Llanarthney is a small village sat astride the B4300 road, about seven miles east of Carmarthen and six miles west of Llandeilo, in the Towy Valley. Within its parish are the ruins of Middleton Hall, and the National Botanical Gardens. My grandmother's sister, Edith Dexter, was born at Middleton Hall, during the time that their father was Head Gamekeeper there in 1916. I have recently been told by two Church Wardens at Llanarthney that there are no war memorials inside the Church, so the details on this page have been taken from the 1922 published Carmarthen County War Memorial roll, which gives the names of eleven men. Any photographs of local memorials would be most welcome.
The Great War, 1914-1918
William George Anthony, Private, 4376, Pembroke Yeomanry. William was the son of John and Mary Anthony, of Penpont, Llanarthney. He enlisted at Carmarthen on 17 October 1914 into the Pembroke Yeomanry. William served in Egypt with the 1/1st Battalion, Pembroke Yeomanry from 4 March 1916 until being evacuated sick on 5 September 1916. He was hospitalised in Britain after returning home, and was found to be suffering from tuberculosis brought on by his service in Egypt. He was subsequently discharged from the army as medically unfit, and went to live with his parents, who had moved to Brynceitho, Cefneithin. He died on 4 November 1918 aged 24. William's case was put forward to the CWGC on 8 May 2013, and he was accepted for commemoration on 11 November 2014. He will be commemorated in the United Kingdom Book of Remembrance until his grave can be found. William is commemorated at Tabernacle Chapel, Cefneithin.
Ivor Thomas Charles, Private, 39247, South Wales Borderers. Ivor was the son of David and Mary Ann Charles, Shoemaker, of Bank y Mansel, Llanarthney. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the Monmouthshire Regiment. Sometime later he was transferred into the 6th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, Pioneers to the 25th Division. The Division moved to France in September 1915 and moved to the Vimy sector. They fought in every major battle thereafter and took part in some of the terrible fighting during the German Spring offensive of 1918 before being moved to the Soissons Sector. On 27 May 1918 a German attack hit them again, and during the coming days the Division was virtually annihilated. By 9 June, a decision had been taken to break up what was left of the Division to reinforce other formations. The core of the Division returned to England to rebuild, and returned to the front in September 1918, moving at first to St Riquier near Abbeville. Late in the month, it entrained for Fourth Army, coming under XIII Corps which was by now engaged in the more or less continuous and eventually victorious advance across Picardy, fighting at the Battle of Beaurevoir. They then fought during the remainder of the great offensive, at the Battle of Cambrai, the Pursuit to the Selle, the Battle of the Selle, and the Battle of the Sambre. Ivor was taken ill and died during the final offensive, and he died on 29 October 1918, aged 30. He is buried at Pont-De-Nieppe Communal Cemetery, France. Ivor is not commemorated on the Llanarthney War Memorial.
George Davies, Sapper, 448501, Royal Engineers. George was the son of Thomas and Ann Davies, of Carreglas, Cross Hands. He lived with his wife at Glynllwchwr Road, Pontardulais prior to enlisting at Ammanford into the Royal Engineers. George was posted to the 90th Field Company, Royal Engineers, which was attached to the 9th (Scottish) Division. The Division had been in France since fighting at Loos in September 1915. It fought on the Somme in 1916, then at Ypres and Cambrai in 1917. In March, 1918 they were still in the Cambrai area, and were one of the Divisions hit there by the German Spring Offensive, fighting at the Battle of St Quentin, and the First Battle of Bapaume. After suffering terrible casualties the Division were moved to Flanders to rebuild, but the Germans launched another offensive there during April 1918, and the Division then took part in the Battles of the Lys, at the Battle of Messines, the Battle of Bailleul, the First Battle of Kemmel, the Second Battle of Kemmel and then during the Advance in Flanders, where they took part in the Action of Outtersteene Ridge. George was wounded in Flanders, and was evacuated to the Base Hospital at Longuenesse. He died of wounds there on 1 August 1918, aged 21, and is buried at Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, France.
Thomas Davies, Lance Corporal, 68852, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Thomas was the son of William and Mary Davies, of Caerllwyn, Foelgastell. He was employed at the New Cross Hands Collieries prior to the war, before enlisting at Carmarthen into the Pembroke Yeomanry. Thomas then transferred to the Welsh Regiment, and the Royal Irish Rifles, before being posted to the 11th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was in Salonika, as part of 67 Brigade, 22nd Division. Thomas was killed in action in Salonika on 31 July 1917, aged 21. He is buried at Doiran Military Cemetery, Greece. (Soldiers Died in the Great War shows his date of death as 31 July 1917, as do the original grave registration forms, but the CWGC show his date of death as 31 July 1918 and have that date on his headstone. Local newspaper reports confirm he died in 1917.)
David Howell Griffiths, Sapper, 6405, Australian Engineers. David was born at Llanarthney, and was the brother of Ruth Roberts, Porthyrhyd, Llanarthney. He was a miner, and had served with the 4th Welsh prior to emigrating to Australia around 1910, after being advised to live in a better climate, due to ill health. He then lived with his sister, Mrs Ruth Roberts, at High Street, Grange, South Australia. David enlisted at Adelaide on 14 October 1915, into the Australian Engineers, and joined the 13th reinforcements to the 3rd Field Company, which was attached to the 1st Australian Division. David embarked on 20 March 1916 at Sydney aboard HMAT Armadale, and arrived at Alexandria on 24 April 1916. Within weeks he was admitted to Hospital at Abbassia, where he was discovered to be suffering from tuberculosis. On 24 June 1916 David embarked at Alexandria for Australia, after being discharged from the AIF as medically unfit. He died on 10 February 1920, aged 30, and is buried at Adelaide (West Terrace) Cemetery, Australia. David isn’t commemorated locally.
Rhys Griffiths, Private, 57935, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Rhys was the son of Owen and Sarah Griffiths, of Bron Gwendraeth, Cwm Mawr, Tumble. He enlisted at Llanelli into the Army, and after training was posted to the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. The Division had been in France since July 1915, and had fought at the Battle of Loos that year, then on the Somme in 1916, and at Messines and Ypres in 1917. In 1918 they were caught up in the German Spring Offensive near St. Quentin, where they suffered terrible casualties, and fought at the Battle of Bapaume. They moved to Ypres, but were caught up in the German attack at Messines, and at Bailleul, and Kemmel. After suffering terribly again, they moved South to the quieter French sector to rebuild, but were caught up in the German offensive on the Aisne. Rhys was taken prisoner by the Germans at some stage, and was taken to a Prisoner of War Camp in Germany. He died as a POW on 24 July 1918, aged 18, and is buried at Niederzwehren Cemetery, Germany.
William John Hughes, Private, 26467, Welsh Regiment. William was the son of John and Emily Hughes, Gorsfach, Gorslas. He worked as a coalminer at Tylorstown prior to the war and enlisted at Porth on 23 April 1915 into the 17th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. The Battalion was attached to 119 Brigade, 40th (Bantam) Division, which was formed between September and December 1915, composed of bantam units and others which had a mixture of regulation-height and shorter men. Weeding out of very under-sized or unfit men delayed the training programme, and it was not until late spring 1916 that the Division was ready to proceed on active service. The Division moved to France between 1 and 9 June, 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. William was killed in action during this period, on 24 April 1917, aged 23. He is buried at Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery, Villers-Plouich, France.
David Robert James, Private, 1490, Welsh Regiment. David was born at Voelgastell, and had enlisted at Llanelli into the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment. The battalion had moved to France at the outbreak of war attached to 3 Brigade, 1st Division, and had taken part in the Battle of Mons, and the subsequent retreat to the Marne in the first weeks of the war. After successfully stopping the German drive on Paris, the 3rd Division moved to Ypres, where it was tasked with the defence of the ancient City, to prevent the German drive to the Channel Ports. David arrived in France on 27 January 1915, as part of a large batch of reinforcements for the 2nd Welsh, which had been decimated during the defence of Ypres. He fought with the battalion during the following Battles of Festubert and Neuve-Chapelle, but was killed in action during the Battle of Loos on 26 September 1915. David has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France.
John Jenkins, Private, 60402, Labour Corps. John was the son of David and Anne Jenkins, of Llwynhelyg, Llanarthney. He had enlisted at Marylebone into the 34th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, which was formed at Falmer in May 1916, moving to France sometime after June 1916. The battalion had been formed as a Labour Battalion, and in April 1917 became a Labour Corps Battalion. John was wounded during the German Offensive in 1918. He died of his wounds on 13 May 1918, aged 45, and is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France. John is not named on the County War Memorial Roll.
Arthur Edward Jones, Private, 10921, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. Arthur was born at Llanarthney in 1890, the son of George and Jane Jones. George was the Gardener at Middleton Hall, and the family lived at Garden Cottage. By 1901 the family had moved to Newbridge-on-Wye, Radnorshire, and Arthur enlisted at Hereford into the 5th Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, which was attached to 42 Brigade, 14th (Light) Division. The Division was to see its first action during the Action of Hooge, where the Division were the first to be attacked by the German use of flamethrowers. They then fought at the Second attack on Bellewaarde. In July, 1916 they moved to the Somme, and fought at the Battle of Delville Wood, and then the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, and in March 1917 followed the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line. May saw them at Arras, where they took part in the First Battle of the Scarpe, which is where Arthur was killed on 3 May 1917, aged 27. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France. Arthur is not commemorated on the Llanarthney War Memorial.
David Jones, Lance Corporal, 8436, Welsh Regiment. David was born in 1886, the son of Henry and Mary Jones, of Penrhiwgoch, Maesybont. He was a widower when he married Susannah Williams, of Llanarthney. He was a pre-war regular, and had enlisted at Carmarthen into the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment. At the outbreak of war, the 2nd Welsh moved immediately to France attached to 3 Brigade, 1st Division. The Division had been one of the first to arrive in France, fighting at the Battle of Mons, and taking part in the retreat to the Marne, where the Germans were stopped. They then fought at the Aisne, and at Chivy, before being moved north to Ypres. Here they fought at the First Battle of Ypres, where they again stopped the German Offensive, before wintering in Flanders. David was killed while the 2nd Welsh were at Cuinchy on 20 April 1915. He is buried at Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, France.
David Jones, Private, 13131, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. David was the son of William and Hannah Jones, of Dock Terrace, Llanarthney. He enlisted at Tumble into the 8th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 40 Brigade, 13th (Western) Division. On 13 June 1915 the first ships carrying the Division left port, and moved to Alexandria. By 4 July, all units had moved to Mudros, preparatory for landing on Gallipoli, and between 6 and 16 July 1915 13th Division landed on Cape Helles and relieved the 29th Division. They left and returned to Mudros at the end of the month, and the entire Division landed at ANZAC Cove between 3 and 5 August, 1915, taking part in the Battles of Sari Bair, Russell's Top, and Hill 60, ANZAC. David was wounded at Sari Bair, and taken aboard a Hospital Ship where he died of wounds on 17 August 1915, being later buried at sea. He was 19 years old, and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli.
Herbert James Jones, Sapper, 96505, Royal Engineers. Herbert was the son of John and Harriet Jones, Agricultural Labourer, Penallt Cottage, Llanarthney. He had married prior to the war, and lived with his wife, Edith F. Jones, at 4, Maryland Road, Wood Green, London. Herbert enlisted there into the 171st Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers. Upon arriving in France, the Company was sent to the Hill 70 and the Bluff area near Ypres, where they began one of the most terrifying campaigns of the Great War, the war underground. The tunnellers dug a network of dugouts, subways and mines around the Ypres Salient, and the men manning the trenches above grew to fear the sound of digging beneath their feet, after the explosion of several mines in the sector. Herbert was killed in action at Ypres on 2 June 1915, aged 31, quite possibly underground whilst working on a mine. He is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. Herbert is one of the new additions to the memorial at Gorslas.
Thomas Stephen Ray, Private, 47582, Welsh Regiment. Thomas was born at Llanarthney in 1892, the son of John Steven and Annie Maria Ray. The family had lived at Bridgend for several years prior to Annie's death, before returning to live at Bwlchgarw, Cefneithin. Thomas worked as a labourer prior to enlisting into the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment at the outbreak of war. He served with the battalion in France from 13 September 1914, and would have taken part in the terrible fighting at the First and Second Battles of Ypres. He married Sarah Catherine Williams, of Nantyfyllon, while on leave in 1915 and rejoined the battalion in France. He was posted as a deserter on 26 August 1916 while the battalion was on the Somme, but must have been just missing, as he was then posted to the Training Reserve before continuing to serve with the 2nd Welsh for the remainder of the war. He died, probably of influenza, while still in France on 10 February 1919, aged 27, and is buried in Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, France. Thomas does not appear to be commemorated anywhere locally.
Idris Tudor Rees, Private, 75290, Welsh Regiment. Idris was the son of Daniel George and Mary Ellen Rees, of Min-yr-Afon, Cross Hands. He enlisted at Cardiff on 23 May 1918 into the army, and on 14 September 1918 was posted to France, joining the 15th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division had been in France since December 1915 and had fought at Mametz Wood and Pilckem Ridge. Idris joined the battalion during the course of the advance to victory, after it had advanced across the Somme battlefields towards the Hindenburg Line. The Division then fought at the Battle of Beaurevoir, and moved up towards Cambrai, capturing Villers-Outreaux. Idris was wounded during this great advance, and died of wounds on 9 October 1918, aged 19. He is buried at Beaulencourt British Cemetery, Ligny-Thilloy, France.
Stanley Thomas William Saunders, Private, 34121, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Stanley was the son of Thomas and Rhoda Saunders of Ipswich. He had moved to Llanarthney prior to the war, where he worked as a cowman. He enlisted at Tumble on 8 September 1914 into the Welsh Regiment, and married Miriam Davies, of Tanylan, Maesybont, Gorslas on 30 December 1914. On 11 August 1915 he was transferred to the 1st Garrison Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and sailed for Gibraltar, where the battalion was on garrison duties. On 8 May 1916 Stanley was posted to France, joining the 10th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 76 Brigade, and by the summer of 1916 was part of the 3rd Division. Stanley was killed on the Somme, during the fighting around Bazentin, on 20 July 1916. He was 29 years old, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. The photograph, which is reportedly of Stanley, is courtesy of Graham Davies.
Joseph Henry Webster, Private, 27548, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. Joseph was the son of Joseph Henry and Christina Webster, of Liverpool. By 1911 Joseph was working as a ploughman for John and Letitia Tobias, at Llanarthney. He married Rachel Evans, of Curn Dancerrig, Bronwydd Arms in 1916, and enlisted at Carmarthen into the Welsh Regiment. Joseph was then posted to the 6th Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, which was attached to 60 Brigade, 20th (Light) Division. The Division had seen its first action in September 1915 at Fromelles. It then saw further fighting on the Somme in 1916, and at Ypres in 1917, before taking part in the Battle of Cambrai at the end of the year. They remained in the area between Cambrai and St. Quentin over the winter of 1917/18 and were attacked there by the German Spring Offensive of 21 March, 1918. They then fought in the retreat at the Battle of the Somme Crossings and the Battle of Rosieres. The Division was withdrawn after the heavy fighting of the Somme battles, moving on 20 April 1918 to an area south west of Amiens. Joseph was wounded here while the battalion was rebuilding, and was evacuated to the Base Hospital at Wimille. He died of wounds there on 10 September 1918, aged 27, and is buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, France.
Philip Morgan Williams, Chaplain, Royal Army Chaplains Department. Philip was born in 1889, the son of John and Catherine Williams, of Gwynondale, Llanarthney. He trained as a Chaplain before volunteering to serve in France with the Church Army in 1918. Philip survived the war, and looks to have become a curate in Yorkshire, before dying in 1971. The memorial is probably wrong, as Philip had a brother, Howell Morgan Williams who fell during the war, and is commemorated at Llanarthney and Llanegwad.
Howell Morgan Williams, Second Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. Howell was the son of John and Catherine Williams, of Gwynondale, Llanarthney, and was commissioned into the Welsh Regiment, serving with the 19th Battalion, 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 at Bard Cottage Cemetery, Belgium. He is also commemorated on the Llanegwad Memorial. (The County Roll shows his brother, Chaplain Philip Williams, but he lived for many years after the war).
World War Two, 1939-1945
Leslie Charles Fortey, Sapper, 2004187, Royal Engineers. Very little is known of Leslie, except that he was the son of Thomas and Emma Fortey, of Wern Fach, Llanarthney. He died on 16 December 1945 aged 28, and is buried at Llanarthney (St. David) Churchyard.
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.
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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.
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.