Caban y Rhondda

Ym mis Rhagfyr 1915 cyhoeddodd y Rhondda Leader yr apêl ganlynol:

The YMCA and the Troops

By kind permission of the Rhondda Council the school-children throughout the district are this week selling stamps for the YMCA. It is hoped that by their efforts the sum of £300 will be made up for the purpose of purchasing a YMCA Hut, to be known as the “Rhondda hut”. The YMCA deserve very support. They have over 1000 centres with the troops. The YMCA spend over £1,000 weekly for free stationery for the boys in khaki, and the daily cost of carrying on the work is over £500. The Rhondda people will doubtless support the YMCA in the same generous spirit that they always patronise deserving causes. This will be the Rhondda children’s gift to our brave boys in khaki [Rhondda Leader, 4 Rhag 1915].

Yn ystod y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, ymgymerodd yr YMCA ag amrywiaeth o waith i gefnogi’r rhyfel. Un o gyfraniadau mwyaf llwyddiannus a mwyaf adnabyddus y Gymdeithas oedd darparu Cabanau YMCA ym Mhrydain yn gyntaf ac yn agos at y rheng flaen yn Ffrainc a Gwlad Belg wrth i’r rhyfel symud yn ei flaen. Darparodd y Cabanau loches ar gyfer milwyr ac roedd cyfle iddynt gael diodydd poeth, bwyd, papurau newydd a deunyddiau ysgrifennu. Ym Mhrydain, gellid dod o hyd i’r Cabanau mewn dinasoedd mawr, yn agos at orsafoedd trenau yn aml, i’r milwyr eu defnyddio wrth iddynt deithio ar draws y wlad. Roedd hyn yn cynnwys llety dros nos mewn rhai canolfannau. Yn Ffrainc a Gwlad Belg, roedd y Cabanau wedi eu lleoli’r tu ôl i’r rheng flaen fel y gallai milwyr a oedd yn symud oddi wrth y rheng flaen gael seibiant byr o’r ymladd.

Roedd Caban y Rhondda i gael ei leoli yn y brif orsaf yng Nghaerdydd i ddarparu bwyd ar gyfer y miloedd o filwyr yn mynd trwy’r ddinas. Nid oedd yn hawdd codi arian ar gyfer y Caban. Roedd apêl gyntaf yr YMCA ym 1915 ond cymerodd 18 mis pellach i sicrhau’r arian ac i agor y Caban. Ni chafodd yr ymgyrch ddechrau addawol iawn. Mewn cyfarfod ym mis Tachwedd 1915 gwrthododd Cyngor Dosbarth Trefol y Rhondda awgrym yr YMCA i’r Cyngor ofyn i ysgolion godi arian ar gyfer y Caban. Roedd yn amlwg bod pobl yn teimlo bod gormod o faich ar athrawon a disgyblion gyda chodi arian ar gyfer achosion da. Ond i gyfaddawdu penderfynwyd yn y pen draw y câi’r mater ei gyfeirio at aelodau ward ac athrawon [Rhondda Leader, 20 Tach 1915].

Gwelwn o’r uchod yn y Rhondda Leader ar 4 Rhagfyr rydym yn gwybod, fel y digwyddodd dro ar ôl tro yn ystod y rhyfel, fod ysgolion yn y Rhondda ymgymryd â’r her o godi arian ar gyfer y rhyfel. Adroddodd Prifathro Ysgol Fechgyn Ton, dim ond pedwar diwrnod ar ôl i’r erthygl ymddangos yn y Leader:

ER36_2 p481

A cheque for £7.10.0d was sent to the Secretary of the YMCA at Cardiff, this sum having been collected by the boys and girls of Ton Schools towards the erection of a ‘Rhondda Hut’ for our Soldiers at the Front [Ysgol Frutanaidd y Bechgyn Ton, llyfr log, 8 Rhag 1915, ER36/2 t.481].

Ddeufis yn ddiweddarach ysgrifennodd Frank Higman, ysgrifennydd cyffredinol yr YMCA yng Nghaerdydd i Bwyllgor Addysg y Rhondda:

Will you kindly convey to Mr Berry and the head teachers and the staffs our warmest thanks for their splendid co-operation in securing such a substantial sum towards the cost of a hut which we shall have pleasure in christening the “Rhondda Hut” [Rhondda Leader, 12 Chwe 1916].

Mewn llai na 2 fis, roedd ysgolion y Rhondda wedi codi £150 gyda £50 pellach yn mynd i’r YMCA. Ond nid oedd yr ysgolion wedi cyfrannu digon er mwyn cyrraedd y £300 gofynnol a fyddai’n talu am y costau cyfan. Roedd 15 mis ychwanegol cyn i Gaban y Rhondda agor o’r diwedd ar 5 Mai 1917. Rhoddwyd adroddiad llawn o’r agoriad yn y Rhondda Leader:

On Saturday afternoon the 5th inst, the YMCA Rhondda Hut for Soldiers which has been erected opposite No 1 Platform of the Great Western Railway Station Cardiff was opened. Mr H E Maltby, chairman of the Rhondda Urban District Council presided….

The premises occupy a peculiarly convenient position for the purposes they are intended to serve. There is a spacious central hall for light refreshments, furnished with a piano, a billiard table and various other forms of games and replete with facilities for reading and writing. The room is brightly decorated. In a building immediately adjoining there is sleeping accommodation for about 80 men, with bathing facilities. The institution will be kept open day and night until the end of the war. The hut owes its establishment to the generosity of the inhabitants of the Rhondda, who have raised a sum of £1,160 for helping on the war work of the YMCA. It is gratifying to note that with the exception of about £250 the whole of the money has been subscribed by the working class portion of the community [Rhondda Leader, 12 Mai 1917].

Er bod y Caban ar agor roedd angen o hyd ar gyfer mwy o arian i dalu am gostau rhedeg.

Unwaith eto rhoddodd ysgolion y Rhondda eu hunain i godi arian:

For the purpose of aiding the funds of the Rhondda Hut of the YMCA and the Auxiliary Military Hospital, Llwynypia, a successful miscellaneous concert was given by the pupils of the Pentre Secondary School at the Park and Dare Hall, Treorchy, on Friday evening, the 18th inst. The performers who acquitted themselves remarkably well were under the direction of Mr W A Morris, LCP [Rhondda Leader, 26 Mai 1917].

Helpodd ysgolion eraill gan gynnwys Mardy a Threalaw:

ER23_5 p125

Other recent “War Activities” in which the teachers were the principle workers, were the YMCA Hut Campaign, held in March, and the Russian Flag Day, held in April. The results were – YMCA £85.4.9d, Russian Flag Day £23.4.7d [Ysgol Bechgyn Maerdy, llyfr log, 20 Meh 1917, ER23/5 t.125]

ER41_2 p279

The collection towards the YMCA Huts amounted to over £20 – collected by H T Staff & a few helpers [Ysgol Bechgyn Trealaw, llyfr log, Chwe 1917, ER41/2 t.279]

Ym mis Tachwedd 1919, blwyddyn ar ôl arwyddo’r Cadoediad, pwysleisiodd erthygl yn y Rhondda Leader pa mor dda y cafodd y Caban ei ddefnyddio mewn difrif:

This Hut in connection with the YMCA was opened in May 1917, opposite the Great Western Approach, Cardiff and was christened the “Rhondda Hut” because a large proportion of the money necessary for it came from the Rhondda district.

Our readers may be interested to know that nearly 400,000 travelling troops have been entertained free….In addition, 55,897 have been provided with sleeping accommodation during that period.

These figures have justified the erection and maintenance of the Hut, and through the kindness of the Rhondda people much comfort has been given to the men who serve in the Forces and have had to use the Cardiff Station as an important junction [Rhondda Leader, 1 Tach 1919].

Nid oes llawer i ddweud wrthym am pam trodd yr YMCA at y Rhondda i gael arian ar gyfer y Caban yn y lle cyntaf. Mae’n bosibl, gan fod y Caban yn cael ei ddarparu yn bennaf ar gyfer y lluoedd arfog wrth iddynt symud trwy Gaerdydd, y byddai llawer o filwyr a llongwyr wedi dod o gymoedd De Cymru. Byddai’r achos, felly, wedi taro tant benodol â chymunedau yn yr ardaloedd hynny. Ond gwnaeth Syr John Courtis sylw diddorol wrth i’r Caban gael ei agor ym 1917 a adroddwyd yn y Western Mail:

Although splendid work for soldiers had been done by another agency in the city there was ample scope for supplementation [Western Mail, 7 Mai 1917].

Mae’n debyg mai cyfeiriad at y Cardiff Soldiers’ a’r Sailors’ Rest oedd hyn. Roedd hwn yn gyfleuster pwysig ac mae’r Western Mail yn adrodd y rhaglen a ddarparwyd yn y Rest ar Ddydd Nadolig 1917:

Every effort was made at the Cardiff Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Rest, St Mary Street, to give men of the Army and Navy a good time. Between 10am and 7am on Sunday night and Monday morning over 800 men were entertained at the Rest. On Christmas day tea was served and afterwards Mr F E Andrew lent the Central Cinema, the Hayes, for a private exhibition of pictures free of charge to all men in uniform. In the evening there was an entertainment at the Rest [Western Mail, 26 Rhag 1917].

Mae’n bosibl, felly, y bu rhywfaint o amheuaeth, mewn rhai cylchoedd yng Nghaerdydd, o ran yr angen am ganolfan arall yn unol â’r hyn a gynigiwyd gan yr YMCA. Ond wrth i 800 gael eu diddanu yn y Rest, nododd y Western Mail fod …200 o ddynion, gan gynnwys grŵp o ddynion Americanaidd yn cael te gwych ar yr un pryd yn agos, yng Nghaban y Rhondda. Mae’r ffaith bod dros 400,000 ddefnyddio Caban y Rhondda mewn ychydig dros ddwy flynedd yn awgrymu bod yr YMCA yn gywir wrth amcangyfrif y byddai angen canolfan arall.

Yn sicr roedd llawer o filwyr a llongwyr blinedig â rheswm da dros ddiolch i bobl y Rhondda ac, yn enwedig i blant ysgolion y Rhondda, am y bwyd, y cysuron a’r croeso mawr a gawsant yng Nghaban y Rhondda wrth deithio trwy Gaerdydd.

Tony Peters, Gwirfoddolydd Archifau Morgannwg

Advertisements

Hostel Sant Dunstan i Filwyr a Morwyr a Ddallwyd

Wrth i’r Rhyfel Mawr fynd rhagddo, cafodd De Cymru nifer gynyddol o filwyr wedi’u hanafu, yn bennaf o Ffrainc a Gwlad Belg ond, weithiau, o gyn belled â’r Dardanelles. Deliwyd â’r achosion mwyaf brys a difrifol mewn ysbytai milwrol mawr a sefydlwyd mewn canolfannau fel Caerdydd. Hefyd, sefydlodd y Groes Goch dros 40 o ysbytai ledled Morgannwg, yn aml mewn tai gwledig a ddefnyddiwyd yn bennaf fel mannau i filwyr orffwys a gwella cyn dychwelyd i’r gad.

Sefydlodd ysgolion ledled Morgannwg gysylltiadau â’u hysbytai lleol gan helpu mewn ffyrdd ymarferol iawn fel casglu ffrwythau a llysiau ar gyfer yr ysbytai. Daethai’r cysylltiadau ag ysbytai lleol nifer o blant ifanc i gysylltiad â milwyr a anafwyd, ac felly â realiti tywyll y lladdfa a berodd ymladd cyfoes yn Ffrainc a thu hwnt:

This afternoon four wounded soldiers from Caerphilly Hospital visited the school from 3.20 to 4pm. They visited the various classes in pairs and showed much interest in a Welsh school. The pupils were equally delighted with the visitors who hailed from Liverpool, Norfolk, Cornwall and London respectively.  The soldiers were the guests of the Red Cross Nurses for the afternoon [Ysgol Ferched Cwmaber, 27 Gorff 1918, ECG18/2 t.133]

Permission has been granted by the Local Managers to take the Scholars to the Palace Theatre, this afternoon, when an interesting programme has been prepared to celebrate Empire Day. An invitation has been tendered to the wounded soldiers, now at Caerphilly Red Cross Hospital [Ysgol Ferched Caerffili, 24 Mai 1917, ECG13/3 t.99]

Defnyddiwyd nwy mwstard ar faes y gad o 1916 ymlaen, gan ddallu miloedd o ŵyr ifanc dros dro – ac yn aml, yn barhaol. Mae cofnodlyfr yr ysgol yn sôn am yr ymweliadau gan filwyr dall ag ysgolion lleol, a’r ymdrechion a wnaeth yr ysgolion i gynnig cyfleusterau i helpu’r milwyr i wella. Roedd cofnod Ysgol Ferched Cwmaber ar gyfer Gorffennaf 1917 yn un arferol i’r cyfnod:

Two visitors came here this afternoon to hear the girls singing – two blind soldiers who were on a visit to Abertridwr – one from London and one from Australia. They expressed great pleasure at the singing, especially the Welsh songs. The children keenly felt the presence of the visitors and their sacrifice appealed to them greatly.  Needless to say they received a very hearty welcome [Ysgol Ferched Cwmaber, 27 Gorff 1917, ECG18/2, t.118]

Cawsai’r ymweliadau argraff ddofn ar y staff a’r disgyblion. O ganlyniad, rhoddodd ysgolion sylw penodol i elusennau a weithiai â’r milwyr a ddallwyd. Y fwyaf adnabyddus oedd Hostel Sant Dunstand yn Regents Park Lodge, Llundain. Roedd yn elusen a gefnogwyd gan Sefydliad Cenedlaethol y Deillion, Cymdeithas y Groes Goch ac Urdd Sant Ioan, Jerwsalem. Yr unigolyn a greodd yr hostel oedd Arthur Pearson, y perchennog papurau newydd, a ymrwymodd ei hun i weithio i Sefydliad Cenedlaethol y Deillion ar ôl colli ei olwg.  Cydnabu’r angen a oedd ar gynifer o filwyr a ddallwyd yn ystod y rhyfel am ofal arbenigol, a sefydlodd Hostel Sant Dunstan ym mis Chwefror 1915 fel canolfan lle gellid addysgu crefft i ddynion, a’u helpu i ddychwelyd i fywyd bob dydd. Ymhlith y sgiliau a addysgwyd oedd teipio, teleffoni, gwaith saer a garddio’n fasnachol. Anogai’r hostel i’r dynion wneud pob math o bethau, o chwaraeon i ddysgu offeryn cerddorol.

Roedd Sant Dunstan yn symbol o drasiedi rhyfel, ond hefyd yr hyn y gellid ei wneud i helpu milwyr i ailadeiladu eu bywydau.  Roedd felly’n elusen boblogaidd a gafodd llawer o gymorth, a gwnaeth ysgolion De Cymru, ynghyd ag eraill ledled y wlad, ymdrech arbennig i’w chefnogi.

Un o’r prif ffyrdd y codai Sant Dunstan arian oedd drwy gyngherddau cerddorol. Aeth y ‘Blind Musicians’ ar deithiau cenedlaethol. Ym mis Mehefin 1917, daethent i Dde Cymru. O adroddiadau papur newydd gwyddom i gyngherddau gael eu cynnal yn Neuadd y Dref, Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr, lle codwyd £50. Roeddent hefyd yn westeion i Gôr Meibion Rhymni yn Neuadd Blwyf Dewi Sant, Rhymni, yn ystod yr un mis.  Ar 15 Mehefin 1917, adroddodd y papur newydd lleol:

The true patriotism of the public of Rhymney and its readiness to appreciate first class music were again strikingly demonstrated on Wednesday evening when a grand concert was given at St David’s Parish Hall… by the Blind Musicians of the National Institute for the Blind, London, the proceeds being devoted to the St Dunstan’s Hostel for our Blinded Soldiers and Sailors, Regents Park, London.

The artistic efforts of the performers revealed the fact that there are amongst the blind some splendid musicians and encores were quite numerous during the evening.

During the interval Mr Avalon Collard the representative of the National Institute for the Blind delivered a most interesting address on the splendid work of our Blinded Soldiers and Sailors at St Dunstan’s.

St Dunstan’s could be described as a workshop of darkness, a training ground for those who living in a world entirely different from ours must get their living in competition with us for whom the sun still shines and night is a visible beauty [Bargoed and Caerphilly Observer, 15 Meh 1917]

Erbyn mis Mehefin 1917, roedd yr hostel wedi helpu dros 200 o ddynion, gyda 380 ymhellach yn cael eu hyfforddi a’u cynorthwyo. Fodd bynnag, nod y daith oedd codi arian i’r 110 o ddynion mewn ysbytai milwrol a oedd yn aros i ddod i Sant Dunstan. Gallwn weld pa mor boblogaidd oedd Sant Dunstan ymhlith yr ysgolion gyda’r penderfyniad a wnaed ar 7 Mehefin i gau ysgolion Caerffili fel y gallai’r disgyblion gyfrannu at gefnogi’r cyngherddau gan ‘The Blind Musicians’ yng Nghastell Caerffili:

ECG12_3 p51

Received instruction to close school this afternoon as there is a great function in the Castle on behalf of the Blinded Soldiers from St. Dunstan’s. The Blind men will give two Concerts [Ysgol Bechgyn Caerffili, 7 Gorff 1917, ECG12/3 t.51]

Byddai ysgolion hefyd yn trefnu eu digwyddiadau eu hunain i godi arian i Hostel Sant Dunstan. Yn ystod yr un mis, nododd Pennaeth Ysgol Fechgyn Mardy hyn yng nghofnodlyfr yr ysgol:

ER23_5 p125

A charity concert, organised chiefly by the teachers, was held on the 9th June at the Workmen’s Hall, Ferndale, the proceeds being devoted to the St Dunstan’s Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors. Mardy’s contribution towards this was £28.11.0 [Ysgol Bechgyn Y Maerdy, 20 Meh 1917, ER23/5 t.125]

Cydnabuwyd hefyd fod teuluoedd milwyr a oedd wedi colli’u golwg yn wynebu anawsterau ariannol difrifol. Ym 1917, penderfynodd awdurdod addysg y Rhondda gefnogi apêl genedlaethol i godi arian ar gyfer Cronfa’r Plant i Filwyr a Ddallwyd. Ym mis Tachwedd 1917, cafodd Prifathro Ysgol Fechgyn Trealaw y cylchlythyr canlynol gan yr Awdurdod Addysg:

I write to ask for the benefit of your co-operation in my Xmas appeal to the British Isles on behalf of the children of our Blinded Soldiers and Sailors. Briefly the aim is to collect a sum of not less than £250,000 to provide a weekly payment of 5/- for each child of every blind soldier and sailor until such child reaches the age of 16. At present the married men and children receive from the Government a weekly allowance for each child they may have and for every child born nine months after their discharge, but there is no allowance for children born after the blinded man has left the army nor any allowance for the children of men who marry after their disablement. Christmas envelopes containing an appeal will be given to each child and these will be collected after the vacation [Ysgol Bechgyn Trealaw, 9 Tach 1917, ER41/2 tt.294-5]

Er bod dogni wedi cael ei gyflwyno, a’i fod yn gyfnod anodd i deuluoedd ledled De Cymru, tarodd yr apêl dant â’r plant.  Ym mis Ionawr, adroddodd Trealaw fod £12 5 swllt wedi’i godi a gwnaethai ysgolion eraill yn yr ardal gyfraniadau tebyg. Er enghraifft, cododd Ysgol Fabanod Pen-y-graig £3 8 swllt a 6 dimai. I gydnabod ei chyfraniad, cafodd Ysgol Trealaw lythyr o ddiolch gan Arthur Pearson:

ER41_2 p307

Will you please convey to your scholars my sincere thanks for their subscription to the Blinded Soldiers’ Children Fund – £12 5s. 1d. I need not tell you how keenly I appreciate this evidence of their sympathy and interest and in the effort to make as happy as possible the home lives of the men who have made so great a sacrifice for their country and whose bravery has been shown not only while they were serving in the Army, but in a most remarkable manner since. In thanking in my own name all who have so kindly assisted in this collection, I am thanking them on behalf of those blinded soldiers for whom the fund is being raised [Ysgol Bechgyn Trealaw, 11 Maw 1918, ER41/2 t.307]

Erbyn llofnodi’r Cadoediad ym mis Tachwedd 1918, roedd Sant Dunstan wedi helpu dros 600 o gyn-filwyr, ond megis dechrau oedd y gwaith. Roedd o hyd 900 o ddynion yn dysgu sgiliau newydd yn Regent’s Park ac agorodd canolfannau eraill ledled y wlad. A, chwarae teg, bedwar mis yn ddiweddarach roedd yr ysgolion yn dal i gasglu arian ar gyfer Sant Dunstan.

ECG13_3 p131

Celebrations of St David’s Day. Programme – A Welsh drama composed by Mrs John CA now a member on the staff and previously Head Mistress of Senghenydd Infants’ School – ‘Plant y Pentre’. As usual the entertainment will be held in the Palace kindly lent for the occasion. A nominal charge will be made for adults, the proceeds to be handed over to St Dunstan’s Institute for our blinded heroes of the war [Ysgol Ferched Caerffili, 28 Chwe 1919, ECG13/3 t.131]

Er i Arthur Pearson farw ym 1921, daliodd Sant Dunstan i gynorthwyo cyn-filwyr dall ar ôl y rhyfel ac yn ystod yr Ail Ryfel Byd. Blind Veterans UK yw enw’r elusen heddiw, ac mae’n dathlu ei chanmlwyddiant. Mae ei gweledigaeth wreiddiol yr un fath â’r weledigaeth a ysbrydolodd plant De Cymru ledled Prydain ym 1915 – ni ddylai neb sydd wedi gwasanaethu’r wlad frwydr dallineb eu hunain.

Tony Peters, Gwirfoddolydd Archifau Morgannwg