Never Forget Your Welsh Heroes is a unique campaign to track down and digitize letters and diaries from Welsh soldiers (and soldiers who served in Welsh regiments) from any period in the history of the British Armed Forces. The purpose of this is to create a digital national archive that can be accessed online. This will be an opportunity for the public to freely access and learn more about the voice of the individual Welsh soldier, and to appreciate the Welsh contribution to the conflicts of Britain’s past.
The idea started with an up-and-coming South Wales indie folk band – ‘Rusty Shackle’ - wanting to donate the proceeds of downloads of their song ‘Tommy's Letter’ to a military charity. Fortunately, the band contacted the Friends of the Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh in Brecon, and out of that liaison was born a campaign to preserve records from Welsh Tommies writing home to their families and loved ones.
In the years since Welsh archers helped their English kings win the battles of Crecy and Agincourt, there have been few letters from combatants in the various conflicts of the British armed forces; but by the time of World War One, when millions of men volunteered and subsequent swathes of Welsh youth were conscripted into the rapidly expanded army, the ordinary soldier was literate and writing about his experiences.
As Britain’s first Welsh Prime Minister, Lloyd George was determined that Wales should play a valiant part in the war effort; as a result, Wales made the largest contribution of servicemen and women in relation to the size of the population than any other country in the Empire. We want to remember all those who took part – both those who fought and survived as well as those who fought and died. By preserving these historically significant records in this way, we can shine a light on the heroism of the everyday soldier. If there are letters or diaries from any conflict in which a Welsh soldier fought, we want to archive and publish them, so that the nation knows its heroes and can honour and learn from them.