West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Bettws Bledrws War Memorial

Bettws Bledrws is a village and parish which lies astride the A485 to Tregaron, just over three miles northeast of Lampeter, and about a mile from Llangybi. At a short distance from the road is Derry Ormond. The Parish Church is dedicated to St. Bleddrws, and within the Church are the Parish War Memorials, which commemorate the men of the area who fell during both World Wars. The photographs of the memorials are courtesy of Mike Berrell.

The Great War, 1914-1918

David John Rees Davies, Sergeant, 1301, Australian Imperial Force. David was the son of David Rees Griffiths and Jane Griffiths of Goitre-Isaf, Derry Ormond. He entered St. David's College from Lampeter College School in October 1909, and emigrated to Australia in 1911 to continue his education, becoming a school teacher. After the outbreak of war, David enlisted on 28 October 1914 at Liverpool, NSW into the 3rd Battalion, Australian Infantry. After undergoing basic training in Australia, David embarked as part of the 2nd Reinforcements for the 3rd Battalion aboard HMAT Seang Bee on 11 February 1915, and on 7 May 1915 was taken on strength by the battalion at Gallipoli, where it was attached to the 1st Brigade, 1st ANZAC Division, at Anzac Cove. He was in the trenches for a month when he became ill, and was hospitalised at Lemnos for a week, prior to rejoining the battalion, in time for the attack on Line Pine, David was shot in the thigh during the assault on Lone Pine on 8 August 1915. He was evacuated aboard the Hospital Ship SS Dunluce Castle, but died of his wounds at sea on route to Malta on 10 August 1915, aged 27. David was buried at sea, and so is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli. He is named on several memorials as David John Rees Davies, but enlisted under the name David John Reginald Davis. 

Evan David Davies, Private, 41451, South Wales Borderers. Evan was the son of Thomas and Rosina Davies, of Church Cottage, Derry Ormond. He enlisted at Brecon into the Training Reserve, and was posted to France at sometime after 1916, joining the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which was attached to 87 Brigade, 29th Division. The Division took part in its first major action in France during the 1916 Somme Offensive, and fought at the Battles of Albert and Le Transloy, suffering heavy casualties. In the Spring of 1917 they fought at the Battle of the Scarpe, which was part of the Arras Offensive, and then moved further north to Ypres. Here they fought at the Battle of Langemarck, and then at the Battles of the Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde and Poelcappelle, before moving to Cambrai. Here they fought at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917 before moving back to Flanders early in 1918. The German Spring Offensive hit the British on the Somme on 21 March 1918, and hit in Flanders just weeks later, and the 29th Division took part in heavy fighting around Estaires. Evan was killed in action here on 11 April 1918. He was 20 years old, and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium. His brother Thomas also fell.

Thomas Samuel Davies, Rifleman, 45784, London Regiment. Thomas was the son of Thomas and Rosina Davies, of Church Cottage, Derry Ormond. He enlisted at Denbigh into the Army Service Corps, but was later transferred to the 18th Battalion, London Regiment (London Irish Rifles), which was attached to 141 Brigade, 47th (2nd London) Division. The Division was north of Arras when the Germans attacked Vimy Ridge early in 1916, and then moved south to the Somme, where they fought at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, and at the Battle of Le Transloy, and took part in Attacks on the Butte de Warlencourt. Early in 1917 the Division moved north to Belgium, and took part in the Battle of Messines, and then in November 1917 fought at the Battle of Cambrai. In March 1918 the Division was situated near St. Quentin, and faced the German Spring Offensive here on 21 March 1918. Thomas was killed in action here on 22 March 1918. He was 26 years old, and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France. His brother Evan also fell.

Watkin Jones Davies, Sergeant, 320198, Welsh Regiment. Watkin was the son of Samuel Sarah Davies, of Coedpark, Lampeter. He originally enlisted at Lampeter into the Pembroke Yeomanry prior to the war. During March 1916 the 1/1st Pembroke Yeomanry moved to Egypt, where it merged with the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade and formed the 4th Dismounted Brigade. On 2 February 1917 it merged with the 1/1st Glamorgan Yeomanry to form the 24th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, and became attached to 231 Brigade, 74th (Yeomanry) Division. The Division had formed in Egypt in January 1917 and had fought through the Palestinian Campaign, at the Battles of Gaza and the Battle and capture of Jerusalem. Due to the terrible casualties suffered by the British on the Western Front in March and April 1918 the Division was recalled to the Western Front, and arrived at Marseilles during May 1918. They then fought at the Second Battle of Bapaume during the great offensive, and fought in Flanders before returning to the Somme and fighting at the Battle of Épehy, as part of the offensive towards the Hindenburg Line. Watkin was captured by the Germans at Epehy, and died of wounds in captivity on 21 September 1918. He was 25 years old, and is buried at Cologne Southern Cemetery, Germany. The photograph of Watkin is courtesy of Elin Jones, A.M.

William Davies, Private, 320188, Welsh Regiment. William was born at Derry Lodge, Llangybi, the son of Timothy and Mary Davies. The family had moved from Derry Lodge by 1909. William appears to have worked at New Shop, Llangybi, and was serving with the Pembroke Yeomanry at the outbreak of war, leaving Lampeter with the Yeomanry for Carmarthen in August, prior to its move to Norfolk for garrison duty. During March 1916 the 1/1st Pembroke Yeomanry moved to Egypt, where it merged with the Welsh Border Mounted Brigade and formed the 4th Dismounted Brigade. On 2 February 1917 it merged with the 1/1st Glamorgan Yeomanry to form the 24th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, and became attached to 231 Brigade, 74th (Yeomanry) Division. The Division had formed in Egypt in January 1917 and had fought through the Palestinian Campaign, at the Battles of Gaza and the Battle and capture of Jerusalem. Due to the terrible casualties suffered by the British on the Western Front in March and April 1918 the Division was recalled to the Western Front, and arrived at Marseilles during May 1918. They then fought at the Second Battle of Bapaume during the great offensive, and fought in Flanders before returning to the Somme and fighting at the Battle of Épehy, as part of the offensive towards the Hindenburg Line. William was probably wounded at Épehy, and evacuated to the Military hospital at Wimille, where he died on 30 October 1918, aged 28. There is a memorial plaque in existence which shows that William died in hospital in France on 5 November 1918, but this appears to be incorrect, as no man of that name died with the 24th Welsh on that date.

William Evans, Driver, 2862, Royal Field Artillery. William was the son of Nathaniel and Sarah Evans, of Derry Arms, Llangybi. William enlisted at Hampstead, London into the Royal Field Artillery, and landed in France on 30 May 1915, joining the 168th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. William was then attached to the 8th Division Ammunition Column. The Division was in Flanders when William joined it, and moved to the Somme in 1916, where it fought at the Battle of Albert. In March 1917 the Division followed the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and later that year moved to Ypres, fighting at the Battle of Pilckem, and the Battle of Langemarck. William was evacuated to Remi Sidings Casualty Clearing Station early in February 1918, and died there on 13 February 1918, aged 33. He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

World War Two, 1939-1945

 

Frederick George Meyrick, MM, MID, Private, T/134823, Royal Army Service Corps. Frederick was the son of Francis and Mary Meyrick, of Selatyn, Shropshire. He was a Coachman, and was residing at Lampeter by 1911. Frederick served with distinction during the Great War, being awarded the Military Medal, and being Mentioned in Despatches twice, whilst serving with the Army Service Corps. Frederick married after being demobilised, and resided at Llanfarian with his wife, Margaret Anne Meyrick. He rejoined the colours at the outbreak of WW2, and served with the Royal Army Service Corps. Frederick died at Thanet, Kent on 31 December 1939, whilst on active service. He was 53 years old, and is buried at Bettws Bledrws (St. Bledrws) Churchyard. Frederick is not commemorated at Bettws Bledrws, but at Llanfarian.

 

David Cyril Thomas, M.A., Trooper, 7916942, Royal Armoured Corps. David was the son of Daniel Anthony and Edith Louisa Thomas, of the Rectory, Llangybi, and the husband of Eira Mary Thomas, of Acomb, York. He was a Solicitor prior to the war, and served with the Royal Dragoons. At the outbreak of war the Royal Dragoons were in Palestine, and moved to Syria after equipping with armoured cars. The regiment then became a reconnaissance regiment, moving to North Africa with the Eighth Army, and took part in the Battle of El Alamein. David was killed in action on 7 January 1943, during the advance which followed the victory at El Alamein. He was 34 years old, and is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt.

Bettws Bledrws The Great War Roll of Honour

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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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