West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Ammanford (Bethany Chapel) Memorial

Bethany Methodist Chapel was built at Wind Street, Ammanford in 1881 to cater for the ever expanding population in the town. Inside the chapel are two war memorials, one apiece for the members of the chapel who fell during both World Wars.  Photographs of the memorials were kindly supplied by Terry Norman.

 

The Great War 1914-1918

Sydney Hopkins, Gunner, 2620, Royal Field Artillery. Sydney was the son of Griffith and Hannah Hopkins, of 44, Wind Street, Ammanford. He enlisted there into the Royal Field Artillery, and served with 'B' Battery, 56th Brigade, attached to the 52nd (Lowland) Division. Initially assigned to the defence of the Scottish coast, the Division moved to Gallipoli (less two of its artillery Brigades) arriving there by early July 1915. While moving from Scotland, the Division lost 210 officers and men killed, and another 224 injured, in a train crash near Gretna that involved the 1/7th Battalion, the Royal Scots. After being evacuated from Gallipoli early in 1916, by April 1916, the Division had moved to Egypt, where it again saw action. It moved into Palestine early in 1917, and took part in the Palestinian Offensive, fighting at the Battles of Gaza, and taking part in the capture of Jerusalem. The Division received orders in March 1918 to proceed to the hard-pressed Western Front, and were near Arras when Sydney was killed in action on the 23 May 1918. He was 27 years old, and is buried at Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont-St-Eloi.

David John Jones, Private, 29045, South Wales Borderers. David was the son of Evan and Rachel Jones, of Allty Coed House, Bolgoed Street, Pontardulais. He lived at Ammanford prior to the war and enlisted there into the South Wales Borderers. David served with the 3rd Battalion on Home Service. David took ill and died on 28 January 1917, aged 33, and is buried at Pontardulais (St. Teilo) Churchyard, Wales. Many thanks to Bev Lewis, of Swansea, for the photograph.

David Thomas, Sergeant, 3807, Welsh Regiment. David was the son of William and Mary Thomas, of Pantyllyn Terrace, Llandebie, and the Husband of Annie Thomas, of 5, Dynevor Terrace, Penybank, Ammanford. He enlisted at Ammanford into the 1/4th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was the local Territorial Battalion, attached to 159 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Division landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, on 9 August 1915, and was immediately thrown into action, spending the next few days in isolated pockets, fighting against a Turkish counter-attack during the Battle of Sari Bair, and then at the Attack on Scimitar Hill. David was killed in action the following day, on 10 August 1915, aged 32. He is remembered on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli.

 

Arthur G. Williams, Private, 13021, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Arthur was born at Llanrhug, the son of Margaret Williams. By 1911 the family had moved to 33, Heol Las, Ammanford. Arthur enlisted at Tumble into the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. The Division assembled around Bulford during September 1914. Divisional training was completed near Tidworth, from March 1915, and the Division crossed to France during July 1915, and moved to positions near Loos. The Division fought during the opening attack of the Battle of Loos, which is where Arthur was wounded in the stomach. He was evacuated to a Military Hospital at Abbeville, but died of wounds just hours later, on 27 September 1915, aged 21. Arthur is buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetery, France.

World War Two, 1939-1945

Brinley Davies, Craftsman, 7643871, Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers. Brinley was the son of Anthony and Catherine Davies, and the husband of Glenys Davies, of Ammanford, and served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Brinley was unfortunately one of the many British Servicemen to be captured by the Japanese after their invasion of Malaya, and he died of sickness aboard the Japanese 'Hell-Ship', Singapore Maru on 24 November 1942. Brinley had been given the POW Number 645, and was buried at Moji Communal Grave, but is now remembered on the Yokohama Cremation Memorial, Japan.

David Douglas Davies, Gunner, 1492340, Royal Artillery. David served with 7 Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery. He had been taken POW during the Japanese invasion of Malaya, and was one of the thousands of Allied servicemen interned at Kanburi POW Base Camp, which served the Burma Railway Camps, when he died on 9 June 1943, aged 24. He is buried at the nearby Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand.

William Myrddin Evans, Sergeant, 929623, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William served with 115 Squadron, RAFVR. The Squadron flew the Wellington Bomber, and undertook raids against the Channel Ports in occupied Norway and France throughout 1940 and 1941. It is not known if William was injured on one of these raids or not, but he died in Cambridgeshire on 24 November 1941, aged 29, and is buried at Ammanford (Bethany) Calvinistic Methodist Chapelyard.

Albert Gordon Laugharne, B.A., Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Albert was the son of Albert and Rose Laughame, of Haverfordwest, and the husband of Rosamond Mair Laughame, of Ammanford. He served in the RNVR aboard H.M.S. Blackwood, which was an American Lend-Lease Destroyer that had been taken over by the Royal Navy on 27 March 1943. After over a year spent carrying out escort duties with the Atlantic Convoys Blackwood was torpedoed by U-764 off Portland Bill on 15 June 1944, and sank the next day under tow. Albert was killed in the initial torpedo strike and was 27 year old. He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.

John Lynn Williams, Aircraftman 2nd Class, 1077842, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was the son of William and Gwladys Williams, of Ammanford, and served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was captured during the Japanese invasion of Malaya in 1942, most probably at Singapore, and was given the POW No. 2976. John died on the 1st Sandakan death march (9 groups leaving Sandakan between 29 January and 6 February 1945), on 17 March 1945, his death recorded as Acute Enteritus. He was 26 years old, and was buried at Paginatan Cemetery, but he is today remembered on the Singapore Memorial.

Website News

8 March 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated Welsh sailor, Samuel Arthur Griffiths, of Tredegar, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

8 February 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated soldier, Llewelyn Owen Roberts, of Penmaenmawr, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

7 February 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated soldier, Isaac Owen, of Seven Sisters, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

20 December 2016. Some good news today that another uncommemorated soldier, Private Thomas Owen Davies, of Machynlleth, has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC following my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

30 November 2016. At long last my latest book has been published: Welsh Yeomanry at War. Please see the Steve’s Books page of the website for details.

23 November 2016. Some good news today with the acceptance of another Welsh soldier, Percy Griffin Williams, of the Welsh Horse Yeomanry, for commemoration by the CWGC following my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for details.

 

15 November 2016. I would like to thank the people of Laugharne, especially the members of the Laugharne and District Historical Society, for their welcome during their recent History Event on Saturday when I visited to make a talk about how researching the Laugharne War Memorial inspired me to create this website and to begin my writing career. It was a very interesting day and was well attended by the locals.

26 Sep 2016. After a lot of hard work I have finally managed to identify a soldier from Gwaun-cae-Gurwen, Morgan Price James, who since the early 1920’s has been commemorated by the CWGC under the wrong name, James Morgan. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for details.

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