West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Ammanford WW2 War Memorial

The memory of the men and women of Ammanford who died in both World Wars is upheld by the pillars of the Memorial Park gates at Iscennen Road.  One pillar holds the names of those that died in the Great War, the other holds the names of the men who died in the Second War, and one man who died in the Korean War. This page lists the men, and the one woman, of Ammanford who gave their lives for freedom. There seem to be several men omitted from the war memorial for various reasons, so I have taken the liberty of including these below. This page commemorates those who are named on the World War Two memorial, plus the one Korean War casualty.

World War Two, 1939-1945

 

Ronald Llewellyn Anthony, Fusilier, 4209641, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Ronald was the son of Willie David and Annie Mary Anthony, of Penybank, Ammanford, and served with the 6th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The Battalion was attached to the 38th Irish Infantry Brigade, and fought throughout the North African Campaign. Ronald was killed in action in North Africa on 19 July 1943, aged 21, and is buried at Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia.

Goronwy Amman Bassett, Flight Sergeant, 930637, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Goronwy was the son of Evan and May Bassett of Ammanford, and the husband of Georgia Mary Bassett, of West Cross, Swansea. He served with 644 Squadron, RAFVR, which flew the Halifax Heavy Bomber. Goronwy flew among the crew of Pilot Alex Turnbull which had successfully taken part in ten bombing missions over occupied Europe by the time of their last flight on the night of  23 April 1945. The crew were part of a force which had been sent from RAF Tarrant Rushton to drop supplies to the Norwegian Resistance, and were on the return leg of their mission on the morning of 24 April 1945 when they were hit by anti-aircraft fire. The Halifax lost power from two of its engines due to one of the shells hitting its fuel tank, and crash-landed into Lake Mjosa in Norway. The entire crew bar one perished. Goronwy was 34 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Four of his fellow crewmen are buried at Lillehammer. The aeroplane was recovered from the lake in the 1980's, and moved to Canada, where it has undergone restoration. It is now on display at the RCAF Museum at Trenton, Canada.

George Cooke, Sergeant, 13062396, Pioneer Corps. George was the son of George and Annie Cooke, and the husband of Elizabeth Loraine Cooke, of Ammanford. He served with the Pioneer Corps in North Africa during the war, and sadly died there on 21 July 1943, aged 36. George is buried there, at Beja War Cemetery, Tunisia. George is not on the Ammanford Memorial.

 

Benjamin Davies, Gunner, 11408707, Royal Artillery. Benjamin was the son of John E. and Gwenllian Davies, of Pantyffynnon, and served with the 4/2 Maritime Regiment, Royal Artillery. Benjamin served as an Anti-Aircraft Gunner aboard the S.S. Ocean Honour. She was a Liberty Ship, that had been built in California and delivered to the Merchant Navy in May 1942. On 16 September 1942 she was in the Gulf of Aden, carrying a cargo of 6,000 tonnes of government stores and motor vehicles, when she was torpedoed by the Japanese Submarine I-29. She sank almost immediately, but 29 of the crew managed to escape the sinking. Benjamin was one of the 20 men who died aboard the ship that day. He was aged 23, and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.

 

Brinley Davies, Craftsman, 7643871, Royal Electrical and 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 commemorated 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.

Ronald James Davies, Able Seaman, D/JX 165549, Royal Navy. Ronald was the son of Harold and Miriam Davies, of Ammanford, and served in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Gloucester. In September, 1939, Gloucester was flagship of the 4th Cruiser Squadron, serving in the East Indies and spent the rest of that year patrolling the Indian Ocean. In December, she was moved to Simonstown, South Africa where she was used, unsuccessfully, against German raiders. She was transferred again in May 1940, this time to the Mediterranean, where she experienced plenty of action. She was involved in Malta convoys and the Battle of Calabria on 9 July 1940. An Italian air attack on 8 July had hit the ship's bridge killing or wounding most of the bridge personnel, including the Captain, F R Garside. The second half of 1940 was spent in the eastern Mediterranean and in the Aegean. On 11 January 1941, while supporting Operation Excess, Gloucester was hit by a bomb which failed to explode. In March, she was at the Battle of Matapan and, in April, performed several bombardments along the North African coast. A second bomb hit caused minor damage. Gloucester formed part of a naval force acting against German military transports to Crete, with some success. On 22 May 1941, while in the Kithera Channel, about 14 miles north of Crete, she was attacked by German Stuka dive bombers and sank, having sustained at least four heavy bomb hits and three near-misses. 723 lives were lost, with just 82 survivors. Her sinking is considered to be one of Britain's worst wartime naval disasters. Ronald went down with the ship that day, aged just 21. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

Roy Davies, Naval Airman 2nd Class, FAA/FX. 78100, Royal Navy. Roy was the Foster-son of Elizabeth Mary Davies, of Ammanford, and served in the Royal Navy, at H.M.S. Goshawk, which was the Royal Naval Air Station at Trinidad, used for fighter training. Roy must have died aboard a training flight on 17 January 1941, aged 21, as he is commemorated on the Lee-on-Solent Memorial, Hampshire. Roy is not on the Ammanford Memorial.

 

Thomas John Davies, Sailor, Merchant Navy. Thomas was born at 7, Bungalow, Ammanford in 1923, and served with the Merchant Navy aboard the Sunderland registered cargo steamer S.S. Brinkburn. On 21 June 1943 Brinkburn was in Convoy TE-22 when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-73 west of Algiers, with the loss of 26 lives. Thomas was 20 years old when he died that day and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

 

Thomas Luther Davies, Greaser, Merchant Navy. Thomas was born on 14 November 1907, the son of David and Annie Davies, of 4, Wern Terrace, Betws, Ammanford. He served with the Merchant Navy aboard the London registered oil tanker M.V. San Emiliano. On 9 August 1942 San Emiliano was 450 miles off Trinidad with a cargo of aviation fuel when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-155, with the loss of 39 lives. Thomas was 35 years old when he died that day and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

 

Winston Davies, Ordinary Artificer 3rd Class, D/MX 64084, Royal Navy. Winston was born on 18 April 1918, the son of Edward and Martha Davies, of Ammanford. He served in the Royal Navy aboard the Admiralty class destroyer HMS Warwick. Warwick had seen service during the latter stages of the Great War. In mid 1943 she was converted to a long range escort ship, and on 20 February 1944 she was torpedoed and sunk off Trevose Head, north Cornwall, by the German submarine U-413. Winston died aboard the ship that day, aged 25, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.

Edwin Lewis Eden, Able Seaman, D/JX287336, Royal Navy. Edwin was born in Llanelli on 9 November 1921, the son of George H. and Agnes M. Eden. The family later moved to Ammanford. Edwin served in the Royal Navy at HMS Copra, the Combined Operations Pay, Ratings and Accounts establishment which had been set up to process the pay and allowances of Royal Navy personnel serving in Combined Operations in WW2. Edwin was one of a handful of personnel from Copra to have landed at Normandy as part of the Combined Operations forces in June 1944, and he was sadly killed there on 21 June 1944, aged just 22. Edwin is buried at Bayeux War Cemetery.

Daniel Isaac Evans, Private, 3960739, North Staffordshire Regiment. Daniel was the son of David and Annie Evans, of Ammanford, and the husband of Emily Lucy Evans, of Saron. He served in the 2nd Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment, which were in France with the BEF at the outbreak of war, and were evacuated from Dunkirk after suffering heavy casualties in the retreat to the coast. After rebuilding in the UK the Battalion moved to North Africa, and fought at El Alamein in late 1942, then took part in the final campaign to drive the Axis forces from North Africa. The campaign began on 8 November 1942, when Commonwealth and American troops made a series of landings in Algeria and Morocco. The Germans responded immediately by sending a force from Sicily to northern Tunisia, which checked the Allied advance east in early December. Meanwhile, in the south, the Axis forces defeated at El Alamein were withdrawing into Tunisia along the coast through Libya, pursued by the Allied Eighth Army. By mid April 1943, the combined Axis force was hemmed into a small corner of north-eastern Tunisia and the Allies were grouped for their final offensive. Daniel was killed around this time, aged 26, on 29 April 1943. He is buried at Massicault War Cemetery, Tunisia.                      

 

Thomas Lyn Evans, Flight Sergeant (Navigator), 1321223, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Thomas was the son of David Thomas Evans and Mary Hannah Evans, of Ammanford, and served with 158 Squadron, RAFVR. This was a bomber squadron, which had been re-formed in 1942 and attached to No. 4 Group of Bomber Command. They flew the Wellington, but late that year changed to the Halifax Heavy Bomber, based at RAF Lissett. On the night of 20 December 1943 Thomas and his fellow crewmen took off from Lissett in their Halifax, as part of a 650 bomber raid on Frankfurt, and they were sadly one of the many aeroplanes to be intercepted and shot down on the outward flight. Thomas died in the shooting down of his Halifax that night aged 29, and is buried at Hanover War Cemetery.

 

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 in William was injured on one of these raids or not, or killed in an accident, but he died in Cambridgeshire on 24 November 1941, and is buried at Ammanford (Bethany) Calvinistic Methodist Chapelyard.

William Alfred Farley, Leading Aircraftman, 1409468, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William was the son of Jack and Edith Farley, of Mount View, Saron, Ammanford, and the husband of Barbara. Not much is known at present of him at the moment, but he died at home on 23 April 1945 and is buried at Ammanford Cemetery. William is not commemorated on the Ammanford Memorial.

David Meirion Fowler, Marine, PLY/X113039 (D), Royal Marines. David was born on 27 March 1925, the son of David James Fowler and Susie Fowler, of Bettws. He served with the Royal Marines, at HMS Golden Hind, the Royal Naval Shore Establishment at Sydney, Australia. There was a large contingent of Royal Marines stationed at Sydney, to enable immediate replacement of casualties aboard the Royal Naval ships serving in the Pacific. David died aboard ship in San Pedro Bay, Samar Island, Philippines on 24 July 1945, aged just 20, and is buried at Sai Wan War Cemetery, Hong Kong. The Cemetery contains the graves of mostly ex-POW's.

David Richard George, Rifleman, 6896152, King's Royal Rifle Corps. David served with the 1st Battalion, (The Rangers), King's Royal Rifle Corps. The Battalion was attached to the 30th Infantry Brigade, and were in Northern France, as part of the BEF in 1939. David must have been take ill and returned home for treatment, as he died on 9 April 1940 and is buried at Ammanford Cemetery.

 

Bertram Howard Harries, Corporal, 4205049, Royal Corps of Signals. Bert was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hendry Harries, of Ammanford. He married Sarah Winnie Carrod, of Llandebie, in the summer of 1939 before enlisting into the army. Bert served with the Royal Corps of Signals, but was attached to the 7th Indian Division Signals, stationed in Burma as part of the British Forces there. Bert died in Burma on 6 February 1944, aged 29, and is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial.

Hughie Hughes, Guardsman, 2735195, Welsh Guards. Hughie served with the 3rd Battalion, Welsh Guards. The battalion formed at Beavers Camp, Hounslow on 24 October 1941 and embarked for North Africa on 5 February 1943, landing in Algiers eleven days later to join the 8th Army. The battalion entrained to El Aroussa, twenty miles south of Medjez El Bab, where it joined the 1st Guards Brigade on 1 March. The battalion saw its first action during the capture of the Fondouk Gap which helped push the Afrika Korps into full retreat. The battalions next action occurred on 8 May, when it supported the attack of the 6th Armoured Division upon the town of Hammam Lif.  The attack was successful, but Hughie was among 24 men killed and 50 wounded from the battalion during the day. Hughie was 26 years old and is buried in Enfidaville War Cemetery. He is also commemorated on the Llanddarog war memorial.

 

William John James, Donkeyman, Merchant Navy. William was the son of William John James and Sarah James, and the husband of Amy Ivy James, of Ammanford, and he served with the Merchant Navy aboard the London registered steamer SS Empire Wagtail. Empire Wagtail was built in 1919, as American Ossining for the US Shipping Board, Tacoma. In 1933 she was renamed Point Lobos for the Gulf Pacific Mail Line, San Francisco, and in 1941 given to Britain, and renamed Empire Wagtail by the Ministry of War Transport. On 28 December 1942, when on route from Cardiff via Belfast Lough to Halifax and Boston, in Convoy ONS-154, she was carrying a cargo of 3,857 tons of coal. She was torpedoed by German submarine U-260 when about 900 miles West of Cape Finisterre, and the master, 31 crew members and seven gunners were lost. Among the missing was William. He was 50 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. William is not commemorated on the Ammanford Memorial.

David Rees Douglas Jenkins, Private, 14201507, Gordon Highlanders. David was the son of Thomas and Sarah Ann Jenkins, of Pantyffynnon, and served with the 1st Battalion, (The London Scottish), Gordon Highlanders. The Battalion were in France at the outbreak of war, and held St. Valery-en-Caux in an effort to buy time for the remainder of the BEF to be evacuated from Dunkirk. The entire Battalion was captured after the surrender of France, and a new 1st Battalion was raised in Scotland, and sent to the Middle East, landing at Tripoli. David was either wounded or taken ill in North Africa, as he was brought to Mosul in Iraq for treatment. He died there on 3 March 1943, aged just 21, and is buried at Mosul War Cemetery.

 

Cyril James Jones, Deck Hand, Merchant Navy. Cyril was born in 1917 and lived at Harold Street, Ammanford. He served with the Merchant Navy aboard the Bideford registered M.V. Cornish City. On 29 July 1943 Cornish City was en-route for Aden carrying a cargo of coal when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-177 with the loss of 37 lives. Cyril was 27 years old when he died that day and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

 

Edgar Jones, Private, 13087060, Pioneer Corps. Edgar was the son of Tom and Mary Jones, and the husband of Phoebe Jones, of Derby. He served during WW2 with the Pioneer Corps, most probably with the 1st or 8th Armies during the Western Desert Campaign, and was in Italy when he was killed on 22 March 1945. He was 33 years old, and is buried at Montecchio War Cemetery, Italy.

 

Glyn Aneurin Jones, Stoker 1st Class, D/KX 88239, Royal Navy. Glyn was born on 17 April 1917, the son of David Idris Jones and Margaret Jane Jones, of Ammanford. He served aboard the Destroyer HMS Gloucester. In September, 1939, Gloucester was flagship of the 4th Cruiser Squadron, serving in the East Indies and spent the rest of that year patrolling the Indian Ocean. In December, she was moved to Simonstown, South Africa where she was used, unsuccessfully, against German raiders. She was transferred again in May 1940, this time to the Mediterranean, where she experienced plenty of action. She was involved in Malta convoys and the Battle of Calabria on 9 July 1940. An Italian air attack on 8 July had hit the ship's bridge killing or wounding most of the bridge personnel, including the Captain, F R Garside. The second half of 1940 was spent in the eastern Mediterranean and in the Aegean. On 11 January 1941, while supporting Operation Excess, Gloucester was hit by a bomb which failed to explode. In March, she was at the Battle of Matapan and, in April, performed several bombardments along the North African coast. A second bomb hit caused minor damage. Gloucester formed part of a naval force acting against German military transports to Crete, with some success. On 22 May 1941, while in the Kithera Channel, about 14 miles north of Crete, she was attacked by German Stuka dive bombers and sank, having sustained at least four heavy bomb hits and three near-misses. 723 lives were lost, with just 82 survivors. Her sinking is considered to be one of Britain's worst wartime naval disasters. Glyn was 24 years old when he was killed that day, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. Glyn is not commemorated on the Ammanford Memorial, but at Llandebie.

Luther John Jones, Sergeant, 1669239, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Luther was the son of Griffith John Jones and Hannah Jones, of Ammanford, and served with 51 Squadron, RAF as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner. The Squadron flew its first operational missions of the Second World War on the very first night of the War, 3 - 4 September 1939, dropping leaflets over Germany. Bombing missions started in May 1940, and continued until 1942 when No 51 was assigned to anti-submarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay as part of Coastal Command. The following year, the Halifax replaced the ageing Whitleys and the unit returned to Bomber Command as a 'main force' squadron for the remainder of the European War. On the night of 23 September 1944, Luther and his crew took off as part of a 550 bomber raid on Neuss, in their Halifax MZ972. They were shot down on the return journey the following morning of the 24th September, killing all of the crew. Luther was only 20 years old, and is buried at Pihen-Les-Guines War Cemetery, France.

Thomas John Jones, Private, 14205100, South Lancashire Regiment. Thomas was the son of David William and Margaret Ann Jones, of Ammanford, and served with the 1st Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment. The Battalion landed on Queen Beach, Normandy on D-Day, 6 June 1944, as part of the 8th Infantry Brigade, and fought their way off the beach. Thomas was killed just 3 weeks into the Normandy battles, on 27 June 1944. He was just 21 years old, and is commemorated on the Bayeux Memorial, France.

Trevor Lewin Jones, Leading Stoker, D/KX85153, Royal Navy. Trevor was born on 18 June 1913, the son of William Henry Jones and Clara Elizabeth Jones. His mother died when he was just three and his father remarried Amelia Ann Wilson in 1921. Trevor served in the Royal Navy, aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. She joined the Mediterranean Fleet in August 1940, and was used to provide convoy cover, perform anti-shipping strikes, and also to raid Italian and German positions in North Africa. On 31 August 1940 she was used to launch a strike against airfields at Maritza, and on 11 November 1940 she became the first carrier in history to launch a major strike against an enemy fleet in a daring attack against the Italian fleet at Taranto. Twenty-one aircraft from Numbers 813, 815, 819, and 824 Squadrons based on Illustrious attacked the Italian fleet at night. The Italians were caught off-guard, and one battleship was sunk and two were heavily damaged. On 10 January 1941 Illustrious was attacked while escorting a convoy east of Sicily by dive-bombers, being hit by eight bombs and suffering extensive damage, destroying her sick bay and ward room, and killing amongst others the England rugby player W. G. E. Luddington. Trevor was also killed aboard her, and buried that same day at Malta (Capuccini) Naval Cemetery. He was 27 years old.

Albert Gordon Laugharne, B.A., Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Albert was the son of Albert and Rose Laugharne, of Haverfordwest. He was a policeman prior to the war and lived with his wife Rosamond Mair Laugharne at Ammanford. He enlisted into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and was posted aboard HMS Blackwood, 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 27 years old when he was killed in the initial torpedo strike. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.

James John Lewis, Leading Aircraftman (Air Gunner), 1027992, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. James was the son of Jack and Elizabeth Gertrude Lewis, and the husband of Gertrude Lewis, of Brynamman. He enlisted into the Royal Air Force and after basic training was posted to No 8 Air Gunnery School in Scotland.  On 6 October he was flying in a Blackburn Botha, serial L6435, on a training flight, when it crashed into high ground near Alness, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland, killing all of her crew. James was 25 years old when he died that day and was brought home for burial in Upper Brynamman (St. Catherine) Churchyard.

Howard Glyn Mainwaring, Private, 13114537, Pioneer Corps. Howard was the son of John and Jane Mainwaring, and the nephew of Elizabeth Howells, of Ammanford. Again, very little is known of him, but he died on 13 November 1942, whilst in the service of the Pioneer Corps, and is buried at Rhydfro (Saron) Congregational Old Chapelyard. He was 42 years old. Howard is not on the Ammanford Memorial.

Edward John Mason, Corporal, 3955706, Welch Regiment. Edward was the son of Rose Mason, and the husband of Blodwen Ann Mason of Ammanford. He had served with the 4th Battalion, Welch Regiment, for several years before the war, and was called up for duty at the outbreak of War. Edward sadly became ill, and died at home of pneumonia on 28 May 1940. He is buried at Ammanford Cemetery. Many thanks to Terry Norman for the photograph of the grave and to Edward's Granddaughter for the photograph of Edward. He is not commemorated on the Ammanford Memorial.

Arthur Charles Morgan, Sergeant (Observer), 563340, Royal Air Force. Arthur was the son of Edwin William Morgan and Margaret Ellen Morgan, of Ammanford. He served with 105 Squadron, RAF, which flew the Fairey Battle. In the early months of the Second World War it served with the Advanced Air Striking Force in France, and in May 1940, was one of the squadrons which attacked the Meuse bridges in an attempt to stem the German advance. Arthur was killed on this attack when his Battle, Serial L5238, was brought down on 14 May 1940. He was 28 years old, and is buried at Noyers-Pont-Maugis French National Cemetery.

Jonathan Raymond Morgan, Assistant Steward, 122228, Naval Auxiliary Personnel (Merchant Navy). Jonathan was the son of William and Sarah Jane Morgan, of Ammanford, and served aboard H.M.S. Rawalpindi, an Armed Merchant Cruiser. While patrolling north of the Faroe Islands on 23 November 1939, she investigated a possible enemy sighting, only to find that she had encountered two of the most powerful German warships, the battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau trying to break out through the GIUK gap into the Atlantic. The Rawalpindi was able to signal the German ships' location back to base. Despite being hopelessly outgunned, Captain EC Kennedy of the Rawalpindi decided to fight, rather than surrender as demanded by the Germans. The German warships returned fire and sank Rawalpindi within forty minutes. Jonathan was killed aboard her, aged 25, and is commemorated on the Liverpool Naval Memorial.

William Lincoln Morgan, Private, 14473327, Welch Regiment. William was born at Ammanford on 11 February 1928, the son of William Morgan and Elizabeth Morgan (nee Mainwaring), of Ammanford. He served with the 1st Battalion, Welch Regiment. In November 1951 the 1st Welch disembarked at Pusan, Korea. The Welch took over a section which had been held at great cost by the 1st Gloucesters, and spent a hard winter patrolling the frontier of South Korea, under constant shelling and mortar fire. William was wounded in Korea, and died on 15 February 1952, aged 24. He is buried at Yokohama British Commonwealth Cemetery, Japan. The photographs of William and his grave are courtesy of Meinir Davies.

David William Richard Phillips, Able Seaman, Merchant Navy. David served in the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Baron Carnegie. Cargo ship Baron Carnegie had left Swansea in ballast and joined up with the Halifax bound 51 ship Convoy OB-334, which left Liverpool on 11 June 1941. The ship was to depart the convoy at a later date and position in the Atlantic and head for the African port of Takoradi. Unfortunately the very same day the ship was attacked and damaged by German aircraft West of the Bristol Channel, killing 25 crew. The ship was taken in tow by the tug SS Seine, but sank at 11.30pm on 11 June 1941. David was one of the men killed aboard her that day, and his body was brought home for burial at Ammanford Cemetery.

Randolph Prince, Corporal, 7631687, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment. Randolph was the son of Edwin and Edith Prince, and the husband of Eunice Prince, of Ammanford. He served with the 4th Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment, which had been in France with the BEF at the outbreak of war, and had been evacuated from Dunkirk. On 31 May 1942 the Battalion embarked at Liverpool for Egypt, where they joined the 44th Division. They fought at the Battle of El Alamein, before moving to Burma, attached to the 161st Indian Brigade, and moved to Kohima. Unfortunately, Kohima soon came under siege by the Japanese 15th and 31st Divisions and remained cut off for 14 days from 5 April to 19 April 1944. During this time a great deal of very nasty close quarters fighting took place, and at the end of 14 days of continuous fighting with little food, water, or sleep the survivors were in bad shape but victorious. RWK casualties were 199 wounded with 61 dead. Their Lance corporal John Harmen was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his single handed charge into a Japanese bunker, killing all 5 Japanese soldiers who had had his company pinned down. Randolph sadly died on 16 April 1944, probably from injuries sustained at Kohima. He was 30 years old, and is buried at Ranchi War Cemetery. Randolph is not named on the Ammanford Memorial.

 

Howell John Rees, Private, 6026955, Cambridgeshire Regiment. Howell was the son of Edward and Elizabeth Rees, of Cwmgorse, and served with the 2nd Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment. The Battalion formed in June 1939, and in January 1941 moved to Dumfries. In April they moved to Crewe Hall, Cheshire, where they were inspected by H.M. King George before being sent via Halifax, Nova Scotia to Cape Town. From Cape Town they sailed to India, and arrived at Singapore on 13 January 1942. Here the Battalion came under heavy attack by the invading Japanese forces, which were sweeping south through Malaya to Singapore. The Battalion, along with their sister Battalion, the 1st Cambridgeshire's, were part of the British Forces that were captured by the Japanese when the Singapore Garrison surrendered on 15 February 1942. Howell died whilst a POW on 15 September 1945. He was 30 years old, and is buried at Rangoon War Cemetery, Burma.

John Wreford Roberts, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 284771, Royal Navy. John was born at Mountain Ash on 3 July 1909, the son of John Lewis Roberts and Mary Ann Roberts. The family later moved to Ammanford. John served with the Royal Navy, at HMS Eaglet, the Royal Naval Shore Establishment at Liverpool, which was the flagship of Commander-in-Chief Western Approaches. John drowned at the North West Canning Dock at Liverpool on 25 October 1944, aged 34, and is buried at Liverpool (Anfield) Cemetery. His name is engraved into the Screen Wall, Panel 6. John is not commemorated on the Ammanford Memorial.

David William Sinnett, Corporal, 3960653, The Kings (Liverpool) Regiment. David was the son of Frederick W. Sinnett and Emily Sinnett, of Pantyffynnon, and served with the 13th Battalion, King's Liverpool Regiment. The Battalion formed in June 1940 and were sent to India, then Burma, where they became part of the Chindits, led by Brigadier Orde Wingate in 1942. The Chindits fought an arduous campaign in the Burmese jungles, where they struck fear among the Japanese. David died in India on 29 July 1943, aged 30, most probably of illness following a three month tour of duty in the Jungle. He is buried at Rangoon War Cemetery.

Daniel Owen Thomas, Flying Officer, 124699, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Daniel was the son of William Henry and Ruth Thomas, of Ammanford, and served with 83 Squadron, RAFVR. The Squadron were part of RAF Bomber Command, and by 1942 were equipped with the Lancaster Bomber. They had already made a name for themselves, and were transferred to RAF Wyton as part of the elite Pathfinder Force. The Squadron took part in missions over Northern Italy, the Ruhr Valley, and started bombing targets in Hamburg during the first few months of 1943. On the night of 12 June 1943 they were returning from a mission to drop target indicators on Munster, when Daniel's Lancaster, piloted by Squadron Leader James Eric Swift DFC, was shot down over the English Channel. The whole crew was lost, but the bodies of Swift and another crewman Sgt. J. J. Anderton were washed ashore. Daniel was 26 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial. Daniel is not commemorated on the Ammanford Memorial.

 

Ieuan Thomas, Fireman, Merchant Navy. Ieuan was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Thomas, of Ammanford, and served in the Merchant Navy, aboard the S.S. Empire Wagtail (London). Empire Wagtail was a British Cargo Steamer of 4,893 tons built in 1919, as American Ossining for the US Shipping Board, Tacoma. In 1933 she was renamed Point Lobos for the Gulf Pacific Mail Line, San Francisco, and in 1941 given to Britain, and renamed Empire Wagtail by the Ministry of War Transport. On 28 December 1942, when on route from Cardiff via Belfast Lough to Halifax and Boston, in Convoy ONS-154, she was carrying a cargo of 3,857 tons of coal. She was torpedoed by German submarine U-260 when about 900 miles West of Cape Finisterre, and the master, 31 crew members and seven gunners were lost. Among the missing was Ieuan. He was 22 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

 

J. Thomas. Cannot presently be identified.

 

Stanley Thomas, Sergeant (Air Gunner), 1836816, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Stanley was the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Thomas, of Penybank, Ammanford, and served with 298 Squadron, RAFVR. 298 Squadron were equipped with the Halifax, and flew supply dropping missions over occupied Europe, and on D-day towed the Horsa Gliders which landed on Pegasus Bridge, carrying the 6th Airborne Brigade. They continued on re-supply drops throughout the remainder of the war, and also towed Gliders to Arnhem, as part of Operation Market Garden. Stanley was killed when his Halifax was shot down on a drop to supply SOE Agents in Holland, on 13 April 1945. He was 22 years old, and is buried at Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery.

Thomas Elwyn Thomas, Driver, T/172890, Royal Army Service Corps. Thomas was the son of Thomas Albert and Jennie Thomas, of Ammanford, and served with 164 General Transport Company, Royal Army Service Corps. Thomas was stationed in North Africa when Rommel's Afrika Korps landed at Libya to reinforce the failing Italian Army. Thomas was killed on 21 March 1941, aged just 21, and is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt.

 

William Rheinallt Thomas, Private, 7618185, Royal Army Ordnance Corps. William was the son of William Sydney and Hannah Maria Thomas, and served with the 1st Advance Ordnance Workshop, Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Very little is presently known of William, but he died on 10 September 1940, aged just 22, and is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey.

John Douglas Walters, Gunner, 920412, Royal Horse Artillery. John was the son of Mr. and Mrs. T. Walters, of Gwynfryn, and served with the 4th Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery. The Regiment was formed at Helmieh in Egypt in May 1939 from three batteries drawn from independent commands in India, and fired the opening rounds of the campaign in North Africa on 8 December 1940, against the Italians at Sidi Barrani. As part of 7th Armoured Division, the Regiment was involved in numerous subsequent battles in the desert, including Bardia, the capture of Tobruk, Beda Fomm, Sidi Rezegh and the withdrawal from Gazala to El Alamein. It then took part in the Battle of El Alamein as part of 1st Armoured Division, later taking part in the battle for the Mareth Line and the capture of Tunisia. John was killed in Tunisia on 30 May 1942, aged 26, and is buried in Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma.

 

Edward Leslie Widgery, Sergeant (Flight Engineer), 1379326, Royal Air Force. Edward was the son of Albert William and Ann Elizabeth Widgery, of Ammanford, and the husband of Iris Mary Widgery, of Sketty, Swansea. He served with 102 Squadron, RAF, which were part of Bomber Command in October 1940, moving to RAF Linton-on-Ouse. A move to Topcliffe in November 1940 saw the squadron settled for a year until it moved to nearby Dalton, where it began to receive Halifaxes in December 1941 with the last Whitley operation being flown on 31 January 1942. A brief return to Topcliffe in June 1942 was followed by a move to Pocklington on 7 August of that year. Conversion continued at Pocklington with the first operation taking place on 14 April 1942. Little is known of Edwards as yet, but he died on 25 February 1943 aged 35, and is buried at Swansea (Oystermouth) Cemetery. He was most probably injured on a mission and died of wounds as a result. Edward is not commemorated on the Ammanford Memorial.

 

Ernest John Williams, Private, 6144769, East Surrey Regiment. Ernest was the son of Jonah Williams, and of Ellen Williams of Bettws. He served with the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, which were sent to France during 1940 as part of the BEF. After returning to the United Kingdom after the evacuation from Dunkirk the 1st Battalion was reformed and was assigned to 11th Infantry Brigade, part of 78th Infantry Division, with which it remained for the rest of the war. It took part in Operation Torch in November 1942, landing in North Africa at Algiers. Following this the battalion fought with the division in Tunisia until the end of the Tunisia Campaign in May 1943. Ernest was killed in action in Tunisia on 2 December 1942, aged 22. He has no known grave, and so is commemorated on the Medjez-El-Bab Memorial.

 

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. He is today commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.

Tom Ivor Williams, Corporal, PLY/X 983, Royal Marines. Tom was the son of Daniel Williams, and of Ellen Williams, of Capel Isaac, and served in the Royal Marines, aboard H.M.S. Hermes. Hermes was the world's first purpose built aircraft carrier, and had been commissioned in 1923. During World War II she served briefly with the Home Fleet before being assigned to the southern Atlantic from October 1939. She worked with the French navy based at Dakar until the Vichy government came to power, following that her aircraft took part in a strike against the French vessels at Dakar. In July 1940 she collided with a merchant vessel and was repaired at Simonstown, South Africa. Following repairs she continued patrols but this time in the Indian Ocean as part of the Eastern Fleet. During the Indian Ocean raid, Hermes was in harbour at Trincomalee, Ceylon, undergoing repairs. Advance warning of a Japanese air raid allowed her to leave port, but as she returned following the raid on 9 April 1942, she was spotted off Batticaloa by a Japanese reconnaissance plane. Lacking planes of her own, she was defenceless when she was attacked by 70 Japanese bombers. Hit 40 times, Hermes sank with the loss of 307 men, one of which was Tom, who was 32 years old. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.

Thomas Norman Williams, Stoker 1st Class, D/KX 132385, Royal Navy. Thomas was born on 16 November 1906, the son of Stephen and Margaret Williams. He served with the Royal Navy, aboard the Hunt Class destroyer HMS Hurworth, which had been commissioned in October 1941. Hurworth saw action in the Atlantic after going into service and then moved to the Mediterranean. She was operating in the Aegean on 22 October 1943 when she struck a mine and sank with the loss of 113 lives, including Thomas. He was 36 years old, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.

 

William Rees Williams, Chief Steward, D/LX21365, Royal Navy. William was the son of David and Margaret Jane Williams, and the husband of Susanna Rebecca Williams, of Ammanford. He served with the Royal Navy, aboard H.M.S. Punjabi, which was a Tribal Class Destroyer, commissioned in 1939. Immediately at the outbreak of World War 2, Punjabi began to patrol the North Atlantic with the rest of the 6th Destroyer Flotilla. For the first three months, her duties consisted of anti- submarine patrols and fleet screening duties. During the Second Battle of Narvik on 13 April 1940, Punjabi was badly damaged by six shells but was back in action an hour later. On 21 May 1941 it was believed that the German battleship Bismarck was ready to break out into the Atlantic. Confirmation came through on 22 May and the Home Fleet sailed at 22.45. Punjabi though, as part of that Fleet, was not to share in the final cornering of Bismarck. Two days of high speed search soon depleted the destroyers fuel oil and by 24/25, all destroyers had to return to Hvalfiord, Iceland to refuel. Prior to the invasion of Russia by Germany, Force 'K' consisting of Punjabi, HMS Aurora, HMS Nigeria and HMS Tartar left Scapa Flow for Spitsbergen with the intention of investigating that island's use as a naval base, and found that a military occupation of Spitsbergen could be feasible, but the winter ice in the fjords would prohibit the island's use as an all-year round naval base. After that mission, all of Punjabi's operations focused on Russian convoys. In January 1942, she was retrofitted at Palmer's Yarrow Yard and immediately returned to her Home Fleet duties. On 5 March 1942 she joined HMS Ashanti and HMS Bedouin in an abortive hunt for the German battleship Tirpitz. After a second attempt, Punjabi was forced to return to base with disabled steering gear. While on duty with convoy PQ-15 on 1 May 1942, visibility suddenly closed in and the 35,000 ton battleship HMS King George V crashed into Punjabi's port side. Her stern sank almost immediately, and her depth charges detonated, causing severe injuries to the survivors. Fortunately, Punjabi's forepart sunk quite slowly thus allowing 169 people to be saved by HMS Martin and HMS Marne. Sadly William was one of the men lost in the tragedy. He was 31 years old, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.

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Website News

4 May 2017. Welcome news this morning that a new CWGC headstone has been erected in Laugharne for Domingo Mobile, a sailor who I found to be buried there a couple of years ago. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

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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