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Aberdare Boys‘ Grammar School

Memories and Memorabilia

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School ‘Harvest Camp’ 1918

from Dudley M. Bruton (ABGS 1943-48)

Harvest Camp

In both World Wars the number of agricultural workers working on the land fell drastically due to conscription, and to the drift into better paid industrial occupations by those who were not required to join up. Consequently, schools, and other groups such as the scouts, volunteered to spend part of their holidays working on the land. The Aberdare group are shown at such a camp in Roch, Pembrokeshire in 1918.

We cannot identify many of the individuals in this photograph. The ones we know, or think we know, are as follows:

Back Row: It has been suggested that the boy 2nd from the left is Peter E. Phillips, PEP,
also, in the back row 4th from the left may be Dan Davies who later taught at Park School.

Middle Row: 4th from left Aubrey (Bobby) Roberts1, M.A., History Master at the school 1902-03, and 1906-45.
The three individuals on the far right are thought to be the caretaker, his daughter and wife.

Front row: second from left, Arthur Thomas, later became headmaster of Cwmbach Elementary School,
3rd from the left, David Idris Bruton (ABCS 1916-19), Dudley’s father, who was 17 years old when the photo was taken.

Unfortunately we do not have information about the other boys. Please let us know if you can identify them.

1 Aubrey Roberts’ missing three years were spent at Oxford University where he added an M.A. to his B.A. (Wales). Whilst there he is reputed to have played rugby for the University.

A report about this camp appeared in The Aberdare Leader of 31st August 1918, page 4:


About two dozen of the boys of the Aberdare County School are encamped at Roch, Pembrokeshire, having volunteered their services for harvest work on the land. Thanks to the generosity of Lord St. David’s, who has placed Roch Castle at their disposal, the boys are comfortably quartered at the castle, while during the day they are distributed over the large farming area in the district. The work is proving most congenial, and the surroundings combine to make the stay of the tyros a very enjoyable holiday. Mr. E. Ogwen Williams, F.R.G.S., one of the masters, was in charge of the camp during the first week, and latterly this responsibility has been taken over by Mr. Aubrey Roberts, M.A.