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Excavations at St Patrick’s Early Medieval Cemetery, Pembrokeshire

Warning: this presentation contains images of the archaeological excavation of human remains.
Ken Murphy, Chief Executive of Dyfed Archaeological Trust, presented in the Department of History and Archaeology Research Seminar Series on 12 January 2022. His talk reviewed interim results of early medieval archaeological investigations of international significance.

A walk around Swansea on a gloomy day

A video showing a walk around Swansea on a gloomy day. Video from youtube channel: This is Swansea

Edward George Bowen – pioneer of radar

Edward George Bowen (nickname Taffy) was born on January 14, 1912 in Cockett, Swansea. He was responsible for inventing and developing radar between 1935 and 1940. 

The idea of radar was an indirect response to a question in 1935: can we build a death ray to shoot down aircraft?
The answer was: no, but we might be able to build a ray to detect their presence.
Bowen was given the job of building the first transmitters. Starting in 1935, Bowen concentrated on ground-based transmitters which at the start only had a small range. Some months after this breakthrough, Bowen increased the detection area to around 20 miles and then 100 miles.  A chain of radar installations was erected along the coast of Britain by 1938 helped detect the German Luftwaffle with air raid sirens to warn the population to seek shelter.

Bowen was awarded an OBE in 1941, the Medal of Freedom USA in 1947 and the Royal Commission Award to Inventors in the UK in 1951.

Apart from the breakthrough in his research and development of radar, Bowen is also known for:

    • Cloud physics and artificial rainmaking
    • Supervised the design and construction of the 210ft (64metre) radio telescope at Parkes NSW Australia. He was recognised by NASA for his ‘for his pioneering efforts in advancement of technology for very large steerable telescope antennas’
    • Helped to guide the project for the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) in NSW. The AAT was Originally a joint Venture between Australia and United Kingdom.  aat.anu.edu.au/about-us/AAT

Edward Bowen blue plaque

Edward George Bowen suffered a stroke in 1987 and after deteriorating died on 12 August 1991

 

 

 

Kenfig Natural Nature Reserve – Destroyed by bikes

Kenfig natural nature reserve has made photos showing how bikes have torn up the land causing devastation.

This is not how you should treat a National Nature Reserve!
If you see any motorbikes on Kenfig PLEASE report it
E Mail: [email protected]
Online:
bit.ly/SWPReportOnline
Phone: Emergency 999 Non Emergency 101

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Christopher Kapessa death – family appealing for justice

Death of Christopher Kapessa

Christopher Kapessa died at the age of 13 in the River Cynon on 1 July 2019.

Woman begins High Court fight over decision not to prosecute after son's death | The Independent Family and representatives said the police investigation lasted around two days and the event was declared “an accident” within the first 24 hours.

An anti-racist charity The Monitoring Group complained to South Wales Police alleging racial discrimination in the police response. Christopher’s mother has declared South Wales Police to be institutionally racist.

In June 2020, this incident received attention as part of Black Lives Matter #BLM.

Death

Christopher died on 1 July 2019 after being pushed into the river and unable to swim. The Crown Prosecution Service said that it was “not in an effort to harm someone”.
Emergency services search team, paramedics, firefighters and a helicopter attended the scene and the body of Christopher was recovered and pronounced dead.

Police investigations 

According to the anti-racist charity The Monitoring Group, police declared the incident “an accident” within 24 hours whilst only 4 of the 14 people present at the time had been contacted by police.

On 17 July 2019, The Monitoring Group filed a police complaint on behalf of the family, alleging racial discrimination in the police’s treatment of the incident. Joseph said that the police were “insensitive and unable to answer many of the most basic of our questions”.

Joseph was also in contact with Race Alliance Wales, who urged a “full investigation” into Christopher’s death and the response and conduct shown by the police.

Chief superintendent Dorian Lloyd said the investigation had been passed to “the major crime investigation team”. The police said that a family liaison officer was in contact with Kapessa’s family.

In February 2020, the Crown Prosecution Service stated there was “sufficient evidence” for a manslaughter prosecution case. They further stated that no such case would go ahead as it was not in the “public interest”.

The family’s lawyer called the response “disappointing” and said “we are not looking for retribution”.

Public reaction 

In July 2019, the local community raised in excess of £9,000 to go to Kapessa’s family. In February 2020, Kapessa’s family launched a crowdfunding campaign to pay for their legal fees.
A petition calling for further action has recently passed over 100,000 signatures.
You can add your name to the petition here: www.change.org/p/uk-government-justice-for-christopher-kapessa

There is a facebook group here: www.facebook.com/JusticeForChristopherKapessa/

This is a live blog. Updates will follow as they happen.

Swansea Mines – Painting exhibition by Jeffrey Phillips

A collection of beautiful paintings by Jeffrey Phillips for a future Swansea Mines exhibition. Click on any image to enlarge.

[envira-gallery id=”1235″]

Llangennech train accident (full report)

The full report is here: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1045465/R012022_220113_Llangennech.pdf
A summary below:

At about 23:04 hrs on 26 August 2020, train 6A11, the 21:52 hrs service from Robeston (Milford Haven) to Theale, conveying 25 laden tank wagons, derailed near Llangennech, in Carmarthenshire. The derailment and the consequent damage to the wagons resulted in a significant spillage of fuel and a major fire. The driver, who was unhurt, reported the accident to the signaller. Subsequent examination of the site found that ten wagons (positioned third to twelfth in the train) had derailed, and that around 446,000 litres of fuel had escaped.

The spilled fuel caused major damage to the environment in an area which is both a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and a special area of conservation (SAC), including cockle beds, natural tidal mud flats and wetlands.

The derailment occurred because one set of wheels on the third wagon in the train stopped rotating during the journey. The wheelset had become locked, probably because of a defect in the braking system on the third wagon, arising from deficiencies in the design and maintenance of components. The sliding of the locked wheel along the railhead caused damage to the profile of the wheel treads. This meant that the wheels were unable to safely negotiate Morlais Junction, near Llangennech, damaging the pointwork and causing the third wagon to become derailed. The following wagons derailed on the damaged track. Some of the derailed tank wagons were ruptured in the accident, and the spilling fuel ignited.

Recommendations

RAIB has made nine recommendations. These cover a review of the actions taken by the owner of the wagons following this and previous accidents, and improvements to the maintenance processes at the locations where the wagons involved in the accident are maintained and overhauled. The probable failure mode of the braking system and the lessons learned from reconstruction tests have led to a recommendation to the manufacturer of some of the braking system components to undertake a review of their design. A recommendation has been made to the organisations who carry out surveillance and certification of entities in charge of maintenance of rail freight vehicles to review their processes. A further two recommendations have been made to improve the management of wagon maintenance on the railways in Great Britain, and to review the technology and systems used to alert traincrew, signallers and railway control offices to wagon defects that may lead to derailment. The final recommendation is for a review of the arrangements for regulatory oversight of entities in charge of maintenance and certification bodies that are not based in the UK.

Simon French, Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents said:

“Trains carrying dangerous goods play an important role in the UK economy, but the risks which their operation presents must be adequately controlled. The consequences when things go wrong can be disastrous, as we saw at Llangennech in August 2020. Thankfully no one was hurt, but people were evacuated from their homes and the damage, both to the environment and to people’s livelihoods, will take years to put right. The accident also closed the railway line for more than six months whilst the railway was being rebuilt and engineers worked to minimise the damage to the local environment.

“The rail industry’s approach to the safe maintenance of freight wagons needs to improve. In this investigation we found that there were inadequate maintenance practices, and a failure to appreciate the importance of the correct fastening of the various components of the tanks wagons’ braking system. This is not the first time that we have investigated an accident where RAIB has identified serious issues with the maintenance of a freight train. Over the last decade we have identified deficient wagon maintenance as a factor in more than ten investigations, including maladjusted suspension, undetected frame twist and worn bogie pivot liners.

“In our report we have recommended a review of the technology and systems currently being used in the UK and other European countries to identify how improvements can be made to the railway’s ability to detect a wagon defect that may lead to a derailment, such as dragging brakes. The smarter use of track side technology to warn the railway that a train is endangering its infrastructure is a familiar RAIB theme; some of our previous investigations have urged the greater use of wheel impact load detection data to identify uneven wheel loads. RAIB would like to see more work in this area focused on how track side systems could be used to reliably detect dragging brakes, but also, how such data can be used in an intelligent way to benefit both real-time operations and fleet maintenance management.

“The majority of our recommendations following our extensive investigation of the derailment at Llangennech relate to improved maintenance processes for freight wagons. The widest ranging of these urges the freight sector, in conjunction with Network Rail, to develop a comprehensive programme of measures designed to promote the improvement of freight wagon maintenance in the UK. This is intended to be a collaborative effort, which is appropriate given the potential benefits of better information sharing across the sector.

“I would like to stress the importance of getting this right. It’s time that freight wagon maintenance practices were subject to careful examination and for the industry to think through the way that it can best deliver on its legal and moral obligation to present wagons that are fit to operate through the nation’s towns and cities. The prize for getting this right is improved safety, better reliability and compliance with the freight sector’s legal obligations – and all at a reasonable cost.

“Since RAIB has been concerned about the quality of freight wagon maintenance for many years, I welcome the actions that ORR has taken to reinforce its supervision of entities in charge of maintenance. This will provide improved visibility of maintainers’ important work and verify the extent to which the important role of ECMs is properly understood and applied across the UK freight sector, and the adequacy of surveillance undertaken by certification bodies (whether based in the UK or in the EU).

“I have been struck by the extent to which the safe condition of freight wagons is critically dependent on people being given the tools and training they need to do a difficult job, very often in dark, wet and cold working conditions. So, I urge freight operators and maintainers to think carefully about the people who do the hands-on work, and the things that could be done to develop the capability of the work force.”

Government blocks plan for DVLA workers to work from home despite rising Covid-19 infections

The government in Westminster have blocked a plan previously agreed by management and the union to allow DVLA staff to work from home in an effort to safeguard the staff from Coronavirus. The latest Covid / Omicron wave has seen infections pass 1,700.

Geraint Davies, Labour MP for Swansea West told the Commons: “A year ago, Phil Grant of the DVLA tragically died of coronavirus. He was a man in his 60s with a heart condition, who was previously allowed to work from home in the first lockdown and was forced to go to work. A year on, just pre the last Christmas, the unions and the management agreed after 700 cases of coronavirus at the DVLA that there should be new arrangements for people to work from home and a rota system to allow safety, and the Government intervened and stopped that being reinstated on the grounds Omicron wasn’t as dangerous. But since then, we have now got a cumulative figure of 1,700 coronavirus cases in the DVLA.”

In June 2021, hundreds of DVLA staff went on strike in protest against the lack of Coronavirus safety measures.

A video posted by Geraint Davies:

 

Four men charged with burglary plead innocent, remanded in custody

Four men have been charged with burglary after break-ins in Carmarthenshire earlier this week.

Ricky David Jenkins, aged 34, of Fforestfach, Swansea, Keith Martin Goodenough, aged 58, of  Penlan, Swansea, Dean Michael Clement,  44, of no fixed abode, and Simon Lee Griffiths, aged 46, of Penlan, Swansea, have been charged with two counts of burglary and one attempted burglary in the Ammanford area on 3 and 4 January.

Simon Lee Griffiths has also been charged with 3 counts of assaulting emergency service workers as well as one count of criminal damage on 5 January.

All four men pleaded not guilty to the charges when they appeared at magistrates court and were remanded in custody until their appearance next month at Swansea Crown Court.

(Stub article to be updated)

Cinema & Co – Appealing against Coronavirus regulations / fine

Cinema & Co Swansea

The owner of Swansea’s Cinema & Co was previously fined £15,000 for failing to adhere to Covid-19 rules. The court ordered that the premises should be shut down, however, the owner Anna Redfern ignored this and opened the business again, this led to a suspended prison sentence for contempt of court.

In the appeal hearing, the judge said that clarification was needed to show whether she was appealing against her conviction or her cinema’s conviction.

Swansea council’s prosecutor Lee Reynolds stated that Anna Redfern said she received about £55,000 from an online “crowdfunder”. He said the crowdfunder aims were to pay for legal costs, challenge fines, help loss of business and to take her children on holiday to celebrate getting her freedom back.

STUB ARTICLE CREATED 13/01/2022 – TO BE UPDATED SOON


Video showing the owner of Cinema & Co after her previous court hearing reading a statement.

Cinema & Co Swansea