West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Talbenny War Memorial

Talbenny is situated about six miles west of Haverfordwest, on the south side of St. Bride's bay. The men of the area who fell during the Great War are commemorated on a marble plaque, inside St. Mary’s Church. The Church also houses a Memorial to the men of R.A.F. Talbenny, who were killed whilst operating from the base during World War Two.

The Great War, 1914-1918

 

George Stanley Davies, Driver, T4/144611, Royal Army Service Corps. George was born at Trewern, Newport, the son of John Howell and Mary Davies. The family later resided at Howelston, Little Haven. George enlisted at Haverfordwest into the Army Service Corps, and was posted to the 1st Division Indian Cavalry in France. George became ill towards the end of his first winter in France, and died of pneumonia in hospital on 18 April 1916, aged 20. He is buried in Le Treport Military Cemetery, France.

Alfred Thomas Evans, Lance Corporal, S/11676, Rifle Brigade. Alfred was born in Little Haven in 1894, the son of Thomas and Margaret Evans. He married Gertrude Annie Richards in 1914, and they set up home at 81, Albert Town, Portfield, Haverfordwest. Alfred enlisted at Haverfordwest into the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade, which was attached to 11 Brigade, 4th Division. One of the first Divisions to move to France, arriving just in time to join the hard-pressed Divisions of II Corps at The Battle of Le Cateau. They then took part in the epic retreat to the Marne, where the German Offensive was halted, and in the advance to the Aisne. The Division was then moved north to Flanders, and took part in the Battle of Messines, where Units of 4th Division took part in the famous Christmas Truce while they were still in this area, in trenches near Ploegsteert Wood. In 1915 the Division fought at the Second Battle of Ypres. Alfred joined the battalion here as a reinforcement on 13 July 1915. In the summer of 1916, the Division was on the Somme, where they were one of the first Divisions into battle, going over the top on 1 July 1916. Alfred was one of 20,000 men who were killed in the first few hours of the Battle of the Somme that day. He was 22 years old, and is buried at Serre Road Cemetery, No. 2, France.

John Thomas, Private, 16284, Welsh Regiment. John was born at Dale in 1896, the son of Mark and Mary Thomas, of Wathwick. He worked as a Cowman for the Gibby family at Talbenny prior to the war, and enlisted at Haverfordwest into the 10th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. The battalion was raised at Porthcawl before moving to Rhyl, and in the summer of 1915 moved to Winchester as part of 114 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 division suffered terrible casualties during its first unsuccessful attack on 7 July 1916, and its second attack between 10 to 12 July, which cleared the Germans from the wood. The battered Division was taken out of the line, and moved to Ypres to rebuild, taking up positions along the Boesinghe Canal. On 1 May 1917 the 10th Welsh moved into the line to relieve the 10th SWB. After ten days in the line, on 11 May 1917, the battalion was moving out of the line to rest, when John was killed in action by shellfire. He was 20 years old, and is buried at Ferme-Olivier Cemetery, Belgium.

Albert Warlow, Sapper, 19902, Royal Engineers. Albert was born at Talbenny in 1886, the son of John and Mary Warlow. The family later moved to Chepstow, Monmouth. He enlisted at Merthyr Tydfil into the Royal Engineers, and served with the 56th Field Company, attached to the 3rd Division. One of the first Divisions to move to France, they remained on the Western Front throughout the war, and fought during the opening Battle of Mons, and in the epic retreat, from the Rearguard Action of Solesmes, through the Battle of Le Cateau, and down to the Marne, where the German Offensive was stopped. They followed the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line, where they met them in battle, and stopped the advance on Paris. The Division then moved north to Flanders, and took part in the Battle of La Bassée, and at the Battle of Messines, which were a prelude to the First Battle of Ypres. Albert was taken ill here, and died on 25 November 1914. He was 28 years old, and is buried at Cement House Cemetery, Belgium. Albert is not commemorated on the Talbenny Memorial.

R.A.F. Talbenny War Memorial, World War Two, 1939-1945

TO THE GLORY OF GOD and in honoured memory of those who lost their lives during flying activities from or at R.A.F. Talbenny and whose names are recorded on this memorial.

 

July 15th 1942    311 Squadron

787536 Sgt. H. Dostal, D.F.M., age 23. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

82591 Flt. Lt. M. Cigler, age 28. RAFVR Czechoslovakian WOP.

787335 Sgt. J. Holub, age 21. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Air Gunner.

787081 Sgt. F. Dovak, age 28. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Air Gunner.

787088 Sgt. V. Orlik, age 25. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Air Gunner.

787612 Sgt. R. Pancir, age 27. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

 

August 18th, 1942            311 Squadron

82587 Flt. Lt. K. Becvar, D.F.C., age 24. RAFVR Czechoslovakian WOP.

787359 Sgt. J. Drmelka, age 25. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

787171 Sgt. J. Lenc, age 25. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

787104 Sgt. V. Sobotka, age 28. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Air Gunner.

787885 Sgt. F. I. Sipula, age 28. RAFVR Czechoslovakian WOP/ AG.

787894 Sgt. P. Tofel. RAFVR Czechoslovakian WOP/ AG.

 

September 15th, 1942   311 Squadron

82520 Flt. Lt. A. Gabriel, age 20. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Observer.

787844 Sgt. O. Jebacek, age 24. RAFVR Czechoslovakian WOP.

68734 F/O R. Matejicek, age 29. RAFVR Czechoslovakian WOP/ AG.

787414 Sgt. J. Deradil, age 25. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

83230 Flt. Lt. J. Dyvlt, age 26. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

787884, Sgt. J. Simko, age 22. RAFVR Czechoslovakian WOP/ AG.

 

September 29th, 1942   311 Squadron

1322585 P/O P. Friedlaender, age 31. RAFVR Czechoslovakian AG.

 

October 16th, 1942          248 Squadron

1196247 F/Sgt. G.F. Hitch, age 22. RAFVR Pilot.

656794 Sgt. K. Jones, age 22. RAF Observer.

 

October 18th, 1942          311 Squadron

131535 P/O F. Bulis, RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

787458 F/Sgt. J. Blaha, age 33. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

787452 F/Sgt. F. Dolezal, age 28. RAFVR Czechoslovakian A/G.

142325 P/O J. Jebacek, age 21. RAFVR Czechoslovakian A/G.

82640 Flt. Lt. V. Student, age 24. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

131533 P/O B. Gissubel. RAFVR Czechoslovakian WOP.

87773 Cpl. F. Paclik, age 36. RAFVR Czechoslovakian FME.

788152 F/Sgt. J. Svec, age 36. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

131534 P/O. A.L. Bunzl. RAFVR Czechoslovakian WOP/ Flying Duties.

787915 Sgt. W. Gotzlinger, age 31. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Inst Rep.

788193 Sgt. V. Rajecky, age 22. RAFVR Czechoslovakian A/G.

83237 Flt. Lt. V. Harika, age 22. RAFVR Czechoslovakian A/G.

787216 Flt. Sgt. F. Stoklasek, age 28. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Fitter.

787498 Sgt. J. Cech, age 31. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Electrician.

118529 P/O G.S. Leemans, age 49. RAFVR Belgian Transport Officer.

 

December 20th, 1942     248 Squadron

1118934 Sgt. J. Billing, age 28. RAFVR Pilot.

1048198 Sgt. A.B. Fawcett, age 20. RAFVR Navigator.

R.67252 W.O. H. Sharpe, age 27. RCAF Pilot.

1152181 F/Sgt. J. Fowler, age 22. RAFVR Navigator.

 

January 12th, 1943           311 Squadron

787345 F/Sgt. M. Cervinka, age 28. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

131545 P/O. A. Holna, age 29. RAFVR Czechoslovakian WOP.

787343 Sgt. Z. Janda, age 30. RAFVR Czechoslovakian WOP/AG.

132964 P.O. J. Jelinek, age 22. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Navigator.

788126 Sgt. L. Kriz, age 30. RAFVR Czechoslovakian AG.

788149 Sgt. J. Stiess, age 28. RAFVR Czechoslovakian Pilot.

 

January 29th, 1943           511 Squadron

114382 F/O. K.C.R. Maskell, age 30. RAFVR Pilot.

Army; Royal Engineers

P15128 Brigadier V. Dykes, C.B.E., age 44.

P6266 Brigadier G.M. Stewart, age 42.

 

April 10th, 1943                303 Ferry Training Unit

131792 P/O. A. Perrott, age 20. RAFVR Navigator B.

May 28th, 1943 307 Ferry Training Unit

1027584 F/Sgt. H.E. Tyas, age 27. RAFVR Pilot.

1386980 Sgt. E.F.J. Oliver, age 22. RAFVR Navigator.

R.101981 F/Sgt. G.J. Rankmore, RCAF Air Gunner.

 

May 29th, 1943 114 Squadron

931715 F/Sgt. M.N. Williams, age 32. RAFVR WOP/ Air Gunner.

 

September 25th, 1943   303 Ferry Training Unit

1390572 Sgt. A.E. Carter, age 22. RAFVR Pilot.

1334969 Sgt. R. Whiting, age 20. RAFVR WOP/ Air Gunner.

R.98456 W.O. G.B. Wigle. RCAF Navigator.

J19354 P/O. B. McPherson. RCAF Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner.

1313141 Sgt. W.G. Prosser, age 21. RAFVR WOP/ Air Gunner.

1336888 Sgt. A.G.W. Wright, age 22. RAFVR Pilot.

 

October 3rd, 1943            3 Overseas Air Despatch Unit

131858 F/O J.E. Colyer. RAFVR Pilot.

1552315 Sgt. M. Punshon, age 22. RAFVR Pilot.

1264972 Sgt. T.H.W. Cheetham, age 23. RAFVR Navigator.

1316467 Sgt. H.G. Jones, age 22. RAFVR WOP/ Air Gunner.

1048364 Sgt. G.E. Williams, age 23. RAFVR WOP/ Air Gunner.

1239976 Sgt. A. Finnemore, age 21. RAFVR WOP/ Air Gunner.

 

October 11th, 1943          3 Overseas Air Despatch Unit

1330319 F/Sgt. R.F. Best, age 22. RAFVR Pilot.

1316742 Sgt. R.L. Whitlock, age 22. RAFVR WOP/ Air Gunner.

 

January 22nd, 1944          3 Overseas Air Despatch Unit

124450 F/O. R.D. Fearns. RAFVR Pilot.

A.416437 F/Sgt. R.J. Letcher, age 25. RAAF Navigator.

1324062 Sgt. J.C. Simpson. RAFVR WOP/ Air Gunner.

1144337 Sgt. J. McCourt, age 22. RAFVR Air Gunner.

A.409554 F/Sgt. D.B. Larkins, age 21. RAAF Pilot.

1250065 W.O. T.J. Mills, age 23. RAFVR Navigator.

1044457 Sgt. B. Stamper, age 22. RAFVR WOP/ Air Gunner.

 

January 30th, 1944           303 Ferry Training Unit

1144386 Sgt. N. Curry, age 21. RAFVR Wireless Operator.

1317546 F/Sgt. D. Kemp, age 21. RAFVR Pilot.

A.417273 F/Sgt. J. West, age 22. RAAF Air Observer.

 

August 22nd, 1944           3 Overseas Air Despatch Unit

1567324 Sgt. W.W. Forsyth, age 21. RAFVR Navigator.

1537020 Sgt. J. Pilling, age 22. RAFVR WOP/ Air Gunner.

 

February 20th, 1945        4 Armaments Practise Camp

J.14844 Flt. Lt. J.N. Punshon, age 27. RCAF Pilot.

1311989 LAC W.R. Tambling, age 26. RAFVR Drogue Op./M.Asst.

Unknown Sailor of the Great War

In one corner of Talbenny Churchyard is an undistinguished headstone which marks the grave of a sailor whose body was recovered from the sea on 29 August 1917. His burial caused great controversy at the time, as can be read below, from a letter sent to the Haverfordwest and Milford Telegraph by the then incumbent vicar, Reverend Woodman Dowding:

 

SIR,—in your issue of the 5th inst. a paragraph under the heading of "Little Haven Sensation" gave a highly coloured and distorted account of the burial of an unknown body at Talbenny Churchyard. Only the real facts can correct the gross misrepresentations that have been current in the district. The full story is as follows:—

 

It was late in the afternoon of Thursday, 30th August, that I first heard of a body being found on the shore. I immediately went to my locum tenens, the Rev. J. M. Williams, and asked him if he had heard anything of the burial of the body, as I had not. Finding that he had received no notice, I went to Haverfordwest on the following day (Friday) to find out from some responsible authority what the correct procedure should be. It was on my return home on Friday evening that I first heard that the interment had taken place. It was not pleasant to hear that the clergy had refused to bold a service over the body of a man who had given his life for his King and country." I at once went to my locum tenens to find out what had really occurred. Then I interviewed the undertaker, Mr J. George, who admitted that not only had be buried the body without a certificate from the Registrar or Coroner, which the Rev. J. M. Williams had rightly demanded, but had also dug the grave without permission of the Churchwardens and myself. Further, no notice had been given to the clergy. The appearance of the coffin at the churchyard gate was the first intimation that this burial had been arranged. I may state here that so far as the parishioners being keenly interested in the burial of an unknown man "who had given his life for his King and country," as a matter of fact the coffin was brought up on a cart and there were barely sufficient persons present to carry the body. I immediately reported the matter to the Registrar of deaths. The following is a copy of my letter, dated 1st September:—

 

Sir,—It is my duty to inform you of an irregularity which took place yesterday at Talbenny Churchyard. Mr J. George, jun., and some others buried the body of a sailor which was found on the rocks. He informed me that he did not have a certificate from the Coroner or any other authority. I received no notice that the funeral was to take place and only heard of the proceedings on my return home in the evening. To this letter I received the reply below, dated September 3rd;-

 

Re the burial of an unknown man at Talbenny on the 31st ulto. The Overseer of the Parish should have attended here to register the death previous to the burial as the Coroner bad decided not to held an inquest. The above letters contain the essential facts which completely exonerate my locum tenens. To conclude the story. Sharing the indignation of my locum tenens and parishioners that a man who had given his life for King and country" should be so treated—to put it bluntly: he was buried like a dog in a hole - I at once placarded Little Haven and Broad Haven with notices that I would hold a memorial service by the nameless grave on Sunday at 10.30 a.m. I regret to have to say it, but I personally did not observe that any of the persons who had had a hand in the irregular funeral on the preceding Friday, were present at this service. It was well attended, however, by visitors and a sprinkling of the parishioners. A collection was made in church to place a stone over the nameless grave, The full cost has been contributed- £2 15s. I have even had to return subscriptions which were sent without "canvassing," that fatal failing of our religious and social institutions. This is where the incident stands. How it will terminate it is impossible to guess. That it cannot remain as it is goes without saying. The blame must be placed on the right backs. Decency and patriotism demand that the nameless dead cast upon our shores should be reverently and affectionately laid to rest. Public opinion has not treated my loyal and painstaking locum tenens fairly. I am confident that the full presentation of the facts will go far to rectify this. Certainly in this parish a complete revolution has taken place in opinion and feeling. The blame has been diverted from the Rev. J. M. Williams to other persons. Your unfortunate paragraph based on faulty evidence constrained me to send this full account. I believe your readers will appreciate fact rather than fiction because (1) It is true. (2) It is more sensational.

 

A. T. WOODMAN DOWDING. Rector, Walton West, Talbenny.

 

The identity of this man will never be known, but thanks to the efforts of Reverend Dowding, his grave is at least marked by a headstone.

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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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