Bethany Methodist Chapel was built at Wind Street, Ammanford in 1881 to cater for the ever expanding population in the town. Inside the chapel are two war memorials, one apiece for the members of the chapel who fell during both World Wars. Photographs of the memorials were kindly supplied by Terry Norman.
The Great War 1914-1918
Sydney Hopkins, Gunner, 2620, Royal Field Artillery. Sydney was the son of Griffith and Hannah Hopkins, of 44, Wind Street, Ammanford. He enlisted there into the Royal Field Artillery, and served with ‘B’ Battery, 56th Brigade, attached to the 52nd (Lowland) Division. Initially assigned to the defence of the Scottish coast, the Division moved to Gallipoli (less two of its artillery Brigades) arriving there by early July 1915. While moving from Scotland, the Division lost 210 officers and men killed, and another 224 injured, in a train crash near Gretna that involved the 1/7th Battalion, the Royal Scots. After being evacuated from Gallipoli early in 1916, by April 1916, the Division had moved to Egypt, where it again saw action. It moved into Palestine early in 1917, and took part in the Palestinian Offensive, fighting at the Battles of Gaza, and taking part in the capture of Jerusalem. The Division received orders in March 1918 to proceed to the hard-pressed Western Front, and were near Arras when Sydney was killed in action on the 23 May 1918. He was 27 years old, and is buried at Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont-St-Eloi.
David John Jones, Private, 29045, South Wales Borderers. David was the son of Evan and Rachel Jones, of Allty Coed House, Bolgoed Street, Pontardulais. He lived at Ammanford prior to the war and enlisted there into the South Wales Borderers. David served with the 3rd Battalion on Home Service and was based at Litherland Camp, Liverpool. David took ill in Liverpool and died of pneumonia on 28 January 1917, aged 33. His remains were brought home for burial in Pontardulais (St. Teilo) Churchyard, Wales.
David Thomas, Sergeant, 3807, Welsh Regiment. David was the son of William and Mary Thomas, of Pantyllyn Terrace, Llandebie, and the Husband of Annie Thomas, of 5, Dynevor Terrace, Penybank, Ammanford. He enlisted at Ammanford into the 1/4th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was the local Territorial Battalion, attached to 159 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Division landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, on 9 August 1915, and was immediately thrown into action, spending the next few days in isolated pockets, fighting against a Turkish counter-attack during the Battle of Sari Bair, and then at the Attack on Scimitar Hill. David was killed in action the following day, on 10 August 1915, aged 32. He is remembered on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli.
Arthur G. Williams, Private, 13021, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Arthur was born at Llanrhug, the son of Margaret Williams. By 1911 the family had moved to 33, Heol Las, Ammanford. Arthur enlisted at Tumble into the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. The Division assembled around Bulford during September 1914. Divisional training was completed near Tidworth, from March 1915, and the Division crossed to France during July 1915, and moved to positions near Loos. The Division fought during the opening attack of the Battle of Loos, which is where Arthur was wounded in the stomach. He was evacuated to a Military Hospital at Abbeville, but died of wounds just hours later, on 27 September 1915, aged 21. Arthur is buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetery, France.
World War Two, 1939-1945
Brinley Davies, Craftsman, 7643871, Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers. Brinley was the son of Anthony and Catherine Davies, and the husband of Glenys Davies, of Ammanford, and served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Brinley was unfortunately one of the many British Servicemen to be captured by the Japanese after their invasion of Malaya, and he died of sickness aboard the Japanese ‘Hell-Ship’, Singapore Maru on 24 November 1942. Brinley had been given the POW Number 645, and was buried at Moji Communal Grave, but is now remembered on the Yokohama Cremation Memorial, Japan.
David Douglas Davies, Gunner, 1492340, Royal Artillery. David was born in Ammanford on 31 July 1918, the son of William Davies and Catherine Jane Davies (nee Morgans). The family had moved to Milton House, Saron Road, Bynea prior to the war. David enlisted into the Royal Artillery, and was posted out to Malaya, to join 7 Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery. The Regiment was formed in the summer of 1940 and formed part of the defences of Singapore, and David would have been sent out following its creation, as extra manpower was required. At the same time that the Japanese attacked Pearly Harbour, they launched an overwhelming assault on British controlled Malaya on 8 December 1941, and by 8 February 1942 the Japanese had began their assault on Singapore. Terrible fighting followed, and on 12 February 1942 the Coastal Batteries were destroyed and on the following morning the garrison was marched to the Indian Recreation Ground in Singapore where the Unit was formed into an Infantry Battalion and used as support troops. At 16.30 hours on 15 February 1942 the Regiment ceased to exist as a fighting unit, and Singapore surrendered to the Japanese. David was taken POW with the survivors of his Regiment, and was one of the thousands of Allied servicemen transferred to Burma and interned at Kanburi POW Base Camp, which served the Burma Railway Camps. He died of malaria in captivity on 9 June 1943, aged 24. David was originally buried in Kinsayoke Cemetery, but after the war his grave was exhumed, and he was re-buried in Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand.
William Myrddin Evans, Sergeant, 929623, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William served with 115 Squadron, RAFVR. The Squadron flew the Wellington Bomber, and undertook raids against the Channel Ports in occupied Norway and France throughout 1940 and 1941. On 24 November 1941 William took off from RAF Marham aboard Wellington Z8863, for a low flying exercise. The aircraft collided with a row of railway trucks on the March to Spalding line and exploded, with the loss of six crew and three ground crew who were aboard. William’s remains were transported back to Ammanford, and the 29-year-old was buried with full military honours in Ammanford (Bethany) Calvinistic Methodist Chapelyard.
Albert Gordon Laugharne, B.A., Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Albert was the son of Albert and Rose Laughame, of Haverfordwest, and the husband of Rosamond Mair Laughame, of Ammanford. He served in the RNVR aboard H.M.S. Blackwood, which was an American Lend-Lease Destroyer that had been taken over by the Royal Navy on 27 March 1943. After over a year spent carrying out escort duties with the Atlantic Convoys Blackwood was torpedoed by U-764 off Portland Bill on 15 June 1944, and sank the next day under tow. Albert was killed in the initial torpedo strike and was 27 year old. He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
John Lynn Williams, Aircraftman 2nd Class, 1077842, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was the son of William and Gwladys Williams, of Ammanford, and served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was captured during the Japanese invasion of Malaya in 1942, most probably at Singapore, and was given the POW No. 2976. John died on the 1st Sandakan death march (9 groups leaving Sandakan between 29 January and 6 February 1945), on 17 March 1945, his death recorded as Acute Enteritus. He was 26 years old, and was buried at Paginatan Cemetery, but he is today remembered on the Singapore Memorial.