West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

24th (Pembroke and Glamorgan Yeomanry) Battalion, Welsh Regiment

The 24th Battalion, Welsh Regiment was created by the merging of these two proud Yeomanry Regiments January and March 1917. After training near Cairo, the battalion, which recruited its ranks chiefly from the counties of Pembroke, Carmarthen, Cardigan, and Glamorgan, crossed the Suez Canal and moved into Palestine as part of 231 Brigade, 74th (Yeomanry) Division, arriving just after the first battle of Gaza.

 

The division was in reserve during the second battle of Gaza. After some months of trench warfare and training, the battalion took part with the rest of the division in the battles of Beersheba and Sheria on 31 October 1917, and 6 November 1917, respectively. On the withdrawal of the Turks the brigade, embracing the 24th Welsh, after a long, and arduous march of three days, participated in local operations in the hills to the west of Jerusalem, and later operated in the successful attack on Jerusalem on 8 December 1917.

 

The battalion also figured in the successful counter-attack when the Turks took the offensive on 25 December 1917, for the purpose of regaining Jerusalem, and in February 1918 participated in the operations around Jericho and afterwards in local attacks advancing the line preparatory for the big attack of Nablus at the beginning of March 1918.

 

Shortly afterwards orders were received to proceed to France, and the battalion and the rest of the division disembarked at Marseilles on 7 May 1918. The battalion then assisted in the great push of the allies up to the signing of the Armistice.

 

After a period of training in Northern France, the 24th Welsh took over a portion of the line in front of St. Venant, just south of the Forest of Nieppe, and took part in the advance on Merville. Transferred to the Somme immediately afterwards, it was in the attack on Bouchavesnes, Dricourt, Villers-Faucon, Templeux-la-Fosse and Longavesnes, and subsequently in the Battle of Épehy, preceding the break-up of the Hindenburg Line.

 

After this engagement, the battalion, with the rest of the division, moved north, took over the line at Mont St. Aubers, and followed up the German retirement on the south of Lille to Tournai, taking Tournai on 9 November 1918 – two days before the Armistice. Since then the battalion was stationed at Grammont in Belgium, and the cadre disembarked at Dover in May 1919.

 

While in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force from January 1917 to April 1918, the 24th Welsh suffered the following casualties, from figures published in 1919:

 

                            Killed                     Wounded                            Missing

Officers                    6                              11

Other Ranks            59                           239

 

While serving on the Western front from May 1918 to November, the casualties were:

 

                            Killed                     Wounded                            Missing

Officers                    6                              18 (3 gassed)

Other Ranks            56                           388 (80 gassed)                  11

 

There were in fact many more casualties than this, with some 225 men killed, admittedly a low figure by the standards of most of the other Welsh Regiment battalions, but nonetheless the story behind it is, hopefully, more interesting.

 

Honours won by the 24th Welsh included: Lieutenant Colonel Spence-Jones, the commanding officer, was made CMG and was awarded the DSO; Major J. B. H. Woodcock won the DSO; ten officers secured the MC and one gained the Bar to MC; whilst among the other ranks, two won the MSM, thirteen the DCM; and nineteen the MM. Seven officers and seven other ranks were mentioned in despatches.

 

My New Book

 

My new book, which will hopefully be published during August 2016 under the title of Welsh Yeomanry at War is available for pre-order from Pen & Sword and shortly from Amazon. Pleack click on the link below to pre-order a copy:

 

WELSH YEOMANRY AT WAR

 

The book includes the following chapters:

 

Chapter 1: The Origins of the Battalion

 

Chapter 2: Mobilisation and Home Service

 

Chapter 3: The Situation in the Middle East

 

Chapter 4: The First Battle of Gaza

 

Chapter 5: The Second Battle of Gaza

 

Chapter 6: The Third Battle of Gaza

 

Chapter 7: Jerusalem

 

Chapter 8: The move to the Western Front

 

Chapter 9: Flanders

 

Chapter 10: The Somme 1918

 

Chapter 11: The Advance to Victory

 

Appendices: Awards to the Battalion

 

Appendices: Battle Honours

 

Appendices: Nominal Roll of Officers with Biographies

 

Appendices: Casualties of the 24th Welsh

 

Many of the officers were well known throughout south and west Wales, and were members of the landed gentry and local businessman and politicians. Some of the notable officers were Major General Ivor Philipps, a member of the Pembroke Yeomanry, who commanded the 38th (Welsh) Division: Lieutenant Colonel Odo Richard Vivian, Third Baron Swansea, who was a member of the Glamorgan Yeomanry: Major Stewart Loudon Shand, VC, a member of the Pembroke Yeomanry who won the Victoria Cross on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme: Lieutenant Colonel Delmé Davies Evans, a Major of the Pembroke Yeomanry who commanded the 5th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment in France; and Lieutenant Colonel Cecil John Herbert Spence-Jones (later Spence-Colby) who commanded the battalion throughout the war, later becoming High Sheriff of Herefordshire.

DONATIONS. The greatest expenditure on this website is the work on attempting to gain official commemoration for Welsh servicemen who have been 'forgotten' by the CWGC.

As well as the cost of researching these men, death certificates for each case have to be purchased from the GRO.

As things stand, I have spent over £3,000 on purchasing death certificates over the last few years and still have over £1,500 worth to get, so any donations towards this worthwhile cause are most welcome.

Donations can be made using the Paypal link below, or by contacting the author via the Contact page.

Website News

7 March 2019. Great news today, I have received confirmation from the MoD that a previously unknown Welsh Regiment officers grave, which I identified as 2nd Lieutenant Sam Hughes, 10th Welsh, has been verified by them and they will be erecting a new headstone in June 2019. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

22 Feb 2019. More good news today that another Welsh soldier, Edward Coughlin, of Newport, has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

16 Feb 2019. Some more good news today, having received conformation that a former Swansea policeman, Guardsman Patrick Shea, has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

30 Jan 2019. Some more good news, having had confirmation that another Welsh sailor, John William Sommers, of Blackpill, has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

3 Jan 2019. Some more great news to start the New Year, having had confirmation that another two Welsh sailors have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research: Sidney Joseph Murphy and Edgar Prothero, of Swansea. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

6 Dec 2018. Another piece of good news today, another Welsh soldier has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research: George Henry Downer, of Swansea. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

5 Dec 2018. Some more great news today, another four Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work: Richard Cook, of Newport; Daniel Oscar Evans, of Ystrad; Evan Ivor Isaac Jenkins, of Llanelli; and William John Jones, of Abercarn. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

16 Nov 2018. Again I'm pleased to say that another two Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration today: William Arthur Hopkins, of Talywain; and William Henry Hopkins, of Cymmer. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

15 Nov 2018. Some more great news today that another two Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work: Sam Cooper, of Trevethin; and Thomas William George, of Swansea. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

14 Nov 2018. Great news today that another four Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research: Godfrey Dorey, of Neath; John Garvin, of Pontypool; Stanley Griffiths, of Swansea; and William Price, of Abergavenny. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

13 Nov 2018. More great news, the CWGC have accepted another Welsh soldier for commemoration today as a result of my work: Thomas John Hale, of Newport, Mon. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

10 Nov 2018. Great news today that another three Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work: Richard Charles, of Neath; David Evan Gough, of Merthyr; and William Jones, of Rhyl. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

19 Oct 2018. Some more great news today, after having received confirmation that another three Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research: Archibald Casswell; Sidney Coker; and Thomas John Joseph, all Swansea men. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

17 Oct 2018. Some great news again today after having received confirmation that another four Welsh servicemen have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research: Samuel Brooks, of Swansea; David Humphreys, of Pontypool; David Jenkin Jones, of Llwydcoed; and Tudor Emlyn Jones, of Swansea. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

16 Oct 2018. Have today received confirmation that another Welsh serviceman has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research: William Henry Lippitt, of Llanhilleth. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

12 Oct 2018. Some great news today that another two Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research:  David Morgan Jenkins, of Swansea; and Jenkin Robert Lewis, of Llanelli. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

6 Mar 2018. Some more good news today that yet another Welsh soldier, Thomas David Rees, of Whitchurch, Cardiff, has been accepted as a war casualty by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

3 Mar 2018. Good news today that another Welsh soldier, Reginald Wilfred Collard, of Whitchurch, Cardiff, has been accepted as a war casualty by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

26 Feb 2018. The second volume of my latest book 'The Welsh at War' has been published today and is available from all good bookshops. Please see the Steve's Books page for details.

 

23 Feb 2018. Some good news today that another local man, Gwilym Bennett, of Llanelli, has been accepted as a war casualty by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

5 Feb 2018. The first volume of my latest book 'The Welsh at War' has been published today and is available from all good bookshops. Please see the Steve's Books page for details.

 

27 Jan 2018. Some good news again, that Thomas Arthur Edward Pugsley, of Ynysboeth, has recently been accepted by the CWGC for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

22 Jan 2018. I have received news that a sailor from Swansea, James Carne, who I had researched, has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

1 December 2017. A new section has been added to the website, which will cover some war memorials in Glamorgan, more especially the memorials nearest to the county border with Carmarthenshire. More will be added as time allows.

 

4 November 2017. Some good news this week following the discovery, after much searching, of the grave of Private Thomas Davies, of Laugharne. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers page of the website for details.

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