In the 1920’s the people of Barry felt the need to provide a suitable memorial for the Barrians who had given their lives in the fight for freedom in the First World War. It was decided that it should take the form of a Cenotaph and hall. The cost was £26,000, in today’s money close to £4m.
With the extremely generous help of the Davies family (descendants of David Davies who founded the docks), and the wholehearted support of the people of Barry – who each gave a penny -they succeeded, and the newly built hall and Cenotaph was opened in 1932.
2007 saw the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Memorial Hall and the dedication of the Hall of Memory and Cenotaph.
The years had taken their toll and both the Hall of Memory and the Cenotaph were in need of restoration and improvement. The trustees commissioned a report by an experienced restoration architect who has surveyed the memorials and made recommendations to restore them and bring them up to legislative standards as to what needed to be done.
The cost of the work was estimated at £60,000 and the “Barry Remembers” appeal was launched to raise this sum in time for the work to be completed for the 75th anniversary on November 11th 2007.
£92,000 was raised, and the support of the community, local authorities and the generosity of many organisations and individuals was outstanding.
The fundraising also enabled the Merchant Navy Association’s reproduced and updated Role of Honour, which contains the names of more than 600 merchant seamen from Barry who died in conflicts, to be displayed within the Hall of Memory.
The late Gareth Howe, chairman of the appeal, said: “This appeal touched the hearts of people. More than 300 donations were made by business, local authorities, organisations and Barrians living at home and abroad.”
The Cenotaph and the Hall of Memory remain worthy memorials to all named 1,818 Barrians who gave their lives for freedom, in two World Wars and subsequent hostilities.