West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Hayscastle War Memorial

Haycastle is a village located about 7½ miles north of Haverfordwest, and lies along the B4330 road. The men of the area who fell during both world wars are commemorated on a slate memorial, which is situated off the B4330, on a T-Junction leading to Y Glyn. The nearby village of Wolfscastle also has a memorial, which is situated in the Churchyard at Ford. The same men are named on these memorials.

The Great War, 1914-1918

 

Herbert William Hatton, Private, 26714, Gloucestershire Regiment. Herbert was the son of William and Amelia Hatton, of Newnham, Forest of Dean. He resided at Rose Cottage, Hayscastle prior to the war, and enlisted back in Gloucestershire into the 10th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. The battalion was attached to 1 Brigade, 1st Division, and had been in France since the outbreak of war. Herbert joined the battalion in France in 1916, in time to take part in the Battle of the Somme. He was killed on the Somme on 20 July 1916, aged 26, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.

Thomas James John, Private, 36054, Welsh Regiment. Thomas was the son of James and Mary John, of Pontyrhafod, Hayscastle. He enlisted at Ferndale into the South Wales Borderers, but was transferred into the 1st Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was in France attached to 84 Brigade, 28th Division. Thomas landed in France on 5 May 1915, joining the battalion at Festubert. Thomas fought at the Battle of Aubers Ridge within days of joining the battalion. He survived the main battle, but was killed on 25 May 1915, when the 1st Welsh were in the trenches at Festubert. Thomas was 24 years old, and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.

Levi Lamb, Private, 54408, Welsh Regiment. Levi was born at Letterston, the son of James and Mary Lamb. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the Pembroke Yeomanry, and was posted to France late in 1916, where he joined the 16th Battalion (Cardiff City), Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 115 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division moved to positions at Boesinghe, north of Ypres, in the summer of 1916, after taking part in the capture of Mametz Wood in July. They remained at Boesinghe, until launching their attack on the Pilckem Ridge on 31 July 1917. The 16th Welsh took part in an abortive attack on Eagle Trench, Langemarck on 27 August 1917, and it was during this attack that Levi was killed. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

Thomas William Owen, Able Seaman, R/3391, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Thomas was born in February 1891, the son of Watts and Martha Owen, of Bill Cottage, Wolfscastle. Thomas enlisted into the Pembroke Yeomanry on 18 November 1916, and eight months later was posted to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, for service with the Royal Naval Division. He was among a draft of men sent to France on 6 August 1917, and was posted to Hawke Battalion, Royal Naval Division. Thomas saw his first major action during the Second Battle of Passchendaele. Thomas was evacuated from Ypres suffering from shellshock soon after, the trauma of that terrible battle being too much for him to bear. He rejoined the battalion a week later. The divisions next major action was at Cambrai, during the Action of Welch Ridge. Thomas then became ill, and was hospitalised from 19 October, returning to Britain for a short spell of recuperation. On 22 April 1918 he rejoined the battalion, which had seen heavy fighting during the German Spring Offensive the preceding month. In August, the Division took part in the Battle of Albert, which marked the beginning of the great offensive which was to end the war. They then fought at the Battle of Drocourt-Queant, the Battle of the Canal du Nord and the Battle of Cambrai, before forcing the Passage of the Grand Honelle. Thomas was killed in action here on 8 October 1918. He was 28 years old, and is commemorated on the Vis-En-Artois Memorial, France.

John Rees, Private, 33509, Devonshire Regiment. John was the son of Thomas and Mary Rees, of Lordship Farm, Wolfcastle.  He enlisted at Haverfordwest into the army, and after a spell with the Gloucester Regiment, was posted to the 8th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, which was attached to 20 Brigade, 7th Division. In the summer of 1916, the Division was on the Somme, and took part in the Battle of Albert, where they captured Mametz, one of the few successes of 1 July 1916. It then fought at the Battle of Bazentin, and the attacks on High Wood, becoming the first troops into High Wood. The Division then took part in the Battle of Delville Wood, and the Battle of Guillemont, before spending the winter on the Ancre. In March 1917 they followed up the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and took part in the Battle of Bullecourt. John was killed at Bullecourt on 15 June 1917. He was 22 years old, and is buried at Écoust Military Cemetery, Écoust-St. Mein, France.

Sidney James Reynish, Private, 33510, Devonshire Regiment. Sidney was the son of James and Lettice Reynish, of Hayscastle. He enlisted at Haverfordwest into the 10th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. The Battalion had formed at Exeter on 25 September 1914, and moved to Stockton Camp, Salisbury Plain in 79 Brigade, 26th Division. In November 1914 it moved to billets at Bath, and in April 1915 to Sutton Veny. On 23 September 1915 the Division landed at Boulogne, but in November 1915 they were on the move again, to Salonika. On 26 December 1915 units began to move from Lembet to Happy Valley Camp, and all units were in place there by 8 February. The Division then took part in the Battle of Horseshoe Hill, during August 1916, and the Battle of Doiran during April and May 1917. Sidney was killed in action just before the Second Battle of Doiran, on 4 September 1916, aged 25. Sidney has no known grave, and is remembered on the Doiran Memorial, Salonika.

 

Lionel George Theophilus Thomas, Second Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. Lionel was the only son of Theophilus Evan Thomas and Edith H. Thomas of Trehale, Mathry. He was educated at Purse School, Cambridge, becoming an officer cadet before being commissioned into the 5th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. Lionel was posted to France on 2 December 1916, where he was attached to the Machine Gun Corps. He was killed in action during the Third Battle of Ypres on 20 September 1917. Lionel was 19 years old, and is buried at Hooge Crater Cemetery, Belgium.

World War Two, 1939-1945

 

Ronald Miles, Engineer II, 1651815, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Ronald was born at Trerhos, Wolfscastle on 7 December 1922, the son of David Thomas Miles, and Mary Jane Miles (nee Nicholas). He had worked for Barclays Bank prior to enlisting into the Royal Air Force. Ronald married Verena May Taylor, of Newton Abbot, Devon, in 1944. Ronald continued to serve with 202 Squadron, Royal Air Force after the war. On 18 April 1947 Ronald was a crewman aboard a Handley Page Halifax, on a meteorological flight off the Shetlands when the aircraft crashed into the sea, killing all of the crew of nine. Ronald was 24 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Ronald does not seem to be commemorated locally.

Arthur John Phillips, Fusilier, 4196908, Royal Welch Fusiliers. Arthur was the son of Albert David and Margaret Jane Phillips, of Cross Inn, Hayscastle Cross. He served with the 1st Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. The battalion sailed for the Far East in 1942, and arrived in India by June. By March 1943, the battalion was at Donbaik, where it saw its first major action against the Japanese. Arthur was killed here on 18 March 1942. He was 24 years old, and is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, Myanmar.

Albert Thomas, Fusilier, 4192219, Royal Welch Fusiliers. Albert was the son of William and L. Jane Thomas, of Trehowell Lodge, Mathry. He served at the beginning of the war with the 1st Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers, which was on the Belgian frontier at the launch of the German Blitzkreig. Albert was killed during heavy fighting during the withdrawal to Dunkirk between 30-31 May 1940. He was 28 years old, and is buried at St. Venant Communal Cemetery, France.

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Website News

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.

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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