Bechgyn Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr a’r Peirianddryll

Ar 25 Gorffennaf 1919 aeth disgyblion Ysgol Cyngor Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn i gyfarfod a gynhaliwyd yn Neuadd Tref Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr i goffáu diwedd y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf. Prif atyniad y cyfarfod oedd Peirianddryll Maxim a gipiwyd oddi wrth yr Almaenwyr. Rhoddodd un o ddisgyblion ysgol Pen-y-bont, Edwin James Cuming, 9 oed, yr araith ganlynol:

Dear Friends and citizens of the town of Bridgend, – This is a happy day for us and I have been chosen to tell you about this gun. Penybont Boys’ is the only school in the district, and I believe in South Wales that had been given a gun by His Majesty’s Government. In this we are greatly honoured. The gun is a light German Maxim gun and was captured from the Bosches. It has been presented to our school as a reward for the work of the scholars during Tank Week, and also in connection with the War Savings Campaign. We are proud that we have been able to bring this additional honour to the town of Bridgend, and that the boys of Penybont Boys’ School are showing themselves worthy sons of the Empire (Glamorgan Gazette, 1 Awst 1919)

Ceir rhagor o fanylion yn llyfr cofnodion Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, a gadwyd gan y Pennaeth John G Jenkins:

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This afternoon the School had a Victory and Peace Celebration of its own in order to show the people the captured German Machine Gun which had been presented to the School by the Government for the meritorious work which had been done by the school in collecting over £4000 in War Savings Cert during the Bridgend Tank Week. Many of the boys dressed in fancy costumes. They paraded the town and dismissed in front of the Town Hall after the delivery of two or three speeches and singing of several patriotic songs (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 25 Gorff 1919, EM10/11 t.499)

Roedd codi £4000 yn cyfateb i tua £12 fesul disgybl – sef swm anferth ym 1919. Yn ogystal, roedd yr arian a godwyd ar gyfer Wythnos y Tanc yn un rhan fach yn unig o’r gwaith a wnaed gan ddisgyblion Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn yn ystod y rhyfel. Mae llyfr cofnodion John Jenkins, a gedwir yn Archifau Morgannwg, yn cofnodi ymdrechion rhyfeddol bechgyn a staff Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn i godi arian er mwyn cynorthwyo’r ymdrech ryfel o fis Awst 1914 ymlaen.

Roedd gan Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn 330 o ddisgyblion ym mis Awst 1914. Roedd y Pennaeth yn rhedeg yr ysgol gyda chymorth 6 chynorthwyydd yn unig. Byddai pob athro, gan gynnwys y Pennaeth, yn arwain dosbarthiadau a oedd yn cynnwys o leiaf ddeugain o ddisgyblion, a mwy na hynny’n aml pan oedd staff yn absennol. Yn ogystal, roedd cyflwr adeiladwaith yr ysgol yn wael. Nododd adroddiad Arolygu Ysgolion a gynhaliwyd yn gynharach yn 1914 y canlynol:

The recommendations of the 1909 report with regard to classroom accommodation, direct access to the playground, heating and the provision of hoppers for the lower sections of the windows have still to be carried out… The two small classrooms are still habitually overcrowded. Several windows panes were broken at the time of the visit (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 24 Ebr 1914, EM10/11 tt.365-68).

Er hynny, mae’n amlwg roedd Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn yn ysgol â threfniadau rheoli da iawn. Roedd y gyfradd bresenoldeb gyfartalog yn 90%, a nododd adroddiad arolygu 1914 y canlynol:

The Department is staffed with energetic teachersA very good scheme of work has been planned and under the able supervision of the Master, who himself takes a full share in teaching, is soundly carried out (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 24 Ebr 1914, EM10/11 tt.365).

Roedd John Jenkins yn Bennaeth profiadol iawn. Wedi’i eni ym Maesteg, roedd e’n 57 oed yn 1914, a bu’n Bennaeth ar Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn ers dros 30 mlynedd. Roedd hefyd yn aelod blaenllaw o’r gymuned leol fel Cadeirydd Cyngor Dosbarth Tref Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr a diacon yr Eglwys Gynulleidfaol Saesneg ym Mhen-y-bont ar Ogwr. Ar ddechrau’r rhyfel, mae’n amlwg ei fod wedi penderfynu y byddai ei ysgol yn gwneud popeth o fewn ei gallu i gynorthwyo’r ymdrech ryfel yn yr ardal leol, ac yn sicr roedd bechgyn Ysgol Pen-y-bont wedi derbyn yr her.

Lansiwyd un o’r apeliadau cyntaf gan Dywysog Cymru i roi cymorth i deuluoedd aelodau’r lluoedd arfog. Ym mis Awst 1914 roedd y rhyfel eisoes yn effeithio ar staffio ysgol Pen-y-bont:

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We resumed duties after the summer holidays under the shadow of the terrible war which has broken out between Germany and Austria on one side and England, France and Russia on the other. This has already disorganised my staff as Mr. Brown has rejoined the colours and Mr B J Jones who had been appointed to succeed Mr Morgan has failed to take up his engagement. We had only four teachers this morning to teach seven classes… (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 31 Awst 1914, EM10/11 t.379)

Er y bu’n rhaid i athrawon ymdopi â dosbarthiadau o 70 o ddisgyblion mewn rhai achosion, roedd ymateb yr ysgol i’r apêl i godi arian ar gyfer Cronfa Tywysog Cymru yn ardderchog. Bob wythnos roedd The Glamorgan Gazette yn rhestru’r rhoddion a wnaed gan yr ysgol o fis Medi 1914 ymlaen. Nifer o fisoedd yn ddiweddarach, ysgrifennodd John Jenkins:

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Ever since the week ending Sept 4th   my boys have subscribed weekly to some military fund or other. Up to Nov. 13th the school, including the staff, had collected a sum of £7 19s 8d and sent it to the Prince of Wales Fund. From then on to Dec 17th another sum of £2 7s 2d has been subscribed. With this money we purchased 50 shilling boxes of cigarettes and sent them to our Old Boys stationed in Scotland with the Welsh Cyclist Corps. Besides cigarettes we sent a parcel of splendid woollen mufflers and chocolates. Serg. Major Miles, to whom we sent the goods, sent a very warm letter of thanks from himself and the Old Boys for their happy Christmas box (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 26 Chwe 1915, EM10/11 t.387).

Roedd y bechgyn yn gwneud gwaith da arall yn ogystal â chodi arian. Er mwyn trin y milwyr clwyfedig o Ffrainc a mannau mwy pellennig, sefydlodd y Groes Goch ysbytai ledled Morgannwg. Ar unwaith penderfynodd Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn fabwysiadu Ysbyty’r Groes Goch a sefydlwyd yn Heol Merthyr Mawr, felly bu’r ysgol yn anfon bwyd a chyflenwadau eraill i aelodau’r lluoedd arfog yn rheolaidd o 1915 ymlaen.

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This week we have sent our second consignment of gifts to the Red Cross Military Hospital in Merthyrmawr Road. The boys were asked to bring eggs and fruit and they responded very well. Over 100 eggs were sent to the Hospital besides a large quantity of apples, oranges, bananas, chocolates and cigarettes. About 20 eggs were also sent to the Cottage Hospital. Cordial letters of thanks were sent to the boys by the two matrons of the respective hospitals. Last week we sent nearly 40 eggs and a large basket of fruit (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 1 Ebr 1915, EM10/11 t.389-90)

Yn ogystal, roedd John Jenkins, cyn aelod o Gôr Caradoc, yn adnabyddus fel un a garai cerddoriaeth. Dan ei arweiniad, bu côr ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn yn chwarae rôl flaenllaw yn y cyngherddau lleol a drefnwyd i godi arian drwy gydol y rhyfel.

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My boys took part in a Concert last Wednesday night in the Town Hall. A section of the St I and II sang ‘Till the boys come home’ and a large section of St V, VI, VII sang Sullivan’s ‘Lost Chord’. There will be a repeat performance tonight. The proceeds of the two concerts will be devoted to the support of Queen Mary’s Guild (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 21 Ion 1916, EM10/11 t.415)

Nid dim ond gweithiau corawl oedd yn cael eu perfformio. Fel y nododd The Glamorgan Gazette, roedd bechgyn yr ysgol yn aml yn cynnwys perfformiad dramatig o’r olygfa cyn brwydr Agincourt o Henry V gan Shakespeare. Mae’n amlwg bod y bechgyn yn hoff iawn o’r olygfa honno, ac fe’i hail-berfformiwyd ar Ddydd Gŵyl Dewi wrth i’r bechgyn berfformio gerbron cynulleidfa o rieni a phobl leol ar risiau Neuadd y Dref ar ôl gorymdeithio drwy strydoedd Pen-y-bont.

Mewn gwirionedd, prin iawn oedd y gweithgareddau codi arian lle nad oedd bechgyn Pen-y-bont yn chwarae rhan flaenllaw ynddynt. Roeddent hefyd yn cyfrannu at y Diwrnodau Baneri niferus a gynhaliwyd ym Mhen-y-bont. Nododd The Glamorgan Gazette ar 5 Mawrth 1915 fod bechgyn Pen-y-bont wedi codi £2 5s 9c, gan ychwanegu: …scarcely a person passed through any of the main thoroughfares without having a flag pinned on them.

O 1917 ymlaen gofynnwyd i’r ysgol sefydlu Cymdeithas Cynilon Rhyfel i annog pobl i brynu Bondiau Rhyfel. Ym 1918 aeth nifer o Danciau ar daith drwy De Cymru fel rhan o ymgyrch genedlaethol i annog cymunedau lleol i brynu bondiau. Mae’n bosibl mai dyfodiad y Tanc Egbert i Ben-y-bont ar Ogwr ym mis Mehefin 1918 oedd yr uchafbwynt i’r bechgyn.

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The tank ‘Egbert’ paid a visit to our town on Tuesday and Wednesday, 18th and 19th inst. The huge sum of £230,500 was invested in the tank by the people of Bridgend and the surrounding district. As the population of the town is now only about 7,500 the above sum represents a sum per head of head of over £30 one of the best contributions in the Kingdom. The proceedings in front of the Town Hall where the tank was stationed were characterised by great enthusiasm and patriotic fervour. The Choir of our school occupied the stage in front of the tank on two occasions and sang numerous patriotic and national songs, to the evident pleasure of the great assemblage, which completely filled the square. Our School Assoc’, The Penybont Boys’ War Savings Association invested in the tank on Wed afternoon the comparatively large sum of £2,100, representing a sum of £2,800 in War Certificates. This placed our school easily on top of all the schools in the town and district whether elementary or secondary and had I believe made a record for the schools of the whole County of Glamorgan (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 21 Meh 1918, EM10/11 tt.473-4)

Yn ogystal, roedd gan Ysgol Pen-y-bont nifer o ‘arwyr rhyfel’. Ym mis Gorffennaf 1917 ysgrifennodd John Jenkins:

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The father of one of my old boys who is at the front visited me today and gave me the gratifying news that his son – Charlie Lawrence of Newcastle has been awarded the D.C.M for distinguished conduct ‘In the Field’. The other day the townspeople presented another of my Old Boys with a gold watch for winning the Military Medal. The presentation meeting was held in the Town Hall Square and I had the honour of presiding over the meeting and of presenting the hero with the watch. The Old Boy’s name is Corporal Fred Quinlan of South Street. Another of my Old Boys who has won a Military Medal is Harry Bushnell, now living in Treorchy; and yet another is Frank Howells, Nolton St, who has been awarded the Military Medal, and it is rumoured that he has been recommended for a VC. My own son also, T Steve Jenkins has recently received a Commission at the Front ‘for meritorious Service in the Field’ (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 20 Gorff 1917, EM10/11 tt.451-2)

Fodd bynnag, cafwyd newyddion am golledion o’r Ffrynt yn Ffrainc hefyd:

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News has been received, that unfortunately it is officially confirmed of the death of two of my old scholars in the field of battle viz Willie Davis, Oldcastle and Edwin Thomas …. Other Old Boys who have fallen were Fred Thomas, Arthur Palmer and John Fitzgerald (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 29 Mai 1916, EM10/11 t.422)

Gan hynny, nid oes syndod bod John Jenkins a’r bechgyn wedi dathlu diwedd y rhyfel yn frwdfrydig.

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News of the Great Armistice with the belligerent nations in the Great War came this morning about 11 o’clock. I immediately organised a procession of the boys thro’ the principal streets of the town, headed by their school banner. We cheered the King, Lloyd George, Foch, Haig and Beatty, and sang ‘God Save the King’ and ‘Rule Britannia’ in front of the Town Hall, and then returned to school. Half holiday in the afternoon. Staff and children and most of the townspeople half delirious with joy (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 11 Tach 1918, EM10/11 tt.481-2)

Ail-agorwyd yr ysgol drannoeth…gyda lefel wael iawn o bresenoldeb. Gellid bod wedi disgwyl mai dyna fyddai diwedd gwaith y bechgyn o gynorthwyo’r ymdrech ryfel. Fodd bynnag, roedd cryn dipyn o waith i’w wneud o hyd. Yn ogystal â chroesawu dychweliad aelodau’r lluoedd arfog, roedd angen parhau i godi arian drwy werthu Bondiau i dalu costau’r rhyfel. Gan hynny, parhaodd y ymgyrch Cynilon Rhyfel yn ddi-baid yn ystod y blynyddoedd ar ôl diwedd y rhyfel. Roedd gwyliau ychwanegol ar gael fel gwobr i’r ysgol a oedd yn gwerthu’r nifer fwyaf o Fondiau ym Mhen-y-bont. Ym mis Ionawr 1919 ysgrifennodd John Jenkins:

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Mr Preece, the Manager’s Clerk has written to tell me that my school has won a half holiday for collecting the next highest amount per head in war Savings Certificates during the month of December. The holiday will be taken next Friday afternoon the 31 inst. (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 24 Ion 1919, EM10/11 t.488).

Roedd y bechgyn yn parhau i gynorthwyo amryw o ddigwyddiadau lleol hefyd. Er enghraifft, ar 27 Rhagfyr 1918 cyhoeddodd The Glamorgan Gazette adroddiad ar gyngerdd a gynhaliwyd yn y sinema ym Mhen-y-bont i godi arian ar gyfer Cronfa Groesawu Milwyr a Morwyr Pen-y-bont. Roedd y canlynol ymhlith nifer o berfformwyr:

The Penybont Boys’ Choir (conducted by Mr J G Jenkins) again created a very favourable impression, singing in perfect time and with clear enunciation and the sweetest harmony – quite suggestive of a trained cathedral choir (Glamorgan Gazette, 27 Rhag 1918)

Mae’n debyg mai’r gwaith parhaus hwnnw arweiniodd at y cais rhyfedd gan yr Adran Addysg a nodwyd yn llyfr cofnodion John Jenkins am …fanylion unrhyw waith arbennig a wnaed gan yr ysgol yn ystod y rhyfel. Y cais hwnnw arweiniodd at benderfyniad y Swyddfa Ryfel i gyflwyno peirianddryll Maxim i’r ysgol fel gwobr am ei hymdrechion.

Mae’r llyfr cofnodion yn adrodd stori ysgol a phennaeth nodedig. Bu Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn yn gweithredu mewn amgylchiadau anodd. Drwy gydol y rhyfel, bu’r Pennaeth yn apelio’n rheolaidd am gyfraniadau i’w Gronfa Esgidiau er mwyn rhoi esgidiau i’r disgyblion tlotaf. Er hynny, rhoddodd y bobl anghenus hynny swm sylweddol o arian i gynorthwyo’r ymdrech ryfel. Wrth ysgrifennu at John Jenkins ar ran Pwyllgor Cynilon Rhyfel Cenedlaethol Sir Forgannwg ym mis Mehefin 1918, dywedodd Dr Abel Jones:

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I must congratulate you and your staff and children very heartily upon the excellent contribution you made to the Tank visit last week. I shall be very glad if you will convey to them my congratulations. I have not heard of any other school in the County doing so well (Ysgol Pen-y-bont i Fechgyn, llyfr log, 28 Meh 1918, EM10/11 t.475)

Nid yw’r llyfr cofnodion yn dweud beth ddigwyddodd i’r peirianddryll Maxim. Rhowch wybod i ni os ydych yn gwybod beth ddigwyddodd iddo er mwyn i ni allu ychwanegu’r manylion at yr hanes uchod.

Daeth y deunydd uchod o lyfr cofnodion ysgol yn Ardal pen-y-bont ar Ogwr. Gellir dod o hyd i straeon tebyg yng nghofnodion ysgolion ledled Morgannwg ar gyfer 1914-18. Os hoffech ragor o wybodaeth am effaith y rhyfel ar fywyd ysgol yn eich ardal chi a ledled Morgannwg, gallwch weld crynodebau o lyfrau cofnodion ysgolion ar gyfer pob ardal awdurdod lleol ar wefan Archifau Morgannwg www.archifaumorgannwg.gov.uk. Gallwch hefyd weld llawer o’r papurau newydd a gyhoeddwyd yng Nghymru yn 1914-1918, gan gynnwys y dyfyniadau uchod o The Glamorgan Gazette, yn http://papuraunewydd.llyfrgell.cymru/. Gallwch weld papurau newydd a gyhoeddwyd yng Nghymru yn ddi-dâl drwy ddefnyddio’r wefan hon gan Lyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru.

Tony Peters, Gwirfoddolydd Archifau Morgannwg

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