Bancyfelin is a small village situated north of the A48 road between St Clears and Carmarthen. The village is well known recently for being a hotbed of rugby, supplying players such as the legendary Delme Thomas, Mike Phillips and Jonathan Davies to the Welsh and British Lions teams. I do not know of any war memorials in Bacncyfelin, although I could be wrong, but the village paid a donation towards the cost of the erection of the St Clears War Memorial in order to have its men who fell during the Great War commemorated on there. As a result, I have compiled a list of men who I have found to have been either born or have resided at Bancyfelin for this page.
World War One, 1914-1918
Lewis Cunnick, Driver, 209756, Royal Field Artillery. Lewis was the son of James Cunnick and Anne Cunnick (Nee Scourfield), of 14, High Street, Bancyfelin. He lived with his wife, Annie Cunnick (nee Williams), at 28, Crown Street, Camberwell prior to the war, where he owned his own general store. Lewis enlisted at Wandsworth into the Royal Field Artillery, becoming a Driver in ‘C’ Battery, 37th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, which was attached to the 75th Division. The Division was formed in Palestine in 1917, under command of the Indian Army. Lewis died in Palestine during the offensive in the Jordan, on 11 October 1918, aged 35, and is buried at Gaza War Cemetery, Israel.
David William Davies, Private, 200821, Welsh Regiment. David was the son of Thomas and Theodosia Davies, of Lleiniaubach, Bancyfelin. He enlisted at Llanelli into the 1/4th Battalion, Welsh regiment, part of 159 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Division had landed in Gallipoli in August 1915, and remained there until December that year, when they were evacuated to Egypt. They later fought in Palestine, and it was here, during the First Battle of Gaza, that David was killed in action on 26 March 1917, aged 23. He is remembered on the Jerusalem Memorial, Israel.
Thomas Davies, Sapper, 194689, Royal Engineers. Thomas was the son of Daniel and Mary Davies. He married Beatrice Alice Griffiths, of Bancyfelin, in 1909, and the couple set up home at 9, Glannant Road, Carmarthen, where their son Daniel Bertram Davies was born. Thomas enlisted at Carmarthen on 30 November 1915 into the Royal Engineers, and originally served with the Postal Section, before being posted to the 35th Airline Section. The Section worked with a Tunnelling Company, and was stationed at Arras, during the Third Battle of the Scarpe, during July 1917. At roll call on the morning of 15 July 1917, Thomas was found to be missing. He was found hanging in his billets by some friends, a subsequent Court of Enquiry finding that he committed suicide, although no reason could be found. He was 38 years old, and is buried at Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont-St-Eloi, France, in Grave Ref. VI. K. 9. Thomas is commemorated on the Newcastle Emlyn War Memorial.
William Morgan Davies, Private, 39579, South Wales Borderers. William was the son of John and Anne Davies, of Llwynon, Bancyfelin. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the army, and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers. The battalion was in China at the outbreak of war, and fought at Tsingtao before moving back to the UK, where it joined 87 Brigade, 29th Division. After the Division had been fully assembled, they moved to the Mediterranean, and took part in the landing on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. They remained at Gallipoli until evacuating on 11 January 1916, and from there were moved to France, arriving at Marseilles on 15 March that year. They fought on the Somme, and moved to the Arras sector in early 1917, where they took part in the Second Battle of the Scarpe. William was killed in action here on 23 April 1917, aged 24. He is remembered on the Arras Memorial, France.
Howell John Edwards, Private, 56906, Welsh Regiment. John was the son of Richard and Keturah Edwards, of Parknewydd, Bancyfelin. He worked as a Porter with the GWR before enlisting at Carmarthen on 11 December 1915 into the Pembroke Yeomanry. John was in Dublin during the riots, before moving to France in 1916, where he was posted to the 9th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. The battalion was then on the Somme, as part of 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. John then saw service with the Battalion during the Battle of Messines in the summer of 1917, and during the later stages of the Battle of Passchendaele. The Division was on the Somme when the German Spring Offensive of 21 March 1918 hit the area, and suffered heavy casualties before being moved back to positions south of Ploegsteert Wood to rest and rebuild. However, a fresh German offensive was launched there the following month, and John was killed on 16 April 1918, during the Battle of Messines. He was 22 years old, and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.
Frederick John, Private, 43608, Welsh Regiment. Frederick was born at Bancyfelin, the son of William, who was the Stationmaster, and Adalide John. The family later resided at Sarnau, 3, Whitley Road, Loughor. Frederick enlisted at Llanelli into the 16th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 115 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division had landed in France during December 1915 and had spent their first winter in the trenches near Armentieres. In June they marched south to the Somme, where they famously captured Mametz Wood. The Division suffered terrible casualties at Mametz, and were taken out of the line, and moved to Ypres to rebuild. Here they fought at Pilckem and Langemarck, which is where Frederick was killed on 27 August 1917. He was 24 years old, and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. He is also remembered on the headstone of his parent’s grave at Box Cemetery, Llanelli.
William Tucker, Private, 13208, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. William was the son of William and Anne Tucker, of Bancyfelin. He enlisted at Ammanford into the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, part of 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. The Division saw its first major action at Givenchy, during the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915. After wintering there, it moved to the Somme the following year, and took part in the capture of La Boiselle on 1 July 1916. The division remained on the Somme, and saw much fighting over the coming months. William was Killed in Action on 11 November 1916, aged 30 and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
World War Two, 1939-1945
James Eric Howell Davies, Corporal, T/123583, Royal Army Service Corps. James was the son of Thomas Howell Davies and Margaret Davies, of Bancyfelin and served in the 7th Anti Aircraft Brigade Company, Royal Army Service Corps in the British Expeditionary Force. The German Blitzkrieg was pushing the BEF back toward the Channel, but even though they were totally outnumbered and outgunned, the BEF fought all of the way back to Dunkirk. James was Killed in Action on 18 June 1940, during the retreat aged only 21, and is buried at Adegem Canadian War Cemetery, Belgium.
Joseph John Hamlyn Phillips, Private, 14572494, The Border Regiment. Hamlyn was the son of Benjamin and Nano Phillips, of Bancyfelin, and the husband of Esther Phillips, of Aberdare. He served with the 2nd Battalion, Border Regiment, which was based in the Far East. The battalion fought behind Japanese lines in Burma for much of the war, before flying out of Myitkyina on 26 July 1944 for a well deserved rest. Hamlyn died in India on 7 August 1944, aged 34, and is buried at Imphal War Cemetery, India.