and Matthew Salisbury of the Legion led tributes, along with the town mayor and Dr Hicks.

Following the ceremony, there was a display in the Paget Rooms from 11.30am until 4pm, where visitors could learn more of Penarth’s VC recipients’ stories.

Along with hearing the stories of Cpt. Wain and Sgt. Pearse there were a variety of projects developed by community groups and schools, memorabilia, history displays and film.

Children from Penarth schools also sang songs including It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.

Attending the services and Paget Rooms event, Cpt Wain’s great-nephew relative Peter Harbinson, who is the great-nephew, of Cpt Wain, said: “My brother and I came 10 years ago when they unveiled the plaque in West House and it was great to come again for the unveiling of the stone in the gardens.

“It was a lovely service. The town has done both men proud and it has a done a lot to keep the memory alive for them.

“The display is great too, I have never seen memorabilia from the First World War, it’s a lot to look at and it’s very good. I’m pleased the children are taking an interest as well.”

Family members for Sgt. Pearse also attended both events having travelled from as a far as Derby. Clare King and her husband Derek King as well as Mr King’s cousin’s daughter Rebecca Gadsby, all said the event was touching for them. Mr King is the first cousin twice removed of Sgt Pearse.

Mrs King said she had found out about the family’s past through the website Ancestry and found out about her husband’s extended family in Australia.

“We found the ceremony today very moving, it brings home how these people changed our lives, had it not been for them then our lives could have been very different,” said Mrs King.

“In the Remembrance Service we laid a wreath from Cpt Sgt. Pearse’s Australian relatives as they couldn’t make it. It was great to attend it and it’s wonderful to have a link to Penarth in this way.”

Mr King added: “We have always known about Cpt Sgt Pearse through my mum and she had a legacy left to her.

“Part of that legacy was divided up and one of the parts of the legacy went to the family as they had gone to Australia.

“I think Dr Hicks has done a fantastic job with the events and I have never been to Penarth before, and coming here to see what has been done is phenomenal.”

Following the events on Friday, on Sunday, a Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day Parade took place. It began at Station Approach before heading via Rectory Road to the Garden of Remembrance at the corner of Alexandra Park, where a wreath laying ceremony took place. Following this, the march continued to St Augustine’s Church for the service. Speaking about the parade and service, resident Alan Roberts said hundreds of people were on the streets of the town.

He said: “This is the first of the parades that my wife and I attended, even though we have lived in Penarth for many years, so cannot compare it to previous years. We were quite impressed with how it was all organised and run. It was a moving experience. We think that the parade itself amounted to a couple of hundred and was made up of the leading pipe band, the army, navy and air-force, with representatives of Penarth Town council including the mayor, the police commissioner Alun Michael, the cadet forces and the scouting movement.

“Stanwell school distributed laminated potted histories of some of those from the school who lost their lives. There were many of the public also wearing medals who may have been British Legion and some people with medals were accompanied by their children or grandchildren. The parade was headed by Derrick Musk bearing the British Legion flag.”

In other events across Penarth, Penarth Town Council planted a commemorative oak at Cliff Walk on behalf of the town, St Augustines’s Church held an Open Church Extra which allowed visitors to learn more on the Roll of Honour memorial and All Saints Church, an open day showcased the 32 young men from the parish who perished in the war. Stanwell School also held a pop-up museum and the performing arts group brought stories of the men to life.

In Dinas Powys, many people gathered on Remembrance Day. The new arrangements for the service had been planned by a small committee chaired by Councillor John Fanshaw.

The chairman of Dinas Powys Community Council, Steve Thomas, and community councillors from Dinas Powys and Michaelston-le-pit were in attendance. Scouts and Guides were part of the proceedings and teams from the local rugby and football clubs attended wearing their sports kit.

Music and hymn accompaniment was provided by the Ecumenical Seven and two of their members played the Last Post before the two-minute silence and Reveille after.

The staff published the order of service booklet in consultation with local historian Derek Brushett. The booklet included the details of every known person from Dinas Powys and Michaelston-le-pit who died in conflict in the two World Wars. At the service, the names of the fallen were read out by Arthur Coxon and Alan Johannson, including the name of William Oliver, the youngest to die, aged only 14.

Councillor Fanshaw said it was heartening that so many had supported the day and thanked all those who worked to ensure that the Armistice Day services and other events were such a success.