West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Dinas Cross War Memorial

Dinas Cross is a small village sat in a picturesque location between Fishguard and Newport in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The War Memorial to the men of the Parish that gave their lives during both World Wars takes the form of marble plaques fixed onto a masonry wall and is situated alongside the main road through the village, in front of the local school.

The Great War, 1914-1918

Price Gibby, Corporal, 40724, Cheshire Regiment. Price was born in 1897, the son of David and Magdalen Gibby, of Glanymor, Dinas. The family later took up the running of the Royal Oak, Newport. Price worked in Llandeilo prior to the war, and enlisted at Ammanford into the 15th Service Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, a Bantam Battalion which formed part of 105 Brigade, 35th Division. The Division first fought at the opening stage of the Somme Battle, then during the Battle of Passchendaele and during the German Offensive in Flanders, which was launched on 9 April 1918, splitting the British forces on the Lys. Price was killed in action on 4 July 1918, aged 21. He is buried at Westoutre British Cemetery, Belgium in Grave K. 1.

David James Harries, First Mate, Mercantile Marine. David was born in 1878, the son of John and Ann Harries, of Soar Hill, Dinas Cross, and was the brother of Elizabeth Harries. He served with the Mercantile Marine as First Mate, aboard the SS Don Arturo, a London registered ship, belonging to the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway Company Limited. David died when the ship was sunk on 17 June 1917. He was 39 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. No more information is currently available for the sinking of the ship.

 

Owen Jenkins, Mate, Mercantile Marine. Owen was born around 1868, the son of John and Martha Jenkins, of Veiderfawr, Dinas. He was the husband of Mary Ann Jenkins, of Bay View Terrace, Dinas Cross. Owen served in the Mercantile Marine as Mate, aboard the SS Whitgift, a London registered vessel. Whitgift was a 4,397 ton Merchant ship. On 20 April 1916, when on route from Almeria for the Tyne, she was torpedoed by German submarine U-67 when off the Ushant. She went down with the loss of 32 men, including her Master. Owen was one of the men to go down with the ship. He was 46 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

 

John Henry Jones. John cannot presently be identified.

 

Thomas Vaughan Llewellyn, Private, 442718, Canadian Infantry. Thomas was born at Spring Hill, Dinas Cross on 15 May 1882, the son of John and Maria Llewellyn. He became a miner, and emigrated to Canada prior to the outbreak of the Great War. On 17 August 1915, Tom enlisted at Vernon Camp into the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Tom then embarked for Britain as one of a batch of reinforcements for the 2nd Battalion (Eastern Ontario), CEF, attached to 1st Canadian Brigade, 1st Canadian Division. The Battalion had arrived at Plymouth from Canada on 14 August 1914, aboard the SS Cassandra. After months of training, the Battalion landed with the 1st Canadian Division in France during February 1915, and took the line at Ypres, where they were among the first troops to have ever been attacked with poison gas. After a desperate defence, which saw the Canadians valiantly hold their line, they remained at Ypres over the coming months, and saw plenty of action during the Second Battle of Ypres. The Division moved to the Somme in July 1916, which is probably where Tom joined his Battalion, and took up positions near Flers. On 9 September 1916 the 2nd Battalion moved back into the front line, relieving the 4th Battalion. The battalion moved into positions, and launched an attack on the German lines at Flers at around 4.48 p.m. By 5.27 p.m. the Canadians had attained their objectives, although a large number of men had been cut down by German machine-gun fire. The dead were buried the following morning, before the 2nd Battalion was relieved and returned to billets at Albert. Among the dead was Tom. He was 38 years old, and is now buried at Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont, France.

William Lloyd. William cannot presently be identified.

William Rees Reynolds, Second Lieutenant, Australian Infantry. William was the only son of Captain William Rees Reynolds, and Mary Reynolds, of Cilwenan Hill, Dinas Cross, Pembrokeshire, and of 'The Astor', Macquarie Street, Sydney, Australia. William was educated at Llandovery from 1909 until 1910, and was also educated at the Church of England Grammar School, North Sydney, Australia. William's intention was to be a farmer, and on completion of his schooling, he enrolled for a course of Instruction at Wagga Experimental Farm. However, with the advent of War, instead of chasing his dream, William enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 18 June 1915, joining the Australian Army Medical Corps at Sydney. William was later posted to England, and became an Instructor, serving on Salisbury Plain. However, William wanted action, and so transferred into the Infantry, and was soon commissioned as Second Lieutenant into the 33rd Battalion, AIF, which was part of the 3rd Australian Division. The Battalion had to wait until the emphasis of British and Dominion operations switched to the Ypres Sector of Belgium in mid-1917 to take part in its first major battle; which was the battle of Messines, launched on 7 June. The battalion held the ground captured during the battle for several days afterwards and was subjected to intense artillery bombardment. One soldier wrote that holding the line at Messines was far worse than taking it. The battalion's next major battle was around Passchendaele on 12 October. The battlefield, though, had been deluged with rain, and thick mud tugged at the advancing troops and fouled their weapons. The battle ended in a disastrous defeat. The 33rd Australian Battalion was called up to attack Crest Farm, where a previously captured pill-box had been re-taken by the enemy. It was in this attack that William was killed, along with five of his brother officers of the Battalion. He was 24 years old, and has no known grave, and so is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.

John Edward Richards, Mess Room Steward, Mercantile Marine. John was the son of Thomas and Isabella Richards (nee Williams), of Gate, Dinas Cross. He served in the Mercantile Marine as Mess Room Steward aboard the SS Woolston, a London registered Merchant ship. John was drowned when Woolston was sunk by a German submarine off Syracuse on 14 May 1918. He was 19 years old and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

 

David John Roach, Private, 4443, Royal Fusiliers. David was the son of John and Elizabeth Roach, of 50, Monk Street, Aberdare. His mother Elizabeth died by around 1900, and in 1901 his father married Ann Williams, before moving the family to Dinas. By the time of the outbreak of war, David was living in London, where he enlisted into the 23rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. The Battalion was known as the Sportsmen's Battalion, due to the high number of athletes and footballers in its ranks, and was attached to 99 Brigade, 2nd Division. One of the first Divisions to move to France, the 2nd Division remained on the Western Front throughout the war. They moved to Belgium, where they fought at the Battle of Mons, and retreating southwards, fought at the Affair of Landrecies, the Rearguard Actions of Villers-Cotterets, and at the Battle of the Marne where the German offensive was stopped. The Germans retreated north, and the BEF met them, fighting at the Battle of the Aisne. The 2nd Division were then moved to Flanders, where they fought at the First Battle of Ypres, when the German sweep through Flanders was stopped, and remained there throughout the first winter of the war. In 1915 they took part in the Battle of Festubert, and in September fought at the Battle of Loos, and subsequent Action of Hohenzollern Redoubt. David joined the battalion in France as a reinforcement early in 1916. In the summer of 1916 the Division were on the Somme, and took part in the Battle of Delville Wood. David was killed in action here on 27 July 1916. He was 19 years old, and was buried at Dive Copse British Cemetery, Sailly-le-Sec. His elder brother Tom also fell.

Tom Davies Roach, Company Serjeant Major, 201270, Tank Corps. Tom was the son of John and Elizabeth Roach, of 50, Monk Street, Aberdare. His mother Elizabeth had died by around 1900, and in 1901 his father married Ann Williams, before moving the family to Dinas. Tom enlisted into the Army, and was posted to the Tank Corps, where he rapidly rose to the rank of Company Serjeant Major. Tom served with the 7th Battalion, Tank Corps, and would have fought at the Battle of Cambrai, and during the 100 days offensive, which ultimately led to the winning of the war. He contracted influenza within the last days of the war and sadly succumbed to pneumonia and died on 29 November 1918 aged 27. He is buried at St. Pol British Cemetery, St. Pol-Sur-Ternoise, France. His next of kin is listed as being his sister, Mrs Maggie M. Bowen Evans, of Ty Hen, Dinas Cross. His brother David also fell.

Edwin Thomas, Private, 302289, Manchester Regiment. Edwin was born in 1893, the son of Thomas and Dinah Thomas, of Glyn View, Dinas. He enlisted at Cardiff into the Army, and joined the 2/8th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, which was attached to 199 Brigade, 66th (2nd East Lancs) Division. The Division was a Territorial Division, and was on home service for the majority of the war. It concentrated on the Western Front by 16 March 1917 and moved to the Flanders Coast. At the end of September 1917 they moved to Ypres, and took part in the Battle of Poelcapelle. Edwin was killed in action at Poelcapelle on 8 October 1917. He was 24 years old, and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. His brother Morgan also fell.

Morgan Lewis Thomas, Private, 46380, Welsh Regiment. Morgan was born in 1898, the son of Thomas and Dinah Thomas, of Glyn View, Dinas. He enlisted at Fishguard into the Army, and was posted to the 9th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. The Division had fought at Loos in September 1915, and suffered heavy casualties on the Somme the following year. Morgan joined the 9th Welsh in France in the summer of 1916, and fought with them at Messines in the spring of 1917. The Division then fought on the Menin Road and at Polygon Wood, before moving up to Broodseinde, Poelcappelle and Passchendaele Village itself. In 1918 they were caught up in the German Spring Offensive near St. Quentin, where they suffered terrible casualties, and fought at the Battle of Bapaume. They moved to Ypres, but were caught up in the German attack at Messines, and at Bailleul, and Kemmel. Morgan was taken prisoner by the Germans during the early part of 1918, and brought to a Prisoner of War Camp in Germany. He died of wounds in Germany on 21 May 1918 aged 19, and is buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery, Germany. His brother Edwin also fell.

Titus James Thomas, Second Mate, Mercantile Marine. Titus was born in 1898, the son of Margaret Thomas, of Park Gwyn, Dinas Cross. He served in the Mercantile Marine as Second Mate aboard the SS Bayreaulx, a London registered Merchant Vessel of 3,009 tons. Bayreaulx sailed from Cardiff in ballast for Montreal on 20 October 1916 and was never seen again. The ship was officially registered as missing/untraced on 14 February 1917. It is believed she had hit a mine and sank with all hands not long after leaving Cardiff. Titus was one of the missing crewmen aboard her. He is recorded as having died on 20 October 1916, aged 26, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

World War Two, 1939-1945

 

John Kerswell Battin, Able Seaman, Merchant Navy. John was the son of John and Lettice Battin of Dinas. He served in the Merchant Navy, and had married Elizabeth May Battin, of Cadoxton, Barry, Glamorgan. John served as an Able Seaman aboard the SS Lissa, a Glasgow based vessel. He died on 21 September 1941, aged 33, when the Lissa was torpedoed and sunk by the U-201. John is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

William James Bowen, Assistant Steward, 213674, Naval Auxiliary Personnel (Merchant Navy). William was from Cardigan, but had reportedly run away from home to go to sea, probably ending up in Dinas. He initially served in the Merchant Navy, before being seconded to the Royal Navy, and served aboard HMS Avenger. Avenger was one of four motor-ships laid down under Maritime Commission contract, by the Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. at Chester, Pennsylvania, and launched on 27 November 1940. In 1942 she was rebuilt from a US merchant ship, as the second of 38 converted C3 escort carriers turned over to Great Britain during the war. She was commissioned as an escort carrier on 2 March 1942 and served with Convoy PQ-18 (sinking one U-boat on the journey), before participating in Operation Torch (the invasion of North Africa). HMS Avenger was sunk by a German submarine as she was heading back from Africa to her home port Clyde on 15 November 1942. The explosion that sank her left only 12 survivors out of a total crew of 550 men. William was one of the men killed that day. He was 19 years old, and is commemorated on the Liverpool Naval Memorial.

 

Harry William Clack, Aircraftman 1st Class, 575235, Royal Air Force. Harry was born on 11 November 1923, the son of Harry and Winifred Clack (nee Blake), of South Norwood, Surrey. Harry's father served with the armed forces prior to the war, and was probably stationed at Trecwn. Harry enlisted into the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of war, and was posted to 45 Maintenance Unit at RAF Henlow after receiving his basic training at RAF Halton. Harry's unit was tasked with the recovery of crashed aeroplanes during the Battle of Britain, and on 25 October 1940, Harry and his team were sent to Eaton Socon, Bedfordshire to salvage a German Dornier 215, which has been shot down by RAF fighters. While attempting to recover the plane with a crane, the jib arm hit overhead power lines, killing Harry and another of his team, Harold Hooker. Harry was just 16 years old when he was killed that day, making him the youngest RAF crewman to be killed during the Battle of Britain. He is buried at Cambridge City Cemetery, England. Many thanks to Richard Huws for identifying Harry.

 

David Propert Harries, First Officer, Canadian Merchant Navy. David was the son of Mary Lizzie Harries, of Dinas Cross. He served in the Canadian Merchant Navy, as First Officer, aboard the MV Victolite. At 03.28 hours on 11 February 1942, the unescorted Victolite was torpedoed by U-564 and sunk by gunfire north-northwest of Bermuda. The master, 44 crew members and two gunners were lost. David was 39 years old when he was killed that day. He is commemorated on the Halifax Memorial, Canada.

 

Thomas Gwyn Harries, Private, 14342641, The Middlesex Regt (Duke of Cambridge’s Own). Thomas was the son of Owen and Margaret Harries, and the husband of Elizabeth Mary Harries, of Parrog. He served with the 1/7th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, which formed part of the 51st Highland Division. The division landed in Normandy on 7 June 1944, and took part in the break out from the beach-head, and the subsequent drive through France and Belgium into Holland, before crossing into Germany in 1945. Thomas was killed in Germany on 12 April 1945. He was 32 years old, and is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

 

Thomas James Harries, Marine, PLY/X 101137, Royal Marines. Thomas was the son of Mr and Mrs. T. Harries, of Dinas Cross, and the husband of Gladys Mary Harries, of Fishguard. He served with the Royal Marines. Sadly nothing more is known of Thomas, but he died ashore on 14 September 1942, aged 28, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.

William Richards Harries, Master, Merchant Navy. William was from Dinas, and served in the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Norman Prince, a London registered vessel. William lost his life when the Norman Prince was torpedoed by U-156 on 28 May 1942. He was 42 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

William Norton James, Sergeant, 1338403, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William was the son of William S. and Florence James, of Dinas Cross. He served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner, with 61 Squadron. The Squadron was part of No. 5 Group, Bomber Command, equipped with the Lancaster heavy bomber, based at Rutland. William was killed during one of the Squadrons many raids on Germany on 31 March 1944. He was 20 years old, and is buried at Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium.

 

Daniel John Jenkins, Able Seaman, Merchant Navy. Daniel was the son of John and Annie Jenkins, of Dinas Cross. He was one of the four Dinas men who served with the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Empire Amethyst, a Middlesbrough registered steam tanker, of 8,023 tons. On 13 April 1942, when on route from New Orleans for Freetown, carrying a load of 12,000 tons of motor spirit, she was torpedoed by U-1564 and sunk. The ship exploded and went down with all hands. Daniel was 25 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

Alun Jones, Private, 14659174, The Welch Regiment. Alun was the son of William Harries Jones and Mary Ann Jones, of Dinas Cross. He served in the Army with the 4th Battalion, Welch Regiment, which was the Carmarthenshire Territorial unit. After serving in Northern Ireland for some of the war, the Division returned to England for training, and landed at Normandy at the end of June 1944. From here it was part of the Allied forces that broke out of the Normandy beachhead the following month, beginning a long advance through northern France into Belgium and Holland. After months of heavy fighting, the Division had fought its way through Holland, and had entered the mighty Reichswald Forest, inside Germany, and began the push towards Hamburg. On 7 March 1945 the 4th Welch were involved in heavy fighting around the town of Spitzfeld, and it was here that Alun was killed in action. He was just 19 years old, and is buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.

 

Benjamin Thomas Jones, Cook, Merchant Navy. Benjamin was the son of Elias and Phoebe Anne Jones. He was one of the four Dinas men who served aboard the SS Empire Amethyst, a Middlesbrough registered oil tanker. On 13 April 1942, when on route from New Orleans for Freetown, carrying a cargo of 12,000 tons of clean oil she was torpedoed by U-1564 and sunk, with the loss of all her crew. Benjamin was 23 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. 

William Adrian Lewis. This man cannot presently be identified, but a man of that name who had lived at 4, Cambrian Terrace was buried at St. Brynach Churchyard, Dinas Cross on 18 April 1952, and was 24 years old at the time of his death. He is not commemorated by the CWGC.

 

Elwyn Lloyd, Ordinary Seaman, Merchant Navy. Elwyn was the son of William and Beatrice Lloyd, and another of the four Dinas men serving aboard the oil tanker SS Empire Amethyst. Elwyn was among the crewmen killed on 13 April 1942 when on route from New Orleans for Freetown, carrying a cargo of 12,000 tons of clean oil she was torpedoed by U-1564 and sunk. He was just 19 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

David John Morris, DSC, Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve. David was the son of Thomas And Ann Morris, and the Husband of Nancy Olwen Morris, of Fishguard. He served in the Royal Naval Reserve aboard HMS Baldur, a converted rescue ship. David was the holder of the Distinguished Service Cross, which was listed in the London Gazette of 5 October 1943, and was probably an award for life saving at sea. He died on 10 November 1944 when his ship was lost. He was 38 years old, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.

 

Ivor James Morris, Able Seaman, Merchant Navy. Ivor was the son of Thomas and Ann Morris. He was one of the four Dinas men who served aboard the SS Empire Amethyst, a Middlesbrough registered cargo liner. Ivor was killed when the Empire Amethyst was torpedoed by the German submarine U-32 off the west coast of Ireland on 29 September 1940. He was 25 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

Paul William Morris, Able Seaman, Merchant Navy. Paul was from Dinas, and was the Husband of Jane Morris, of Dingle, Liverpool. He served in the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Bassa, a Liverpool registered cargo vessel. Paul was killed when the SS Bassa was torpedoed by the German submarine U-32 off the west coast of Ireland on 29 September 1940. He was 35 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

 

David Bramwell Murrow, Ordinary Seaman, D/JX 219840, Royal Navy. David was from Dinas, and served in the Royal Navy aboard the French Ship Medoc. Little is known of him, but he was killed when the ship was sunk, probably during the Battle of Norway, on 26 November 1940. He was 27 years old, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.

 

Huw Jeffrey Owen, Second Officer, Merchant Navy. Huw was the son of Robert Jeffrey and Annie Owen of Whitchurch Cardiff. He married Margaret Georgina Williams in 1939 and the couple lived at Cilwenen, Dinas Cross. Huw served with the Merchant Navy aboard the Swansea registered steamship S.S. Henri Mory. On 26 April 1941 Henri Mory was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-110 with the loss of 28 lives. Huw was 24 years old when he died that day and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

Thomas James Walters, Able Seaman, Merchant Navy. Thomas was the son of James and Martha Walters, and the husband of Martha Elizabeth Walters, of Dinas Cross. He served in the Merchant Navy aboard the MV Gatinais, a Southampton registered ship. Thomas was killed when the Gatinais was sunk on 3 December 1942. He was 57 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

Dewi Thomas Williams, Sick Berth Attendant, D/MX 64881, Royal Navy. Dewi was born on 21 September 1919, the son of David Henry Williams and Bessie Williams (nee Roach), of Dinas Cross. He served with the Royal Navy at HMS Drake, a Royal Naval Base at Plymouth. Very little is known of him, but he died at Plymouth on 22 April 1941, aged just 21, and is buried at Plymouth (Weston Mill) Cemetery.

 

Gwynne Williams, Sapper, 14885333, Royal Engineers. Gwynne was the son of John J. Williams and Nellie Williams, of Dinas Cross. Very little is known of him, but he served throughout the war with the Royal Engineers, and died on 3 November 1947, as a result of his wartime service. Gwynne was 23 years old, and is buried at Dinas Cross (Macpelah) Baptist Cemetery.

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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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