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Robert Bye VC Commemoration

Written by on 23rd July 2017

An event to mark the centenary of the heroism of Robert Bye VC during the First World War is taking place at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, Pontypridd, this Sunday (July 30th).

A commemorative paving stone in memory of the local soldier already proudly stands in the park and will be the focal point for the ceremony.

Welsh Guardsman, Sergeant Robert Bye, was born in Pontypridd and latterly lived in Penrhiwceiber. He was awarded the Victoria Cross in July 1917, after he showed astonishing bravery and leadership in the third Battle of Ypres, in Belgium.

The Welsh Guards, which has previously been granted the Freedom of Rhondda Cynon Taf, will be honouring one of their own during a poignant commemoration event at noon on Sunday, July 30.

The public are invited along to this event at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, Pontypridd.

There will be FREE parking in all Council cars parks in Pontypridd on the day.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Maureen Webber, with responsibility for Armed Forces, said:

“Sergeant Robert Bye’s astonishing acts of bravery during the First World War resulted in him receiving the Victoria Cross for gallantry.

“It is therefore fitting that exactly 100 years on from his actions, we remember this great man at the County Borough’s war memorial park in Pontypridd, a town he loved so much.

“I hope as many people as possible will come along and show their support to The Welsh Guards and indeed all of our Armed Forces, past and present, at home and overseas, who are all doing a remarkable job.”

Colonel T C S Bonas, Regimental Adjutant Welsh Guards, said:

“Sgt Robert Bye remains as much an inspiration today as he has always been throughout the years to generations of Welsh Guardsmen.

“We have all learnt about him, we all look up to him and we all honour his memory.

“His name and deeds are forever etched in our history, and as Welsh Guardsmen we seek to live up to his selfless act of bravery, strength of character and devotion to duty.”

Exactly 100 years ago, during the third Battle of Ypres, an attack by British and French troops faltered because a concealed blockhouse was being defended vigorously by a machine gun post of the German army.

Sgt Bye, then aged 27, crawled up close to the post, rushed forward and managed to get behind the blockhouse and bombed the inmates, who then surrendered.

The Allied troops then advanced to secure their second objective – another German blockhouse defended stoutly with machine gun fire.

Again, Sgt Bye manoeuvred himself behind the blockhouse and bombed it, forcing the Germans to surrender. For his actions he was later awarded the Victoria Cross.

Sergeant Robert Bye was decorated with the Victoria Cross – the highest honour for bravery – on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace by King George V on September 5, 1917.

On his homecoming, the streets of Penrhiwceiber were decked out with bunting and schools were closed for a holiday to mark the occasion. Church Street, where Sergeant Robert Bye grew up, was packed with thousands of well-wishers.

Sgt Bye later became a Sergeant Major in the Sherwood Foresters, serving in World War Two. In addition to his Victoria Cross, he was also awarded the 1914-18 Star, the War Medal, the Victory Medal and in 1937 the Coronation Medal.

The Robert Bye VC commemorative event takes place at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, Pontypridd, at noon on Sunday, July 30. All are welcome.


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