West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers Memorial

The Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers was a locally raised Territorial unit which was attached to the 53rd (Welsh) Division. The 1/1st Welsh Field Company served with the division in Gallipoli, and during 1917 was renumbered as the 436th Field Company. The 2/1st Welsh Field Company became the 437th Field Company and the 2/1st (Cheshire) Field Company became the 439th Field Company, all of the 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Division was a Territorial Force Division that served in Gallipoli, Egypt and Palestine during the Great War. These units of the Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers are commemorated on two identically named war memorials locally, one which is built into a recess at the side of the Guildhall, Carmarthen (lower photograph), and another which is located within the entrance to Parc Howard Museum at Llanelli (upper photograph).

The Great War, 1914-1918

 

Robert Vivian Bennett, Sapper, 986, Royal Engineers. Robert was the son of Richard Francis Bennett and Mary Alice Bennett (nee Benson), of High Street, Gorseinon. He worked as a Pattern Maker prior to enlisting at Llanelli on 29 October 1915 into the 1/1st Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers, and joined the unit in Egypt on 10 June 1916. Robert died of tuberculosis in Egypt on 26 November 1916, aged 21, and is buried at Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt in Grave Ref. F.165.

 

James Ernest Britton, Corporal, 448286, Royal Engineers. James was born on 4 January 1876, the son of Henry and Elizabeth Britton, of St. George, Bristol. He worked as a Plumber prior to enlisting at Carmarthen into the Royal Engineers, and ended up serving with the 437th Field Company. James died of sickness during the time of the Final Offensive beyond the Jordan on 13 October 1918, aged 42. James is buried at Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt in Grave Ref. F.223.

 

Alfred William Bush, Driver, 219742, Royal Engineers. Alfred was the son of Alfred and Louisa Bush, of Islington. He married Annie Smart in 1901, and the couple resided at 30, Dennis, St, Islington, London. He worked as a coal car driver prior to enlisting at Highbury into the Royal Engineers. Alfred ended up serving with the 437th Field Company, and died of sickness on 18 August 1918, aged 38. He is buried at Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel in Grave Ref. W. 71.

Alan Cuthbert Calvert, Sapper, 586, Royal Engineers. Alan was the son of Charles James and Elizabeth Calvert, of 1, Belgrave Villas, Bath. He worked as an architect prior to enlisting at Llanelli into the Royal Engineers, and was posted to the 1/1st Welsh Field Company. Alan was killed in action at Gallipoli, during the Defence of Helles, on 8 September 1915, aged 25, and is buried at Green Hill Cemetery, Gallipoli in Grave Ref. II.A.3.

George Davies, Sapper, 448501, Royal Engineers. George was the son of Thomas and Ann Davies, of Brynman, Gorslas. He worked as a coal hewer prior to enlisting at Ammanford into the Royal Engineers, and was given the service number T/922, which shows that he was a Territorial. George later served with the 90th Field Company, which was attached to the 9th (Scottish) Division, and he was wounded during the Advance in Flanders. He was brought to the Army Hospital at St. Omer, where he died of wounds on 1 August 1918, aged 21. George is buried there at Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, France in Grave Ref. V. D. 24.

Thomas John Davies, Sapper, 448405, Royal Engineers. Thomas was the son of David and Martha Davies, of 9, West End, Llanelli. He had worked as a mason at the Llanelly Steelworks prior to the war, and lived with his wife, Sarah Ann Davies, at 58, Princess Street, Llanelli. He enlisted there into the Royal Engineers. He ended up serving with the 437th Field Company. Thomas was shot in the thigh in September 1917, during the time of the advance on Jerusalem, and was invalided for a while at Cairo. He returned to action, and died of sickness during the Final Offensive beyond the Jordan on 23 October 1918, aged 34. Thomas is buried at Gaza War Cemetery, in Grave Ref. XXVII. E. 5.

Ernest Malcolm Duckfield, Company Quarter Master Sergeant, 21, Royal Engineers. Ernest was the son of Alfred and Martha Duckfield, of 31, Spilman Street, Carmarthen. He had worked as a postal worker prior to enlisting at Carmarthen into the 1/1st Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers. Ernest was wounded during the Defence of Helles, at Gallipoli, and died of wounds on 20 August 1915, aged 30. He is buried at Hill 10 Cemetery, Gallipoli in Grave Ref. II. B. 2.

Frank Edmunds, Sapper, 448148, Royal Engineers. Frank was born in Merthyr, the son of John and Ellen Edmunds. By 1911 the family had moved to 125, Old Castle Road, Llanelli. Frank enlisted at Llanelli into the Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers. He ended up serving with the 455th Field Company, and was wounded during Operations in Palestine. Frank died of wounds on 12 August 1917, aged 19. He is buried at Deir El Belah War Cemetery, in Grave Ref. D. 42.

Lewis George Evans, Driver, 448237, Royal Engineers. Lewis was the son of David and Annie Evans, of 91, Llewellyn Street, Llanelli. He worked at Llanelly Steelworks prior to the war, and enlisted there into the Royal Engineers. Lewis ended up serving with the 436th Field Company, and died of sickness during the Final Offensive beyond the Jordan, on 17 October 1918, aged 26. Lewis is buried at Gaza War Cemetery, in Grave Ref. XXVII. C. 12.

Sydney Picton Evans, Lance Corporal, 488, Royal Engineers. Sydney was the son of David and Amelia Evans of Glanmor Road, Llanelli. He worked as a carpenter prior to the war, and enlisted at Neyland into the 1/1st Welsh Field Company. He landed in Gallipoli on 2 August 1915 and was sadly killed in action soon after, on 21 August 1915, during the Defence of Helles. Sidney is buried at Green Hill Cemetery, Gallipoli in Grave Ref. II. B. 6. His brothers George and Harry also served with the Welsh Field Company, but survived the war.

William James Cadwallader Evans, MID, Sergeant, 448309, Royal Engineers. William was the son of Thomas and Mary Jane Evans, of 18, Mansel Street, Carmarthen. He worked as a clerk for the Board of Trade prior to the war and enlisted at Carmarthen into the 1/1st Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers. William had been Mentioned in Despatches during the war. He died in Egypt of bronchial pneumonia on 15 November 1918, aged 31, and is buried at Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt in Grave Ref. E. 180. William is also remembered on the Christ Church, Carmarthen Memorial.

Garfield Ivor Griffiths, Sapper, 448351, Royal Engineers. Garfield was born at Skewen in 1887. By 1891 he had been fostered by James Jones, of Waun, Llanybydder. Garfield trained as a cabinet maker, and at the outbreak of war enlisted into the Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers. Garfield had served with the 437th Field Company, Royal Engineers in the Palestinian campaign throughout 1917, attached to the 53rd Welsh Division. Garfield survived the war, but took ill, and died on 16 November 1918, aged 31. He is buried at Gaza War Cemetery, Israel.

Thomas Hinton, Sapper, 448314, Royal Engineers. Tom was the son of Tom and Harriet Mary Hinton, of Ewelme, Oxon. He married Mary Elizabeth Morgan, a teacher, from 34, St. David's Street, Carmarthen in 1916, whilst working as a chauffeur for the Central Garage. Tom had enlisted at Carmarthen into the Welsh Field Company, and had served with them at Gallipoli before transferring into the 46th H.A.G. Brigade, Signal Sub-Section of the Royal Engineers, and moved to the Western Front. Tom was wounded during the Battle of Hazebrouck and died on 16 April 1918, aged 28. He is buried at Ebblinghem Military Cemetery, France, in Grave Ref. I. C. 2.

Henry George Howell, Sapper, 448445, Royal Engineers. Henry was the son of John and Mary Howell, of 7, Park Eynon, Llanelli. He worked as a tailor prior to enlisting at Llanelli into the Royal Engineers, and served with the 437th Field Company. Henry died of sickness during the Final Offensive beyond the Jordan on 19 October 1918, aged 29, and is buried at Gaza War Cemetery, Grave Ref. XXVII. D. 8.

David James, Sergeant, 448350, Royal Engineers. David was born on 19 October 1884, the son of Thomas and Hannah James, of Old Chapel House, Llanybri. He moved to the Smithy, Llanddowror in 1908, and married Martha Thomas in 1910. David joined the 2/1st Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers on 14 November 1914. David was promoted Farrier Sergeant, and was sent to the Dardanelles in October 1915. He then transferred to the 437th Field Company. David returned to England on leave in November 1917, and was returning to Palestine on the Aragon when the ship was torpedoed by a submarine on 30 December 1917 and he was drowned. David was 33 years old, and is remembered on the Alexandria Chatby Memorial, Egypt. He is also remembered on War Memorials at Llansteffan and Llanddowror.

 

William James, Sapper, 763, Royal Engineers. William was born at St. Clears, the son of Evan and Phoebe James, of The Three Bells. William enlisted at Carmarthen into the 1/1st Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers, which formed part of the 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Division moved to Gallipoli, landing at Suvla Bay on 9 August 1915. They were at Cape Helles during September when William was killed in action on 5 September 1915, aged 35. He is buried at Green Hill Cemetery. William is commemorated on the St. Clears War memorial.

Thomas Jones, Sapper, 448578, Royal Engineers. Thomas was the son of Margaret Jones, of 9, Parcmaen Street, Carmarthen. He worked as a mason and bricklayer prior to enlisting at Carmarthen into the Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers, and had served in Gallipoli and Egypt before the unit was renumbered. Thomas then served with the 437th Field Company. Thomas died of Malaria at the 21st General Hospital on 17 October 1918, aged 34, and is buried in Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt in Grave Ref. E. 8. Two of his brothers also served with the Welsh Field Company.

Richard Aaron Lewis, Bugler, 292, Royal Engineers. Richard was the son of John and Mary Maria Lewis, of Brynhir, 97, Sandy Road, Llanelli. He enlisted at Llanelli into the 1/1st Welsh Field Company, and was wounded during the Defence of Helles, at Gallipoli. Richard died of wounds on 30 August 1915, aged 23, and is buried at Hill 10 Cemetery, Gallipoli in Grave Ref. II.D.5.

Edwin Phillips, Lance Corporal, 691, Royal Engineers. Edwin was the son of David and Rachel Phillips, of Glannant House, Oxford Street, Pontycymmer. He had worked in Carmarthen for John James, Draper, for many years prior to the war and enlisted at Carmarthen into the 2/1st Welsh Field Company. Edwin was killed in action during the Defence of Helles, Gallipoli on 4 December 1915, aged 30, and was buried by four friends from Carmarthen at Lala Baba War Cemetery, in Grave Ref. III.B.2.

John Rattenbury, Corporal, 129, Royal Engineers. John was the son of William and Susannah Rattenbury, and the husband of Frances Ann Rattenbury, of 4, Mariners Court, Llanelli. He was employed at Llanelli Steel Works prior to enlisting into the 1/1st Welsh Field Company. John was wounded at Helles, and was evacuated to a Hospital Ship moored offshore, where he sadly died of wounds and was buried at sea on 29 August 1915, aged 39. John is remembered on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli on Panel 23.

William John Richards, Sapper, 492, Royal Engineers. William was the son of William and Margaret Anne Richards, of Bryn Mefus, Talog Road, Trevaughan, Carmarthen. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the 1/1st Welsh Field Company, and was wounded at Gallipoli. William was evacuated by Hospital Ship to Lemnos Island, where he died of wounds on 14 October 1915, aged 31. William is buried at Portianos Military Cemetery, Lemnos in Grave Ref. V. B. 112. Tragically his father had drowned while attempting to rescue Williams thirteen year old brother Bertie at Llansteffan earlier that summer.

Herbert Gladstone Ridge, Sapper, 915, Royal Engineers. Herbert was born in 1886 in Chorlton, and was the son of Albert Ridge, who later resided at 5, Viney Street, Taunton, Somerset. The 1922 published Carmarthen County Roll of Honour lists Herbert as being from Llanybydder, but the 1911 Census shows him as residing at 36, Gilbert Road, Llanelli. He enlisted at Llanelli on 24 July 1915 into the Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers, and on 8 October 1915 joined his unit at Gallipoli. Herbert served at Gallipoli with his unit until it was evacuated in December 1915, then saw service in Egypt, before becoming ill, and returning to Britain on 2 October 1916. Herbert was discharged from the army on 20 December 1916 as a result of tuberculosis, and died at his sister's home at 5, Viney Street, Taunton on 18 March 1918, aged 31. Herbert is buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Taunton. Herbert has just been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC following my research (Tuesday 17 January 2012), and has had a new headstone erected by them.

Samuel Smithies, Sapper, 446653, Royal Engineers. Samuel was the son of Richard and Sarah Ann Smithies, of 2, Whitford Road, Tranmere, Birkenhead. He had worked as a labourer prior to the war and then served with the 436th Field Company, Royal Engineers. Samuel died in Palestine on 3 November 1918, aged 24, and is buried in Ramleh War Cemetery, Grave Ref. EE.28.

William James Tansill, Sapper, 448488, Royal Engineers. William was the son of George and Catherine Tansill, of Towy Villa, Old Station Road, Carmarthen. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the Royal Engineers, and served with the 437th Field Company. William died of dysentery on 29 July 1917, aged 22, and is buried at Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt, in Grave Ref. D. 163. William is also remembered on the G.W.R. Memorial, Carmarthen.

David Thomas, Sapper, 66100, Royal Engineers. David was the son of Ebenezer and Hannah Thomas, of 77, Dillwyn Street, Llanelli. He worked there as a Sorting Clerk and Telegraphist. David had served in the Middle East with the Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers, and remained in the Royal Engineers for several months after the armistice, being was posted to ‘L’ Signal Battalion, Royal Engineers. He was demobilised in the summer of 1919, and was on holiday in Pembrokeshire when he was killed in a cycling accident at Letterston on 13 September 1919. David was 32 years old, and is buried at Llanelli (Box) Cemetery, in the old section.

David Thomas, Sapper, 448274, Royal Engineers. David was born at Eglwyswrw in 1887, the son of Thomas and Ellen Thomas. The family moved to 102, Sandy Road, Llanelli prior to 1911. David married Agnes Thomas in 1908, and the couple resided at 9, Marine Street, Llanelli. He enlisted at Llanelli into the Royal Engineers, and served with the 436th Field Company. David was killed in action during the Battle of Nabi Samweil on 26 November 1917, aged 30, and is remembered on the Jerusalem Memorial, Panel 9.

David Rees Thomas, Acting Company Quarter Master Sergeant, 45, Royal Engineers. David lived at the Melbourne Inn, Llanelli, and was the son of David and Mary Jane Thomas, of 93, Station Road, Llanelli. He enlisted at Llanelli into the 1/1st Welsh Field Company, and was killed in action at Helles, Gallipoli on 23 October 1915, aged 31. David is buried at Lala Baba Cemetery, Gallipoli in Grave Ref. II. F. 4.

Edward Charles Wade, Driver, 220046, Royal Engineers. Edward was the son of William and Sarah Wade, of Mill Lane, Witham, Essex. He married Lottie Louisa Reed at Tooting on 16 April 1911, and the couple set up home at 42, Abbeville Road, Clapham. Edward enlisted at Aldershot on 28 July 1917 into the Royal Engineers, and was posted to Egypt in March 1918, joining the 436th Field Company, Royal Engineers, which was attached to the 53rd (Welsh) Division. Edward served with the division for the remainder of the war, but succumbed to dysentery on 2 December 1918, aged 39. He id buried in Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt. (The memorial states F. G. Wade, but this is definitely the correct man).

Reginald Lindsay White, Sapper, 448341, Royal Engineers. Reginald was the son of Thomas and Annie Myra White, of 11, Stepney Place, Llanelli. He worked as a Baker’s Boy, prior to enlisting at Llanelli into the Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers, serving in Gallipoli and Egypt with the unit before it was renumbered, and then served with the 437th Field Company. Reginald was wounded in Palestine in August 1917, and died of wounds on 10 August 1917, aged 20. He is buried in Gaza War Cemetery, Grave Ref. XXXI. D. 13.

Thomas John Williams, Sapper, 448495, Royal Engineers. Thomas was the son of John and Letitia Williams, and the brother of Mary A. Samuel, of 54, Andrew Street, Llanelli. He lived with his sisters’ family prior to the war, and worked as a sawyer in a timber yard. Thomas enlisted in Llanelli into the Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers, serving in Gallipoli and Egypt with the unit before it was renumbered, and then served with the 437th Field Company. Thomas died of sickness during the Final Offensive beyond the Jordan, on 15 October 1918, aged 30, and is buried at Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt, in Grave Ref. F.44.

William Morris (Willie) Wilson, Lance Corporal, 448021, Royal Engineers. Willie was the son of William and Alice Wilson, of 30, Water Street, Llanelli and the Husband of Bessie Wilson, of 47, Rodney Street, Swansea. He was a well known boxer throughout south Wales prior to the war and worked as a collier at Llanelli. He was an army reservist and enlisted at Llanelli into the Welsh Field Company, RE. Willie embarked for Egypt then joined the 436th Field Company in Palestine. He died of typhus during the Operations in the Jordan Valley on 17 April 1918, aged 26. Willie is buried at Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel in Grave Ref. W. 96.

William Henry York, Sapper, 448556, Royal Engineers. William was the son of Noah and Elizabeth York, of 22, Downing Street, Llanelli. He had worked at Bilston, Staffordshire as a nut and bolt presser prior to returning to Llanelli to work as a tin stamper, and enlisted at Llanelli into the Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers with the service number T/980. He later transferred into the 13th Pontoon Park, Royal Engineers. William died of malaria in Egypt on 13 October 1918, aged 22, and is buried at Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt in Grave Ref. O.291.

 

Members of the Llanelli Company, Welsh Field Company, Royal Engineers

Website News

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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