At this time of year The Royal Mint traditionally joins the rest of the nation in honouring all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in both World Wars. However, on Remembrance Day this year we particularly remember our own fallen colleagues as the First World War centenary commemorations continue. While researching this, I’ve recently discovered, tucked away in the library of our Museum, a volume entitled ‘Annual Reports of the Deputy Master of the Mint 1914-19’.
In this leather-bound document several names of Royal Mint workers who both served and lost their lives during the First World War are recorded for posterity.
It’s strange how reading those names and the posts they held here – jobs that are still so familiar to us today – brings to life the human tragedy of people lost to us and their families during the conflict.
On a normal working day, 13 June 1917, a bomb from enemy aircraft fell near a boundary wall of the Mint. A number of staff were injured and four were killed. Their names and job titles are listed in the Annual Reports, one of whom is, poignantly, a ‘Boy Clerk’. Albert Crabb was 15 at the time and had been working at the Mint for just over a year.
A particularly touching gesture is this engraved pocket watch, sent to Joseph Wilkins Giardelli at Christmas 1914 by his colleagues at The Royal Mint whilst he was serving in the First World War. He was clearly a popular chap!
In addition to being noted in the Annual Reports, our fallen colleagues’ names are engraved on a magnificent oak memorial plaque, currently on display at the Firing Line Museum in Cardiff Castle.
A ‘Roll of Honour’ is held at the Royal Mint Museum on which the names are also recorded in the elegant hand-writing of those times.
In a further tribute, a framed Roll of Honour lists the names of all Royal Mint workers who served in the Great War.
A Remembrance Day ceremony was held here at 11 am on 11 November, as in previous years, attended by as many staff as possible (allowing for health and safety procedures in the factory). A traditional poppy wreath was laid at the war memorial that stands in the centre of our site, the ‘Last Post’ was sounded by a military bugler and the two-minute silence was observed.
And we remember them.