West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Llandefeilog War Memorial

Llandefeilog is a village which lies between the rivers Gwendraeth Fach and Towy, about three miles north-east of Ferryside, and four miles north of Kidwelly. The men of the village who fell during the Great War are probably commemorated on a war memorial inside St. Maelog's Church, however I do not presently have any photographs of the memorial, and so the details below are taken from the 1922 published Carmarthen County War Memorial roll. For this reason, I have no details of any WW2 casualties from the area. Just outside the Church is a memorial to the three Lowry brothers, Harry, Eric and Patrick, whose parents once lived for a short time in the area, and who on Sunday 21 December 1919 unveiled an eleven foot high cross and a leaded window to the memory of the young men, all officers.

 

The Great War, 1914-1918

Henry Leonard Anthony, MID, Captain, Royal Army Veterinary Corps. Harry was the son of John and Elizabeth Anthony, of Cilveithy, Llandefeilog. He had served in the South African campaign of 1901 to 1902, and after returning home served as Veterinary Surgeon to the Tredegar Iron and Coal Company. At the outbreak of the Great War Harry rejoined the Colours, serving with the Pembroke Yeomanry. Harry then served with the 1/1st Lancs Mobile Section, Royal Army Veterinary Corps, which was attached to the 66th (2nd East Lancs) Division, arriving in France on 10 March 1916. By 1917 the Division was stationed around Arras, and took a leading role in the Battle of Arras, 1917. On 2 May 1917 Harry was killed by a bomb dropped by a German aeroplane. He was 40 years old, and was buried with full military honours at Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery, Arras, France. Harry was one of six brothers who served during the Great War; two of his brothers, Jack and Ivor, had won the Grand National.

George Beynon, Corporal, 28522, Welsh Regiment. George was the son of Walter and Elizabeth Beynon, of Tyrefail, Llandefeilog. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the Welsh Regiment, and was posted to the 18th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 119 Brigade, 40th (Bantam) Division. The Division 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. They remained in the area over the coming months, but were caught here by the German Spring Offensive of 21 March 1918, and fought there at the Battle of St Quentin. Due to the terrible casualties suffered by the Division here they were sent north to Flanders to rest and rebuild, but in April the Germans launched an offensive in Flanders, and the 40th Division were caught up in the thick of it again. George was killed during the resulting fighting on 13 April 1918. He was 20 years old, and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium. His half-brother William also fell.

William Richard Beynon, Private, 12972, South Wales Borderers. William was born in Llandefeilog, the son of Walter Beynon and Jane Jenkins. William had married Mary Jane George, of Pontyberem, on 14 May 1911. He enlisted at Tumble into the 4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers. The Battalion were formed in August 1914 and became part of 40 Brigade, 13th (Western) Division. They embarked at Avonmouth on 29 June 1915, and landed at Gallipoli on 6 July 1915. They remained on Gallipoli for the duration of the campaign, until being evacuated on 8 January 1916. After a brief spell on the Suez Canal Defences, the Division moved to Mesopotamia on 12 February. At the opening of 1917, the Division fought during the Battle of Kut-el-Amara, where William was killed in action on 25 February 1917. He was 29 years old, and is remembered on the now sadly derelict Basra Memorial, in Iraq. His half-brother George also fell. (Photo of William c/o Jon Stubbs)

Sydney Ernest Branfield, Private, 320111, Welsh Regiment. Sydney was the son of Edward and Emily Branfield of Llangunnor. The family were living at Bryngorise Issa, Nantycaws, Llandefeilog prior to 1901. Sydney enlisted at Carmarthen into the Pembroke Yeomanry, which moved to Egypt in March 1916 as part of the 1st Mounted Division. In March 1917 the battalion merged with the Glamorgan Yeomanry to form the 24th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 231 Brigade, 74th (Yeomanry) Division. The Division then took part in the advance into Palestine, and it was during this advance, at the Third Battle of Gaza, that Sydney was killed on 30 October 1917. He was 32 years old, and is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial, Israel.

William Stanley Davies, Private, 25166, West Riding Regiment. William was born at Cwmffrwd, the son of David and Elizabeth Davies, later of 57, Hillfield, Station Road, Kidwelly. He enlisted at Llanelli into the Army Service Corps, but later transferred into the 10th Battalion, West Riding Regiment, which was attached to 69 Brigade, 23rd Division. In August 1915 the Division moved to the Western Front, initially concentrating near Tilques. They saw their first major action at the Battle of Albert, where they captured Contalmaison, and then fought at the Battle of Bazentin, the Battle of Pozieres, the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, the Battle of Morval and the Battle of Le Transloy, where they captured Le Sars. In May 1917 they took part in the Battle of Messines, before moving further north to Ypres, and fighting at the Battle of the Menin Road, where William was wounded. He was transported back to the Casualty Clearing Station at Remy Sidings where he died of wounds on 25 September 1917. He was 24 years old, and is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium. As far as can be seen, William is not commemorated locally.

David John Howells, Private, 202759, Welsh Regiment. David was the son of Philip and Eleanor Howells (nee Anthony), of Maes Gwenllian, Kidwelly. He was a Carpenter and Wheelwright prior to the war and  originally enlisted into the 4th Welsh. David was sent to France in 1917 to join the 18th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, who were attached to 119 Brigade, 40th (Bantam) Division. Later in 1917 the Division took part in the Battle of Cambrai, playing an important role in the attack on Bourlon Wood. They remained in the area over the coming months, but were caught here by the German Spring Offensive of 21 March 1918, and fought a stubborn defence over the coming days. Due to the terrible casualties suffered by the Division here they were sent north to Flanders to rest and rebuild, but in April the Germans launched an offensive in Flanders, and the 40th Division were caught up in the thick of it again, fighting at the Battle of Estaires, and then at the Battle of Hazebrouck. Following losses in the defence of Hazebrouck, the Division was reduced to a training cadre. A major reorganisation took place, with battalions that had been Garrison Guard units joining and being converted to fighting units. The Division was ready for front-line action again by 18 July 1918, when they took part in the Advance in Flanders, and the Battle of Ypres, 1918. David was taken ill during the final months of the war, and was brought to the Base Hospital near Boulogne, where he died on 31 December 1918, aged 32. He is buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille.

David Bowen Jones, Private, 51307, Royal Scots Fusiliers. David was born on 16 February 1889, the son of John Conwil Jones and Maria Jones, of Croesyceiliog. He was educated at Idole School, before training as a Tailor. David married Margaret Evans, of 52, Glenalla Road, Llanelli on 10 May 1915, and fathered a child before enlisting into the army at Llanelli on 17 April 1916. He was posted to the 3rd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, and embarked aboard the Troopship Aragon in December 1917, which was bound for Egypt. David was drowned when Aragon was torpedoed in the Mediterranean on 30 December 1917. He was 28 years old, and is commemorated on the Alexandria Chatby Memorial, Egypt. His son Raymond had just been born on 9 November 1915.

John Jones, Private, 368134, Royal Army Medical Corps. John was the son of Richard and Mary Jones, of Cwmffrwduchaf, Carmarthen. He enlisted at Swansea into the 3rd Welsh Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, which was attached to the 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Division landed at Gallipoli on 8 August 1915, serving there until the evacuation of the peninsula. It then took part in the Egyptian and Palestinian campaigns. John must have taken ill in Palestine, and was brought home, dying as a result of his overseas service on 14 February 1918. He was 22 years old, and is buried at Merthyr (Cana) Congregational Chapelyard, Wales.

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.

Auriol Ernest Eric Lowry, DSO, MC, Lieutenant Colonel, West Yorkshire Regiment. Auriol was born on 4 December 1892, the second son of William Buchanan Lowry and Annie Sophia Lowry, Manor Way Grange, Lee-on-Solent. He was educated at St. Andrew's, Southborough and at Cheltenham College before going to Sandhurst and was commissioned into the West Yorkshire Regiment on 5 February 1913. He was serving in Malta as a Lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion, West Yorks by the outbreak of war and disembarked in France with the battalion on 5 November 1914. Auriol was obviously a brave man and a good officer, as by the end of 1917 he had become promoted to command his battalion, becoming one of the youngest men to do so during the war, and had also been awarded the Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross and Croix de Guerre avec Palme, as well as having been mentioned in despatches three times. On 23 September 1918 the battalion, which had been attached to 23 Brigade, 8th Division for the entire war, was taking part in the great advance and had reached the Acheville Sector, near Arleux-en-Gohelle. Auriol had despatched two companies of his battalion to hold posts in the front line, with a third in support and one in reserve and was making his way forward to visit the posts when he was hit by German machine-gun fire and killed. He was 25 years old and was carried back behind the lines to be buried in La Targette British Cemetery, Neuville-St. Vaast. His brothers Cyril and William also fell.

Cyril John Patrick Lowry, Captain, West Yorkshire Regiment. Cyril was born in Pembrokeshire in 1898, the youngest son of William Buchanan Lowry and Annie Sophia Lowry, Manor Way Grange, Lee-on-Solent. He was commissioned into his brothers unit, the West Yorkshire Regiment in September 1915 and joined the 2nd Battalion, West Yorks in France during September 1916. By the end of 1917 Cyril had been promoted Captain and was serving under his brother Auriol. By 12 March 1918 the battalion had moved to a rest camp behind the lines at Wizernes, where the men drilled and carried out various training routines. On 21 March the Germans launched a massive offensive, Operation Michael, against the British front facing the Hindenburg Line near St. Quentin and advancing through thick fog, behind a wall of artillery fire, smashed a hole in the British lines. After being put on four hours notice to move later that day the 2nd Battalion, West Yorks was among a large number of reserve battalions sent forwards to attempt to stem the German advance and on the following day entrained for Chaulnes before marching onto Villers Carbonnel. During the early hours of 23 March the battalion moved forwards to cover the retirement of the 50th Division and took up positions along a bridgehead at Eterpigny where it came under heavy shellfire and was relieved during the night. The Germans attacked and crossed the bridge on 25 March and the 2nd West Yorks received orders to counter-attack and regain the position. Heavy fighting raged during the day and many men were lost. Among the dead was Cyril, who was just 20 years old. His body was never found and he is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial. His brothers, Auriol and William, also fell.

William Augustine Harper Lowry, MiD, Second Lieutenant, Indian Army. William was born in Calcutta on 21 February 1890, the eldest son of William Buchanan Lowry and Annie Sophia Lowry. His father was a wealthy tea merchant and soon after the birth of his first son retired and moved the family to Manor Way Grange, Lee-on-Solent. William was educated at St Andrew’s Tonbridge and at Cheltenham College before being admitted to Caius College, Cambridge where he studied French, Physics and Chemistry. He left England in 1910 and sailed for Calcutta to become a tea planter at Manikande Parakadua in Ceylon. Whilst there he joined the local Militia, the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps and sailed for Egypt with the battalion on 17 November 1914. The battalion disembarked  at  Port Said  and  went  into  barracks  at  Abbassia and in December  marched  to  Zeitoun. Sixty men of the battalion, including William, were chosen to be commissioned into the Indian Army, and William was posted to the 14th King George's Own Ferozepore Sikhs, which were attached to 51 Brigade, 17th (Indian) Division. On 4 June 1915 the division launched an attack against the Turkish line at the head of Gully Ravine, supported by fire from battleships anchored off-shore. The gulley was steep and strongly wired and the Indians were mown down by the Turks from their dominant defensive positions. During their assault the 14th Sikhs lost twelve British officers, eleven Indian officers and 380 men killed or wounded and the few survivors were forced to withdraw. William was among the dead. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli. His brothers Auriol and Cyril were killed later in the war.

John Rees Morgan, Private, 2118, Welsh Guards. John was born at Llandefeilog, the son of David and Rachel Morgan. John emigrated to America at some time, and his parents moved to Rhydywalchen, Peniel Road, Carmarthen. John came home from America to enlist at Carmarthen into the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, which had formed on 26 February 1915. The Welsh Guards moved to France on 18 August 1915 attached to 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division, and moved to Loos. The Welsh Guards had their baptism of fire at Loos, and in the summer of 1916 moved to the Somme sector. John was killed on the Somme on 10 December 1916, when the Welsh Guards were under heavy German artillery fire. John has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. John was 29 years old. He is not commemorated at Llandefeilog.

Thomas Thomas, Private, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Thomas cannot presently be identified.

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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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