Possibly no work called for greater courage from workers than the YMCA Mobile Canteen Service during and after enemy air attacks upon South Wales towns. A band of workers was recruited for this hard and often dangerous service. Each member agreed to be "on call" at any time to go anywhere at a moment's notice. The responsible Authorities permitted the YMCA mobile canteens to be the first means of succour either during or immediately after an attack in Wales.
In a short time this scheme was fully organised and the necessary arrangements were made with the Local Authorities in the port towns of South Wales and also with the Regional Commissioner.
Emergency Depots were installed on the outskirts of large towns and arrangements were such that the continuity of operations did not depend upon the usual public services of heat, light and water.
A house in Penylan, Cardiff, was the Control Centre for the whole of South Wales. Three depots were set up in this area. The work of the depots was done in several private houses. Coal burning boilers were operated in one house and emergency food stocks were stored in other houses; in the vicinity of these depots neighbours kept their baths full of water. In this way the YMCA always planned to despatch the first mobile canteen fully stocked with tea, sandwiches and cakes, within an hour and a quarter of a call to service.
Mobile canteens were out during every major enemy air attack in Cardiff, Barry, Swansea, Pembroke Dock and other places. YMCA canteens, based on the towns concerned, rendered the first services, whilst a reserve fleet of mobile canteens was sent out from Cardiff when required. During the heavy attacks on Swansea in 1942, not only were the local canteens on duty but a fleet of six mobile canteens from Cardiff was operating in the town at 2.45 in the morning. Altogether 16 canteens worked in Swansea for nearly a fortnight. It is worth recording that Mr. and Mrs. D. M. Evans-Bevan, of Porthcawl, with their mobile canteen, led the Cardiff convey into Swansea.
A great tribute is due to the work of Mrs. J. Elliot Seager, and her wonderful band of women workers who never failed to respond in the darkness, often wading through masses of broken glass, in order to reach their posts - sometimes to leave Cardiff for three or four days.
Mr. & Mrs. H.H. Merrett of Cardiff, responded to the call on many occasions. Although Mr. H.H. Merrett had handled millions of pounds in the business world, he could hardly have been more proud than when he handed over to the YMCA the sum of 12s 6½d, taken when the "mobile" had visited a demolition party on a wet Sunday evening. Tea and Cakes were being dispensed when somebody called for "the hat" to be passed round for the YMCA. (During all such emergencies refreshments were dispensed without any
Three mobile libraries operated from Cardiff, Newtown, and Rhyl
, for South,