The history of our club, which is continually being added to.

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During 1896 the current club property was part of the Coytrahen House estate and the access road that we all use was the southern driveway to 'the big house'. It was decided that a local militia be formed and the owner of the big house, Onslow Powell Traherne, agreed that target practice could take place on the estate. This commenced in 1896 on a green field site on the opposite bank of the river Llynfi to the current ranges. What can now be seen on the other side of the river are the remains of spoil from coal mining in the area and that ground was in fact a flat green field at the time of commencement of shooting. The Militia formed itself into a Minature Rifle club during 1903 in order to affiliate to the newly formed Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs(now the National Smallbore Rifle Association) which came into being in 1904, serious competition target shooting then took place. The local militia decided to name themselves the Tondu & District Miniature Rifle Club from 1909 onwards, with Onslow Powell Traherne as the first President.


1909


>Reported in the Glamorgan Gazette of the 24th September 1909

1910

Glamorgan Gazette report of the first annual AGM after the re-naming of the militia as the Tondu & District Minature Rifle Club.

Reported in the Glamorgan Gazette of the 29th April 1910


The Queens cup competition in 1910 took place over four stages. Stage 1 was shot on the entrants home range. Stage 2 was between the top 20 shooters in each County. Stage 3 was was between County teams of 6, shot at home. The final was a shoulder to shoulder of the top 4 County teams shot at the Ham & Petersham Rifle Club, London on the 2nd July 1910.

The following is a copy of a report from the Glamorgan Gazette of the 10th June 1910 regarding the selection of the team of six to represent Glamorgan in the Queen Alexandra's cup competition, along with some notes on the Donegal medal competition, shot at the club. The second Glamorgan Gazette reporting the results comes from 1st July 1910.



Below is a copy of a certificate issued by the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs confirming the success of a Mr.Bradford in representing his County in the first stage of the 1910 Queen's Cup competition. The certificate is signed ( probably a printed signature ) by Lord Roberts who, as President of the S.M.R.C., was at this time still very much the leading promoter of the expansion of rifle shooting within the populace.


The text "This is to certify that W. Bradford of the Tondu Miniature Rifle Club was one of the representatives of his County in the first stage of the Queen’s Cup 1910." W Bradford shot in the first stage of the 1910 competition and where he finished in the rankings amongst the Glamorgan shooters is unknown - the first 6 made up the Glamorgan team for the next stage, with Mr Barrow-Evans, who came 7th, making up the place of Mr A.A.Saunders who was disqualified on a technicality.

Those who shot and didn't make the team received a certificate, as above - the six in the team would have been awarded bronze medals. It is believed that just over 400 bronze medals were earned in 1910, but over 700 certificates would have been issued - very few Queen Alexandra's prize certificates seem to have survived to today, let alone one from Tondu. Glamorgan's 1910 story is not a happy one. The team of 6 then went on in the County Stage to record the highest score of all the counties participating, but in the final at the Ham & Petersham club, they were disqualified for all having too light a trigger pull, the only team ever to have been so in the history of the QA competition. A transcription of the report covering the disqualification, published in the Glamorgan Gazette of the 8th July 1910, can be seen here in PDF form.

A further report was printed in the Gazette for the 29th July 1910: stating that the team were awarded silver medals to which all qualyfying finalists were entitled to. 


1914


Reported in the Glamorgan Gazette of the 10th April 1914


Reported in the Glamorgan Gazette on the 12th June 1914 - the results of the
Welsh Miniature Rifle Association Championships at Margam Park


Presentation of the photograph below, as reported in the Glamorgan Gazette on the 24th July 1914


The following photograph was saved from a skip in 2015 and has been dated to 1914 and is believed to be the very photograph reported in the Glamorgan Gazette above as being presented to Mr & Mrs J.P.Leat on the 15th July 1914. It shows club members with three championship shields that the club had won at the Welsh Miniature Rifle Association Championships at Margam Park. The three shields are: The Marks Shield, the Dewar Shield and the Griffiths Shield, two of which are still being shot for in the Wales and Mon postal league.



The Photograph has been framed and is on display in the clubroom  

1915


Reported in the Glamorgan Gazette of the 3rd December 1915

1916


Reported in the Glamorgan Gazette 7th April 1916

The shooting range was moved to the west bank of the river during 1916, as reported in the above copy from the Glamorgan Gazette. The move was to the area known as Station Wood, which is the ground that the club now owns and uses. The club flourished even through the two world wars.

Post 1916


Records found in the 1950's in the old Tondu clubhouse went back to 1905 and showed annual membership fees of two and a half pence. The old Tondu clubhouse stood on the area immediately outside the door of the current clubhouse. It was of wooden construction having been built not long after the club moved from the other side of the river.

After the second world war, during February 1948 the Traherne family, the owners of the big house, sold all the land to the Hurley family who were Joiners in Tondu. They quickly sold the property on to William Aston, a newsagent from Pontycymmer in May of that year. Reginald Bridgewater Williams was at this time the Secretary of the club, Ronald S. Hayes it's President, Harold Goodwin the Treasurer and Henry F. Jay the Chairman. Reg Williams was instrumental in the building, during 1950/51, of the indoor range and old clubhouse. He obtained the bricks, which are fire bricks, from the Tondu Brick works and carried out most of the work himself.

Two 1951 photographs exist(see below), of the finished clubhouse and the club ranges showing sleeper stop butt walls that were tied together with railway lines on the 25 and 50 yard ranges, whilst a brick wall was protecting the 100 yard range.



The ranges consisted of ten firing points at 25 yards, ten at 50 yards with another ten at 100 yards. The old wooden Tondu clubhouse, now in serious need of repair, was abandoned and only used as a stats office for the May and September Glamorgan County shoots.

During the early sixties the grass firing point was concreted with the help of monies from the old Glamorgan County Shooting Association. Up until this time the club had paid a rent to William Aston who died in 1953 and who had mortgaged the property to the Midland Bank prior to his death. The property then passed into the trust and ownership of Messrs Sheppard and Sons who acted for the Midland bank with the clubs tenancy continuing. During 1965 the opportunity arose for the club to purchase the ranges from Sheppard and Sons and this transaction was completed by the then secretary John Pryor, along with Malcolm Godsell, Harold Goodwin, Domenico Moruzzi and Reg Williams, who was by then the Chairman of the club. These five became the initial trustees for the club, with the princely sum of £50 being paid for the 3.091 acres that we now use and own.

1967 proved to be a traumatic year for the club with British rail threatening to remove the road bridg that provided access to the ranges, as it was in a dangerous condition. They wanted to replace it with nothing more than a pedestrian footbridge. John Pryor fought them all the way and luckily there was an abstract of title from 1896 that gave us the right of vehicular access. It wasn't until 1969 that the new bridge, which we still use today, was constructed by B.R.

1968 saw Stan Gray take over as secretary with John Pryor now acting as the club Chairman and annual subs standing at 2 guineas. The following year John Pryor was made President as well as Chairman of the club. The 25 and 50 yard stop butt walls, made of sleepers, were now in a poor condition and the club decided to replace them both with a new block wall at the new distance of 50 metres. Up until the late sixties the serious shooting that took place at the club was mainly of the smallbore rifle type with some members owning pistols for fun use only. In the early seventies the small 20 yard pistol range by the river was rebuilt as a 25 metre range with turning targets installed - the first set in Wales. They were obtained from Bisley and were the actual frames that were used for the 1948 London Olympics. By the mid seventies the sport of pistol shooting was growing apace and the turning target facility helped Mike Cockel to win the first Rapid Fire gold medal in the Commonwealth Shooting Federation Championships held in Scotland in 1974.

In 1969 the old wooden Tondu clubhouse was burned down by vandals. It had served it's purpose with the only loss being the old club records.

Stan Gray finished his duties as secretary in 1975 and took on the roll of Chairman, with John Pryor still the President. Subs were raised from 2 guineas to five pounds as Henry Laazer took over as the club secretary for one year until Bill Phelps was appointed in 1976. Early in 1976 the old Tondu clubhouse was burnt down by vandals and the club name was changed to the Tondu and District Small Bore Rifle club as it was felt that the title of Miniature Rifle club was now a bit archaic. During 1977 Dom Moruzzi died and in Dom's memory a new cup was obtained to be shot for as a combined Pistol/Rifle competition in the club annual championships. In July 1978 a very successful shoot, with 168 entries, was held to celebrate Eley's 150th anniversary.

1979 saw the subs go up to £10 and at a higher level there were plans for Wales to host the Commonwealth Shooting Federation Championships for the second time, in 1983, and mainly at Tondu. The first Welsh hosting took place in 1976 with all the shooting ranges being set up on a temporary basis within Cardiff Castle. A lot of work and money had gone into the event at Cardiff Castle at the time when Bill Phelps was the secretary of the WSSU as well as the club. Plans were hatched to further improve the Tondu ranges to provide a permanent facility that could be used for the games - the 50 metre wall was heightened to accommodate International Free Pistol and a brand new 25 metre range was built to house two sets of turning targets for some of the other International pistol events. One problem that arose was from the fact that the club did not possess any safety certificates for the ranges. These had been issued pre-war and had been lost over time. The NSRA, who would have had copies, had also lost all their records during the war time blitz, so there was nothing for it but to apply for a completely new set of safety certificates. The new range safety criteria meant that improvements needed to be carried out to all the ranges, one of which was to the 100 yard wall. You can still see the old red brick stop butt wall on the 100 yard range with the new block work now extending all around it. The work was only just completed in time and the certificates obtained for the club to host the Commonwealth Shooting Federation event in 1983.

Subs were increased in 1982 to eighteen pounds to try and help pay for the new facilities with the AGM also offering five year memberships in order to try and raise capital quickly to pay for the project. After the event the club had some facilities that were second to none in Wales and all were to International standards.

Subs increased to £30 in 1988 and saw the death of John Pryor who was the club's President at that time. Derek Perriam was elected as the club President. 1988 also saw the Welsh Water board disrupt the seasons shooting by laying a new mains sewer along the Llynfi valley and through our property. However, compensation for the disruption and right of access to the sewer saw the club eventually receive enough compensation to help finance the building of a new club house, which had been under discussion for some time. That also gave us a kitchen and a set of toilets.

In 1990 the club name was changed to The Tondu & District Target Rifle and Pistol club, whilst Stan Gray handed over the Chairman's role to John Chapman. A year later the club's name was changed to the Tondu Target Shooting Club and the club then started to think about upgrading the new 25 metre range to cover full bore pistol with the work being completed and new safety certificates obtained in 1992. At the same time plans were made to build the new clubhouse - the one that we use today, however it was to take nearly eight years for the plans to reach fruition.

By 1994 the subs had reached £50 and in our centenary year, 1996, Jerry Howells took over as secretary after Bill Phelps 20 years, whilst John Chapman continued as Chairman with Idris Davies being elected President.

A sad time occurred during February 1998 when all pistols, with the exception of Air Pistols and Black Powder Pistols, had to be handed in for destruction under the new firearms legislation. Pistol shooting had grown, as a sport, within the club to an extent where there were two pistoleers to every rifleman. Our club had turned out, over the years, many Welsh International Pistol and Rifle shooters with Bill Phelps and Stan Gray making the Great Britain squads in the 70's. There was an expectation that membership would fall as a result of the new 1998 legislation, however the interest and participation in rifle shooting increased and members showed a steely determination to continue with a growing interest in Black Powder pistols, Air pistols and underlever Rifles that shoot pistol calibre ammunition in .357 and .44 magnums.

In 1999 Tony Davies took over as the Chairman of the club and Eric Rowlands became the secretary with the subs having now reached £80. Our club Rifle Captain, Fred Brown, represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games in the year 1998, and there is every expectation that the next millennium will see the club continuing to produce top ranking shooters with the rest of the members enjoying their chosen sport.

Written in August 1999
(updated January 2017)