West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Eglwyswrw War Memorial

The pretty village of Eglwyswrw lies in the north of Pembrokeshire, in the Hundred of Cemais. Originally only three men from the village were commemorated, on a small war memorial plaque which is located inside St Cristiolus Church, as most of the local men are commemorated on the war memorial at Crymych. Eglwyswrw and District Heritage Society researched and undertook a project to erect a new war memorial in the village to commemorate all of their local men together. This project finally came into fruition during June 2014, with the erection of a new war memorial outside the Church, which was unveiled by myself and dedicated by the Bishop of St. David's on Sunday 10 August 2014. Many thanks to Paul Sambrook of Eglwyswrw for supplying the photographs of the grave of Joshua James, and the photograph of Oliver Rees, to Heather James for some of the photographs of the men, and to Will Thomas, of Eglwyswrw Heritage, who kindly kept me updated with details of the names of the men, with information about the project and for inviting me to carry out the unveiling.

The Great War, 1914-1918

 

Evan Owen Davies, Corporal, 30370, Middlesex Regiment. Evan was born in Eglwyswrw, and was raised by his grandparents, William and Phoebe Evans, at Palle, Eglwyswrw. He had trained as a pharmacist in London, and enlisted there into the Middlesex Regiment, with the Army Number 156. He transferred into the 46th Company, Machine Gun Corps, which was created by Royal Warrant, on 14 October 1915. Evan’s Company became attached to the 15th (Scottish) Division from 11 February 1916 onwards. The Division fought in the latter stages of the Somme Battles of 1916, and were in the middle of the Battle of Le Transloy when Evan was killed in Action, on 13 October 1916, aged 28. His body was lost on the Somme Battlefield, and so he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.

David Griffith Edwards, Lance Corporal, 39954, East Lancashire Regiment. David was the son of William and Ann Edwards, of New Inn, Blaenffos. He worked as a shop assistant prior to enlisting at Cardigan into the Army Service Corps, with the Service Number T/4/145707. He later transferred into the 2/5th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, which was attached to 126 Brigade, 42nd (East Lancs.) Division. On 6 May 1915 the Division landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, where they fought until evacuation in January 1916. They then spent twelve months in Egypt, and were moved to the Western Front in February 1917, taking over the line near Épehy then Havrincourt. In September they moved north to Ypres, where they fought through Third Ypres, until moving to the Coast in September to refit. November 1917 saw them moving to positions at Givenchy, where they remained until moving back south in early 1918. Here they faced the German Spring Offensive of 21 March 1918 on the Somme, and saw heavy fighting. David was killed in action during the Battle of Bapaume on 24 March 1918, aged 22 (SDGW shows 31 March). He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial, France.

David Emrys George, Greaser, 912812, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Emrys was born in Laugharne in 1898, the son of Frank and Martha George. The family had moved to Pantyderi Mill, Blaenffos prior to 1911. Emrys served in the Mercantile Marine, aboard the River Class destroyer, HMS Derwent, which had been built by Hawthorn Leslie and launched in 1904. After commissioning she was initially attached to the East Coast Destroyer Flotilla, based at Harwich. By the time of the war, Derwent had joined the 9th Destroyer Flotilla, at Chatham, and was deployed on anti-submarine and counter-mine patrols. On 2 May 1917 she was working off the French coast, when she struck a mine which had been laid by the German submarine UC-26, and sank off Le Havre with the loss of 58 officers and men. Emrys was just 18 years old when he drowned that day, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.

Stephen Penry George, Corporal, 2426, London Regiment. Stephen was born at Cardiff in 1882, the son of Stephen and Mary George. While Stephen himself never actually lived in Pembrokeshire, his father was a mariner from Meline, and by 1901 had moved the remainder of the family back there, setting up home at Dyffryn, Velindre, Crymych. Stephen resided at 2, Church Road, Brixton prior to the war and enlisted at Camberwell on 1 September 1914 into the 21st Battalion, London Regiment (1st Surrey Rifles). He landed in France with the battalion on 15 March 1915. The battalion was attached to 142 Brigade, 47th (2nd London) Division and saw action almost straight away, fighting at Aubers Ridge and Festubert. Later that summer, the division fought at the Battle of Loos. Stephen was wounded at Loos and returned home for treatment on 27 October. On 30 April 1916 Stephen returned to France, joining the division near Loos. The British had only just taken over this sector from the French, and the defences were wholly inadequate, so the men spent the coming weeks re-digging trenches. On 21 May the Germans launched an attack at the British positions south of Loos, to capture the vantage points of Vimy Ridge. Stephen was killed soon after, on 23 May 1916, aged 33. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France.

John Griffiths, Private, 302302, Manchester Regiment. John was born at Eglwyswrw, the son of Jacob and Mary Griffiths. The family later resided at Cwm, St. Dogmaels. John was the husband of Margaret Ann Griffiths, of Fairfield, St. Dogmaels. He enlisted at Cardiff into the 2/8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, which was attached to 199 Brigade, 66th Division. The Division concentrated on the Western Front by 16 March 1917, moving to the Ypres sector. It was there, during the opening day of the Battle of Poelcappelle, that John was Killed in Action on 9 October 1917, aged 39. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

Joshua Clement James, Private, 202507, Welsh Regiment. Joshua was born at Eglwyswrw, the son of Samuel and Margaretta James, of Frochest Farm. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the 1/4th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was a Territorial Battalion, attached to 159 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. The division sailed for Alexandria in July 1915, and landed at Gallipoli on 9 August 1915. They suffered heavy casualties at Gallipoli, necessitating the Battalion to merge with the 1/5th Welsh to form the 4/5th Composite Battalion. After the evacuation of Gallipoli, the Division moved to Palestine. Joshua didn't get sent overseas though. He Died on 23 February 1917, aged 29, and was buried in Eglwyswrw (St. Cristiolus) Churchyard.

David Thomas Jones, Private, 1111, East Surrey Regiment. David was the son of John and Rachel Jones, of Hendy Farm, Blaenffos. He had married prior to the war, and lived with his wife Ann and their children at Church Cottage, Tonmawr, Pontrhydyfen, Glamorgan. David enlisted at Neath into the Army and was posted to the 7th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, which was attached to 37 Brigade, 12th (Eastern) Division. The Division landed at Boulogne on 31 May 1915, and took over the line at Ploegsteert Wood. They then moved south and fought in the Battle of Loos, and the subsequent actions of the Hohenzollern Redoubt, and remained there until March 1916. David was wounded whilst in the line north of Loos, and was evacuated to the Military Hospital at Bethune for treatment. Sadly he died of his wounds here on 22 February 1916. David was 37 years old, and is buried at Bethune Town Cemetery, France.

Griffith David Jones, Private, 53638, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Griffith was the son of Evan and Mary Jones, of Trevigin Farm, Eglwyswrw. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the army, and was posted to France at some time late in 1916, joining the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 22 Brigade, 7th Division. Griffiths didn't survive for long in France, as he was badly wounded when the 7th Division was following up the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. He died on 30 March 1917, aged 30, and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France.

William Mathias Jones, Gunner, 118779, Royal Field Artillery. William was the son of Levi Thomas Jones and Anne Jones, of Nantgwyn, Blaenffos. He resided at Cardigan prior to the war, and enlisted into the Royal Artillery.  William was posted to France in 1916, where he joined C Battery, 108th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. He was killed in action during the opening of the Third Battle of Ypres, on 1 August 1917. William was 23 years old, and is buried at Potijze Chateau Wood Cemetery, Belgium.

John Ladd, Private, 203599, Yorkshire Regiment. John was born at St. Dogmaels in 1878, the son of William and Phoebe Ladd. Prior to the war his family had moved to The Mount, Eglwyswrw, while John resided at 194, Ystrad Road, Pentre with his wife Edith Ann Ladd, and their three children. He enlisted at Pentre, Glamorgan, into the 2/4th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, which had been formed on 4 September 1914 for Home Service. On 1 March 1916 they were attached to 189 Brigade, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, and were transferred on 9 November 1916 to 220 Brigade, 73rd Division. The Division remained on Home Service, and John Died of Sickness at home on 16 April 1917, aged 39, without having seen active service. He is buried at Rhondda (Treorchy) Cemetery.

Owen Ladd, Civilian. Owen was born at St. Dogmaels in 1882, the son of William and Phoebe Ladd. His parents later moved to The Mount, Eglwyswrw, while Owen had moved to Pentre, Rhondda, where his brother John resided. Owen had gone to Canada prior to the war and lived at 218, Carlton Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where he worked as a jeweller and had acted as secretary for a touring Welsh choir. His elder brother David James Ladd was already living in Winnipeg with his wife Allie Dee Ladd. Owen only lived in Manitoba for a couple of years. By 1915 he had decided to go home to live with his parents at Eglwyswrw, and sailed from New York aboard the White Star Liner R.M.S. Lusitania on 1 May 1915. Despite warnings of submarine activity, Lusitania rounded Ireland on 7 May without an escort and was torpedoed by the German submarine U-20. Owen was among 1,195 people aboard Lusitania who drowned in her subsequent sinking. His body was never recovered, so Owen does not have the luxury of a grave, nor a place on a memorial. He was 33 years old. A third brother, William Arthur Ladd, was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for devotion to duty during the war.

Walter Charles Little, Private, 320352, Welsh Regiment. Walter was the son of Walter and Mary Ann Little, of Springfield, Essex. After his father’s death in 1900, his mother remarried, moving to 3, Badeley Square, New Street, Chelmsford. Walter moved to West Wales and worked as a farm servant at Glandwr, Nevern prior to the war. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the Pembroke Yeomanry, with the Service Number 4688. The Pembroke Yeomanry formed at Tenby during August, 1914 as part of the South Wales Mounted Brigade, 1st Mounted Division. In 1916 they were sent to Egypt and guarded the Suez Canal Defences, but early in 1917 was disbanded, with the Battalion merging with the Glamorgan Yeomanry to form the 24th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, 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. It 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. Walter was wounded here, and evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Station at Doingt, where he sadly died of his wounds on 21 September 1918, aged 24. He is buried at Doingt Communal Cemetery Extension, France.

John Herbert Lloyd, Private, 38519, Gloucestershire Regiment. John was born at Eglwyswrw, the son of David and Elizabeth Lloyd, of Rofftcharles. He enlisted at Carmarthen, originally serving with the South Wales Borderers, but was transferred to the 8th Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment, which formed part of the 57th Brigade of the 19th (Western) Division. The 19th Division fought at Loos and the Somme, and then moved to Flanders, where they fought in the Battle of Passchendaele. It was on the opening day of the Battle of the Menin Road that John was Killed in Action, aged just 19. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

Idris Mathias, Rifleman, R/37992, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Idris was born at Eglwyswrw in 1881, the son of David and Lydia Mathias. He married in 1905, and lived with his wife Hannah and daughter Winifred at 29, Evansfield Road, Llandaff. Idris enlisted at Cardiff into the 13th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps. The Battalion formed part of 111 Brigade, 37th Division. The Division concentrated in France between July and August 1915, and fought throughout the Battles of the Somme and the Battle of Arras, before moving to Flanders to take part in the Passchendaele Offensive. During the Battle of Polygon Wood, Idris was Killed in Action, on 29 September 1917, aged 36. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.

James Mathias, Sapper, 151206, Royal Engineers. James was born in Eglwyswrw in 1884. He married Octavia Morris Johns at Cardigan on 15 December 1907, and the couple set up home at Boncath. Prior to the war the family moved to 5, Dogbrook Terrace, Ammanford, where James found work as a coalminer. He enlisted there into the 15th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was known as the Carmarthen Pals Battalion, and was attached to 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. He landed in France with the battalion on 5 December 1915, but was then attached to the Royal Engineers as a tunnellers mate. At the end of 1916 he joined the 170th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers, then on 1 February 1917 was posted to the 255th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers. The 255th Company was used at Vimy, to dig the Grange Subway, and constructing underground water reservoirs near Souchez. They were moved to Givenchy in late 1917, and then in April 1918 were in Flanders when the great German Offensive began. They were urgently sent to help consolidate Front Line trenches to try and stem the German advances, and it was during this maelstrom that James was mortally wounded. He died in the Hospital at Lijssenthoek, West of Ypres, on 31 May 1918, aged 33, and is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

John Owens, Private, 7/45055, South Wales Borderers. John was born at Eglwyswrw in 1897, the son of Thomas and Ellen Owens. At some time after 1901 the family had moved to Rock Cottage, Pantygrwndy Fach, near Cardigan. John worked as a farm labourer at Eglwyswrw before enlisting at Carmarthen into the Welsh Regiment. He then spent some time with the Leinster Regiment before being posted to the 7th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which was attached to 67 Brigade, 22nd Division. John joined the battalion in Salonika. He was killed in action during the Battle of Doiran on 18 September 1918, aged 21. John is buried in Doiran Military Cemetery, Salonika.

Stephen George Peregrine, Private, 70205, Machine Gun Corps. Stephen was born in Meline, Pembrokeshire in 1878, the son of Stephen George Peregrine and Maria Peregrine. By 1904 he was residing at Brynamman, and that year married Margaret Hopkins, of 22, Park Road, Brynamman. Stephen enlisted at Brynamman into the 9th Battalion, Welsh Regiment on 26 May 1915. He joined the battalion in France later that year, as part of a number of reinforcements after the Battle of Loos, and was transferred into the 58th Company, Machine Gun Corps upon the organisation of the MGC in 1916. The 58th Company was attached to the 19th (Western) Division, and Stephen would have served through the Battles of the Somme in 1916. The division fought at Messines, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle and Passchendaele during Third Ypres, and gained itself a reputation as a fine fighting force. During the winter of 1917-1918 the division was stationed near Bapaume, and was hit by the German offensive on 21 March 1918. The Division suffered heavily during the first few days of the attack, and Stephen was Killed in Action during the defence of Beugny, on 26 March 1918, aged 39. He is buried at Delsaux Farm Cemetery, Beugny, France.

Griffith Phillips, Private, 56891, Welsh Regiment. Griffith was born in Eglwyswrw, the son of Evan and Ellen Phillips, of Pantycelyn. He enlisted at Neath into the Pembroke Yeomanry on 9 December 1915, and on 4 August 1916 was posted to France, joining the 13th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division landed in France in December, 1915, and was blooded at the Battle of Mametz Wood, where it suffered so badly that it was not used again for a year. It took part in the Passchendaele Offensive, at the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, on 31 July 1917, and then fought at Langemarck. The Division was in the French Flanders sector at the end of 1917, and it was during a tour in the front line near Fleurbaix that Griffith was killed in action, on 2 January 1918, aged 37. He is buried in Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, France.

Haydn Phillips, Private, 29933, South Wales Borderers. Haydn was the son of John and Mary Phillips, of Shop Issaf, Eglwyswrw. He enlisted at Porth, into the South Wales Borderers, and was posted to France early in 1916, joining the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which had moved to France in March 1916 from Egypt, with 87 Brigade, 29th Division. The Battalion had fought at Tsingtao, China, and had taken part in the Gallipoli campaign, landing at Cape Helles on 25 April 1915. The battalion saw heavy losses on 1 July 1916 at Beaumont Hamel, and after rebuilding strength, saw heavy fighting on the Somme in 1916. During 1917 the battalion fought at, Passchendaele and Cambrai, but at some time during the fighting in France, Haydn took ill, and was shipped back to Hospital in the UK. He died in hospital at Whitechapel, London on 18 March 1918, aged 21, and is buried in Pontyglazier (Bethabara) Baptist Chapelyard.

Oliver James Rees, Private, 32954, Welsh Regiment. Oliver was born in 1880, the son of John and Mary Rees, of Glyn, Eglwyswrw. By 1901 he was residing at Pontycymmer, with Ellen Jones, and worked as a coalminer there. In 1903 he married his widowed landlady, Ellen, of 32, Bridgend Road, Pontycymmer. Oliver enlisted at Bridgend into the 9th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. The battalion was attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division, and landed in France during July 1915, taking up a sector north of Loos, near Givenchy. It was during the Divisions first major engagement, at the Battle of Loos, that Oliver was Killed in Action on 25 September 1915, aged 35. He is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France.

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, Israel.

 

Simon Thomas, Sapper, 82332, Royal Engineers. Simon was the son of Daniel and Mary Thomas, of Pontsaeson, Eglwyswrw. He was living at Neath by 1901, and had married Blodwen Rowlands at Glynneath in 1902, the couple later having two children. Simon enlisted at Neath into the Royal Engineers. He was posted to the 124th Field Company, attached to the 38th (Welsh) Division. Simon landed in France with his unit on 3 December 1915, and moved with the Division to the Fleurbaix sector, near Armentieres. This was known as the ‘Nursery Sector’, which was a quieter sector of the Western Front, used for blooding new troops into trench warfare. Although quieter, it was far from safe, and Simon was killed in action here on 3 April 1916, aged 39. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France.

Thomas Walter Thomas, Lance Corporal, 28552, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Thomas was the son of Thomas and Hannah Thomas, of Pencnwcmawr, Eglwyswrw. He enlisted at Leamington into the Welsh Regiment, with the Regimental Number 39547. Thomas later transferred into the 7th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, attached to 49 Brigade, 16th (Irish) Division. During December 1915 the Division moved to France and concentrated in the Bethune area. They were still in the area when Thomas was killed on 27 April 1916, aged 23. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France.

Bryn Gwynne Williams, Private, 67515, Cheshire Regiment. Bryn was the son of John and Mary Williams, of Deri House, Eglwyswrw. He worked as a Bank Clerk, and was living at 105, Priory Street, Carmarthen by 1917. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the Welsh Regiment on 10 September 1917. Bryn was then posted to the 48th Training Battalion, and on 3 April 1918 was posted to France, joining the 9th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, which was attached to 56 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. The Division was in Flanders, rebuilding from its mauling on the Somme, following the German offensive which began on 21 March 1918. It had then been sent to Messines, to rebuild, but was caught up in the German attack at Messines, which was launched on 7 April 1918 by the Germans. Bryn by now had become dangerously ill, and had been evacuated to the Base Hospital at Etaples for treatment. He sadly died there of pneumonia on 23 April 1918, aged 18. He is buried at Étaples Military Cemetery, France.

World War Two, 1939-1945

Daniel Alcfryn James, Private, 1771319, Welch Regiment. Daniel was the son of Joseph and Lena James, of Eglwyswrw, and the husband of Daisy Maude James, of Newport, Pembrokeshire. He served with the 1st Battalion, Welch Regiment. The battalion served in the North African campaign after rebuilding following heavy casualties during the fall of Crete, and suffered terribly at Benghazi, losing almost 500 men. It then rebuilt, and took part in the subsequent invasion of Sicily and Italy. The 1st Welch then transferred to the elite 1st Guards Brigade, and took part in heavy fighting around the Argenta Gap. Dan was killed in Italy during the drive towards the River Po on 21 April 1945, aged 28. He is buried in Faenza War Cemetery, Italy.

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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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