West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Welsh Colonial Troops

Colonial Forces WW1

 

In the late 19th Century, and the early part of the 20th, countless men, women and children from west Wales migrated to the various British Colonies overseas in the search for a better life. Upon the outbreak of WW1 and of WW2 these countries were called upon to help defend the Empire, and so many men (and women) originally from Carmarthenshire found themselves serving in the Armies of Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand, even the Indian Army. This page serves to remember the bravery and adventure of these men who travelled thousands of miles in search of a better life, but who responded to the call of their home country for help in her hour of need.

 

A Call to Arms

 

By the end of October, the British government had come to realise the severity of the situation. The British Expeditionary Force-the small professional British Army-had been virtually annihilated by the relentless German onslaught, and this had necessitated the call up of the Territorial Army. The British Army was now swelling in size rapidly, with new Territorial Armies being formed and sent to France to reinforce the beleaguered BEF.

But the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, Field Marshal Lord Kitchener was a worried man. Kitchener was a hero who had led the old British army to glory in Africa against the rebellion in the Sudan, and more recently in the Boer War, and was idolised by the British public. He knew better than anyone that this new form of warfare would place a huge demand on manpower that the small Island of Britain could not supply alone, and so requests were issued by the Government to the old British Colonies of India, Canada, New Zealand and Australia to supply manpower to help defend the Mother Country.

Canada, New Zealand and Australia were all still relatively new countries, with many of their peoples having been born in Britain, and many more descended from British emigrants, and so the feelings of patriotism spread rapidly, with the Governments of the respective nations pushing the recruitment of men to be sent to the western Front. By 14 October 1914, the first Canadian troops had reached the shores of Britain-over 32,000 highly trained and motivated men arrived in Plymouth, many having travelled overseas for the very first time.

In Australia and New Zealand, the call to arms had successfully reached the ears of thousands of adventure seeking men. In August 1914, the recruitment campaign was in full swing, and had resulted in a flood of men rushing to volunteer which had overwhelmed the Recruitment Officers, forcing them to turn men away-for now!

The First Australian Imperial Force (AIF)

On 3 August 1914 the Australian government offered the British Government a 20,000 strong expeditionary force, which was to be comprised of an infantry division and a light horse brigade. Recruiting commenced in August 1914 with men flocking to join the service. Intended to be representative of the nation as a whole, the 1st AIF was organized from contingents from all states. The 1st Infantry Brigade was formed in New South Wales, the 2nd in Victoria and the 3rd was raised with a battalion coming from each of the other states. The Infantry Brigades formed the backbone of the First AIF, with the Infantry obviously the most important spoke in the wheel. Around the Infantry Brigades an Army was built. Each Infantry Brigade consisted of four battalions, numbered from one to four. Each Battalion itself comprised of approximately 1,100 men, and was broken down into individual constituents.

The A.I.F. assembled throughout the various Ports of Australia, where they embarked on an immense fleet of Troop Transports Ships. These ships then congregated into a convoy, which sailed from the shores of Australia on the 20th October, 1914-seemingly to join their counterparts on the Western Front-carrying over 240,000 fit and eager fighting men.

The men arrived via Ceylon, at Alexandria on the 3rd December, 1914. Here the men disembarked, and were entrained for Cairo. They marched out of Cairo into their new camp, at Mena House, in the shadow of the Pyramids. Here the First AIF trained hard, being readied for service on the Western Front, but unknowingly to them at this time, the wheels were already being put in motion to attack the German's Allies, Turkey, on a Second Front at Gallipoli, from where they could gain control of the Straits of the Dardanelles, and thus the power of the Royal Navy could be unleashed upon Istanbul, thus forcing Turkey out of the War, and relieving pressure on Russia. The Anzac's landed at Gallipoli on the dawn of the 25th April, 1915, and here began a legend which helped form the Nation of Australia.

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the main elements of the AIF were sent to France, landing at Marseilles and moving to French Flanders. From now on they fought in some of the toughest offensives of the war, and suffered terribly from casualties because of this. The A.I.F. served in Egypt, Palestine, Gallipoli and the Sinai, but they suffered their worst casualties on the Western Front.

 

Carmarthenshire men who died with the A.I.F.

 

Private Hugo Robert Arthur of Burry Port,

Sergeant Arthur William Bathurst Beresford, of Laugharne,

Private Arthur William Vincent Braddon of Llandovery,

Private William Wood Brailsford of Llanstephan,

Private Robert Craig David of Laugharne,

Lance Corporal Thomas Jackson David of Laugharne,

Private Arthur Davies, of Capel Iwan,

Trooper Evan Henry Davies of Brechfa,

Private William Charles Davies of Llanstephan,

Private Edward Evans of Llanelli,

Sapper David Howell Griffiths of Carmarthen,

Private Rhys Emlyn Griffiths of Llanelli,

Lance Corporal William Griffiths of Carmarthen,

Lance Corporal Albert John Guthrie of Carmarthen,

Private David Rixon Harris of Dryslwyn,

Private Evan Holmes of Conwil Elfed,

Private George Henry Holmes of Conwil Elfed,

Private John Graham Parry Horsman of Carmarthen,

Lance Corporal David Thomas John of Laugharne,

Sergeant John Jonathan Jones of Conwil Elfed,

Sergeant Seymour Cadvan Jones of Carmarthen,

Private George Stanley Mann of Llanelli,

Private Frederick Aylward McDermott, of Carmarthen,

Private Morgan Morris, of Gwaen-cae-Gurwen,

Private Philip Owen, of Brynamman,

Private John Clarke Phillips of Carmarthen,

Trooper Thomas Harold Phillips of Carmarthen,

Private Frank Picot of Kidwelly,

Private Edward Rees of St. Clears,

Private W. M. Rees of Abergwili,

Second Lieutenant William Ludwig Rees Reynolds, of Llandovery,

Lieutenant Robert Hugh Owen Roberts of Llandovery,

Lance Corporal Benjamin Samson of Llanglydwen,

Lance Corporal David Samson of Llanglydwen,

Private John Thomas of Abergwili,

Private William Thomas of Glanamman,

Lieutenant-Colonel Astley John Onslow Thompson of Pontyates,

Sergeant Robert Watson, of Abergwili,

Lance Corporal George Watts of Laugharne,

Private Robert Percival Weeks of Llanelli,

Private David Thomas Williams of Llandebie,

Private John Lloyd Williams of Penygroes,

Private William Edward Williams of Llanelli.

 

Ceredigion Men who died with the A.I.F.

 

Sergeant David John Reginald Davies, of Betws Bedrws,

Private Richard David Davies, of Pontrhydfendigaid,

Private Evan Evans Griffiths, of Llanafan,

Sergeant Thomas Lloyd, of Nantcwnlle,

Private Frederick Manion, of Llangwyryfon,

Private John Morgan Morris, of Cardigan,

Private James Rowlands, of Aberystwyth,

Private David John Lewis Thomas, of Sarnau,

Private James Louis Thomas, of Sarnau,

Private Tommy Thomas, of Cardigan,

Private William Williams, of Aberystwyth.

 

Pembrokeshire Men who died with the A.I.F.

 

Private Robert Castle,

Private Andrew Edwards, Haverfordwest,

Private Sidney Thomas Elliot, Pembroke Dock,

Private Arthur Owen Evans, Cilgerran,

Private Thomas Henry Evans, Solva,

Private Ronald Gifford Fishwick, Tenby,

Private Thomas Owen Harries, Fishguard,

Private Reginald Humphrey Harrington, Manorbier,

Private William Joseph Harrington, Manorbier,

Lance Corporal Harold Keith De Warenne Harvey, Letterston,

Private Stephen Ebenezer Havard, Johnston,

Private Albert Howell Jenkins, Haverfordwest,

Private Benjamin Davies John, Minwear,

Gunner Griffith Hugh Davies John, St Florence,

Private Joseph Davies John, Minwear,

Corporal John Morgan,

Private William Henry Morgan, Robeston Wathen,

Private John Morgan Morris, St Dogmaels,

Captain William Harold Nicholls, Tenby,

Private Benjamin Phillips, Fishguard,

Private Harold Charles Phillips, Haverfordwest,

Second Lieutenant William Ludwig Rees Reynolds, Dinas Cross,

Lance Corporal Benjamin Samson, Crymych,

Lance Corporal David Samson, Crymych,

Corporal Arthur Evan Rideout Thomas, Narberth,

Private David John Lewis Thomas, St. Dogmaels,

Private Thomas Thomas, Haverfordwest,

Private Tommy Thomas, Tegryn,

Sergeant Robert Watson, St. Davids.

The Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.)

The Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.) was formed in Canada during August 1914 onwards, the original battalions coming from units of the old Canadian Militia and Permanent Forces. Each battalion was numbered, the first formed being the 1st Battalion Canadian Infantry and, by the end of the war, more than 250 battalions had been formed as well as the various supporting units. Many of these were training units however, and only around a hundred actually served on the Western Front. Many battalions trained in southern England, and provided reinforcements to the battalions in France and Flanders.

The Royal Canadian Regiment was the only regular unit of the Canadian Army at the outbreak of war, and joined the CEF in France in November 1915 after service overseas.

The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) was formed in August 1914, largely from retired ex-regular army soldiers of the British Army then resident in Canada, and was named after the daughter of the Governor General of Canada, the Duke of Connaught. It was the first Canadian infantry unit to arrive on the Western Front, reaching France by December 1914, and saw action during the German gas attacks the following year.

The Canadians, as with all Dominion troops, forged themselves a fierce reputation as fighters during the war, as good as the New Zealanders and South Africans, and they were reportedly more disciplined than the Australians, who were also renowned fighters.

 

Carmarthenshire men who fell with the C.E.F.

 

Private Stephen Charles Court, Llanelli,

Private Ernest Thomas Dallen, Llandebie,

Private Arnold Edward Lewis, Manordeilo,

Private David John Davies, Whitland,

Private Henry Ernest Davies, Llanelli,

Private James Davies, Caio,

Private Thomas Davies, Abernant,

Private Thomas Rosser Davies, Ammanford,

Private Tom Davies, Pencader,

Private Albert Richard Griffiths, Pontardulais,

Private David George Harries, Pontardulais,

Private Lewis Hughes, Carmarthen,

Sergeant David Jones Capenhurst Jenkins, Llandovery College,

Private Benjamin Jones, Caio,

Sergeant David Jones, Llanelli,

Private Henry Jones, Llansadwrn,

Sergeant John Jones, Llandebie,

Private Benjamin James Lewis, Llangynog,

Private William Alcwyn Lewis, Llanllawddog,

Private David Lloyd, Llandovery,

Captain John Lewis Lloyd, Llandyssul,

Lieutenant John Herbert Morgan, Llansteffan,

Private Arthur Parker, Llandyssul,

Private William Neville Hurt Peel, Laugharne,

Private Thomas Aston Phillips, Whitland,

Private Thomas Henry Price, Laugharne,

Lance Corporal James Joseph Sanders, Llanelli,

Lieutenant Charles Dalkeith Scott, Llanelli,

Private John Albert Sweet, Llanelli,

Private David Thomas, Cwmamman,

Gunner Emrys Thomas, Carmarthen,

Private Frank Thomas,

Private Thomas Dylan Thomas, Llanelli,

Lance Corporal William Rees Ceidrych Thomas, Llangadog,

Lieutenant Joseph Longstaff Watson, Abergwili.

 

Ceredigion men who fell with the C.E.F.

 

Bombardier David John Brutus Davies, Aberystwyth,

Corporal Thomas Richard Davies, Aberystwyth,

Corporal David Henry Doughton, Aberystwyth,

Private Thomas Edward Evans, Capel Bangor,

Private Samuel James Green, Aberystwyth,

Sergeant Alfred Ernest Howell, Llanafan,

Private Arthur Llewellyn Jenkyn, Llanbadarn Fawr,

Private David Edward Jones, Penrhyncoch,

Private David Edward Jones, Aberbanc,

Private David John Jones, Borth,

Private John Jones, Drefach,

Private John Jones, Llanwnen,

Lance Corporal William Jones, Eglwysfach,

Private Daniel Owen Lewis, Llanfarian,

Private David Lewis, Bow Street,

Captain John Lewis Lloyd, Llandyssul,

Private David Charles Morgan, Devil’s Bridge,

Lieutenant Hugh Philip Morgan, MM, Aberystwyth,

Private Arthur Parker, Pont Sian.

 

Pembrokeshire men who fell with the C.E.F.

 

Private Evan Rhys Lewis Bishop, Maenclochog,

Private Hugh Albert Bunt, Pembroke Dock,

Private Gilbert Burrington, MM, Granston,

Private Harley Burrington, Granston,

Private Albert Edward Carter, Johnston,

Private David Davies, Cilgerran,

Second Engineer John James Cathrie Davies,

Lance Corporal Walter Dayes, Milford Haven,

Corporal Thomas Evans, Crymych,

Private Charles Ambrose Flowerday, Milford Haven,

Captain James Cobban Forsyth, Milford Haven,

Private Arthur Charles Gatenby, Tenby,

Private Roderick Harries, Fishguard,

Sergeant Thomas George Harries, Ambleston,

Private Albert Thomas Jenkins, MM, Pembroke Dock,

Private Edwin Arthur John, Llangwm,

Private James John, Llangwm,

Lieutenant Joseph Gibson Kenworthy, Tenby,

Private Thomas Vaughan Llewellyn, Dinas Cross,

Sapper David Lloyd, St. Dogmaels,

Private John Lloyd, Lampeter Velfrey,

Captain John Lewis Lloyd,

Private William Henry Lloyd, Tenby,

Private David Morris, Maenclochog,

Sergeant George Henry Nichols, Tenby,

Gunner Edward Hugh Mowbrey Penn, Camrose,

Sergeant Arthur Owen Philipps, Manorbier,

Private Thomas Aston Phillips, Narberth,

Private William Lewis Phillips, Narberth,

Private Edward Roberts, Goodwick,

Private James Orde Sandilands,

Private Garfield Stanley Sainsbury Silcox, Pembroke Dock,

Private James Clarence Smallwood,

Sapper Alfred George Smith, Pembroke Dock,

Gunner Arthur Eldred Smith, Pembroke Dock,

Lieutenant Theodore Gauntlett Thomas,

Private Frederick Norton Warlow, Pembroke Dock,

Lieutenant Joseph Longstaff Watson, St. David's,

Private George Williams, Jameston,

Private Ronald Charles Williams, Pembroke Dock.

The New Zealand Expeditionary Force (N.Z.E.F.)

The New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) was the title of the military force sent from New Zealand to fight for Britain in World War I. Upon the outbreak of war, New Zealand immediately offered to provide two brigades — one of infantry and one of mounted troops — a total of 8,500 men.

This contingent sailed for Australia within two months of the start of the war and then joined with the Australian Imperial Force in a convoy sailing for Egypt.

The NZEF was commanded throughout the war by General Alexander Godley, a British officer who in 1910, on the recommendation of Lord Kitchener, had been appointed as the commander of the New Zealand Defence Forces. New Zealand, like Australia, had a pre-war policy of compulsory military training but the NZEF was initially reinforced by volunteers only. Conscription was introduced on 1 August 1916 and by the end of the war 124,000 men — nearly half the eligible male population of 250,000 — had served with the NZEF. Of these, about 100,000 had been sent overseas.

The NZEF was closely tied to the AIF for much of the war. When the Gallipoli campaign began, the New Zealand contingent was insufficient to complete a division of their own so was combined with the Australian 4th Infantry Brigade to form the New Zealand and Australian Division, General Godley commanding. This division, along with the Australian 1st Division, formed the famous Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) under the command of General William Birdwood.

After the end of the Gallipoli campaign, the NZEF formed its own infantry division; the New Zealand Division which served on the Western Front for the rest of the war. General Godley was promoted to a corps command and given II Anzac Corps, which contained the New Zealand Division. From 1916 until the formation of the Australian Corps in 1918 (made up of the five Australian divisions) there were always two "Anzac" corps — I Anzac Corps and II Anzac Corps — despite the fact that there was only one New Zealand Division to go around.

The mounted arm of the NZEF remained in Egypt and, combined with the 1st and 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigades, made up the Anzac Mounted Division which served through the Sinai and Palestine campaign. The New Zealand Expeditionary Force was finally disbanded on 31 December 1921. It had gained a reputation as being arguably the finest fighting force in the Commonwealth and Allied Armies.

 

West Walians who fell with the N.Z.E.F.

 

Private Gilbert Bryan Francis, Llandygwydd,

Private Lewis Hughes, Milford Haven,

Private Frederick Gwyn Jones, Pembroke Dock,

Private George Albert Jones, Llanelli,

Lance Corporal Lewis Mathias, Lamphey,

Sergeant Owen Mathias, Lamphey,

Captain Alfred James Powley, MC, Loughor,

Bombardier Thomas Ivan Prosser, Pembrokeshire.

The South African Expeditionary Force (SAEF)

The South African government formed the South African Expeditionary Force in July 1915, as its contribution to the British war effort against the Central Powers. As South African legislation restricted the Union Defence Forces (UDF) to operating in southern Africa, an entirely new force, made up entirely of volunteers, had to be raised for service in other theatres of war. Many volunteers came from UDF units, but they enrolled as individuals, not as contingents, and there was no formal link between SAEF and UDF units as such. As with the Australian and Canadian Forces, many men from Carmarthenshire had emigrated to South Africa in the years following the Boer Wars, and heard the call to duty of their new country, in support of the ‘Mother Country’, Britain.

SAEF units and formations did not serve as distinct South African forces, but were integrated into the British imperial armies and divisions in the field, most notably as part of the 9th (Scottish) Division. The S.A.E.F. served with distinction in four campaigns- Egypt Campaign, Western Front Campaign (1916-1918), German East Africa Campaign (1916-1918) and Palestine Campaign (1917-1918).

 

West Wales men who died with the S.A.E.F.

 

Private Kenneth Carstens, of Aberystwyth,

Lance Corporal William Alfred Carstens, of Aberystwyth,

Lance Corporal Tom Rees Davies, of Llangynllo,

Private George Lawrence Evans, of Cenarth,

Sergeant John Morgan Evans, of Aberaeron,

Sergeant William Davies Evans, of Pontardulais,

Private Evan James, of Ciliau Aeron,

Private William Ivor Lloyd, of Llanelli,

Captain Alan Ralph Peel, Taliaris Park, Llandeilo,

Corporal Wyndham Price Oxenham of Llandovery,

Lance Corporal David Pugh of Whitland,

Private Benjamin Aneurin Roberts, of Llandeilo,

Lieutenant Philip Dudley Waller of Llanelli.

The Indian Army

The Indian Army contributed a large number of divisions and independent brigades to the European, Mediterranean and the Middle East theatres during World War I. Over one million Indian troops served overseas, of whom 62,000 died and another 67,000 were wounded. In total at least 74,187 Indian soldiers died during the war. While some divisions were sent overseas others had to remain in India guarding the North West Frontier. A large number of officers in the Indian Army were British, showing the difference between what was the ruling class and the Indian soldier of the time. Nonetheless, the Indians proved to be very brave and reliable troops whose efforts proved invaluable during the course of the war.

 

Lieutenant Colonel William Beadon, of Tenby.

Captain Charles Gordon Dowding, MC, of Pembroke.

Lieutenant Duncan Ian Bowen Lloyd, MID, of Llandyssul.

Second Lieutenant William Augustine Harper Lowry, MID, of Llandefeilog.

Major James Percy May, of Tenby.

Conductor William Ernest Richards, of Pembroke Dock.

Lieutenant Gerald Cameron Southern, of Llandebie.

Lieutenant John Henry Lyons Walcott, of Tenby.

 

For more details of these men, please see the relevant pages for their Village Memorials on this website.

DONATIONS. If you find this website of use, please think about donating to help cover the costs of the huge amount of work and the continual costs of keeping the website on-line. Donations can be made using the Paypal link below, or by contacting the author via the Contact page.

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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