Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Salvation Army asks Wales to ‘check the attic’ for rare papers

Byddin yr lachawdwriaeth / The Salvation Army is asking people across the country to check their attic for archive material relating to its work over the decades as it marks 150 years in Wales throughout 2024.

On Wednesday (6 March 2024) as part of Wales 150 celebrations the National Library of Wales received a donation from the international church and charity consisting of rare, early editions of its magazine, Y Gad Lef, the Welsh language ‘War Cry’. The donation will be formally presented during an event at The Senedd this evening (Wednesday 6 March) and includes the earliest known copy of the magazine published entirely in Welsh, dating from 1889.

Steven Spencer, Director of The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre, helped to select the materials and believes more copies may exist. Steven is asking people across Wales to check family paperwork and local collections to help build a comprehensive digital archive.

Steven Spencer said: “We feel so privileged to return these periodicals to Wales, which have been in our collection for decades. Having these at the National Library of Wales will let people discover more about the early work of Byddin yr lachawdwriaeth. We are presenting issue 121 of Y Gad Lef, which is the earliest our Heritage Centre holds and three issues from 1906 –1907.

“Our first mission station in Cardiff opened in 1874. Nine years later The War Cry began to include some articles in Welsh, despite the newspaper being published in London and read across the British Isles. The first issues of Y Gad Lef to be all in Welsh were published in 1888 in Caernarfon but none of the earliest issues are known to survive. I hold out hope that some copies may exist in family paperwork, local archives or libraries. Perhaps the first edition published in 1888 is languishing in someone’s attic.”

Steven Spencer added: “We know of only about a dozen issues of Y Gad Lef out of around two hundred that were published between 1888 and 1907. Members of the public or archivists who believe they have issues of Y Gad Lef, the Welsh War Cry, or other relevant papers, please connect with the Salvation Army International Heritage Centre. While they are not valuable in monetary terms, they are a priceless link to Welsh religious and cultural life from the late Victorian era and a wonderful legacy for future generations.”

Members of the public or archivists who believe they have material that would be on interest to the Salvation Army International Heritage Centre please connect on X and Instagram or email

For more information on the Wales 150 Dyma Gariad celebrations / Byddin yr Iachawdwriaeth yn dathlu 150 mlynedd yng Nghymru visit the website at:

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