The Salvation Army asks Wales to ‘check the attic’

published on 6 Mar 2024

Byddin yr lachawdwriaeth / The Salvation Army is asking people to check their attics for our Welsh newspaper as it marks 150 years in Wales.

On Wednesday (6 March 2024) as part of the 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 paper work 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 1887 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 1887 is languishing in someone’s attic.”

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Roberts, leader of The Salvation Army in Wales, said:  “As we mark 150 years of The Salvation Army in Wales with the Dyma Gariad (Here Is Love) celebration throughout 2024 we remember the dedicated officers who, in times of war, disaster, economic hardship and social change, have stood alongside communities from Rhyl to Newport, Aberystwyth to Newtown. In turn, those communities and many more have been there for The Salvation Army, supporting our work, providing volunteers, Salvationists and Officers to help share the good news, witnessing to their Saviour Jesus Christ in many ways.

“Sadly, need and want are with us today and our work in Wales will continue. Through employment support, homelessness services, specialist addiction teams and our local churches, Wales remains at the heart of The Salvation Army and its Christian mission.”  

Darren Millar MS will accept the donation at the International Reception, taking place the evening prior to the St David's Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. Darren Millar MS, Chair of the Cross-Party Group on Faith in the Welsh Parliament and Chair of the Prayer Breakfast Organising Committee, said: “The Salvation Army has been a constant in communities across Wales for 150 years, providing Christian ministry as well as support to vulnerable people regardless of background or faith. On behalf of the Organising Committee, I would like to thank The Salvation Army for their work in Wales and I gratefully receive this wonderful, historical donation to our national archive within the National Library of Wales.”  

Steven Spencer added:  “We know of only about a dozen issues of Y Gad Lef out of around two hundred that were published between 1887 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.”

The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre is located at the William Booth College in south London. It has been preserving and making accessible the history and heritage of The Salvation Army for almost one hundred years. It holds 1,500 meters (1 mile) of records, periodicals, books and objects relating to The Salvation Army all over the world and dating back to the 18th century. The Heritage Centre is open to the public for research and has two free museums, in Nottingham and in London.

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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