West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Carmarthen Gremlin Club Memorial

The airmen of the Borough of Carmarthen who fell in both World Wars are commemorated on a wooden memorial, which is located inside the Carmarthen branch of the Royal Air Force Association Gremlin Club, which is situated in the Guildhall Square. There are several notable personalities commemorated on the memorial. The dedication on the Memorial reads; ‘To those Men and Women of the Borough of Carmarthen Who Fell in the Two World Wars’. There is another memorial with similar names inside St. Peter’s Church.

The Great War, 1914-1918

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 at the outbreak of War, becoming a Private in the Army Service Corps. 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 the Battalion 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.

Francis Bernard Evans, Second Lieutenant, Royal Flying Corps & Artists Rifles. Francis was born at London on 19 September 1895, the son of Alfred and Florence Evans, of 27, North Side, Clapham Common, London. He had served in France with the Artists Rifles between 1915 until 1917, before being commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps, and was posted to 110 Squadron, based at Sedgeford. On 17 February 1918, Francis was flying a DH4, Serial B9994, when the aircraft caught fire in the air and crashed, killing him. He was 22 years old, and is buried with his wife Florence Nelson at Hunstanton (St. Mary) Churchyard, England. Francis is not commemorated on the Gremlin Club Memorial, but is listed on the Carmarthen County War Memorial as being a Carmarthen man.

 

Stanley Short, Air Mechanic, 406173, Royal Air Force. Stanley was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Short of Abertillery. He married Esther Ann Lane at Carmarthen in 1912, and the couple lived at 20, Orchard Street, Carmarthen. Stanley served during the war with the 119th Squadron, Royal Air Force. He died at Staines on 3 November 1918, aged 25, and was brought home for burial at Carmarthen Cemetery. Stanley is not named on the County War Memorial roll.

Hugh Spencer Thomas, Second Lieutenant, Royal Air Force. Hugh was the son of John Henry and Elizabeth Anne Thomas, of 7, Spilman Street, Carmarthen. He gained a commission into the Royal Flying Corps in November 1917, where he trained as a pilot. After his training, Hugh was posted to 27 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was based in France flying the DH4. On 29 September 1918, Hugh was piloting DHP, Serial D3172 on a bombing run over Busigny, when his aircraft came under attack from a German fighter from Jasta 5, piloted by Unterofficer K. Treiber. At 08.45, Hugh’s aircraft was shot down and crashed, killing Hugh, and his Observer, Thomas Brown. Hugh was 19 years old, and is buried at Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, France. His Observer, Second Lieutenant Thomas Brown, is buried at Escaufourt Communal Cemetery, France.

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.

Arthur Charles Williams, Air Mechanic 3rd Class, 111633, Royal Air Force. Arthur was the son of the late Henry and Margaret Williams, of St. Peters, Carmarthen, and the Husband of Minnie L. Williams, of 78, St. Stephen's Avenue, Shepherd's Bush, London. Arthur died on active service on 12 December 1918. He was 49 years old, and is buried at Hendon Cemetery, England. Arthur is not commemorated on the Gremlin Club Memorial.

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.

 

Archie Wilson Arundel, Flight Sergeant, 964173, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Archie was the son of Phillip John and Ellen Arundel, of Carmarthen, and the husband of Violet M. Arundel, of Carmarthen. He served with 2742 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was unusually an Armoured Car unit, and landed at Gold Beach, on Normandy on 28 June 1944. The Squadron then took part in the drive out of Normandy into Belgium and Holland during the following months. Archie was killed in north-east France on 5 March 1945. He was 31 years old, and is buried at Choloy War Cemetery, France.

W. D. Bowen, Wing Commander. Cannot presently be identified.

 

William Donald Bowen, Sergeant (Flight Engineer), 1378175, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William was the son of Thomas Benjamin and Mary Bowen, of Carmarthen, and the husband of Beryl Bowen, of Carmarthen. 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.

 

Daniel Eric Butters, Leading Aircraftman, Royal Air Force. Daniel was born at Carmarthen in 1920, the son of Alfred John Butters and Mary Jane Butters (nee Williams). He married Marian Jean Campbell whilst training with the RAF in Detroit, Michigan in 1942 and then served as a Leading Aircraftsman with the Royal Air Force. Little else is presently known of Daniel, as he is not commemorated by the CWGC, but he died in 1944.

 

Edgar Roy Carruthers, Flight Lieutenant (Pilot), 155753, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Edgar 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, and is buried at Becklingen War Cemetery, Germany.

 

Ernest Francis Lewis Collins, Flight Sergeant, 967795, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Ernest was born in Swansea in 1918, the son of Ernest and Frances Collins. The family moved to Carmarthen soon afterwards. Ernest served with 106 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a Bomber Command unit, based at Metheringham, Lincolnshire. On the night of 29/30 August 1944 Ernest took off from Metheringham aboard Lancaster JB593 ZN-T. The Lancaster was intercepted and shot down in the Konigsberg area of Germany during the early hours of 30 August 1944, killing all the crew. Ernest was 26 years old and is commemorated alongside his fellow crewmen on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. A memorial has recently been unveiled at Metheringham to commemorate the crew of Lancaster JB593 ZN-T: Group Captain William McKechnie, Sergeant Robert Barclay Clarke, Flight Sergeant Henry William Tilson Carter, Sergeant Charles Colin Jeffrey, Sergeant Douglas Forster and Flight Sergeant Ernest Lewis Collins. (Many thanks to Marita Aitken for initially identifying Ernest).

 

Wilfred Herbert Currier, Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner), 1316120, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Wilfred was the son of Herbert George and Alice Currier, of Carmarthen. He served with 115 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a heavy bomber squadron, equipped with the Avro Lancaster II, based at RAF Little Snoring. Wilfred was killed when his Lancaster was shot down over Germany on 18 October 1943. He was 22 years old, and is buried at Reichswald Forest 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.

 

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 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.

 

James William Elias Davies, DFC, Flight Sergeant, 37796, Royal Air Force. James, known as Jimmy, was born in America, the son of David Ashley Davies and Catherine J. Davies, who later moved their family to Carmarthen. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1936, and by the outbreak of war was a fighter pilot with 79 Squadron, which was equipped with the Hawker Hurricane I, based at RAF Biggin Hill in Kent. The squadron was soon in action and by the end of June 1940 Davies had already claimed six German aircraft, with two shared claims. On 27 June 1940 he was due to be presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross from the King when he was sent as an escort to protect six aircraft on a reconnaissance mission to the French port of St Valery. Jimmy was piloting one of three Hurricanes on the flight, when they were attacked by three Messerschmitt Bf109s over the English Channel. One of the Hurricanes escaped, but Jimmy and one other were shot down into the sea, the other one pilot bailing out safely. Jimmy became the first American born pilot to be shot down and killed in World War Two. He was 26 years old. His Distinguished Flying Cross, which he didn’t see himself, was awarded for ‘This officer has shown ability as a leader of his squadron on many offensive patrols. On one occasion while attacking a Messerschmitt 109, he was himself attacked by six Heinkel 113's. He at once turned on the Heinkels destroying one and badly damaging a second before being compelled to break off the engagement owing to shortage of ammunition. The following day he sighted and attacked a large formation of Heinkel 111's and shot one down in flames.’ He had also been Mentioned in Despatches for his gallant conduct.

 

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.

Owen Geraint Davies, Radio Officer, Royal Air Force Transport Command. Owen was the son of John Alaska Davies and Annie Mary Davies, of Sychpant, Llandysul. He served in the Royal Air Force Transport Command, and was sadly killed on a ferry flight over Canada on 8 November 1943. He was 19 years old, and is remembered on the Ottawa Memorial.

 

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 when he was Killed in Action on a bombing raid on 31 August, 1943. He 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 Anthony Frederick Davies, Sergeant (Navigator), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Thomas was the son of James and Mary Ellen Davies, of Carmarthen. He served with 158 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Vickers Wellington II, based at RAF Driffield. Thomas was killed when his Wellington was shot down over the sea while returning from a mission over Germany on 12 April 1942. He was 21 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.

 

Benjamin Kenneth Hall Evans, Sergeant (Flight Engineer), 1031846, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Benjamin was the son of Mrs Jones of Carmarthen. He served with 467 (RAAF) Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a mainly Australian unit, equipped with the Avro Lancaster I, based at RAF Bottesford. Benjamin was killed when his Lancaster crashed in Switzerland on 12 July 1943. He is buried at Vevey (St. Martins) Cemetery, Switzerland.

 

William David Evans, Sergeant (Navigator), 1005138, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William was the son of Robert and Margaret Ann Evans, of Carmarthen. He served with 9 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a heavy bomber squadron, equipped with the Avro Lancaster I, based at RAF Waddington. William was killed when his Lancaster was brought down on 31 August 1943. He is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.

 

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 Edward Lewis Griffiths, Sergeant, Royal Air Force. John was the son of George and Sarah Ivy Griffiths, of Abercarn, Monmouthshire, and served with 51 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Handley Page Halifax II, based at RAF Snaith. John was killed when his Halifax was shot down on 9 January 1943. He was 21 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.

John Edward Lewis Griffiths, Sergeant, Royal Air Force. John was the son of George and Sarah Ivy Griffiths, of Abercarn, Monmouthshire, and served with 51 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Handley Page Halifax II, based at RAF Snaith. John was killed when his Halifax was shot down on 9 January 1943. He was 21 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.

 

Leslie E. T. Griffiths, Aircraftman, Royal Air Force. Leslie died in 1947, aged 24. Nothing more is currently known of him.

 

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.

 

John Howard Harries, Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner), 1258385, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was the son of Sydney Hermann Harries and Daisy Harries of Carmarthen, and the husband of Mary Josephine Harries, of Cowley, Middlesex. He served with 115 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Vickers Wellington, based at RAF Marham in Norfolk. John was killed when his Wellington was shot down over France on 29 April 1942. He was 20 years old, and is buried at Bievres Communal Churchyard, near Versailles, France. John is not listed on the memorial.

 

Waldo Harry Bentley Hiles, DSO, DFC, Squadron Leader, 121330, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Waldo was born at Swansea, and was educated at St. Paul's School, Darjeeling, India, and at Llandovery College. He was a Flight Sergeant in the RAFVR before being commissioned. On 12 December 1942, Waldo was awarded the DFC as Captain of a heavy bomber in an attack on Stuttgart. The citation to his award read; 'In November, 1942, this officer captained a heavy bomber, detailed to attack Stuttgart. At one point on the outward flight. Flight Lieutenant Hiles brought his aircraft down to 200 feet while his gunners attacked a goods train and put it out of action. He then flew on to his objective and bombed it. During the return journey, attacks were made on targets on the ground, including four separate attacks on goods trains and, in each instance, locomotives were set on fire; Flight Lieutenant Hiles also attacked an enemy aircraft on an airfield. This officer, who has completed a large number of sorties has invariably displayed outstanding skill and daring.' In June, 1943 Waldo was awarded the DSO for his high qualities of leadership and devotion to duty with 218 Squadron. He had completed two full tours of operations with 218 Squadron when he was transferred and posted to No. 3 Group HQ at Exning Hall, effectively taking him off active duties, but on the morning of 24 August 1943 Waldo decided to pay a visit to his former Squadron. After sitting in on the briefing for the raid that night on Berlin, Waldo decided to take part himself. He collected a scratch crew made up of inexperienced airmen from the Squadron, and took control of Short Stirling EH925 IC-C of 623 Squadron. Sadly the Stirling was shot down on the outskirts of Berlin that night, and the entire crew was lost. Waldo is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.

 

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.

 

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 was shot down over Belgium on 27 April 1943. He was 22 years old, and is buried at Schoonselhof 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 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.

 

Derric Isaac Jones, Flying Officer (Navigator/Bomber), 120809, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Derric was the son of Mr. and Mrs. D. J. Jones, of Carmarthen. He served with the Royal Air Force as a Navigator, but his squadron is unknown, as it is not listed on the CWGC database. Derric was 22 years old when he died on 10 November 1942, and he is buried at Carmarthen Cemetery.

 

Henry Raymond Jones, Sergeant (Bomb Aimer), 1419935, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Henry was the son of Albert Sydney and Hannah Jones, of Penygroes. He served with 78 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Handley Page Halifax II, based at RAF Breighton. Henry died on 24 August 1943, aged 21, and is buried at Penygroes Independent Chapelyard, Wales. Many thanks to Bev Lewis of Swansea for the photograph.

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 was shot down over Germany on 5 April 1943, and he is buried at Hamburg Cemetery, Germany.

 

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 Ju. 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. Very little is known of Alan, but he died on active service at Cheadle, Staffordshire on 9 March 1945, and is buried at Repton (St. Wystan) Churchyard, Derbyshire. He was 19 years old. Alan is listed on the memorial as Keary.

 

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.

 

John Irfon Lewis, Leading Aircraftman, 649703, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was the son of Robert and Ceinwen Lewis, of Carmarthen. He served with 14 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Martin B-26 Marauder I, based at RAF Fayid in Egypt. John died in North Africa on 18 March 1943. He was 21 years old, and is buried at Fayid War Cemetery, Egypt.

 

David Henry Brynmor Norman, Sergeant (Air Gunner), 1422929, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. David was the son of Charles T. and May Norman, of Carmarthen. He served with 178 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the B-24 Liberator VI, based at RAF Amendola after the invasion of Italy. David was killed when his Liberator was shot down over Serbia on 8 January 1945. He was 21 years old, and is buried at Belgrade War Cemetery, Serbia & Montenegro.

 

Thomas Brian Owen, Sergeant, 1162333, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Thomas Brian Owen was born in 1920 in Laugharne, the son of William and Annie Owen, who later lived in Carmarthen. Thomas was a Sergeant in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during the war, and remained in the services after the surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945. He died in the RAF Hospital at St. Athan aged 26, on 30 May 1947, after suffering from Tuberculosis and was buried in the new graveyard at St. Martin’s church, Laugharne.

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.

T. Stephens, Flight Sergeant. Cannot presently be identified.

 

Daniel Goronwy Thomas, Flight Sergeant (Air Gunner), 1499060, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Daniel was the son of Elias and Rachel Thomas, of Llansadwrn, and served with 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force. The Squadron was made famous during its most daring raid on 16/17 May 1943, when they took part in Operation Chastise, the famous Dambusters Raid. Daniel didn’t take part in the Dambusters Raid, but joined the squadron afterwards, as a replacement for the heavy casualties suffered. He was killed in Lancaster PB416, on transit from Yagodnik, Russia, when it crashed at 02.15 hours near Nesbyen, Norway on 17 September 1944. Daniel was 23 years old, and is buried at Nesbyen Churchyard, Norway.

 

D. L. Thomas, Sergeant. Cannot presently be identified.

 

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.

Lawrence Walters, Warrant Officer, 1316296, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Lawrence was the son of Mrs. P. Jones, and the grandson of Mr. W. J. 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. Many thanks to Nigel Anstey for the photograph used below.

David Eric Williams, Aircraftman 2nd Class, 1047445, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. David was the son of David and Ellen Williams, of Johnstown, Carmarthen. He served in the Royal Air Force, but his squadron is not recorded by the CWGC. David died on active service at Bridgend on 16 June 1941, aged 20, and is buried at Llanllwch (St. Luke) Churchyard.

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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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