ARTISTS from across South Wales have joined a campaign to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the blitz.

To mark 80 years since the start of The Blitz, Ancestry, the global leader in family history, has commissioned a new collection of art depicting life during World War Two.

In total, 80 pieces of art, based on real-life stories discovered in wartime records, have been produced, including a number by artists from Wales.

South Wales Argus:

Do Not Go Gently by Amy Kate Wolfe. Picture: Amy Kate Wolfe/

The new collection was inspired by the War Artists Advisory Committee (WAAC) which was established at the outbreak of World War Two by the UK Government’s Ministry of Information. Its aim was to compile a comprehensive artistic record of Britain throughout the war. By the end of World War Two it included 5,570 pieces.

The original records are held at The National Archives, in Kew.

Russell James, family history expert at Ancestry, said: “As we mark the 80th anniversary of the start of The Blitz, a time of tragedy but also a time that truly demonstrated the great British spirit we wanted to pay tribute to the original War Artists Advisory Committee by adding our own update to this important collection of works with 80 new pieces, each inspired by everyday life during The Blitz and throughout World War Two.

South Wales Argus:

Post Office Hero by Gareth Brown. Picture: Gareth Brown/

“By preserving these stories in a new and engaging way, we hope we can shine a light on what our families went through during that time and encourage people now to discover their connection to The Blitz and World War Two.’’


South Wales Argus:

Egg Collection by Sam Dawson. Picture: Sam Dawson/

Compared to many places, Newport managed to escape relatively unscathed from the German air raid campaign.

However, for a prolonged period in 1940 and 1941, it was a regular target for the Luftwaffe.

The first recorded bomb fell just after midnight on June 26, 1940, at the aluminium works in St Julian's.

Bombers went on to target industrial areas throughout the next year, particularly at the docks.

South Wales Argus:

The Volunteer by Harri Davidson. Picture: Harri Davidson/

The worst raid came in July 1941.

Land mines dropped from the sky fell on Maindee, Eveswell and Beechwood, killing 37 and injuring 42. One victim was a child aged just five.

The Argus reported at the time: "Enemy planes which raided a South Wales coastal town did damage to house property and caused some casualties."

South Wales Argus:

Upholding by Amy Kate Wolfe. Picture: Amy Kate Wolfe/

Now, artists from South Wales have been invited to commemorate the blitz on the 80th anniversary of its beginning.

Cardiff based artist, Gareth Brown showcases the story of Miss Celia Jenkins who rescued a woman and man from the burning Blackweir Post Office, Cardiff during the early morning of May 18, 1943.

While Sam Dawson reimagines an image of a party of 300 French boys between the ages of 14 and 17 who were guests of the Boy Scouts Association at a camp in Wales in 1940.

South Wales Argus:

A Party of Scouts by Sam Dawson. Picture: Sam Dawson/

Whilst artist, Amy Kate Wolfe also helped bring local stories to life, including a Leap Year Ball organised by Cardiff Royal Infirmary in 1940, where a nurse collects boxes to be used to help the hospital fund as well as the story of two men who rescued five horses belonging to South Great Western Railway as their stable had been ignited.

Harri Davidson and Matt Joyce, both of Cardiff, also took part in the campaign.

Dr William Butler, head of military records at The National Archives, said: “This fascinating Ancestry project showcases how our historical collections can inspire in such a variety of ways, and has provided such an impressive breadth of responses.

South Wales Argus:

A Sheet of Flames by Matt Joyce. Picture: Matt Joyce/

South Wales Argus:

Trousers Bomb by Gareth Brown. Picture: Gareth Brown/

"The Civilian Gallantry Award records are a treasure trove of stories, highlighting the incredible and often dangerous work carried out by individuals working as air raid wardens, first aid workers, firewatchers and messengers during the Second World War.

"They provide vivid details of the exploits and heroic deeds of civilians fighting a war away from the battlefields and highlight the sacrifices so often made on the home front”.

South Wales Argus:

Saving The Polygon by Matt Joyce. Picture: Matt Joyce/

Ancestry hosts the UK’s largest online collection of family history documents with more than two billion UK records, helping people uncover the untold personal stories of World War II – from the home front to the front line.

For more information about Ancestry’s Blitz art collection and StoryScout, visit