THE Welsh Government’s culture minister had to be on his guard when he stepped back in time to remember past battles.
Barry Island’s Glamorgan Wartime Heritage Centre played host to a visit by the Minister for Culture & Sport, John Griffiths, AM on Thursday April 17.
Vale AM Jane Hutt, AM also visited the Barry Tourist Railway based museum to see where they heard about the museum’s future plans.
Cadets from 372 (Barry) Squadron Air Training Corps provided an honour guard for the VIPs, who were introduced to some of the groups who work closely with the Barry at War team, who operate the museum.
Mr Griffiths met members of the Barry Branch of the RAF Association, Cadets of 372 (Barry) Squadron ATC, Swansea Pals Living History Group, Hut Nine Preservation Group and Swansea 1940 Museum.
Barry at War chairman, Ade Pitman said: ‘’Organised by Jane Hutt, AM, the minister’s visit was a real boost for the morale of our volunteers, coming as official recognition of the work that we have done and the role that our tiny museum plays in the community.
“Regardless of our size, the museum is at the forefront of Barry and the Vale’s Great War centenary programme and plays a supporting role to other organisations such as the RNLI and the YMCA in their Great War commemorative programmes.
“Our annual Wartime Weekend event attracts thousands of visitors to Barry Island, and I was able to discuss our very special plans to make this year’s event the biggest and best yet.
“372 (Barry) Squadron had the chance to show the Minister how Barry at War group work with, and support Barry’s youth organisations by discussing with him the forthcoming ‘Battle of Britain Project’, and the ‘RAF in Normandy’ D-Day commemorative project, which will involve taking some of the Cadets to France later in the year.”
He added: “The visit gave our team the opportunity to share our vision of a best in class Glamorgan Wartime Heritage Centre attraction in Barry that will be both an educational facility and an all-season tourist attraction.
Our current tiny Glamorgan Wartime Heritage Centre is a proof of concept, and our team believe that with a little support we can enable it to reach its full potential, and attract thousands of visitors annually from Cardiff and further afield.
Jane Hutt said, “I was very pleased to welcome the Culture Minister, John Griffiths, AM, to Barry. His visit also provided an opportunity to see the Barry Tourist Railway, as well as the fascinating museum which is playing a significant role in the Vale’s Great War centenary programme.”
John Griffiths said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Glamorgan Wartime Heritage Centre and finding out about the fascinating wartime history of Barry and surrounding area.
“The Barry at War group, all volunteers, have worked incredibly hard to create an interesting and informative exhibition and have built excellent links with other groups in the area, including the Barry Tourist Railway which has generously provided the space for the exhibition.
“The museum is an excellent example of what can be achieved by working together, and I would encourage them to work towards achieving the Museum Accreditation standard, and wish them well for the future.”
The minister and Jane Hutt, also travelled on a vintage train operated by the Barry Tourist Railway to Barry’s Waterfront.
The Glamorgan Wartime Heritage Centre is open every Wednesday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm and on the second Sunday each month.
Visit www.wartimeglamorgan.co.uk or call Ade Pitman on 07930 874161.