A large crowd gathered in the copse adjacent to Abergavenny’s Castle Meadows on the last Saturday in April to witness the planting of the 100th oak tree in an area specially devoted to the commemoration of Abergavenny’s 364 war dead, a century on from the conflict.
Following a welcome and introduction to the event from the Friends of Castle Meadows, retiring Cllr Doug Edwards, whose Grofield ward incorporates the meadows, commented on his proud assocation with the Friends group and the efficacy of their working relationship with Monmouthshire County Council’s Countryside Service in co-promoting and managing the site. Before planting the oak (with assistance from five year old Joshua, see photo) he concluded by remarking on the human sadness and tragedy of the war, a theme continued by the Town’s Mayor, Cllr Chris Woodhouse. The Mayor recited Laurence Binyon’s Great War associated verse ‘For the Fallen’, and then John Maxwell Edmonds’ credited Epitaph, which was used for the Kohima Memorial in World War 2 but whose sentiments are timeless and apposite.
When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For their tomorrows, we gave our today.
The Last Post was then movingly played by the principal cornet from the Abergavenny Borough Band, Diane Mogford.
Also attending were Peter Tamlyn and Peter Strong from the Gwent Western Front Association. The Friends will involve the WFA in their planning for a permanent memorial for Abergavenny’s war contribution on the meadows in time for the centenary marking the end of the war in November 2018.
The youngest attendees were groups of local Brownies who had themselves planted a wild harvest spinney in the copse in early March. The Friends were saddened to discover that just two days before Saturday’s event a large number of the 90 young trees in the spinney had been damaged or taken. This is an issue that has confronted the Friends volunteers for some time. If anyone has any information regarding antisocial behaviour on or in the vicinity of Castle Meadows can they please contact the police.