Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School at Carmarthen was over 400 years old when it lost its identity after merging with Cambria and Maridunum Schools to become Queen Elizabeth’s High School. During the course of the Great War, thirty three former pupils, and three members of staff of the former Grammar School lost their lives. To commemorate these fallen members of the school a bronze wall mounted tablet was commissioned, and was unveiled on Thursday 22 September 1921 by the Headmaster, and dedicated by the Archdeacon of Cardigan. I have entered the biographies of each man on the WW1 memorial in the order that they appear on the war memorial, and not alphabetically as I have done elsewhere. There is also a memorial to the pupils who fell during WW2, which have been added alphabetically, and a plaque to commemorate Michael Anthony Jones who lost his life in the Falklands War. When the schools in Carmarthen were reorganised and Bro Myrddin was established, the memorials were relocated to the Chapel of Rest in St Peter’s Church. A slate plaque by the memorials states: "This Chapel of Rest is the gift of the Old Maridunians and dedicated to former pupils of Queen Elizabeth Grammar School who gave their lives in two world wars”.
World War One, 1914-1918
Thomas Elwyn Jones, BSc, Naval Instructor, Royal Navy. Thomas was the son of Rev. Samuel Thomas Jones and Mary Jones, of Rhyl. He was Maths Master and Drill Instructor at Carmarthen Grammar School prior to the war. He left the Grammar School after three years service, in July 1915 to serve with the Royal Navy. He was appointed Naval Instructor aboard HMS Defence, a Minotaur Class Armoured Cruiser, which had been built at Pembroke Dock. During the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, she was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot, leading the First Cruiser Squadron. Escorting the main body of the Grand Fleet, Defence was fired upon by one German battle-cruiser (SMS Derfflinger) and four dreadnoughts as she attempted to engage a disable German light cruiser, the SMS Wiesbaden. Defence exploded, and sank within fifteen minutes, with the loss of around 900 men. Thomas was 26 years old when he died in the explosion, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
Allan Maxwell Ruston, MM, Second Lieutenant, Lancashire Fusiliers. Allan was born at Daventry in 1887, the son of Reverend Ruston. He was Assistant Master at Carmarthen Grammar School prior to the outbreak of war, and initially served with the 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, landing in France on 31 August 1915 with the battalion. Allan was a Sergeant when he won the Military Medal while serving with the Northants, the award of which was gazetted on 2 June 1916. He was commissioned on 28 August 1917 into the 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, which was attached to 12 Brigade, 4th Division. Allan was killed during the First Battle of Kemmel, on 23 April 1918. He was 30 years old, and is buried in Mont-Bernanchon British Cemetery, Gonnehem, France.
Wenden Ray Wilde, Lance Corporal, 10059, Royal Fusiliers. Wenden was born in 1893, the son of William and Susannah Eliza Wilde, of Carr Lane, Greenfield, Yorks. He had gained the BSc, 1st Class Honours, and served with the O.T.C. prior to taking up a position as Senior Mathematics Master at Carmarthen Grammar School. He enlisted on 10 January 1916 into the 20th Battalion (3rd Public Schools), Royal Fusiliers, which was in France attached to 19 Brigade, 33rd Division. Wenden saw action at High Wood later that year. He had been recommended for a commission on the field, but was killed during the First Battle of the Scarpe, on 16 April 1917, before he could accept it. He was 24 years old, and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France.
Cyril Raymond Percival Cottrill, Private, TR7/9829, Training Reserve. Cyril was the son of Lieutenant Frederick Percy Cottrill and Bessie Evelyn Cottrill (nee Lamb). The family had lived at Blaencorse Farm, St. Clears for several years, and Cyril was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School prior to the family moving to Southsea. He enlisted at Sandown on 10 July 1916 after having worked in a munitions factory, and was posted to the 94th Training Reserve Battalion, which was based in Hampshire. On 15 April 1917 Cyril was admitted to Chiseldon Military Hospital, suffering from measles, but his medical notes state that he was ‘a pale undersize youth’, and Cyril quickly contracted pneumonia, and died on 7 May 1917, aged 17. He was buried with full military honours in Southampton Old Cemetery. His father was serving at sea with the Royal Navy.
Lionel Gordon Crossman, Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps. Lionel was the son of John and Mary Crossman, of Ar-y-bryn, Carmarthen. He was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Carmarthen, and at the Medical School, Cardiff University, where he obtained his B.Sc. degree (Wales) in 1910. He became a student at Bartholomew's Hospital in 1910, and after graduating, was appointed house-physician to Dr James Calvert at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Lionel gained a commission within the Royal Army Medical Corps, and joined the staff of the 1st London General Hospital. In 1916 he went to Mesopotamia serving under the rank of Captain, and joined the staff of the 40th British General Hospital, before being put in charge of the Pathological Laboratory. Lionel acquired a mild form of dysentery, which became complicated by pneumonia, and died of pleurisy and pneumonia on 11 December 1917, aged 29. Lionel is buried in Basra War Cemetery, Iraq.
David Davies, Private, 22652, Wiltshire Regiment. David was the son of Ann Davies, of 40, Francis Terrace, Carmarthen. He worked at the Capital and Counties Bank at Swindon prior to the war, and enlisted there into the 1st Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, which was attached to 7 Brigade, 25th Division. The Division landed in France on 26 September 1915, and were posted to the Vimy area, where they defended Vimy Ridge against a German attack in May 1916. They then moved to the Warloy area and attacked on 3 July near Thiepval. They remained in the line over the coming days, and David was wounded in the head while in the line on 8 July 1916. He was evacuated to the Base Hospital at Boulogne, where he died of his wounds on 11 July 1916, aged just 20. David is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France.
David Morris Davies, Private, 52954, Cheshire Regiment. David was born at Drefach, the son of Reverend William Evan Davies and Mary Ellen Davies. The family had resided at The Parade, Carmarthen for several years prior to moving to 192, High Road, Ilford, Essex by 1911. David enlisted at Holborn, London in February 1916 into the 18th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and landed in France in July 1916. In September 1916 David was transferred into the 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, which was attached to 74 Brigade, 25th Division. They fought throughout the Battle of the Somme, and then moved to Ploegsteert, where they held the line for the months leading up the Battle of Messines in June 1917. After fighting at Messines, the Division moved north, and fought at Pilckem Ridge. David was posted as Missing in Action at Ypres on 10 August 1917, and he was presumed dead. He was 22 years old, and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.
Ernest Glyn Davies, Captain, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Ernest was the son of David and Rachel Davies, of Eryl, The Avenue, Carmarthen. He worked in London before the war, and enlisted there into the London Welsh Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The battalion moved to France in December 1915 attached to 113 Brigade, 38th Welsh Division. Ernest was soon picked out as a leader, and was promoted Sergeant before gaining a commission into the 19th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, part of 119 Brigade, 40th (Bantam) Division. The Division moved to France in the first week of June 1916, taking up positions near Loos. Ernest was killed in action here while leading a wiring party on 5 July 1916. He was 27 years old, and was buried in Loos British Cemetery, France.
John Elwyn Davies, Private, 4299, Welsh Regiment. John was the eldest son of Evan George and Elizabeth Davies, of 8, Union Street, Carmarthen. He worked as a Solicitor’s Clerk before enlisting at Carmarthen into the 1/4th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was the local Territorial battalion, attached to 159 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. In July 1915 the Division embarked at Avonmouth for the Mediterranean, and landed on the Gallipoli beaches on 8 August 1915. Here, the 4th Welsh were thrown into desperate fighting over the coming days. John was wounded soon after landing, and died aboard a Hospital Ship on 13 August 1915, aged 19. He was buried in sea, and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli.
William Lloyd Davies, Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. William was born on 3 April 1894, the son of John George Davies, and Mary Davies, of Coombe Park, Peniel. He was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School, before passing into the University of London, and joined the Artists Rifles in November 1915. William was then commissioned on 7 July 1916, and joined the 13th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Belgium in August. The battalion was rebuilding after its mauling at Mametz Wood, and was attached to 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division was in the trenches at Boesinghe when William joined them, and remained here until launching their assault on Pilckem Ridge on 31 July 1917. William was killed during the attack on Pilckem that day, and was reportedly buried in Caesars Nose Cemetery. He now lies in Dragoon Camp Cemetery, Belgium, in the middle of the old battlefield. He was 23 years old.
William Morgan Davies, Private, 39579, South Wales Borderers. William was the son of John and Anne Davies, of Llwynon, Bankyfelin. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the army, and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers. The battalion was in China at the outbreak of war, and fought at Tsingtao before moving back to the UK, where it joined 87 Brigade, 29th Division. After the Division had been fully assembled, they moved to the Mediterranean, and took part in the landing on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. They remained at Gallipoli until evacuating on 11 January 1916, and from there were moved to France, arriving at Marseilles on 15 March that year. They fought on the Somme, and moved to the Arras sector in early 1917, where they took part in the Second Battle of the Scarpe. William was killed in action here on 23 April 1917, aged 24. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial, France.
Thomas Griffiths, Private, 12071, South Wales Borderers. Thomas was the son of Mrs. Anna Griffiths, of Penrheol, Abernant. He enlisted at Llanelli into the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers. The battalion had fought in China at the outbreak of war, before returning to Britain to join 87 Brigade, 29th Division. It took part in the Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915, and remained there until evacuation in January 1916. The Division took part in its first major action in France during the 1916 Somme Offensive, and fought at the Battles of Albert and Le Transloy, suffering heavy casualties. In the spring of 1917 they fought at the Battle of the Scarpe, which was part of the Arras Offensive, and then moved further north to Ypres. Here they fought at the Battle of Langemarck, and then at the Battles of the Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde and Poelcappelle, before moving to Cambrai. Here they fought at the Battle of Cambrai, which is where Thomas was killed on 21 November 1917. He was 20 years old, and is buried in Marcoing British Cemetery, France. (This is probably the correct man.)
Kirk Hearder, Sergeant, 790, Monmouthshire Regiment. Kirk was born on 9 June 1883, the son of Dr. George Jonathan Hearder and Mrs. Marie Hearder, of 4, Picton Place, Carmarthen. He married Mary Louisa Weights, a Postmistress, at Newport in 1912, and the couple then lived at 83, Clevedon Road, Weston-super-Mare. Kirk was a Clerk at the National Provincial Bank at Newport, and enlisted there into the 1st Battalion, Monmouth Regiment, which were at Stow Hill, Newport as part of the Welsh Border Brigade, Welsh Division. During February 1915 the Battalion left the Welsh Division and landed in France on 13 February, attached to 84 Brigade, 28th Division. The Division saw its first major action at First Ypres in 1914. It was during the Second Battle of Ypres, that Kirk was killed in action, during the Battle of Frezenberg, on 8 May 1915. He was 31 years old, and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. His brother, Major Dixon Hearder, served with the 11th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force.
Daniel Howell, Private, 113, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Daniel was the son of David and Margaret Howell, of Werndrevi Cottage, Abergwili. He worked at Birmingham prior to the war, and enlisted there into the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, part of 13 Brigade, 5th Division. The Battalion were stationed in the Arras area during the beginning of 1916. On 25 March 1916, Daniel's battalion was in the front line trenches, when Daniel was shot by a sniper, and killed. He was 21 years old. Daniel is buried in Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France. His medals were recently sold on eBay for £650.
Edward Owen Jones, Lance Corporal, 2471, Royal Gloucester Hussars. Edward was the son of Robert Owen Jones and Elizabeth Jones, of Oak House, Carmarthen. He had studied at Carmarthen Grammar School and at the School of Art, gaining a post later as Art Master at Sir Thomas Richards School in Gloucester. In September 1914 Edward volunteered into the Royal Gloucester Hussars, which moved to Gallipoli in mid July 1915 attached to the Imperial Mounted Division. After two months at Suvla, they were evacuated to Egypt, and took part in operations against the Sultan of Darfur, which saw Edward being killed during a battle against Turkish troops on 23 April 1916. Edward was 29 years old, and like so many men who died during the fighting in the Middle East during the Great War, his grave could not be located, and so he is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial, Israel. His brother Frederick Walwyn Jones also fell.
William Anthony Jones, Private, 56883, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. William was the son of David and Jane Jones, of The Black Lion Inn, Cwmffrwd. He was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School and had become a member of the local Red Cross and was a reporter for the Carmarthen Journal prior to enlisting in London into the Welsh Regiment. He later transferred into the 14th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who were attached to the 113th Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division had landed in France during December 1915 and had spent their first winter in the trenches near Armentieres. In June they marched south to the Somme, where they were tasked with the capture of Mametz Wood. The attack on the wood began on 7 July, but met with fierce resistance, and it took until 14 July to clear the wood. The Division suffered terrible casualties at Mametz, and were taken out of the line, and moved to Ypres to rebuild. William was among a large number of reinforcements who joined the battalion here and soon settled into the monotonous life of trench warfare. On 1 October 1916 his battalion was in the front line along the canal bank working on laying duck boards in the sodden trenches towards a trench named Huddersfield Road. A fighting patrol of ten men under Lieutenant Seymour was sent out while this work was underway and encountered a German patrol. After an exchange of fire, in which the Germans suffered several casualties, the raiding party withdrew. The Germans in retaliation then fired over a Trench Mortar barrage onto the Fusiliers which caused several casualties among the battalion. William had been killed instantaneously during the bombardment and his remains being buried in Essex Farm Cemetery, the burial service being taken by the Chaplain Reverend Williams. He was 22 years old.
Douglas David Raymond Lewis, Lieutenant, Durham Light Infantry. Douglas was born at Penllergaer on 24 August 1891, the son of Reverend Thomas Phillip Lewis and Jane Lewis, of Llanbedr Rectory, Crickhowell, Breconshire. Jane was the daughter of the Reverend Thomas Davies, of Glanyrafon, Llandeilo. Educated at St. David's College School in Lampeter, and at Carmarthen Grammar School, Douglas became a teacher at Hoe Grammar School, Plymouth, then at a Private School in Weymouth. He was commissioned on 16 August 1915, and became a Lieutenant with the 8th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, which was attached to 151 Brigade, 50th Division. Douglas served throughout the Somme Offensive, at Flers-Courcelette, Morval and Le Transloy, and the Battalion then moved to Arras, where they fought in the Battles of the Scarpe. Douglas was mortally wounded at Arras, and died of his wounds that same day, on 22 April 1917, aged 25. He is buried in Beaurains Road Cemetery, Beaurains, France.
Walter Henry Lloyd, Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps. Walter was the son of Walter and Sarah Lloyd, of 12, Lammas Street, Carmarthen. He had trained as a Surgeon at London, gaining the M.B., and B.S., London, and had served at the Wandsworth Military Hospital for nine months, prior to volunteering to serve on the Western Front. He was commissioned as lieutenant in the 3rd London General Hospital in August 1915, and in June 1916, went to France as a Captain, serving as surgeon to a casualty clearing station with the Royal Army Medical Corps, attached to the 1/20th Battalion, London Regiment. The battalion was attached to 5 Brigade, 2nd (London) Division. The division was on the Somme throughout the summer of 1918, and it was here that Walter was killed on 4 August 1918. He was 27 years old and is buried in Contay British Cemetery, France.
William Goater Lloyd, Lance Corporal, 731, Welsh Guards. William was the son of Richard and Elizabeth Lloyd, of St. Peter’s, Carmarthen. He enlisted there into the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, who had been raised by Royal Warrant of 26 February 1915, and formed at White City. On 18 August 1915 they landed at Havre, attached to 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division. This new Division saw its first major action during the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915, remaining in the area during the coming months, where they also fought in the subsequent Action of Hohenzollern Redoubt. In July 1916 the Division moved to the Somme, where they fought at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, and then at the Battle of Morval, capturing Lesboeufs Village. William was killed in action here on 24 September 1916, aged 20. He was buried on the battlefield by his comrades, who sent his cap badge back to his parents, but his grave was lost in further fighting in the area, and he is now commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
Wallis Austin Jonathan Marsden, Lieutenant, Royal Field Artillery. Wallis was the eldest son of the Reverend Jonathan Marsden and Emmeline Marsden, of Llanllwch. He was educated at St. David’s College, Lampeter and at St. John’s, Oxford prior taking up a post as Classicals Master in a London school. Wallis was commissioned into the Territorial’s prior to the war, and was posted to France with the 2nd London Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Wallis was wounded during the Battle of the Somme, on 21 September 1916 and was brought back to England for treatment at the Empire Hospital, Westminster. He died of his wounds on 20 July 1917 and was brought home for burial at Llanllwch Churchyard.
James John Morris, Private, 268205, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. James was the son of James and Jane Morris, of 46, Catherine Street, Carmarthen. He enlisted on 7 January 1915 into the Welsh Regiment, and was posted to the 1/4th Welsh, taking part in the Gallipoli campaign. James was wounded at Gallipoli, and was hospitalised at Cairo before rejoining the battalion at Gallipoli. He then became ill, suffering from exposure and dysentery, and was again evacuated to Egypt. He returned to England on 5 August 1916, and upon recover was transferred into the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 9 April 1918, who were attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. The Division had been in France since July 1915. James joined them in Flanders, where they were rebuilding after being decimated during the German offensive of 21 March 1918 onwards. The Division was caught up in a fresh German attack at Messines in April, and fought a heroic rearguard action over the coming weeks. James was wounded during this period, and died of wounds on 29 April 1918. James was only 19 years old at the time of his death, and had seen three years fighting. He is buried in Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, France.
Thomas Harold Phillips, Trooper, 199, Australian Imperial Force. Thomas was born on 14 April 1889, the son of David and Sarah Phillips, of Arfryn, Carmarthen. He joined the Territorials in 1909 and served for three years as Sergeant in the 7th Welsh Cyclists. He emigrated to Australia around 1912, and at the outbreak of the war enlisted at Brisbane on 2 September, 1914, into the 2nd Light Horse, which formed part of the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade. The regiment sailed from Brisbane on 25 September and disembarked in Egypt on 9 December 1914. The 2nd Light Horse deployed to Gallipoli without its horses and landed there on 12 May 1915, joining the New Zealand and Australian Division. Just two days later, on 14 May 1915, Thomas was badly wounded, suffering gunshot wounds to his back, and was taken aboard the Hospital Ship Gascon. He died at 13.30 that day, and was buried in sea midway between Gallipoli and Alexandria. Thomas was 26 years old, and is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli.
Dan Ivor Price, Private, 40048, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Dan was the son of David and Margaret Elizabeth Price, of Chapel House, Peniel. He was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School, and worked as a teacher at Tumble prior to the war. Dan enlisted at Carmarthen into the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, part of 22 Brigade, 7th Division. On 7 October 1914 the Division landed at Zeebrugge, but were too late to prevent the city falling, and moved to Ypres, where they took part in the First Battle of Ypres, saving the City from the Germans. They fought at Neuve-Chapelle, Loos and on the Somme, capturing Mametz Village, before spending the winter of 1916/17 on the Somme, at the Ancre. Dan was Killed in Action on the Ancre aged just 20, on 26 February 1917. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
Edgar George Rees, Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Edgar was born in 1891, the son of Thomas Vicary Rees and Annie Mary Rees, of The School House, Llangunnock. He enlisted into the 13th Royal Welsh Fusiliers in October 1914, and served with them in France from December 1915, where they were attached to 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. After returning home on leave, when he married Gwenllian Lewis, of 44, Mount Libanus, Treherbert, he was commissioned in 1916, and posted to the 19th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 119 Brigade, 40th (Bantam) Division. The Division had moved to France in June 1916, and moved to the front near Loos. Late in 1916 they moved south to the Somme, and fought at the Battle of the Ancre, and remained in the area over the winter. In March, 1917 the Germans withdrew to their shortened line, called the Hindenburg Line, and the 40th Division were one of the Divisions that followed the withdrawal. Later in the year they took part in the Battle of Cambrai, playing an important role in the attack on Bourlon Wood. Edgar was killed in action at Cambrai on 23 November 1917, aged 26. He is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France. His three other brothers also served.
Gwilym Hubert Rees, Signaller, Royal Navy. Gwilym was born in Carmarthen in October 1898, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Rees, of 19, The Avenue, Carmarthen. He trained as a Wireless Operator at Swansea, before proceeding to Marconi House London, and passed out as a Signaller, joining the Royal Naval Transport Section. Nothing more can be discovered about Gwilym, but a report was published in the Welshman Newspaper of 7 December 1917, which stated that Gwilym had perished on only his second voyage, and that he was 19 years old. There is no record of his death anywhere, neither is he commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. (The memorial shows W Rees, but this is probably the correct man.)
William Oliver Rees, Private, 40262, Welsh Regiment. William was the son of William and Mary Rees, of Trelech. He had lived at Carmarthen for several years prior to the war, working at the Cloth Hall, Carmarthen. He served with the Welsh Regiment, but is not commemorated by the CWGC, so nothing further is presently known of him, except that he died at Carmarthen in the summer of 1919, aged 25.
Harry Charles Reeves, Second Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. Harry was born in Carmarthen on 1 August 1894, the son of Harry and Edith Anne Mary Reeves, of 54a King Street, Carmarthen. The family later moved to 100, Plasturton Avenue, Cardiff. Harry originally enlisted into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, serving as Z/1700 Ordinary Seaman RNVR, but was commissioned into the newly formed 15th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment, known as the Carmarthen Pals Battalion. The battalion was part of 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division, and moved to the Western Front in December 1915, taking up the line near Fleurbaix in Northern France. At sometime after this Harry was transferred into the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment, attached to 3 Brigade, 1st Division. He was with the Division by the time of the Battle of the Somme, and was killed in action with them during the Battle of Guillemont, on 24 August 1916, aged 22. Harry was buried on the battlefield, but his grave was lost, and he is now commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
Francis Roderick B.A, Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. Francis was the son of David and Elizabeth Roderick, of Cwmcerig Fach, Cefneithin. He was educated at Aberystwyth University before enlisting into the 16th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers at the outbreak of war. On 9 January 1915 Francis was commissioned into the 14th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was at Rhyl. In December 1915 the battalion moved to France, attached to 114 Brigade, 38th Welsh Division. Francis survived the Battalions massacre on the Somme, where the entire Welsh Division suffered terrible casualties at Mametz Wood, and moved with his battalion to Ypres. After almost twelve months holding the Boesinghe sector, on 31 July 1917 the 38th Division began its famous attack on Pilckem Ridge. Francis was mortally wounded during the assault, and died that same day, aged 22. He is buried in Bard Cottage Cemetery, Belgium. He seemed to have had a premonition of his death, as he had written his last letter home to his parents on 22 July, telling them not to mourn his loss.
Frederick Charles Savage, Private, 266577, Northumberland Fusiliers. Frederick was the son of Charles Wesley and Jane Savage, of Mental Hospital Lodge, Carmarthen. He was married prior to the war, and lived with his wife, Laura Savage, at Mansfield Road, Rotherham, Yorkshire. Frederick enlisted at Rotherham into the army, and was posted to the 11th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, which was attached to 68 Brigade, 23rd Division. The Division had been in France since August 1915, and had fought at the Somme. In May 1917 they took part in the Battle of Messines, before moving further north to Ypres, and fighting at the Battles of the Menin Road, Polygon Wood, and the First and Second Battles of Passchendaele. On 23 October 1917 orders were received to prepare to move, and the division entrained for Italy, where it assembled by 16 November 1917. On 4 December the Division took over a section of front line on the Montello, relieving the 70th Italian Division. Frederick was killed during the Battle of The Piave River on 15 June 1918. He was 34 years old, and is buried in Magnaboschi British Cemetery, Italy.
Richard Douglas Stealey, Leading Seaman, Z/191, Nelson Battalion, Royal Naval Division. Richard was born in London on 25 May 1894, the son of Captain John Stealey, a Master Mariner, and of Ada Page Stealey, of Sunny Hill, Holloway Road, Laugharne. Richard was a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, and was called up as soon as war broke out, being drafted into the Nelson Battalion, Royal Naval Division. His service number shows that he was in the London Division RNVR. His father had died by now, and his widowed mother had moved the family to Attleborough Cottage, the Tilt, Cobham, Surrey. The Royal Naval Division had been made up of members of the Royal Navy who had no ship to serve on, and had been turned into a land force, akin to the modern day Royal Marines. After an unsuccessful attempt to hold the Port of Zeebrugge, the Royal Naval Division was sent to the Mediterranean, before taking part in the Gallipoli Landings, landing at Anzac beachhead on 29 April 1915. On 3 May 1915 the Royal Naval Division was in the middle of a spell of heavy fighting at Krithia. It was during this terrible fighting that Richard was shot in the head, but managed to walk back to a first aid post from where he was evacuated, by Hospital ship, to Alexandria. Richard died of his wounds aged just 20 on 7 May 1915 and was buried in the Alexandria (Chatby) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.
Richard Henry Watson, Leading Mechanic, F/3307, Royal Naval Air Service. Richard was born in Hong Kong on 10 September 1895, the son of H. J. Watson and Emmeline Watson. After his father's death, Emmeline moved the family back to 47, Lammas Street, Carmarthen. Richard and his brother Arthur attended Carmarthen Grammar School prior to the war, and were both members of Carmarthen Harlequins Rugby Club. At the beginning of the war they both enlisted, and Richard joined the Royal Naval Air Service as a Mechanic. Richard was posted to the Dunkerque Air Station, and in April 1917 a report appeared in the Carmarthen Journal that both brothers had been reported missing during that month. Arthur turned up as a Prisoner of War in Germany after having been shot down whilst serving with the Royal Flying Corps, but Richard was discovered to have been shot down whilst flying a HP 0/100 off Nieuport, and taken prisoner. He died of wounds on 26 April 1917, aged just 22, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
Gwilym Williams, Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Gwilym was the son of William and Esther Williams, of Nantyrafr, Meidrim. He was educated at Aberystwyth University, and was well known as a prominent Welsh Bard prior to the war. Gwilym was commissioned at the outbreak of war into the 17th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The Battalion was raised at Llandudno on 2 February 1915 in 128 Brigade, 43rd Division. On 29 April 1915, the formation became 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division, and moved from North Wales to Morn Hill Camp, Winchester, where the 17th RWF moved to 115 Brigade, 38th Division. The Division arrived in France in December 1915, and was posted near Armentieres, where the men were familiarised with trench warfare over the coming months, while holding a relatively peaceful sector of the Western Front. In the middle of May 1916, the 17th RWF moved from comfortable billets at Robermetz to take up positions in the front line at Riez Bailleul. Gwilym was wounded by a German rifle grenade on 20 May, and was evacuated to the Military Hospital at Merville for treatment. He died of his wounds on 21 May 1916. He was 26 years old, and was buried with full military honours at Merville Communal Cemetery the following day.
Howell Morgan Williams, Second Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. Howell was the son of John and Catherine Williams, of Gwynondale, Llanarthney. He was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School prior to being commissioned into the 19th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was the Pioneer Battalion to the 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division had landed in France during December 1915 and had spent their first winter in the trenches near Armentieres. In June they marched south to the Somme, where they were tasked with the capture of Mametz Wood. The attack on the wood began on 7 July, but met with fierce resistance, and it took until 14 July to clear the wood. The Division suffered terrible casualties at Mametz, and were taken out of the line, and moved to Ypres to rebuild. Howell was killed in action during the build up to the Third Battle of Ypres, on 24 June 1917, when a shell crashed into his dugout, killing him and Captain Arthur Ernest Evans, of Swansea, and wounding Lieutenant Bert Palmer and another man. Howell was 23 years old, and is buried in Bard Cottage Cemetery, Belgium.
William James Minister Williams, Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. William was the son of William James Williams and Gertrude Elizabeth Williams, of Cambray House, Carmarthen. In 1915 both William and his elder brother Harold were commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and William joined the 2nd Battalion, which had been in France since the outbreak of war. Over the winter of 1915/1916 the Battalion was attached to 19 Brigade, 33rd Division, and had taken part in the Battle of Loos, being based just north of the town, near Cambrin. William was killed in action during a routine spell in the trenches here on 7 February 1916. He was just 21 years old, and is buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension, France.
Eric Western Wilson, Second Lieutenant, West Yorkshire Regiment. Eric was born on 12 July 1893 at Thornton-le-Moor, Yorkshire, the only son of John Western Wilson and Caroline Mary Wilson (nee David), later of The Corse, Laugharne. Eric was a nephew of Engineer Lieutenant Commander Thomas Morgan David. Eric was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School, at Kelly College, Tavistock, and at Leeds University, before graduating from the University Officer Training Corps, and was commissioned into the Special Reserve, the Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment in July 1913. He joined the 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment on the outbreak of war, which was stationed at Lichfield. They were sent to France with the BEF, landing at St. Nazaire on 10 September 1914, as part of 18 Brigade, 6th Division. The German Army had been hard hit by the BEF in early September, and by 11 September 1914 it was clear to the British that the Germans had retreated behind the River Aisne. On 15 September, Marshal Joffre ordered the French and British army’s to attack the withdrawing Germans. This action became known as the Battle of the Aisne. The main attack was carried out by the British, against the Chemin-des-Dames ridge in the direction of Laon. On 20 September 1914, Eric was killed in action, around 60 kilometres east of Paris, on the river Marne, while leading his platoon to recapture a trench near Troyon that had been taken by the enemy earlier in the day. He has no known grave, and is remembered on the La Ferté-Sous-Jouarre Memorial, France. He was just 21 years old, and the first Laugharne man to be killed in the Great War.
Irish Uprising, 1920
Parcell Rees Bowen, MC, DFC and Bar, Captain, Welsh Regiment. Parcell was the fourth son of Josiah and Mary Bowen, of Pantyglien, Abergwili. Parcell was a student at St. David's College, Lampeter when he enlisted into the Army Service Corps at the outbreak of war. He spent the winter of 1914/15 in France, but in February 1915 was sent home with badly frostbitten feet. In July that year, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the 5th Welsh, and he embarked with the Battalion for Gallipoli, where it formed part of 159 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Division fought at Gallipoli until the evacuation in December, suffering badly from casualties, forcing the 5th Welsh to merge with the 4th Welsh for a short period. After the evacuation, Parcell fought in the Palestinian Campaign, where he then transferred into the Machine Gun Corps, and it was with them that he was awarded his first decoration, the Military Cross. Parcell then transferred into the Royal Air Force on 10 January 1918, becoming an Observer. He gained his second decoration during the air war in Egypt, the Distinguished Service Order. After the Armistice on 11 November 1918, Parcell served in Salonika and Mesopotamia, before being placed on the unemployed list. Again though, Parcell wanted more adventure, and so he volunteered for further service with the R.A.F. in their private war in North Russia, fighting for the White Russians.
On 17 July 1919 Parcell arrived at Archangel, where he met his old compatriot from Carmarthen, Ira 'Taffy' Jones. In Ira Jones's book, 'An Airfighter's Scrapbook', Ira writes glowing reports of Parcell, being glad to see another Welsh Warrior in his Squadron. A long passage from the book tells of an incident that earned Parcell a Bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross. In short, Parcell and his Pilot were carrying out a bombing mission when they came across a superior force of Russian Aeroplanes. Being the men they were, they agreed to attack the Russians, who dispersed in chaos when these two madmen plunged into their midst. The Russians took flight, but one fired a burst of rounds at the British pair, and Parcell and his Pilot were hit. The Pilot fainted at the controls of the aeroplane, and Parcell only had one good arm, but he leaned over his colleague and piloted the aeroplane back nearly 100 miles to base.
Parcell was sent home wounded, and again placed on the Unemployed List, so volunteered for a Commission into the Lithuanian Army, with whom he served until July 1920 when he accepted a Government Post. This post was Top Secret, and involved him going undercover in Dublin, at the time when the troubles were at a peak. Due to the secrecy of the work being carried out in Ireland, nothing much is known about the operations Parcell was engaged in.
What is known is that Parcell had been lodging with a fellow officer at 28, Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin, and the two had spent the afternoon of 27 October 1920 watching a football match at Donnybrook. After the match, Parcell could not be found, until his lifeless body was discovered, lying face down, at Merrion Street. He had been shot in the back by an IRA assassin, the bullet hitting his spine. Parcell's body was brought back to Carmarthen, where he was buried with full military honours in Abergwili Churchyard. Within a month, on 'Bloody Sunday', 21 November 1920, fourteen British Agents were murdered in Dublin by the I.R.A., led by Michael Collins. The British Army reprised the killings by storming into a Gaelic Football match at Croke Park in Dublin, and fired into the crowd to avenge their murdered colleagues, inflicting many casualties, with fourteen men and children dead. Later that night, three IRA prisoners suspiciously died in captivity in Dublin Castle, and the situation swiftly escalated. The Irish Public quickly turned against the Crown, and Peace negotiations ensued, resulting in a truce being declared on 11 July 1921.
World War Two, 1939-1945
John Edward Wilberforce Arthur, Wing Commander, 87084, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was the son of Arthur and Hannah Jane Arthur, of Penrhos, Carway View, Carmarthen. He served in the Royal Air Force in the Middle East, after being commissioned from Leading Aircraftman on 3 July 1940. John died in North Africa on 29 September 1943. He was 37 years old, and is buried at Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia.
William Donald Bowen, Sergeant (Flight Engineer), 1378175, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William was the son of Thomas Benjamin and Mary Bowen, of Carmarthen. He married Beryl Williams of Carmarthen in 1941. He served with 15 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a heavy bomber squadron, armed with the Short Stirling III, based at RAF Bourn. On the night of 1 March 1943, William took off from Bourn as part of the crew of Stirling W7518. At around 01.00 the following morning, the Halifax was intercepted by a German FW night fighter, and was shot down above the Oosterschelde. Of the crew of seven, only one man escaped. William and five of his crewmates died in the crash on the morning of 2 March 1943, and are buried together at Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery, Netherlands. William was 27 years old.
Edgar Roy Carruthers, Flight Lieutenant (Pilot), 155753, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Edgar was the son of Christopher and Hannah Carruthers, of Carmarthen. He served as a Pilot with 609 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Hawker Typhoon IB. The Squadron had played an important part in the war since the Normandy landings, taking part in air strikes on vital targets in occupied Europe. After the end of the war, the Squadron remained in Germany, based at RAF Wunstorf. Edgar died in Germany on 8 August 1945, aged 24, and is buried at Becklingen War Cemetery, Germany.
Thomas William Reynold Daniel, Sergeant (Air Gunner), 1315951, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Thomas was the son of William Henry and Margaret Emily Daniel, of Carmarthen. He served as an Air Gunner with 78 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Avro Halifax, based at RAF Breighton. Thomas was among the seven crew members of a Halifax who died on 12 June 1943 when they were shot down and crashed near Eindhoven. Thomas was 21 years old, and is buried at Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery, Netherlands.
Alun Meilir Davies, Private, 14635646, Parachute Regiment. Alun was the son of William and Martha Davies, of Carmarthen. His parents later moved to Aberystwyth. Alun served with the 9th Battalion, Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps. The battalion was tasked with the capture of the famous Merville Gun Battery in Normandy, and landed around the area in gliders during the early hours of D-Day, 6 June 1944. Alun was killed during the capture of the battery that day. He was 19 years old, and is commemorated on the Bayeux Memorial, France.
D. H. Davies, Private. The memorial shows a Private D. H. Davies as having served in the army. There is only one man of that name who fell during WW2 and is commemorated by the CWGC and that is Private Douglas Haig Davies, but he was from Bridgend.
Douglas Thomas Davies, Lance Corporal, 2734786, Welsh Guards. Douglas was the son of Victor Henton Davies and Elizabeth Davies, of 58 Priory Street, Carmarthen. He served with the 2nd Armoured Battalion, Welsh Guards, which was attached to the Guards Armoured Division. Between 18 to 29 June 1944 the battalion landed in Normandy, and took part in the break out from the Normandy Beach-Head. It then took part in the infamous fighting in the Bocage, before heading towards Holland, with the Guards Armoured Division, and taking part in Operation Market Garden. Douglas was killed in Holland after the crossing of the Rhine, on 9 April 1945. He was 24 years old, and is buried at Oldenzaal Protestant Cemetery, Overijssel, Netherlands.
James Glyn Davies, Flying Officer, 175652, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. James was the son of Thomas and Mary Davies, of Carmarthen, and the husband of Hannah May Davies, of Carmarthen. He served with 166 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a heavy bomber unit, equipped with the Avro Lancaster III, based at RAF Kirmington. James was killed when his Lancaster Mark III, Serial LM722 was shot down while returning from a raid on Germany on 24 September 1944. He was 31 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.
John Derrick Edwards Davies, Pilot Officer (Air Gunner), 176215, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was the son of Daniel Edwards Davies and Katherine Davies, of Market Harborough, Leicestershire. He served with 180 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the North American Mitchell II, based at RAF Dunsfold. John died on 15 June 1944, probably during an air crash. He was 21 years old, and is buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey.
John Davies, M.D., M.R.C.P., Commander Surgeon, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. John was the son of Moses and Margaret Davies, of Carmarthen, and the husband of Elizabeth Gwladys Davies, of Hampstead. He was a surgeon prior to the war and served with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, with the rank of Commander Surgeon, based at H.M.S. Drake. John died on 2 August 1945, aged 47, and is buried in Hampstead Cemetery, England.
Oliver Geoffrey Davies, Flight Sergeant, 972287, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Oliver was the son of John Joseph and Kate Marion Davies, of Carmarthen. He served as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner with 612 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Vickers Wellington VIII, based at RAF Wick on an anti-submarine role. Oliver was killed on 9 November 1942, aged 22, when his Wellington crashed whilst on operations, and is buried at Midvaag Military Cemetery, Faroe Islands.
Phillip Thomas Davies, Sergeant, 1152952, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Phillip was the son of Sydney A. and Gwladys Davies, of Llanybri, and served with 166 Squadron, Royal Air Force. The Squadron was based at RAF Kirmington, operating first Whitley's, then Wellington's and Lancaster Bombers. Phillip was part of the crew of a Wellington Mark X, Serial LN397, which was lost on a bombing raid on Munchengladbach on 31 August 1943 with all her crew. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, on Panel 147. He was just 20 years old. There is a memorial to him on his parents grave at Llanybri Churchyard.
Thomas Henry Davies, Sergeant, 991591, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Thomas was the son of David and Mary Ann Davies, of Werncorgam Fach, Llangain, Carmarthen. He served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, in 103 Squadron, which flew the Avro Lancaster III, based at Elsham Wolds. On the night of 18 October 1943, the squadron formed part of a massive force of 260 Lancasters sent to bomb Hannover. Eighteen aircraft were lost on the raid, one of which contained Thomas, who was lost with his fellow crewmen. Thomas was 23 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.
Ivor Lewis Evans, Private, 14541568, Cheshire Regiment. Ivor was the son of John and Theodosia Evans, of Llanybri. He served in the 6th Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment, which was created from a doubling up of the Territorial Army at the outbreak of WW2. The 6th Battalion was part of the 56th Division, who were moved from North Africa to take part in the Italian Campaign. On 3 September 1943, the Allies invaded the Italian mainland. Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Appenine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adriatic sector, but with divisions transferred to support the new offensive in France, and the Germans dug in to a number of key defensive positions, the advance stalled as winter set in. Coriano Ridge was the last important ridge in the way of the Allied advance in the Adriatic sector in the autumn of 1944. Its capture was the key to Rimini and eventually to the River Po. German parachute and panzer troops, aided by bad weather, resisted all attacks on their positions between 4 and 12 September 1944. On the night of 12 September the Eighth Army reopened its attack on the Ridge, with the 1st British and 5th Canadian Armoured Divisions. This attack was successful in taking the Ridge, but marked the beginning of a week of the heaviest fighting experienced since Cassino in May, with daily losses for the Eighth Army of some 150 killed. Ivor was Killed in Action at Coriano Ridge on 18 September 1944, aged just 21. He is buried in Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, Italy.
John Myrddin Evans, Lieutenant, Royal Artillery. Not much is known of John at present, except that he died in Carmarthenshire on 3 October 1945 aged 30. His grave location is not known by the CWGC so John is remembered on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey.
Thomas Myrddin Evans, Signalman, 2356901, Royal Corps of Signals. Thomas was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Evans of Newchurch, and the husband of Doreen Evans, of Ilford, Essex. He served with the Royal Corps of Signals in North Africa, and was attached to the famous Long Range Desert Group as a Signaller. Thomas operated as part of a squadron, hundreds of miles behind German lines. Thomas was killed on an operation on 18 January 1943. He was 32 years old, and is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt.
Walter Picton Evans, Corporal, 7382463, Royal Army Medical Corps. Walter was the son of Evan Walter and Elizabeth Evans, of Carmarthen. He was educated at Llandovery prior to the war, and later served with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Walter was quite possibly wounded during the North African Campaign. He died at Cirencester on 14 March 1943, aged 29, and is buried at Carmarthen Cemetery.
Russell Fokes, Rifleman, 5338931, Rifle Brigade. Russell was the son of Stanley Theodore Fokes and Florence Fokes (nee Lewis), of Trimsaran. He served with the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade, which took part in the North African campaign, and then in the invasion of Italy, before being recalled to Britain in May 1943, to train for the D-Day landings. Russell landed on the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944 with his battalion, which proceeded to take part in the fighting to break out from the beach-head. Russell was killed in Normandy during heavy fighting near Falaise on 29 July 1944. He was 26 years old, and is buried in Ranville War Cemetery, France.
Albert Michael Griffiths, Flight Sergeant (Pilot), 1382927, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Albert was the son of William George and Clara Eliza Griffiths, of 'Shorncliffe', Carmarthen. He served as a Pilot with 72 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was armed with the Supermarine Spitfire VC, and was based at Comiso in Sicily after the invasion of the Island in 1943. Albert was killed in Sicily on 16 July 1943. He was 26 years old, and is buried at Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily.
John Howard Griffiths, Sergeant (Navigator), 1337841, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was the son of David and Naomi Griffiths, of 7 Frederick Street, Ferndale. The family was originally from Llanpumsaint. John served with 166 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a bomber squadron, equipped with the Vickers Wellington, based at RAF Kirmington. John was killed on the morning of 24 May 1943, when his Wellington Mark X, Serial HF486, was shot down over Holland whilst en route to bomb Dortmund. He was 21 years old, and is buried at Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Netherlands alongside his four fallen crew members. His brother David also fell.
David Harold Harries, Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner), 1377756, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. David was the son of Thomas and Annie Maria Harries of Penllwynau, and the husband of Joyce Lilian Harries, of Bromley, Kent. He served with 487 (RNZAF) Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a New Zealand staffed squadron, equipped with the Lockheed Ventura II, based at RAF Feltwell. David was killed when his Hudson was shot down over Holland on 6 December 1942. He was 31 years old, and is buried at Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery, Netherlands.
Peter Ralph Higgs, Trooper, 1421252, Nottinghamshire Yeomanry. Peter was the son of Pryce James Higgs, and of Lillian Higgs, of Carmarthen. He served with the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry, which was attached to the Royal Armoured Corps. The Regiment landed in France on D-Day, 6 June 1944, equipped with the Duplex Drive Sherman and Sherman Firefly tanks, nicknamed 'Hobart's Funnies' because of their peculiar designs. It took part in the break out from Normandy and in the advance across northern France and Belgium. Peter was killed in Belgium on 11 September 1944, aged 20. He is buried at Geel War Cemetery, Belgium.
James Hywel Hughes, Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner), 1381323, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. James was the son of William David and Margaret Hughes, of Knightsford, Carmarthen. He served with 77 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Handley Page Halifax II, based at RAF Elvington. James died when his Halifax was shot down during a raid over Germany on 10 March 1943. He was 21 years old, and is buried at Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany.
Arthur James, Second Radio Officer, Merchant Navy. Arthur was the son of William and Margaret James of Bridgend, Llansteffan, and the husband of Margaret Mary James, of Abertridwr, Glamorgan. He served with the Merchant Navy as a Radio Officer aboard the S.S. Toronto City, a Bristol registered cargo steamer. At the outbreak of war Toronto City was requisitioned by the Admiralty and used for meteorological service. On 2 July 1941 she was at work in the middle of the North Atlantic when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-108. Arthur was 30 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Samuel Leslie Jenkins, Captain, 88225, South Wales Borderers. Samuel was the son of John and Ellen Jenkins, of Carmarthen, and the husband of Jean Rosaleen Jenkins, of Llanarthney. He was a Captain with the South Wales Borderers, before applying for Commando training, and was posted to No. 2 Commando. On 4 March 1944 Samuel and another officer of 2 Commando were on reconnaissance in preparation for a raid on Solta, when Samuel was wounded and captured. He died on 6 March 1944, aged 29, and is buried at Belgrade War Cemetery, Serbia & Montenegro.
Thomas William Saint John, Gunner, 1089358, Royal Artillery. Thomas was born in 1911, the son of Thomas and Mary John, of Avon Bank, St. Clears. He had played rugby for Laugharne, before enlisting into the Royal Artillery. Thomas was posted to the 118th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, and sailed for the Far East, where the Regiment formed part of the Singapore Garrison. The Regiment was in Singapore at the time of the Japanese attack on 8 February 1942, as part of 18th Division. After a week of heavy fighting, the Garrison surrendered to the Japanese on 15 February 1942. The survivors of the Battle for Singapore were interned in the infamous Changi Jail. From here, the men were shipped to various parts of the Far East to be used as labourers by their Japanese captors. Thomas was among 900 British Prisoners of War who boarded the Japanese 'Hell ship' Kachidoki Maru on 6 September 1944 at Singapore. Six days into her voyage to Japan, the convoy containing the Kachidoki Maru was spotted by a patrol of three American Submarines in the South China Sea. The Americans opened fire; The USS Sealion sank the Rakuyo Maru with over 1,300 POW's aboard, while the submarine USS Pampanito fired a spread of torpedoes into the helpless Kachidoki Maru, with 900 POW's aboard. After realising what they had done, the Americans surfaced and began to pull survivors out of the water, but over 1,550 British and Australian POW's were lost in the sinking. Amongst the dead was Thomas. Thomas was tragically killed, aged 34, on 12 September 1944 aboard the Kachidoki Maru. The inscription on his parents headstone states that he was Lost in Action at Sea. Thomas is remembered on the Singapore Memorial, Kranji.
Benjamin Bryn Jones, Sergeant (Air Gunner), 1183725, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Benjamin was the son of Henry and Margaret Jones, of Carmarthen. He served with 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Avro Lancaster I, based at RAF Langar. Benjamin was killed when his Lancaster Serial W4171 was shot down over Belgium whilst en route for Duisberg on 27 April 1943. He was 22 years old, and is buried at Schoonselhof Cemetery, Belgium.
Bryn Myrddin Jones, Lance Corporal, 2738087, Welsh Guards. Bryn was the son of Edward and Hannah Jones, and the husband of Lilian Adelene Jones, of Carmarthen. He served with the 2nd (Armoured Reconnaissance) Battalion, Welsh Guards. The battalion had been present during the fall of France in 1940, and had been converted to an armoured unit. It landed at Arromanches between 18 to 29 June 1944, and took part in the break out from Normandy, and in the subsequent drive north through France into Belgium. Bryn was killed in Belgium on 12 September 1944, aged 22, and is buried in Leopoldsburg War Cemetery, Belgium.
Brynmor Samuel Jones, Sergeant (Air Gunner), 1061957, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Brynmor was the son of George and Eliza Jones, of Carmarthen. He served with 57 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Vickers Wellington II, based at RAF Feltwell. Brynmor was killed when his Wellington crashed in Holland on 15 October 1941. He was 25 years old, and is buried at Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Netherlands.
David James Jones, Driver, 2379394, Royal Corps of Signals. David served with the Royal Corps of Signals, and was attached to the 6th Armoured Division Signals. The 6th Armoured Division had been formed on 12 September 1940, equipped with Matilda and Valentine Tanks, and later with the Crusader and Sherman Tanks, to take part in the North African campaign. It took part in Operation Torch in November 1942, and after the successful completion of the Tunisian campaign took part in the Italian campaign as part of the Eighth Army. David was killed in Italy on 9 July 1944, and is buried in Arezzo War Cemetery, Italy.
David John Jones, DFM, Pilot Officer (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner), 129218, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. David was the son of James and Ellen Gwen Jones, of Pontyates. He served with 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Vickers Wellington III, based at RAF Thruxton. David was killed when his Wellington was shot down over Germany on 28 August 1942. He was 22 years old, and is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.
Derrick Isaac Jones, Flying Officer (Navigator/Bomber), 120809, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Derrick was the son of Mr. and Mrs. D. J. Jones, of Carmarthen. He served with the Royal Air Force as a Navigator, and was attached to No. 1 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit. Derrick was 22 years old when he was killed during an accident in the Lake District when flying aboard Hudson AM680 which crashed at Beda Fell near Ullswater on 10 November 1942. He is buried at Carmarthen Cemetery.
Herbert Llewellyn Jones, Sergeant (Flight Engineer), 570542, Royal Air Force. Herbert served with 9 Squadron, RAF, which was a medium bomber Squadron, equipped with the Vickers Wellingtons, and it was with these that it was involved in anti-shipping sorties in the early stages of World War II. These were replaced in turn by the famous Lancaster bomber in September 1942 and the unit became part of Bomber Command's strategic offensive against German targets, based at Waddington. Herbert was killed when his Lancaster Mark III, Serial ED696 was shot down by German night fighters while en route to bomb Kiel on 5 April 1943. He is buried at Hamburg Cemetery, Germany alongside his six crew members.
Ivor Maurice Jones, Lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve. Ivor was born at Carmarthen on 13 May 1907, the son of Arthur and Edith Jones. He had served with the Royal Navy prior to the war, and lived with his wife Gwendoleen Maheno Jones, at Eketahuna, New Zealand. Ivor enlisted into the Royal Australian Navy, and served aboard H.M.A.S. Australia, a County Class Heavy Cruiser. She served in the Pacific Ocean, and on 21 October 1944 became the first Allied ship to be hit by a Japanese Kamikaze attack, when an aircraft hit her bridge. Ivor was among a number of men killed in the explosion. He was 37 years old, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
Mervyn Anthony Jones, Flight Sergeant, 748630, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Mervyn was the son of Herbert and Anne Elisabeth Jones, of Carmarthen. He was a well known jockey prior to the war, and had ridden the winner of the Grand National Steeplechase in 1940, not long after having enlisted into the Royal Air Force along with his brother William. Both men qualified as Pilots, and Mervyn was posted to No. 1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit, Royal Air Force. Mervyn was posted missing after a North Sea sortie on 3 April 1942, aged 23. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. His brother William died just over two years later. Both brothers medals were sold at Dix Noonan Webb on 6 July 2004.
William Hywel Anthony Jones, DFC, Flying Officer, 139316, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William was the son of Herbert and Anne Elisabeth Jones, of Carmarthen. He was a well known jockey like his brother Mervyn, and rode against him in the 1940 Grand National, falling from his horse ‘National Night’. William had enlisted into the Royal Air Force with Mervyn, and qualified as a Pilot, joining 517 Squadron, which was a Coastal Command unit, equipped with the Handley Page Halifax V, based at RAF Brawdy. During the war, Mervyn made several daring attacks against German U-Boats. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and was also Mentioned in Despatches for his gallantry during the war. The recommendation for his DFC, published in the London Gazette of 20 August 1943, read; ‘Pilot Officer Jones has maintained a very high standard in his work throughout his operational career. He made four attacks on U-Boats, inflicting damage on three occasions. He has also made a very determined attack on a blockade runner. Recently he was captain of an aircraft which successfully fought off attacks by seven Junkers 88s over a period of 45 minutes. The safe return of the aircraft was largely due to this officer’s fine tactics and superb airmanship.’ His Mention in despatches was listed in the London Gazette of 1 January 1943. William was posted missing during his second tour of operations on 14 November 1944. He was 29 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. His medals were sold along with Mervyn’s in a Dix Noonan Webb Auction on 6 July 2004.
Alan John McLaren Keay, Aircraftman 2nd Class, 305234, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Alan was the son of Cyril Francis McLaren Keay and Dorothy Margaret Keay (nee McLeod), of Leicester. He joined the Royal Air Force, and commenced pilot training. On 9 March 1945 Alan was training to fly a Tiger Moth, Serial DE473, when it collided with a Handley Page Halifax of 1665 Heavy Conversion Unit near Abbotts Bromley, killing Alan and his instructor and the crew of the Halifax. Alan was 19 years old and is buried in Repton (St. Wystan) Churchyard, Derbyshire.
A. H. Lewis, Private. The memorial shows the name of A. H, Lewis, who was a Private in the Army. He cannot presently be identified.
Desmond Lewis, Sergeant, 1414771, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Desmond was the son of W. T. and Margaret Lewis, of Carmarthen. He served in 429 (Royal Canadian Air Force) Squadron, Royal Air Force, which flew the Vickers Wellington Mark X based at RAF East Moor. Desmond was just 17 when he was Killed in Action on a bombing raid, on 27 January 1943. He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.
Edward Morland Lewis, Captain, 171535 General List. Edward was born in Carmarthen in 1903, the eighth son of Benjamin Archibald and Mary Lewis. The family moved to Ferryside when Benjamin retired. Edward was a renowned artist, who had studied at the Royal Academy, where he became a favoured student of Sickert, and painted many local scenes, especially of Ferryside, and had married Kathleen Margaret Faussett-Osbourne, of Kensington, London. Prior to the war, he was on the teaching staff at Chelsea Polytechnic. He died of malaria whilst serving as a Camouflage Officer in North Africa on 4 August 1943, aged 40, and is buried in the Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Harold Melville Maynard, Radio Officer (Junior), Merchant Navy. Harold was the son of Charles and Hilda Grace Maynard, of Carmarthen. He served with the Merchant Navy aboard the M.V. Silverpalm, a London registered cargo ship. On 9 June 1941 Silverpalm went missing in the North Atlantic, after having probably been sunk by a German U-Boat. Nothing is known of her fate, as all crew were lost. Harold was 17 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. His uncle, Ralph Maynard, was killed in WW1.
Daniel George Morgan, Cook, Merchant Navy. Daniel was born at Llangunnor in the first quarter of 1920. He served with the Merchant Navy aboard the S.S. Empire Amethyst, a Middlesbrough registered tanker. On 13 April 1942, Empire Amethyst was on route from New Orleans for Freetown, and was about 40 miles south of Haiti, carrying a cargo of 12,000 tons of clean oil, when she was torpedoed by the German Submarine U-154 and sunk with the loss of all her crew of 47. Daniel was 22 years old, and is commemorated among his fellow crewmen on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Gilbert Humphreys Rogers, Sergeant, 1382746, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Gilbert was the son of Herbert and Margaret Rogers. He was a Postman at Carmarthen before the war, then served with 75 (NZ) Squadron, Royal Air Force. The squadron was a heavy bomber unit, crewed mainly by New Zealanders, and was equipped with the Short Stirling, based at RAF Newmarket Heath. Gilbert was killed when his Stirling, Serial EF340, Identifier AA-Q, was lost mine whilst on mine laying duties in the Nectarine region off the Friesian Islands on 5 May 1943. He was 27 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.
Russell Veirian Rosser, DFM, Sergeant (Pilot), 1313694, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Russell was born at Pontyates in 1922, the son of David and Margaret Anne Rosser. He trained as a pilot, and was posted to 196 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which flew the Vickers Wellington X, based at RAF Leconfield. Russell was then attached to 466 (Royal Australian Air Force) Squadron at Leconfield. On 19 February his aircraft, Wellington HE-531, became the first aircraft in the squadron to shoot down a German night fighter which had damaged their Wellington. Within weeks, Russell was killed when his Wellington crashed at Tangmere, after returning from a raid on Stuttgart on 15 April 1943. Russell was 21 years old, and was brought home for burial in Pontyates (St. Mary) Churchyard.
Bruce Leighton Squires, Trooper, 7945575, Royal Armoured Corps. Bruce was the son of Charles Percy and Edith Maud Squires, of Carmarthen. He served with "C" Squadron, North Irish Horse, which was attached to the Royal Armoured Corps. On 2 February 1943 the North Irish Horse landed in Algiers, as part of Operation Torch, equipped with the Churchill tank. After a trying campaign in Tunisia it re-equipped with the Sherman Tank before moving to take part in the Italian campaign. Bruce was killed on 23 May 1944 during a bloody assault on the Adolf Hitler Line, which saw the North Irish Horse suffer terrible casualties. He was 23 years old, and is buried at Cassino War Cemetery, Italy.
Daniel David Thomas, Sergeant, 2031229, Royal Engineers. Daniel was the son of John Rees Thomas and Elizabeth Thomas, and the husband of Elizabeth Doreen Thomas, of Carmarthen. He served with 580 Army Troops Company, Royal Engineers. Daniel was the second Carmarthenshire man to have been killed with 580 Company in Greece, being killed on 25 April 1941 during the retreat to the coast. He was 29 years old, and is commemorated on Face 4 of the Athens Memorial, Greece.
Daniel David Clifford Thomas, Fusilier, 4204908, Royal Welch Fusiliers. Daniel was born at Newchurch, and served with the 6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. The battalion formed part of 158 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division, landing on the Normandy beaches as part of the reinforcing troops in June 1944. Daniel was killed during Operation Goodwood on 17 July 1944. He was 24 years old, and is buried at Hottot-Les-Baggues War Cemetery, France.
David John Dudley Thomas, Sergeant, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. David was the son of Mansel and Elizabeth Thomas, of Tanerdy, Carmarthen. He served as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner in 226 Squadron, R.A.F.V.R. The Squadron were initially an 'Eagle' Squadron, with many of their men being Americans, but when the U.S. entered the war, 226 Squadron helped to train the newly arrived U.S.A.F. Bombing Squadrons. 226 Squadron flew the Douglas Boston IIIA, based at Swanton Morley. On 25 January 1943 David's plane came down over occupied Holland, and David was killed. He was 20 years old and is buried at Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery, Netherlands.
David Lynam Thomas, Trooper, 7945206, Royal Armoured Corps. David was the son of Gwilym and Blodwen Thomas, of Llanishen, Cardiff. He served with the 26th Hussars, Royal Armoured Corps. The regiment was raised at Meerut in June 1941 from a cadre of personnel taken from the 14th/20th King's Hussars, and was assigned to 2nd Indian Armoured Brigade, equipped with American Stuart and Grant tanks. David died at Nira Camp, near Poona, on 3 June 1942, aged 20. He is buried in Kirkee War Cemetery, India. His links to Carmarthen aren't clear, but this is the only Trooper D. L. Thomas who fell during the war.
Horace Samuel Thomas, Lance Corporal, 80466, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force. Horace was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Thomas, of Carmarthen. He served with the 4th (Malacca Volunteer Corps) Battalion, Straits Settlement Force, which was a volunteer force, stationed in Malacca. Horace was taken POW by the Japanese after the invasion of Singapore in December 1941. He was held at Changi Jail until 4 September 1944, when he sailed from Singapore in the Hell Ship Rakuyo Maru, which was crammed with POW's bound for Japan. On 12 September 1944 the ship was torpedoed and sunk by the American Submarine USS Sealion, with the loss of 1,159 POW's. Horace was 27 years old and is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, Singapore.
Percy Thomas, Sergeant, 967631, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Percy was the son of Rees and Lizzie Thomas of Gwarcwm, Llanpumsaint. He served as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner with 61 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was based at Wick, and equipped with the Handley Page Hampden. On the night of 1 March 1941, Percy was one of the crew members aboard Hampden X3147, which took off from RAF Hemswell, Lincolnshire as part of a force of over 130 aircraft bound for Cologne. The raid was a success, but when the aircraft returned to England, the ground was found to be covered in a thick fog. Percy’s Hampden ran out of fuel while desperately searching for a place to land, and crashed at Syderstone, Norfolk early in the morning of 2 March 1941. The doomed Hampden burst into flames, killing all of the crew. Percy was 21 years old and is buried in Llanpumsaint (Bethel) Calvinistic Methodist Chapelyard.
Stephen George Thomas, Flight Sergeant, 1314103, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Stephen was the son of Stephen L. and Helen J. Thomas, of Carmarthen. He served as a pilot with 14 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the mighty North American P-51 Mustang I. After the Allied invasion of Italy, 14 Squadron moved to Ghisonaccia. Stephen was killed while flying over the Mediterranean on 15 December 1943. He was 21 years old, and is commemorated on the Malta Memorial, Malta.
William Geoffrey Thomas, Third Radio Officer, Merchant Navy. William was the son of Mrs. M. Thomas, of Carmarthen. He served with the Merchant Navy aboard the S.S. Tunisia, a Swansea registered cargo steamer. On 4 August 1941 Tunisia was about 350 miles off Ireland when she was attacked by German aircraft, and sunk. William was 19 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
William Glynne Thomas, Lieutenant, 177759, Welch Regiment. William was the son of William Nicholas Thomas and Lilian Thomas, of Carmarthen. The family later moved to Llandovery, and William was educated at Llandovery College. He served in the 1st Battalion, Welch Regiment. The Regiment had been almost wiped out during the Battle of Crete, when on 28 May1941 it was overwhelmed by nine German battalions. Some 300 survivors reached the British naval base at Sphakia, where they were evacuated to Alexandria. The 1st Welch and the 1st South Wales Borderers were now up against the German Afrika Korps. On 16 June a strong panzer attack was made on the battalion's position at Sidi Rezegh, and after a terrible time spent defending their positions, the 1st SWB were ordered to withdraw to Sollum on 17 June. The withdrawing troops ran straight into a German attack, 30 panzers and massed German infantry drove them into trap, and 14 officers and 500 other ranks were reported missing. Only four officers and 100 men survived. Meanwhile the 1st Welch were involved in the fierce struggle to hold Benghazi throughout January 1942, but were ordered to withdraw to the Egyptian frontier. The Welch battalions had been split into individual companies during the withdrawal, and met with vastly differing levels of success-many were wiped out by the Germans. Of the 700 odd officers and men of the 1st Welch who fought at Benghazi, only 214 survived. The survivors of the battalion were sent to Khartoum, where it refitted and was brought back up to strength, and then was sent to Palestine to train for the invasion of Italy. William was killed in Italy on 6 December 1944, aged 24, and is buried at Bari War Cemetery.
Harold Arthur Trumper, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 259999, Royal Navy. Harold was the son of Thomas and Ada Trumper, of Carmarthen. He served with the Royal Navy aboard the Flower Class Corvette H.M.S. Zinnia. On 23 August 1941 Zinnia was escorting Convoy OG-71 when she was hit by a torpedo from the German submarine U-564 and exploded and sunk. Harold was 27 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
Lawrence Walters, Warrant Officer, 1316296, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Lawrence was the son of Mrs. Rachel Eunice Jones (nee Walters), and the grandson of William John Walters, of Ffordd, Llangain, Carmarthen. He served with 681 Squadron, which had been formed at Dum Dum in India in 1943, flying on coastal defensive work. The Squadron was initially equipped with the Spitfire IV, but was re-equipped with the Mosquito IX in August that year. In October they received a batch of brand new Supermarine Spitfire XI's, and moved to Alipore in May, 1944. The Squadron flew missions over the Far East throughout its time at war. Little is known of how Lawrence was killed, but he is recorded as having died on 22 February, 1945 aged 23, and is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial.
Michael Anthony Jones, Private, 24398540, Army Catering Corps (Attached Welsh Guards). Michael was born at Carmarthen on 17 September 1959, and served with the Army Catering Corps, attached to the Welsh Guards. He was aboard the troopship RFA Sir Galahad when she was attacked by A4-C Skyhawks of the Argentinian Air Force on 8 June 1982, and was hit by three bombs. The resulting explosions and fire killed 48 men, mostly of the Welsh Guards, but also men of other units, including Michael. He is commemorated on the Armed Forces Memorial at Alrewas, Staffordshire.
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.
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.