Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School at Carmarthen was over 400 years old when it lost its identity after merging with Cambria and Maridunum Schools to become Queen Elizabeth’s High School. During the course of the Great War, thirty three former pupils, and three members of staff of the former Grammar School lost their lives. To commemorate these fallen members of the school a bronze wall mounted tablet was commissioned, and was unveiled on Thursday 22 September 1921 by the Headmaster, and dedicated by the Archdeacon of Cardigan. I have entered the biographies of each man on the WW1 memorial in the order that they appear on the war memorial, and not alphabetically as I have done elsewhere. There is also a memorial to the pupils who fell during WW2, which have been added alphabetically, and a plaque to commemorate Michael Anthony Jones who lost his life in the Falklands War. When the schools in Carmarthen were reorganised and Bro Myrddin was established, the memorials were relocated to the Chapel of Rest in St Peter’s Church. A slate plaque by the memorials states: “This Chapel of Rest is the gift of the Old Maridunians and dedicated to former pupils of Queen Elizabeth Grammar School who gave their lives in two world wars”. The photograph of the memorials have been kindly supplied by Vince Jones.
The Great War 1914-1918
Thomas Elwyn Jones, BSc, Naval Instructor, Royal Navy. Thomas was the son of Rev. Samuel Thomas Jones and Mary Jones, of Rhyl. He was Maths Master and Drill Instructor at Carmarthen Grammar School prior to the war. He left the Grammar School after three years service, in July 1915 to serve with the Royal Navy. He was appointed Naval Instructor aboard HMS Defence, a Minotaur Class Armoured Cruiser, which had been built at Pembroke Dock. During the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, she was the flagship of Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot, leading the First Cruiser Squadron. Escorting the main body of the Grand Fleet, Defence was fired upon by one German battle-cruiser (SMS Derfflinger) and four dreadnoughts as she attempted to engage a disable German light cruiser, the SMS Wiesbaden. Defence exploded, and sank within fifteen minutes, with the loss of around 900 men. Thomas was 26 years old when he died in the explosion, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
Allan Maxwell Ruston, MM, Second Lieutenant, Lancashire Fusiliers. Allan was born at Daventry in 1887, the son of Reverend Ruston. He was Assistant Master at Carmarthen Grammar School prior to the outbreak of war, and initially served with the 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, landing in France on 31 August 1915 with the battalion. Allan was a Sergeant when he won the Military Medal while serving with the Northants, the award of which was gazetted on 2 June 1916. He was commissioned on 28 August 1917 into the 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, which was attached to 12 Brigade, 4th Division. Allan was killed during the First Battle of Kemmel, on 23 April 1918. He was 30 years old, and is buried in Mont-Bernanchon British Cemetery, Gonnehem, France.
Wenden Ray Wilde, Lance Corporal, 10059, Royal Fusiliers. Wenden was born in 1893, the son of William and Susannah Eliza Wilde, of Carr Lane, Greenfield, Yorks. He had gained the BSc, 1st Class Honours, and served with the O.T.C. prior to taking up a position as Senior Mathematics Master at Carmarthen Grammar School. He enlisted on 10 January 1916 into the 20th Battalion (3rd Public Schools), Royal Fusiliers, which was in France attached to 19 Brigade, 33rd Division. Wenden saw action at High Wood later that year. He had been recommended for a commission on the field, but was killed during the First Battle of the Scarpe, on 16 April 1917, before he could accept it. He was 24 years old, and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France.
Cyril Raymond Percival Cottrill, Private, TR7/9829, Training Reserve. Cyril was the son of Lieutenant Frederick Percy Cottrill and Bessie Evelyn Cottrill (nee Lamb). The family had lived at Blaencorse Farm, St. Clears for several years, and Cyril was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School prior to the family moving to Southsea. He enlisted at Sandown on 10 July 1916 after having worked in a munitions factory, and was posted to the 94th Training Reserve Battalion, which was based in Hampshire. On 15 April 1917 Cyril was admitted to Chiseldon Military Hospital, suffering from measles, but his medical notes state that he was ‘a pale undersize youth’, and Cyril quickly contracted pneumonia, and died on 7 May 1917, aged 17. He was buried with full military honours in Southampton Old Cemetery. His father was serving at sea with the Royal Navy.
Lionel Gordon Crossman, Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps. Lionel was the son of John and Mary Crossman, of Ar-y-bryn, Carmarthen. He was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Carmarthen, and at the Medical School, Cardiff University, where he obtained his B.Sc. degree (Wales) in 1910. He became a student at Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1910, and after graduating, was appointed house-physician to Dr James Calvert at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Lionel gained a commission within the Royal Army Medical Corps, and joined the staff of the 1st London General Hospital. In 1916 he went to Mesopotamia serving under the rank of Captain, and joined the staff of the 40th British General Hospital, before being put in charge of the Pathological Laboratory. Lionel acquired a mild form of dysentery, which became complicated by pneumonia, and died of pleurisy and pneumonia on 11 December 1917, aged 29. Lionel is buried in Basra War Cemetery, Iraq.
David Davies, Private, 22652, Wiltshire Regiment. David was the son of Ann Davies, of 40, Francis Terrace, Carmarthen. He worked at the Capital and Counties Bank at Swindon prior to the war, and enlisted there into the 1st Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment, which was attached to 7 Brigade, 25th Division. The Division landed in France on 26 September 1915, and were posted to the Vimy area, where they defended Vimy Ridge against a German attack in May 1916. They then moved to the Warloy area and attacked on 3 July near Thiepval. They remained in the line over the coming days, and David was wounded in the head while in the line on 8 July 1916. He was evacuated to the Base Hospital at Boulogne, where he died of his wounds on 11 July 1916, aged just 20. David is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France.
David Morris Davies, Private, 52954, Cheshire Regiment. David was born at Drefach, the son of Reverend William Evan Davies and Mary Ellen Davies. The family had resided at The Parade, Carmarthen for several years prior to moving to 192, High Road, Ilford, Essex by 1911. David enlisted at Holborn, London in February 1916 into the 18th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and landed in France in July 1916. In September 1916 David was transferred into the 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, which was attached to 74 Brigade, 25th Division. They fought throughout the Battle of the Somme, and then moved to Ploegsteert, where they held the line for the months leading up the Battle of Messines in June 1917. After fighting at Messines, the Division moved north, and fought at Pilckem Ridge. David was posted as Missing in Action at Ypres on 10 August 1917, and he was presumed dead. He was 22 years old, and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.
Ernest Glyn Davies, Captain, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Ernest was the son of David and Rachel Davies, of Eryl, The Avenue, Carmarthen. He worked in London before the war, and enlisted there into the London Welsh Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The battalion moved to France in December 1915 attached to 113 Brigade, 38th Welsh Division. Ernest was soon picked out as a leader, and was promoted Sergeant before gaining a commission into the 19th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, part of 119 Brigade, 40th (Bantam) Division. The Division moved to France in the first week of June 1916, taking up positions near Loos. Ernest was killed in action here while leading a wiring party on 5 July 1916. He was 27 years old, and was buried in Loos British Cemetery, France.
John Elwyn Davies, Private, 4299, Welsh Regiment. John was the eldest son of Evan George and Elizabeth Davies, of 8, Union Street, Carmarthen. He worked as a Solicitor’s Clerk before enlisting at Carmarthen into the 1/4th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was the local Territorial battalion, attached to 159 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. In July 1915 the Division embarked at Avonmouth for the Mediterranean, and landed on the Gallipoli beaches on 8 August 1915. Here, the 4th Welsh were thrown into desperate fighting over the coming days. John was wounded soon after landing, and died aboard a Hospital Ship on 13 August 1915, aged 19. He was buried in sea, and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli.
William Lloyd Davies, Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. William was born on 3 April 1894, the son of John George Davies, and Mary Davies, of Coombe Park, Peniel. He was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School, before passing into the University of London, and joined the Artists Rifles in November 1915. William was then commissioned on 7 July 1916, and joined the 13th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Belgium in August. The battalion was rebuilding after its mauling at Mametz Wood, and was attached to 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division was in the trenches at Boesinghe when William joined them, and remained here until launching their assault on Pilckem Ridge on 31 July 1917. William was killed during the attack on Pilckem that day, and was reportedly buried in Caesars Nose Cemetery. He now lies in Dragoon Camp Cemetery, Belgium, in the middle of the old battlefield. He was 23 years old.
William Morgan Davies, Private, 39579, South Wales Borderers. William was the son of John and Anne Davies, of Llwynon, Bankyfelin. 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.
Thomas Griffiths, Private, 12071, South Wales Borderers. Thomas was the son of Mrs. Anna Griffiths, of Penrheol, Abernant. He enlisted at Llanelli into the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers. The battalion had fought in China at the outbreak of war, before returning to Britain to join 87 Brigade, 29th Division. It took part in the Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915, and remained there until evacuation in January 1916. The Division took part in its first major action in France during the 1916 Somme Offensive, and fought at the Battles of Albert and Le Transloy, suffering heavy casualties. In the spring of 1917 they fought at the Battle of the Scarpe, which was part of the Arras Offensive, and then moved further north to Ypres. Here they fought at the Battle of Langemarck, and then at the Battles of the Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde and Poelcappelle, before moving to Cambrai. Here they fought at the Battle of Cambrai, which is where Thomas was killed on 21 November 1917. He was 20 years old, and is buried in Marcoing British Cemetery, France. (This is probably the correct man.)
Kirk Hearder, Sergeant, 790, Monmouthshire Regiment. Kirk was born on 9 June 1883, the son of Dr. George Jonathan Hearder and Mrs. Marie Hearder, of 4, Picton Place, Carmarthen. He married Mary Louisa Weights, a Postmistress, at Newport in 1912, and the couple then lived at 83, Clevedon Road, Weston-super-Mare. Kirk was a Clerk at the National Provincial Bank at Newport, and enlisted there into the 1st Battalion, Monmouth Regiment, which were at Stow Hill, Newport as part of the Welsh Border Brigade, Welsh Division. During February 1915 the Battalion left the Welsh Division and landed in France on 13 February, attached to 84 Brigade, 28th Division. The Division saw its first major action at First Ypres in 1914. It was during the Second Battle of Ypres, that Kirk was killed in action, during the Battle of Frezenberg, on 8 May 1915. He was 31 years old, and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. His brother, Major Dixon Hearder, served with the 11th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force.
Daniel Howell, Private, 113, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Daniel was born in 1894, the son of David Howell and Margaret Howell (nee Davies), of Werndrevi Cottage, Abergwili. By 1911 he was lodging with his sister Hannah, and her husband Frederick William Phillips at 32, Inderwick Road, Stroud Green, London, working as a Clerk for an electrical engineering company, but by the time war broke out was working in Birmingham. As a result, he enlisted there into the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, known as the 1st Birmingham Battalion. The battalion was raised at Birmingham by the Lord Mayor and a local committee in September 1914, moving to Sutton Coldfield. On 25 June 1915 the battalion moved to Wensleydale to join 95 Brigade, 32nd Division, and six weeks later moved to Salisbury Plain. On 21 November 1915 Daniel landed with the battalion at Boulogne and moved to Vignacourt, on the Somme. On 26 December the battalion transferred to 13 Brigade, 5th Division and began its first tour in the trenches at Carnoy. The battalion remained in this area over the coming weeks, carrying out a lot of pioneer duties, such as digging trenches and laying wire and on 9 January 1916 moved out of the line to Vaux-sur-Somme, proud of the work done on their old trenches. Here the battalion found itself isolated from the rest of the division due to an outbreak of German Measles, and it was not until 6 March that the last cases had gone away and the battalion began marching to the Arras sector, to join the remainder of the division. Over the coming days the men marched through Villers Boucage, Doullens, Grand Rollicourt and Agnez and on 15 March took over trenches in the Arras Sector. Again, as well as holding the line, the men were put to work, carrying out mining and other improvements. The battalion was in the front line trenches at Arras, when Daniel was shot by a sniper, and killed on 25 March 1916. The 21-year-old was buried in Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France. His grave is marked by a Special Memorial, as he is known to be buried there, but the exact whereabouts of his grave was lost.
Edward Owen Jones, Lance Corporal, 2471, Royal Gloucester Hussars. Edward was the son of Robert Owen Jones and Elizabeth Jones, of Oak House, Carmarthen. He had studied at Carmarthen Grammar School and at the School of Art, gaining a post later as Art Master at Sir Thomas Richards School in Gloucester. In September 1914 Edward volunteered into the Royal Gloucester Hussars, which moved to Gallipoli in mid July 1915 attached to the Imperial Mounted Division. After two months at Suvla, they were evacuated to Egypt, and took part in operations against the Sultan of Darfur, which saw Edward being killed during a battle against Turkish troops on 23 April 1916. Edward was 29 years old, and like so many men who died during the fighting in the Middle East during the Great War, his grave could not be located, and so he is commemorated on the Jerusalem Memorial, Israel. His brother Frederick Walwyn Jones also fell.
William Anthony Jones, Private, 56883, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. William was the son of David and Jane Jones, of The Black Lion Inn, Cwmffrwd. He was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School and had become a member of the local Red Cross and was a reporter for the Carmarthen Journal prior to enlisting in London into the Welsh Regiment. He later transferred into the 14th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who were attached to the 113th 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 were tasked with the capture of Mametz Wood. The attack on the wood began on 7 July, but met with fierce resistance, and it took until 14 July to clear the wood. The Division suffered terrible casualties at Mametz, and were taken out of the line, and moved to Ypres to rebuild. William was among a large number of reinforcements who joined the battalion here and soon settled into the monotonous life of trench warfare. On 1 October 1916 his battalion was in the front line along the canal bank working on laying duck boards in the sodden trenches towards a trench named Huddersfield Road. A fighting patrol of ten men under Lieutenant Seymour was sent out while this work was underway and encountered a German patrol. After an exchange of fire, in which the Germans suffered several casualties, the raiding party withdrew. The Germans in retaliation then fired over a Trench Mortar barrage onto the Fusiliers which caused several casualties among the battalion. William had been killed instantaneously during the bombardment and his remains being buried in Essex Farm Cemetery, the burial service being taken by the Chaplain Reverend Williams. He was 22 years old.
Douglas David Raymond Lewis, Lieutenant, Durham Light Infantry. Douglas was born at Penllergaer on 24 August 1891, the son of Reverend Thomas Phillip Lewis and Jane Lewis, of Llanbedr Rectory, Crickhowell, Breconshire. Jane was the daughter of the Reverend Thomas Davies, of Glanyrafon, Llandeilo. Educated at St. David’s College School in Lampeter, and at Carmarthen Grammar School, Douglas became a teacher at Hoe Grammar School, Plymouth, then at a Private School in Weymouth. He was commissioned on 16 August 1915, and became a Lieutenant with the 8th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, which was attached to 151 Brigade, 50th Division. Douglas served throughout the Somme Offensive, at Flers-Courcelette, Morval and Le Transloy, and the Battalion then moved to Arras, where they fought in the Battles of the Scarpe. Douglas was mortally wounded at Arras, and died of his wounds that same day, on 22 April 1917, aged 25. He is buried in Beaurains Road Cemetery, Beaurains, France.
Walter Henry Lloyd, Captain, Royal Army Medical Corps. Walter was the son of Walter and Sarah Lloyd, of 12, Lammas Street, Carmarthen. He had trained as a Surgeon at London, gaining the M.B., and B.S., London, and had served at the Wandsworth Military Hospital for nine months, prior to volunteering to serve on the Western Front. He was commissioned as lieutenant in the 3rd London General Hospital in August 1915, and in June 1916, went to France as a Captain, serving as surgeon to a casualty clearing station with the Royal Army Medical Corps, attached to the 1/20th Battalion, London Regiment. The battalion was attached to 5 Brigade, 2nd (London) Division. The division was on the Somme throughout the summer of 1918, and it was here that Walter was killed on 4 August 1918. He was 27 years old and is buried in Contay British Cemetery, France.
William Goater Lloyd, Lance Corporal, 731, Welsh Guards. William was the son of Richard and Elizabeth Lloyd, of St. Peter’s, Carmarthen. He enlisted there into the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, who had been raised by Royal Warrant of 26 February 1915, and formed at White City. On 18 August 1915 they landed at Havre, attached to 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division. This new Division saw its first major action during the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915, remaining in the area during the coming months, where they also fought in the subsequent Action of Hohenzollern Redoubt. In July 1916 the Division moved to the Somme, where they fought at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, and then at the Battle of Morval, capturing Lesboeufs Village. William was killed in action here on 24 September 1916, aged 20. He was buried on the battlefield by his comrades, who sent his cap badge back to his parents, but his grave was lost in further fighting in the area, and he is now commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
Wallis Austin Jonathan Marsden, Lieutenant, Royal Field Artillery. Wallis was the eldest son of the Reverend Jonathan Marsden and Emmeline Marsden, of Llanllwch. He was educated at St. David’s College, Lampeter and at St. John’s, Oxford prior taking up a post as Classicals Master in a London school. Wallis was commissioned into the Territorial’s prior to the war, and was posted to France with the 2nd London Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Wallis was wounded during the Battle of the Somme, on 21 September 1916 and was brought back to England for treatment at the Empire Hospital, Westminster. He died of his wounds on 20 July 1917 and was brought home for burial at Llanllwch Churchyard.
James John Morris, Private, 268205, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. James was the son of James and Jane Morris, of 46, Catherine Street, Carmarthen. He enlisted on 7 January 1915 into the Welsh Regiment, and was posted to the 1/4th Welsh, taking part in the Gallipoli campaign. James was wounded at Gallipoli, and was hospitalised at Cairo before rejoining the battalion at Gallipoli. He then became ill, suffering from exposure and dysentery, and was again evacuated to Egypt. He returned to England on 5 August 1916, and upon recover was transferred into the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 9 April 1918, who were attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. The Division had been in France since July 1915. James joined them in Flanders, where they were rebuilding after being decimated during the German offensive of 21 March 1918 onwards. The Division was caught up in a fresh German attack at Messines in April, and fought a heroic rearguard action over the coming weeks. James was wounded during this period, and died of wounds on 29 April 1918. James was only 19 years old at the time of his death, and had seen three years fighting. He is buried in Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, France.
Thomas Harold Phillips, Trooper, 199, Australian Imperial Force. Thomas was born on 14 April 1889, the son of David and Sarah Phillips, of Arfryn, Carmarthen. He joined the Territorials in 1909 and served for three years as Sergeant in the 7th Welsh Cyclists. He emigrated to Australia around 1912, and at the outbreak of the war enlisted at Brisbane on 2 September, 1914, into the 2nd Light Horse, which formed part of the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade. The regiment sailed from Brisbane on 25 September and disembarked in Egypt on 9 December 1914. The 2nd Light Horse deployed to Gallipoli without its horses and landed there on 12 May 1915, joining the New Zealand and Australian Division. Just two days later, on 14 May 1915, Thomas was badly wounded, suffering gunshot wounds to his back, and was taken aboard the Hospital Ship Gascon. He died at 13.30 that day, and was buried in sea midway between Gallipoli and Alexandria. Thomas was 26 years old, and is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli.
Dan Ivor Price, Private, 40048, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Dan was born in 1896, the son of David Price and Margaret Elizabeth Price (nee Davies), of Peniel School House, Abergwili. His father was the Schoolmaster at Abergwili for several years prior to moving with the family to Chapel House, Peniel, following the death of his wife. Dan was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School, and moved to Tumble prior to the war, gaining work there as a school teacher. Dan left his job as a teacher at Tumble to enlist at Carmarthen into the 22nd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 10 December 1915, and was initially placed on the Army Reserve. He was mobilised on 21 January 1916, travelling to Conway to then join the battalion at Kinmel Park. On 28 July 1916 Dan was drafted to France and two days later was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was on the Somme, attached to 22 Brigade, 7th Division. The Division had taken part in the opening assault of the Somme offensive on 1 July 1916, advancing from positions near Bois Francais, near Fricourt, and capturing the village of Mametz, one of the few successes of 1 July 1916. The battalion then took part in further attacks to push forwards, to the south of Mametz Wood, and upon being relieved, witnessed the troops of the 38th (Welsh) Division moving forward to launch its assault on Mametz Wood. On 14 July, with the wood taken, the 7th Division moved back into the line, with orders to capture Bazentin-le-Petit, before taking part in the terrible attacks on High Wood over the coming days. On 22 July the 1st RWF was relieved, moving back into reserve to rest and rebuild at La Chaussee. By 12 August the battalion had moved forwards to Dernancourt, and on 26 August marched further forward, to take part in the Divisions assault on Ginchy. The Division saw heavy fighting over the coming days, before the 1st RWF had another short break, but on 1 September the battalion received orders to push forwards again to launch a fresh assault on Ginchy from Montauban Alley. On 3 September 1916 the 1st RWF launched its assault, but suffered severe casualties, with over 200 officers and men killed, wounded or missing. The division was then relieved and transferred north to the Ypres Salient to rest and rebuild, in positions near Ploegsteert Wood, but at the beginning of November was ordered to move south, back to the Somme Sector, where it wintered. On 25 February 1917 patrols discovered that the Germans had evacuated Serre, so the 1st RWF received orders to advance and seize the village of Puisieux. Dan was killed in action here on 26 February 1917, when the advancing troops became held up by intense German artillery fire. The 20-year-old has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
Edgar George Rees, Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Edgar was born in 1891, the son of Thomas Vicary Rees and Annie Mary Rees, of The School House, Llangunnock. He enlisted into the 13th Royal Welsh Fusiliers in October 1914, and served with them in France from December 1915, where they were attached to 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. After returning home on leave, when he married Gwenllian Lewis, of 44, Mount Libanus, Treherbert, he was commissioned in 1916, and posted to the 19th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 119 Brigade, 40th (Bantam) Division. The Division had moved to France in June 1916, and moved to the front near Loos. Late in 1916 they moved south to the Somme, and fought at the Battle of the Ancre, and remained in the area over the winter. In March, 1917 the Germans withdrew to their shortened line, called the Hindenburg Line, and the 40th Division were one of the Divisions that followed the withdrawal. Later in the year they took part in the Battle of Cambrai, playing an important role in the attack on Bourlon Wood. Edgar was killed in action at Cambrai on 23 November 1917, aged 26. He is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France. His three other brothers also served.
Gwilym Hubert Rees, Signaller, Royal Navy. Gwilym was born in Carmarthen in October 1898, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Rees, of 19, The Avenue, Carmarthen. He trained as a Wireless Operator at Swansea, before proceeding to Marconi House London, and passed out as a Signaller, joining the Royal Naval Transport Section. Nothing more can be discovered about Gwilym, but a report was published in the Welshman Newspaper of 7 December 1917, which stated that Gwilym had perished on only his second voyage, and that he was 19 years old. There is no record of his death anywhere, neither is he commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. (The memorial shows W Rees, but this is probably the correct man.)
William Oliver Rees, Private, 40262, Welsh Regiment. William was the son of William and Mary Rees, of Trelech. He had lived at Carmarthen for several years prior to the war, working at the Cloth Hall, Carmarthen. He served with the Welsh Regiment, but is not commemorated by the CWGC, so nothing further is presently known of him, except that he died at Carmarthen in the summer of 1919, aged 25.
Harry Charles Reeves, Second Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. Harry was born in Carmarthen on 1 August 1894, the son of Harry and Edith Anne Mary Reeves, of 54a King Street, Carmarthen. The family later moved to 100, Plasturton Avenue, Cardiff. Harry originally enlisted into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, serving as Z/1700 Ordinary Seaman RNVR, but was commissioned into the newly formed 15th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment, known as the Carmarthen Pals Battalion. The battalion was part of 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division, and moved to the Western Front in December 1915, taking up the line near Fleurbaix in Northern France. At sometime after this Harry was transferred into the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment, attached to 3 Brigade, 1st Division. He was with the Division by the time of the Battle of the Somme, and was killed in action with them during the Battle of Guillemont, on 24 August 1916, aged 22. Harry was buried on the battlefield, but his grave was lost, and he is now commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
Francis Roderick B.A, Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. Francis was the son of David and Elizabeth Roderick, of Cwmcerig Fach, Cefneithin. He was educated at Aberystwyth University before enlisting into the 16th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers at the outbreak of war. On 9 January 1915 Francis was commissioned into the 14th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was at Rhyl. In December 1915 the battalion moved to France, attached to 114 Brigade, 38th Welsh Division. Francis survived the Battalions massacre on the Somme, where the entire Welsh Division suffered terrible casualties at Mametz Wood, and moved with his battalion to Ypres. After almost twelve months holding the Boesinghe sector, on 31 July 1917 the 38th Division began its famous attack on Pilckem Ridge. Francis was mortally wounded during the assault, and died that same day, aged 22. He is buried in Bard Cottage Cemetery, Belgium. He seemed to have had a premonition of his death, as he had written his last letter home to his parents on 22 July, telling them not to mourn his loss.
Frederick Charles Savage, Private, 266577, Northumberland Fusiliers. Frederick was the son of Charles Wesley and Jane Savage, of Mental Hospital Lodge, Carmarthen. He was married prior to the war, and lived with his wife, Laura Savage, at Mansfield Road, Rotherham, Yorkshire. Frederick enlisted at Rotherham into the army, and was posted to the 11th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, which was attached to 68 Brigade, 23rd Division. The Division had been in France since August 1915, and had fought at the Somme. In May 1917 they took part in the Battle of Messines, before moving further north to Ypres, and fighting at the Battles of the Menin Road, Polygon Wood, and the First and Second Battles of Passchendaele. On 23 October 1917 orders were received to prepare to move, and the division entrained for Italy, where it assembled by 16 November 1917. On 4 December the Division took over a section of front line on the Montello, relieving the 70th Italian Division. Frederick was killed during the Battle of The Piave River on 15 June 1918. He was 34 years old, and is buried in Magnaboschi British Cemetery, Italy.
Richard Douglas Stealey, Leading Seaman, Z/191, Nelson Battalion, Royal Naval Division. Richard was born in London on 25 May 1894, the son of Captain John Stealey, a Master Mariner, and of Ada Page Stealey, of Sunny Hill, Holloway Road, Laugharne. Richard was a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, and was called up as soon as war broke out, being drafted into the Nelson Battalion, Royal Naval Division. His service number shows that he was in the London Division RNVR. His father had died by now, and his widowed mother had moved the family to Attleborough Cottage, the Tilt, Cobham, Surrey. The Royal Naval Division had been made up of members of the Royal Navy who had no ship to serve on, and had been turned into a land force, akin to the modern day Royal Marines. After an unsuccessful attempt to hold the Port of Zeebrugge, the Royal Naval Division was sent to the Mediterranean, before taking part in the Gallipoli Landings, landing at Anzac beachhead on 29 April 1915. On 3 May 1915 the Royal Naval Division was in the middle of a spell of heavy fighting at Krithia. It was during this terrible fighting that Richard was shot in the head, but managed to walk back to a first aid post from where he was evacuated, by Hospital ship, to Alexandria. Richard died of his wounds on 7 May 1915, aged 20, and is buried in Alexandria (Chatby) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.
Richard Henry Watson, Leading Mechanic, F/3307, Royal Naval Air Service. Richard was born in Hong Kong on 10 September 1895, the son of H. J. Watson and Emmeline Watson. After his father’s death, Emmeline moved the family back to 47, Lammas Street, Carmarthen. Richard and his brother Arthur attended Carmarthen Grammar School prior to the war, and were both members of Carmarthen Harlequins Rugby Club. At the beginning of the war they both enlisted, and Richard joined the Royal Naval Air Service as a Mechanic. Richard was posted to the Dunkerque Air Station, and in April 1917 a report appeared in the Carmarthen Journal that both brothers had been reported missing during that month. Arthur turned up as a Prisoner of War in Germany after having been shot down whilst serving with the Royal Flying Corps, but Richard was discovered to have been shot down whilst flying a HP 0/100 off Nieuport, and taken prisoner. He died of wounds on 26 April 1917, aged just 22, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
Gwilym Williams, Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Gwilym was the son of William and Esther Williams, of Nantyrafr, Meidrim. He was educated at Aberystwyth University, and was well known as a prominent Welsh Bard prior to the war. Gwilym was commissioned at the outbreak of war into the 17th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The Battalion was raised at Llandudno on 2 February 1915 in 128 Brigade, 43rd Division. On 29 April 1915, the formation became 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division, and moved from North Wales to Morn Hill Camp, Winchester, where the 17th RWF moved to 115 Brigade, 38th Division. The Division arrived in France in December 1915, and was posted near Armentieres, where the men were familiarised with trench warfare over the coming months, while holding a relatively peaceful sector of the Western Front. In the middle of May 1916, the 17th RWF moved from comfortable billets at Robermetz to take up positions in the front line at Riez Bailleul. Gwilym was wounded by a German rifle grenade on 20 May, and was evacuated to the Military Hospital at Merville for treatment. He died of his wounds on 21 May 1916. He was 26 years old, and was buried with full military honours at Merville Communal Cemetery the following day.
Howell Morgan Williams, Second Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. Howell was the son of John and Catherine Williams, of Gwynondale, Llanarthney. He was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School prior to being commissioned into the 19th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was the Pioneer Battalion to the 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 were tasked with the capture of Mametz Wood. The attack on the wood began on 7 July, but met with fierce resistance, and it took until 14 July to clear the wood. The Division suffered terrible casualties at Mametz, and were taken out of the line, and moved to Ypres to rebuild. Howell was killed in action during the build up to the Third Battle of Ypres, on 24 June 1917, when a shell crashed into his dugout, killing him and Captain Arthur Ernest Evans, of Swansea, and wounding Lieutenant Bert Palmer and another man. Howell was 23 years old, and is buried in Bard Cottage Cemetery, Belgium.
William James Minister Williams, Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. William was the son of William James Williams and Gertrude Elizabeth Williams, of Cambray House, Carmarthen. In 1915 both William and his elder brother Harold were commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and William joined the 2nd Battalion, which had been in France since the outbreak of war. Over the winter of 1915/1916 the Battalion was attached to 19 Brigade, 33rd Division, and had taken part in the Battle of Loos, being based just north of the town, near Cambrin. William was killed in action during a routine spell in the trenches here on 7 February 1916. He was just 21 years old, and is buried in Cambrin Churchyard Extension, France.
Eric Western Wilson, Second Lieutenant, West Yorkshire Regiment. Eric was born on 12 July 1893 at Thornton-le-Moor, Yorkshire, the only son of John Western Wilson and Caroline Mary Wilson (nee David), later of The Corse, Laugharne. Eric was a nephew of Engineer Lieutenant Commander Thomas Morgan David. Eric was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School, at Kelly College, Tavistock, and at Leeds University, before graduating from the University Officer Training Corps, and was commissioned into the Special Reserve, the Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment in July 1913. He joined the 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment on the outbreak of war, which was stationed at Lichfield. They were sent to France with the BEF, landing at St. Nazaire on 10 September 1914, as part of 18 Brigade, 6th Division. The German Army had been hard hit by the BEF in early September, and by 11 September 1914 it was clear to the British that the Germans had retreated behind the River Aisne. On 15 September, Marshal Joffre ordered the French and British army’s to attack the withdrawing Germans. This action became known as the Battle of the Aisne. The main attack was carried out by the British, against the Chemin-des-Dames ridge in the direction of Laon. On 20 September 1914, Eric was killed in action, around 60 kilometres east of Paris, on the river Marne, while leading his platoon to recapture a trench near Troyon that had been taken by the enemy earlier in the day. He has no known grave, and is remembered on the La Ferté-Sous-Jouarre Memorial, France. He was just 21 years old, and the first Laugharne man to be killed in the Great War.
Irish Uprising, 1920
Parcell Rees Bowen, MC, DFC and Bar, Captain, Welsh Regiment. Parcell was the fourth son of Josiah and Mary Bowen, of Pantyglien, Abergwili. Parcell was a student at St. David’s College, Lampeter when he enlisted into the Army Service Corps at the outbreak of war. He spent the winter of 1914/15 in France, but in February 1915 was sent home with badly frostbitten feet. In July that year, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the 5th Welsh, and he embarked with the Battalion for Gallipoli, where it formed part of 159 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Division fought at Gallipoli until the evacuation in December, suffering badly from casualties, forcing the 5th Welsh to merge with the 4th Welsh for a short period. After the evacuation, Parcell fought in the Palestinian Campaign, where he then transferred into the Machine Gun Corps, and it was with them that he was awarded his first decoration, the Military Cross. Parcell then transferred into the Royal Air Force on 10 January 1918, becoming an Observer. He gained his second decoration during the air war in Egypt, the Distinguished Service Order. After the Armistice on 11 November 1918, Parcell served in Salonika and Mesopotamia, before being placed on the unemployed list. Again though, Parcell wanted more adventure, and so he volunteered for further service with the R.A.F. in their private war in North Russia, fighting for the White Russians.
On 17 July 1919 Parcell arrived at Archangel, where he met his old compatriot from Carmarthen, Ira ‘Taffy’ Jones. In Ira Jones’s book, ‘An Airfighter’s Scrapbook’, Ira writes glowing reports of Parcell, being glad to see another Welsh Warrior in his Squadron. A long passage from the book tells of an incident that earned Parcell a Bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross. In short, Parcell and his Pilot were carrying out a bombing mission when they came across a superior force of Russian Aeroplanes. Being the men they were, they agreed to attack the Russians, who dispersed in chaos when these two madmen plunged into their midst. The Russians took flight, but one fired a burst of rounds at the British pair, and Parcell and his Pilot were hit. The Pilot fainted at the controls of the aeroplane, and Parcell only had one good arm, but he leaned over his colleague and piloted the aeroplane back nearly 100 miles to base.
Parcell was sent home wounded, and again placed on the Unemployed List, so volunteered for a Commission into the Lithuanian Army, with whom he served until July 1920 when he accepted a Government Post. This post was Top Secret, and involved him going undercover in Dublin, at the time when the troubles were at a peak. Due to the secrecy of the work being carried out in Ireland, nothing much is known about the operations Parcell was engaged in.
What is known is that Parcell had been lodging with a fellow officer at 28, Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin, and the two had spent the afternoon of 27 October 1920 watching a football match at Donnybrook. After the match, Parcell could not be found, until his lifeless body was discovered, lying face down, at Merrion Street. He had been shot in the back by an IRA assassin, the bullet hitting his spine. Parcell’s body was brought back to Carmarthen, where he was buried with full military honours in Abergwili Churchyard. Within a month, on ‘Bloody Sunday’, 21 November 1920, fourteen British Agents were murdered in Dublin by the I.R.A., led by Michael Collins. The British Army reprised the killings by storming into a Gaelic Football match at Croke Park in Dublin, and fired into the crowd to avenge their murdered colleagues, inflicting many casualties, with fourteen men and children dead. Later that night, three IRA prisoners suspiciously died in captivity in Dublin Castle, and the situation swiftly escalated. The Irish Public quickly turned against the Crown, and Peace negotiations ensued, resulting in a truce being declared on 11 July 1921.
World War Two, 1939-1945
John Edward Wilberforce Arthur, Wing Commander, 87084, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was born in 1906, the son of Arthur Arthur and Hannah Jane Arthur (nee Davies), of Penrhos, Carway View, Carmarthen. He enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was commissioned from Leading Aircraftman to Flight Lieutenant on 3 July 1940, joining the Balloon Branch. John was later promoted to Wing Commander and became attached to the HQ of the NWAAF, in Tunis. John died as a result of a vehicle accident in North Africa on 29 September 1943. The 37-year-old was originally buried in La Borgel Civil Cemetery in Tunis, but in August 1944 the military graves within the cemetery were relocated into Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia.
William Donald Bowen, Sergeant (Flight Engineer), 1378175, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William was born in 1916, the son of Thomas Benjamin Bowen and Mary Bowen (nee Morgan), of Carmarthen. He married Beryl Williams, of 5, Mansel Street, Carmarthen, in 1941. William enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as a Flight Engineer was posted to 15 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a heavy bomber squadron, armed with the Short Stirling III, based at RAF Bourn. On the night of 1 March 1943, William took off from Bourn as part of the crew of Stirling W7518. At around 01.00 the following morning, the Halifax was intercepted by a German FW night fighter, and was shot down above the Oosterschelde. Of the crew of seven, only one man escaped. William and five of his crewmates died in the crash on the morning of 2 March 1943, and are buried together at Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery, Netherlands. William was 27 years old.
Edgar Roy Carruthers, Flight Lieutenant, 155753, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Edgar was born on 15 March 1921, the son of Christopher Carruthers and Hannah Jane Carruthers (nee Hughes), of 21, Bridge Street, Carmarthen. He worked as a Civil Servant in Cardiff prior to enlisting into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and trained as a pilot before being gazetted as Flight Sergeant in November 1943. He was then posted to 609 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was an RAF Fighter Command unit, equipped with the Supermarine Spitfire, based at RAF Duxford. In the summer of 1942 the squadron re-equipped with Hawker Typhoon IB’s, to counter the Luftwaffe’s Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter, and was very successful. During the opening months of 1944 the Squadron was involved with the destruction of German Radar Stations along the French Coast, prior to the Normandy Landings, then took part in air strikes on vital targets in occupied Europe. After the end of the war, the Squadron remained in Germany, based at RAF Wunstorf. Edgar was killed when he flew his Hawker Typhoon IB into the ground whilst descending through low cloud on 8 August 1945. The 24-year-old was buried in Becklingen War Cemetery, Germany.
Thomas William Reynold Daniel, Sergeant, 1315951, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Thomas was born in 1921, the son of William Henry Daniel and Margaret Emily Daniel (nee Davies), of Carmarthen. He enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as an Air Gunner was posted to 78 Squadron, Royal Air Force, a Heavy Bomber unit, which was equipped with the Handley Page Halifax, based at RAF Breighton. On the night of 11 June 1943, Thomas took off from Breighton aboard a Handley Page Halifax II, Serial W7932, which joined a force of some 783 aircraft despatched to strike targets in Düsseldorf. Severe damage was caused to the centre of Düsseldorf with at least 130 acres laid waste and almost 1,300 people killed, whilst eight ships were damaged. Thomas was killed on the return journey, when his Halifax was intercepted by a German night fighter and shot down and crashed some two miles west of Sambeek, Holland, on the morning of 12 June 1943. Thomas was 21 years old when he was killed that morning and was buried alongside his six fellow crewmen in Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery, Netherlands.
Alun Meilir Davies, Private, 14635646, Parachute Regiment. Alun was born on 27 July 1924, the son of William Davies and Martha Davies (nee Jones), of Carmarthen, and was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School. His parents later moved to Aberystwyth. Alun enlisted into the army and became selected for the Special Forces, joining the 9th Battalion, Parachute Regiment, Army Air Corps. The battalion had formed in November 1942 from the 10th Battalion, Essex Regiment, and was assigned to the 3rd Parachute Brigade, which was initially attached to the 1st Airborne Division. In April 1943 the 1st Airborne Division left Britain to take part in the Allied invasion of Sicily, leaving the 3rd Parachute Brigade behind, then on 23 April the brigade became transferred to the newly formed 6th Airborne Division. At dawn on 6 June 1944, D-Day, the 9th Parachute Regiment left England, tasked with the capture of the famous Merville Gun Battery in Normandy, and landed around the area in gliders during the early hours of D-Day, 6 June 1944. Alun was killed during the capture of the battery that day. The 19-year-old was posted as missing, but was later deemed to have been killed in action. He has no known grave, so is commemorated on the Bayeux Memorial, France.
D. H. Davies, Private. The memorial shows a Private D. H. Davies as having served in the army. There is only one man of that name who fell during WW2 and is commemorated by the CWGC and that is Private Douglas Haig Davies, but he was from Bridgend.
Douglas Thomas Davies, Lance Corporal, 2734786, Welsh Guards. Douglas was born in 1920, the son of Victor Henton Davies and Elizabeth Davies, of 58 Priory Street, Carmarthen. He enlisted into the army and was posted to the 2nd Armoured Battalion, Welsh Guards, which was attached to the Guards Armoured Division. Between 18 to 29 June 1944 the battalion landed in Normandy, and took part in the break out from the Normandy Beach-Head. It then took part in the infamous fighting in the Bocage, before heading towards Holland, with the Guards Armoured Division, and taking part in Operation Market Garden. Douglas was badly wounded after the crossing of the Rhine, and died of his wounds on 9 April 1945. The 24-year-old was buried in Oldenzaal Protestant Cemetery, Overijssel, Netherlands.
James Glyn Davies, Flying Officer, 175652, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. James was born in 1913, the son of Thomas Davies and Mary Davies (nee Lewis), of Carmarthen. He married Hannah May Daniel, of Bronwydd, in 1941. James enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as a pilot was posted to 166 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a heavy bomber unit, equipped with the Avro Lancaster III, based at RAF Kirmington. On the night of 23 September 1944, James took off from Kirmington, flying an Avro Lancaster III, Serial LM722, which joined a bomber group despatched to strike targets in Neuss. James was killed when his Lancaster was lost without trace on the following morning, 24 September 1944, with its entire crew of seven men. The 31-year-old is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.
John Derrick Edwards Davies, Pilot Officer (Air Gunner), 176215, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was born on 23 December 1922, the son of Daniel Edwards Davies and Katherine Davies (nee Jones), of Carmarthen, and was baptised at St. David’s Church. His father worked as a Bank Clerk for the National Provincial Bank, and by 1939 the family had moved to Whitchurch, Shropshire. John was a student when war broke out, and left his studies to enlist into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. After training as an Air Gunner he was posted to 180 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the North American Mitchell II, based at RAF Dunsfold. On 15 June 1944 John was taking part in a raid on a Panzer HQ in France, supporting the Normandy landings, when the aircraft was hit by Flak and he was killed. The damaged aircraft landed safely and the rest of the crew survived. The 21-year-old was buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey.
John Davies, M.D., M.R.C.P., Commander Surgeon, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. John was born on 24 September 1898, the son of Moses Davies and Margaret Davies, of Carmarthen. After leaving Carmarthen Grammar School he studied to become a Doctor and after marrying Elizabeth Gwladys Davies on 23 June 1932, the couple settled at 308, Finchley Road, Hampstead, London. John had served as a Surgeon with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during both World Wars, with the rank of Commander Surgeon, and during World War Two was based at HMS Drake. John died of heart disease in Hampstead on 2 August 1945. The 47-year-old was buried in Hampstead Cemetery, England.
Oliver Geoffrey Davies, Flight Sergeant, 972287, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Oliver was born on 18 April 1920, the son of John Joseph Davies and Kate Marion Davies (nee Hughes), of 8, Lime Grove Avenue, Carmarthen. He worked as an Insurance Agent prior to enlisting into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and after completing his training as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner was posted to 612 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Vickers Wellington VIII, and the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley VII, based at RAF Wick, Caithness, on an anti-submarine role. On 9 November 1942, Oliver was flying aboard an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley VII, searching for a Vickers Wellington I of 179 Squadron which had gone missing in bad weather. In thick mist, the Whitley crashed into a hill on the Faroe Islands, killing all five men aboard. Oliver was 22 years old when he was killed that day and was buried alongside his fellow crewmen in Midvaag Military Cemetery, Faroe Islands.
Phillip Thomas Davies, Sergeant, 1152952, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Phillip was born in 1923, the son of Sydney Arthur Davies and Gwladys Davies (nee Richards), of Llanybri. He enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner was posted to 166 Squadron, Royal Air Force. The Squadron was based at RAF Kirmington, operating first Whitley’s, then Wellington’s and Lancaster Bombers. On the night of 30 August 1943, Philip took off from Kirmington aboard a Vickers Wellington X, Serial LN397, which joined a large bomber force sent to destroy targets in Monchengladbach. The Wellington was lost during the following morning of the raid, presumed to have gone down with the loss of all five of her crew, on the morning of 31 August 1943. Philip, who was just 20 years old, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey, on Panel 147. There is a memorial to him on his parents grave at Llanybri Churchyard.
Thomas Henry Davies, Sergeant, 991591, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Thomas was born in 1920, the son of David Davies and Mary Ann Davies (nee Richards), of Werncorgam Fach, Llangain, Carmarthen. He enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as a Wireless Operator, was posted to 103 Squadron, Royal Air Force, a heavy bomber squadron which flew the Avro Lancaster III, based at RAF Elsham Wolds. On the night of 18 October 1943, Thomas took off from Elsham Wolds aboard an Avro Lancaster III, Serial JB279, which joined a massive force of 260 Lancasters sent to bomb targets in Hannover. Tye Lancaster collided With Lancaster JB220 of 97 Squadron whilst flying over Erichshagen, and crashed. Thomas had reportedly managed to bail out and landed safely, but was captured and executed by the Germans on 19 October 1943. The 23-year-old has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.
Ivor Lewis Evans, Private, 14541568, Cheshire Regiment. Ivor was born on 22 August 1923, the son of John Evans and Theodosia Evans (nee Cunnick), of Gilfachwen, Llanybri. He enlisted into the army soon after the outbreak of war and was posted to the 6th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, which was created from a doubling up of the Territorial Army at the outbreak of WW2. The 6th Battalion was part of the 56th Division, who were moved from North Africa to take part in the Italian Campaign. On 3 September 1943, the Allies invaded the Italian mainland. Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Appenine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adriatic sector, but with divisions transferred to support the new offensive in France, and the Germans dug in to a number of key defensive positions, the advance stalled as winter set in. Coriano Ridge was the last important ridge in the way of the Allied advance in the Adriatic sector in the autumn of 1944. Its capture was the key to Rimini and eventually to the River Po. German parachute and panzer troops, aided by bad weather, resisted all attacks on their positions between 4 and 12 September 1944. On the night of 12 September the Eighth Army reopened its attack on the Ridge, with the 1st British and 5th Canadian Armoured Divisions. This attack was successful in taking the Ridge, but marked the beginning of a week of the heaviest fighting experienced since Cassino in May, with daily losses for the Eighth Army of some 150 killed. Ivor was Killed in Action at Coriano Ridge on 18 September 1944, aged just 21. He is buried in Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, Italy.
John Myrddin Evans, Lieutenant, 308055, Royal Artillery. John was born on 27 July 1915, the son of George Evans and Elizabeth Evans (nee Morris), of 47, High Street, Abergwili. He married Margaret Edna Evans, a Chemists Assistant, of 15, Farrar Street, Carmarthen in 1943. John enlisted into the Royal Artillery and on 5 February 1944 was commissioned as Second Lieutenant from the Officer Cadets. He was then posted to France from the 45th Reinforcement Holding Unit. Nothing more is currently known of which unit he was posted to, but he was wounded on 23 November 1944, during the drive through Holland towards the Rhine, and was eventually evacuated back home. John died in Carmarthen on 3 October 1945. For some reason the burial site of the 30-year-old is unknown, so he is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey.
Thomas Myrddin Evans, Signalman, 2356901, Royal Corps of Signals. Thomas was born in 1909, the son of Thomas Evans and Elizabeth Evans (nee Williams), of Henfwlch, Talog Road, Newchurch. After leaving Carmarthen Grammar School, he lived in London and worked as a buyer. Thomas married Doreen Nora Grace Gilson at St. Michael’s Church, Haringey on 30 July 1938 and the couple set up home at 15, Chestnut Close, Southgate, London. Thomas enlisted into the army soon after the outbreak of war and was posted to the Royal Signals. Obviously a brave man, he then volunteered and was selected to become a Signalman with the renowned Long Range Desert Group. He was then attached to R-1 Patrol, which was under the command of Captain Alistair Guild. The LRDG was so successful and feared by the Germans that Thomas and his patrol were visited by Field Marshall Montgomery during November 1942. On 27 December 1942, having just had lunch, R-1 Patrol began patrolling west of a road. An armoured car was spotted coming towards them, and the men assumed that it was friendly, but as it came up alongside the commander pulled a gun on them. One truck escaped, but the radio truck was captured, with Thomas, Captain Alexander and Lance Corporal Horton. Nothing further is known of Thomas’s fate, but he was later reported as having been killed whilst a Prisoner of War in Italian hands, on 18 January 1943. The 32-year-old has no known grave and is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Egypt.
Walter Picton Evans, Corporal, 7382463, Royal Army Medical Corps. Walter was born on 28 April 1913, the son of Evan Walter Evans and Elizabeth Evans (nee Rees), of 3, Nott Square, Carmarthen. He was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School and at Llandovery College, prior to becoming a bank clerk in London, and by the time war erupted was residing at Clifton Gardens, Paddington. Walter enlisted into the army soon after and was posted to the Royal Army Medical Corps. He died as a result of an accident at Cirencester on 14 March 1943. The remains of the 29-year-old were brought home, and he was buried in Carmarthen Cemetery.
Russell Fokes, Rifleman, 5338931, Rifle Brigade. Russell was born on 7 January 1918, the son of Stanley Theodore Fokes and Florence Fokes (nee Lewis), of 2, Caeduen View, Trimsaran. He worked as a tin shearer in Slough prior to the war and resided at 24, Norfolk Avenue, Slough. Russell enlisted into the army soon after the outbreak of war and was posted to the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade. The original battalion was sent to France as part of the 30th Infantry Brigade was lost at the defence of Calais. It was then reformed in England before joining the 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division and took part in the North African Campaign before transferring to the 22nd Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division in June 1942. The division played an important part in the defeat of the Afrika Korps, who surrendered in May 1943, and then took part in the invasion of mainland Italy before being recalled to England in January 1944 to prepare for the Normandy Landings. Russell landed on the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944 with his battalion, which proceeded to take part in the fighting to break out from the beach-head. Russell was killed in Normandy during heavy fighting near Falaise on 29 July 1944. The 26-year-old was originally buried in Mondeville, but in September 1945 the scattered war graves in the area were exhumed and re-interred in Ranville War Cemetery, France.
Albert Michael Griffiths, Flight Sergeant, 1382927, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Albert was born on 6 May 1917, the son of William George Griffiths and Clara Eliza Griffiths, of Shorncliffe, College Road, Carmarthen. He served in London as a Police Officer prior to the war, before enlisting into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, where he trained as a pilot. Albert was then posted to 72 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which had reformed at RAF Tangmere on 22 February 1937 from ‘B’ flight of 1 Squadron. In 1939, the squadron replaced its outdated Gloster Gladiators with Supermarine Spitfires and carried out air defence and convoy protection duties following the start of the war, before covering the troops withdrawing to Dunkirk. The squadron then took part in the Battle of Britain, and later moved to North Africa to support the Tunisian campaign. The squadron re-equipped with the faster Spitfire IX in 1942, and provided support to the 8th Army as it took part in the invasion of Italy. The squadron moved to Comiso in Sicily after the invasion of the Island in July 1943. Albert was killed during an operational flight on 16 July 1943, when fragments of a Messerschmidt Bf109 which he had shot struck his Spitfire, causing him to crash near Syracuse. The 26-year-old is buried in Syracuse War Cemetery, Sicily.
John Howard Griffiths, Sergeant, 1337841, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was born in 1922, the son of David Griffiths and Naomi Griffiths (nee Roberts), of 7, Frederick Street, Ferndale. The family was originally from Llanpumsaint and by 1939 had moved back to Brynhyfryd, Bronwydd Arms. John enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as a Navigator, was posted to 166 Squadron, Royal Air Force, a medium bomber squadron, equipped with the Vickers Wellington, based at RAF Kirmington. On the night of 23 May 1943, John took off from Kirmington aboard a Vickers Wellington X, Serial HF486, which joined a large force of bombers despatched to strike targets in Dortmund. The Wellington was brought down and crashed into the North Sea off the Dutch Coast during the morning of 24 May 1943, with the loss of all five men aboard. John was 21 years old when he was killed during the crash. His body was later recovered from the sea and he was buried with his fellow crewmen in Amsterdam New Eastern Cemetery, Netherlands alongside his four fallen crew members. His brother David Elwyn Griffiths was killed in North Africa in 1941.
David Harold Harries, Sergeant, 1377756, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. David was the son of Thomas and Annie Maria Harries of Penllwynau, Abergwili. He left home to work in a Drapery in Bromley prior to the war and lodged at 23, Palace Road, Bromley. David enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner was posted to 487 (RNZAF) Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a New Zealand staffed squadron, equipped with the Lockheed Ventura II, based at RAF Feltwell. He married Joyce Lilian Worley, of Southwark, whilst on leave in Blackpool in the summer of 1941. On the night of 6 December 1942, David took off from Feltwell aboard a Lockheed Ventura II, Serial AE902, as part of Operation Oyster, a raid on the Philips radio and valve factory at Eindhoven. Some 93 bombers left Britain to attack the factory, which was extensively damaged, but there were 17 aircraft lost. Among those was the Ventura which David was a crewman in, which was hit by flak at low level and crashed, killing David and three other crewmen. David was 31 years old, and is buried in Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery, Netherlands.
Peter Ralph Higgs, Trooper, 1421252, Nottinghamshire Yeomanry. Peter was born in Liverpool on 24 April 1924, the son of Pryce James Higgs, and of Lillian Higgs (nee Price). The family moved to 13, Parcyrafon Road, Carmarthen some time before the war. Peter enlisted into the army and was posted to the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry. The regiment had converted from a cavalry unit to artillery, moving to Palestine soon after the outbreak of war. It then took part in the defence of both Tobruk and Benghazi as well as the battle of Crete. In 1941, the Regiment converted to armour initially with M3 Grant and M4 Sherman medium tanks and Crusader cruiser tanks, joining the 8th Armoured Brigade, and took part in most of the major battles in the North Africa campaign. The regiment was then recalled to England to prepare for the Normandy Landings and landed in France on D-Day equipped with Duplex Drive Sherman and Sherman Firefly tanks and saw heavy fighting during the break out from Normandy and the subsequent drive north through Belgium towards Holland. Peter was killed in Belgium on 11 September 1944, just days before the launch of Operation Market Garden. The 20-year-old was originally buried in St. Dymphne’s Churchyard at Geel with two of his fellow crewmen, but in May 1945 their graves were exhumed and the men were buried in Geel War Cemetery, Belgium.
James Hywel Hughes, Sergeant, 1381323, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. James was born on 27 August 1921, the son of William David Hughes and Margaret Hughes (nee Phillips), of Knightsford, near Carmarthen. He worked as a farm worker farm prior to enlisting into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner was posted to 77 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Handley Page Halifax II, based at RAF Elvington. On the night of 9 March 1943, James took off from Elvington aboard a Handley Page Halifax II, Serial JB795, which joined a large bomber group despatched to destroy targets in Munich, including the BMW Aero Engine Factory. During the early hours of 10 March 1943, the Halifax was hit by enemy fire and crashed into Lake Constance, killing all her crew of seven. James was just 21 years old when he died that night. His body was later recovered from the lake together with those of his fellow crewmen and buried in Friedrichshafen Cemetery, but in August 1948 the graves of the seven men were exhumed and re-interred in Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany.
Arthur James, Second Radio Officer, Merchant Navy. Arthur was born on 15 April 1910, the son of William James and Margaret James of Bridgend, Llansteffan. He married Margaret Mary Jones in 1939 and the couple set up home at 68, King Street, Abertridwr. Arthur was already serving in the Merchant Navy when he married, and following the outbreak of war was posted as a Radio Officer aboard the Bristol registered cargo steamer, SS Toronto City. At the outbreak of war Toronto City was requisitioned by the Admiralty and used for meteorological service. On 2 July 1941 Toronto City was at work in the middle of the North Atlantic when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-108 with the loss of all 43 hands. Arthur was 30 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Samuel Leslie Jenkins, Captain, 88225, South Wales Borderers. Samuel was born in 1915, the son of John Jenkins and Ellen Jenkins (nee Bowen), of 4, Mansel Street, Carmarthen. He lived with his wife Jean Rosaleen Jenkins at Llanarthney prior to the war. Samuel had enlisted into the South Wales Borderers, but soon rose to the rank of Captain, before applying for Commando training, and after completing his Command course at Achnacarry was posted to No. 2 Commando. Samuel was wounded during operations on Sicily on 16 August 1943 but returned to duty as soon as he had recovered. On 4 March 1944 Samuel and another officer of 2 Commando were on reconnaissance in preparation for a raid on Solta, when Samuel was wounded and captured. He died of his wounds as a POW on 6 March 1944. The 29-year-old is buried in Belgrade War Cemetery, Serbia & Montenegro. There is a fine memorial processional cross to Samuel inside Llanarthney Church.
Thomas William Saint John, Gunner, 1089358, Royal Artillery. Thomas was born on 18 October 1910, the son of Thomas John and Mary Sarah John (nee Jones), of Avon Bank, St. Clears. He had played rugby for Laugharne, before leaving for London to become a bank clerk and after marrying Dorothy Martha Rawles on 26 February 1938, the couple settled at 27, Cresta Court, Hanger Hill, Ealing, London. Thomas enlisted into the Royal Artillery soon after the outbreak of war and was posted to the Far East, joining the 118th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, which formed part of the Singapore Garrison. The Regiment was in Singapore at the time of the Japanese attack on 8 February 1942, as part of 18th Division. After a week of heavy fighting, the Garrison surrendered to the Japanese on 15 February 1942. The survivors of the Battle for Singapore were interned in the infamous Changi Jail. From here, the men were shipped to various parts of the Far East to be used as labourers by their Japanese captors. Thomas was among 900 British Prisoners of War who boarded the Japanese ‘Hell ship’ Kachidoki Maru on 6 September 1944 at Singapore. Six days into her voyage to Japan, the convoy containing the Kachidoki Maru was spotted by a patrol of three American Submarines in the South China Sea. The Americans opened fire; The USS Sealion sank the Rakuyo Maru with over 1,300 POW’s aboard, while the submarine USS Pampanito fired a spread of torpedoes into the helpless Kachidoki Maru, with 900 POW’s aboard. After realising what they had done, the Americans surfaced and began to pull survivors out of the water, but over 380 British and Australian POW’s were lost in the sinking. Thomas, who was 34 years old, was amongst those who died in the sinking on 12 September 1944. He has no known grave but the sea, so is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, Kranji. Thomas is also commemorated on his parents headstone in Laugharne Churchyard.
Benjamin Bryn Jones, Sergeant, 1183725, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Benjamin was born on 21 June 1920, the son of Henry Jones and Margaret Jones, of 93a, Priory Street, Carmarthen. He worked as a fruiterer for his father prior to enlisting into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as an Air Gunner was posted to 207 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Avro Lancaster I, based at RAF Langar. On the night of 26 April 1943, Benjamin took off from Langar aboard an Avro Lancaster I, Serial W4171, which joined a large bomber group despatched to strike targets in Duisberg. During the early hours of the following morning, 27 April 1943, the Lancaster was intercepted by a German night fighter and shot down at Mol, some six miles Northeast of Geel, killing all seven of her crew. Benjamin was 22 years old when he was killed that night, and was buried together with his fellow crewmen in Schoonselhof Cemetery, Belgium.
Bryn Myrddin Jones, Lance Corporal, 2738087, Welsh Guards. Bryn was born in Pontypridd in 1922, the son of Edward and Hannah Jones. He married Lilian Adeline Lewis, of 37, Water Street, in Carmarthen in 1942. Bryn enlisted into the army and was posted to the 2nd Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion, Welsh Guards. The battalion had been decimated at Boulogne in 1940 and had been rebuilt back in Britain before being converted into an armoured unit. The 1st and 2nd Battalions, Welsh Guards landed in Arromanches between 18-29 June 1944 and took part in the break-out from the Normandy beach-head and the terrible fighting in the Bocage. During the end of August and early September the Welsh Guards took part in the drive through northern France, reaching the World War One battlefields of Arras before heading north into Belgium. On 3 September the Welsh Guards liberated Brussels before advancing through Wavre, Helchteren, Hechtel and Leopoldsburg. Bryn became one of many casualties suffered by the Welsh Guards when he was killed near Leopoldsburg on 12 September 1944. The 22-year-old was originally buried in Hechtel, together with three other Welsh Guardsmen killed that day. In April 1946 the mens graves were exhumed and they were re-interred in Leopoldsburg War Cemetery, Belgium. The sad epitaph placed on his headstone by his wife reads:
We Planned a Lovely Future
Only to end in a Dream
I Think of you Always Dear
And of What Might Have Been
Brynmor Samuel Jones, Sergeant, 1061957, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Brynmor was born on 5 January 1916, the son of George and Eliza Jones, of 43, St. Catherine Street, Carmarthen. He worked as a clerk for the Carmarthenshire Insurance Company prior to enlisting into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and after completing his training as an Air Gunner was posted to 57 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Vickers Wellington II, based at RAF Feltwell. On the night of 15 October 1941, Brynmor took off from Feltwell aboard a Vickers Wellington IC, Serial X9978, which joined a large bomber group despatched to strike targets in Cologne. During the early hours of the following morning, 15 October 1941, the Wellington was intercepted by a German night fighter, and was shot down, crashing with the loss of all six of her crew at Grevenbicht, some five Miles Northwest of Sittard. Brynmor was 25 years old when he was killed that night and was buried alongside his fellow crewmen in Venlo British Cemetery. In August 1947 the cemetery was cleared and the war graves were re-interred in Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Netherlands.
David John Jones, Private, 7672679, Royal Army Pay Corps. David was born on 28 September 1919, the son of David Jones and Selina Jones (nee Morris), of Myrtle House, Nantgaredig. He was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School before gaining a role as a local government clerk. David enlisted into the army at some time after the outbreak of war and was posted to the Royal Army Pay Corps. Very little else is presently known about him, but he was killed in an accident on 26 September 1944. The remains of the 24-year-old were brought home and he was buried in Siloam Congregational Chapelyard, at Cothi Bridge.
David John Jones, DFM, Pilot Officer, 129218, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. David was born in 1920, the son of James Jones and Ellen Gwen Jones (nee Harries), of Bryn Llawddgar, Pontyates. His mother was from Llandyfaelog. After being educated at Carmarthen Grammar School, David enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, training as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner, before being posted to 12 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Vickers Wellington III. On the evening of 28 August 1942, David took off from RAF Binbrook, aboard Vickers Wellington Z8656, which was part of a large formation sent to bomb strategic targets around Cassel, France. He was killed when his Wellington was shot down over Germany that night, 28 August 1942, with the loss of all her crew of five, three of whom were Welshmen. The 22-year-old is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. David was the holder of the Distinguished Flying Medal. He was a cousin to Daniel Evan Jenkins, who was also killed.
Derrick Isaac Jones, Flying Officer, 120809, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Derrick was born in 1920, the son of David John Jones and Margaret Ann Jones (nee Owen), of 7, Water Street, Carmarthen. After leaving Carmarthen Grammar School he enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after training as a Navigator/ Bomber was posted to No. 1 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit, for specialist training prior to joining a front-line squadron. At just after midnight on the morning of 10 November 1942, Derrick took off from RAF Silloth, on the Solway Firth, as Navigator of a Lockheed Hudson, Serial AM680, flown by Flight Sergeant John Frederick Saunders, on a night navigation exercise. About half an hour later the aircraft sent out a radio message, stating: ‘I will call you again later’, but nothing more was heard. The Hudson had crashed at Beda Fell near Ullswater in thick fog on 10 November 1942, bursting into flames on impact, and killing all five men aboard. The local police and the RAF sent out search parties to try and find the aircraft, and it was not until the following day that the wreckage was located. Derrick was 22 years old when he was killed during the crash. His remains were recovered from the wreckage and he was brought home for burial in Carmarthen Cemetery.
Herbert Llewelyn Jones, Sergeant, 570542, Royal Air Force. Herbert was born on 2 January 1921, the son of David John Jones and Esther Elizabeth Jones (nee Walters), of 51, High Street, Abergwili. His mother Elizabeth died in 1923, and Herbert went to live with his grandparents, John and Harriet Jones and at Brynderwen, Llanarthney. After leaving his local school at Llanarthney, Herbert gained a place in Carmarthen Grammar School. He enlisted into the Royal Air Force upon leaving school and after completing his training as a Flight Engineer was posted to 9 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a medium bomber Squadron, originally equipped with the Vickers Wellington. The squadron utilised their Wellington’s on anti-shipping sorties in the early stages of the war, before converting to Avro Lancaster’s in September 1942 and joined RAF Bomber Command, based at RAF Waddington. On the night of 4 April 1943 Herbert took off from Waddington aboard Avro Lancaster, Serial ED696 which was part of a force bound for Kiel. The Lancaster was intercepted by a German night-fighter on the following morning, 5 April 1943, and crashed in flames near Grossenaspe, killing all seven of her crew. Herbert, who was just 22 years old, was buried alongside his fellow crewmen in Neumunster Civil Cemetery, but their graves were later exhumed and they were re-interred in Hamburg Cemetery, Germany in September 1946. His uncle, Herbert James Jones, fell during The Great War.
Ivor Maurice Jones, Lieutenant, Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve. Ivor was born on 13 May 1907, the son of Arthur and Edith Jones, of Brynglas, Union Street, Carmarthen. He had served with the Royal Navy prior to the war, prior to emigrating to New Zealand, and lived with his wife Gwendoleen Maheno Jones, at Eketahuna, New Zealand. Ivor enlisted into the Royal Australian Navy soon after the outbreak of war and on 15 September 1940 was granted an emergency commission as Sub-Lieutenant. He trained at Brushcutter and Cerburus, then had several postings aboard a number of Australian vessels before being promoted to Lieutenant and posted aboard the County-class heavy cruiser HMAS Australia on 21 March 1944, the day that she rejoined Task Force 74, following a refit. The force then left Australia to support the amphibious landings at Aitape, Humboldt Bay, and Tanahmerah Bay, before providing artillery support for the troops ashore, then began carrying out escort duties. HMAS Australia had a very busy summer, with the war in the Pacific at an intense level. At around 06:00 on 21 October 1944, Japanese aircraft attacked Australia and a number of other ships in Leyte Bay. A Japanese Aichi D3A dive-bomber dove for HMAS Shropshire, but was hit by anti-aircraft fire before diving into HMAS Australia, hitting her bridge and showering the ship with debris and burning fuel. Ivor was one of seven officers, including the Captain, and twenty-three sailors killed by the explosion, whilst another nine officers, fifty-two sailors, and an AIF gunner were wounded. Ivor was 37 years old when he was killed that day, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. Ivor is not commemorated on the Llangyndeyrn War Memorial, although his parents later lived in the village and are buried there.
Mervyn Anthony Jones, Flight Sergeant, 748630, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Mervyn was born at Llwynwhilwg Farm, Llanelli on 12 May 1919, the son of Herbert Jones and Anne Elisabeth Jones (nee Anthony). The family later owned Cillefwr Farm, Carmarthen and Mervyn was educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Carmarthen. Mervyn was a well-known jockey prior to the war and had won the Grand National Steeplechase in 1940, riding Bogskar, not long after having enlisted into the Royal Air Force along with his brother William. Both men qualified as Pilots, and Mervyn was posted to No. 1 Photographic Reconnaissance Unit, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Supermarine Spitfire. Mervyn was posted missing after a North Sea sortie on 3 April 1942, when his Spitfire, Serial AA797, was intercepted and shot down into the Fjord between Frosta and Tømmerdalen in Leksvik. Mervyn parachuted, but drowned before a German rescue launch could save him. The 22-year-old has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. His brother William was killed just over two years later. Both brothers medals were sold at Dix Noonan Webb on 6 July 2004. A fellow Spitfire from the same unit, Spitfire, AA810, has recently been discovered and recovered from the same Fjord and is in the process of being restored.
William Hywel Anthony Jones, DFC, Flying Officer, 139316, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William was born at Llwynwhilwg Farm, Llanelli on 25 December 1915, the son of Herbert Jones and Anne Elisabeth Jones (nee Anthony). The family later owned Cillefwr Farm, Carmarthen and William and his brother Mervyn were educated at Carmarthen Grammar School. William was a well known jockey like his brother Mervyn, and rode against him in the 1940 Grand National, falling from his horse ‘National Night’. William had enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve with Mervyn, and qualified as a Pilot, joining 517 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a Coastal Command unit, equipped with the Handley Page Halifax V, based at RAF Brawdy. During the war, William made several daring attacks against German U-Boats. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and was also Mentioned in Despatches for his gallantry during the war. The recommendation for his DFC, published in the London Gazette of 20 August 1943, read; ‘Pilot Officer Jones has maintained a very high standard in his work throughout his operational career. He made four attacks on U-Boats, inflicting damage on three occasions. He has also made a very determined attack on a blockade runner. Recently he was captain of an aircraft which successfully fought off attacks by seven Ju. 88s over a period of 45 minutes. The safe return of the aircraft was largely due to this officer’s fine tactics and superb airmanship.’ His Mention in despatches was listed in the London Gazette of 1 January 1943. William was posted missing during his second tour of operations on 14 November 1944 when his Wellington was forced to ditch off Lundy Island, in the Bristol Channel, when unable to land due to bad weather conditions, after returning from a Meteorological Recce Sortie. The 29-year-old has no known grave and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. His medals were sold along with Mervyn’s in a Dix Noonan Webb Auction on 6 July 2004.
Alan John McLaren Keay, Aircraftman 2nd Class, 305234, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Alan was born on 22 January 1926, the son of Cyril Francis McLaren Keay and Dorothy Margaret Keay (nee McLeod), of Leicester. He was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School prior to enlisting into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was posted to No 16 Elementary Flight Training School at Burnaston, Derbyshire to train as a pilot. On 9 March 1945 Alan was flying a Tiger Moth II, Serial DE473, in poor visibility when it collided with a Handley Page Halifax of 1665 Heavy Conversion Unit near Abbotts Bromley, killing Alan and his instructor and also the entire crew of the Halifax. Alan was 19 years old and is buried in Repton (St. Wystan) Churchyard, Derbyshire.
A. H. Lewis, Private. The memorial shows the name of A. H, Lewis, who was a Private in the Army. He cannot presently be identified.
Desmond Lewis, Sergeant, 1414771, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Desmond was born in 1925, the son of William Titus Lewis and Margaret Lewis (nee Evans), of 55, Abergwili Road, Carmarthen. After leaving Carmarthen Grammar School he enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as an Air Bomber, he was posted to 429 (Royal Canadian Air Force) Squadron, Royal Air Force, which flew the Vickers Wellington Mark X based at RAF East Moor. On the night of 26 January 1943, Desmond took off from East Moor aboard a Vickkers Wellington III, Serial BK163, which joined a force of 156 other bombers sent to bomb the U-Boat pens at Lorient, in France. Desmond was killed, together with his entire crew, when their Wellington was lost without trace on the following morning, 27 January 1943. Desmond was just 17 years old when he was killed that night. He has no known grave, so is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. He was in fact one of the youngest men to be killed serving with Bomber Command during the war.
Edward Morland Lewis, Captain, 171535, General List. Edward was born in Carmarthen in 1903, the eighth son of Benjamin Archibald Lewis and Mary Lewis (nee Fuller), of Morfa House, Carmarthen. His father had been the Manager of the Carmarthen Gas Works, but after retiring moved the family moved to Undercliff, Ferryside. After leaving Carmarthen Grammar School, Edward trained at St John’s Wood School of Art and at the Royal Academy, London where he became a favoured student of Sickert, and painted many local scenes, especially of Ferryside. He then joined the staff of Chelsea College of Art, where his colleagues included Henry Moore, Graham Sutherland and John Piper. Edward married Kathleen Margaret Faussett-Osbourne, a fellow artist, of Kensington, London, in the Spring of 1940. He gained a commission into the army soon after the outbreak of war, being placed on the General List, and was posted to North Africa, where he served as a Camouflage Officer. Edward died of malaria in hospital in Tunisia on 4 August 1943. The 40-year-old was buried in Medjez-El-Bab War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Harold Melville Maynard, Radio Officer (Junior), Merchant Navy. Harold was born in 1924, the son of Charles Maynard and Hilda Grace Maynard (nee Swain), of 4, Heol Spurrell, Carmarthen. He enlisted into the Merchant Navy and became a Radio Officer before being posted aboard the London registered cargo ship MV Silverpalm. The ship left Calcutta on 17 April 1941 carrying some 9,000 tons of general cargo, bound firstly for Capetown, then Freetown, which it left on 31 May, bound for Glasgow. At sometime after 9 June 1941 Silverpalm went missing in the North Atlantic, after having probably been sunk by a German U-Boat, possibly U-371, which reported sinking a merchant vessel on 12 June 1941. Nothing is properly known of her fate, as all crew were lost. Harold was 17 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Daniel George Morgan, Cook, Merchant Navy. Daniel was born in 1920, the son of John Daniel Morgan and Gwenllian Morgan (nee Thomas), of Penhill, Llangunnor. His mother died in 1922 and his father remarried to Hannah Smith, of Llandefeilog in 1925. Daniel left home as a young man to enlist into the Merchant Navy and was posted aboard the Middlesborough registered tanker, SS Empire Amethyst. On 13 April 1942, Empire Amethyst was on route from New Orleans for Freetown, and was about 40 miles south of Haiti, carrying a cargo of 12,000 tons of clean oil, when she was torpedoed by the German Submarine U-154 and sunk with the loss of all her crew of 47. Daniel was 22 years old when he died that day. He has no known grave but the sea, so is commemorated among his fellow crewmen on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Gilbert Humphreys Rogers, Sergeant, 1382746, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Gilbert was born on 3 May 1915, the son of Herbert Rogers and Margaret Rogers (nee Humphreys), of 3, Plasbach, Reservoir Road, Carmarthen. He was a Postman at Carmarthen prior to enlisting into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing is training as an Air Gunner was posted to 75 (New Zealand) Squadron, Royal Air Force. The squadron was a heavy bomber unit, crewed mainly by New Zealanders, and was equipped with the Short Stirling, based at RAF Newmarket Heath. Gilbert was killed when his Stirling, Serial EF340, Identifier AA-Q, was lost mine whilst on mine laying duties in the Nectarine region off the Friesian Islands on 5 May 1943. The 27-year-old has no known grave, so is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. An elder brother, Thomas Humphrey Rogers, was killed in France in 1918, during the Great War.
Russell Veirian Rosser, DFM, Sergeant (Pilot), 1313694, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Russell was born on 30 May 1921, the son of David Rosser and Margaret Anne Rosser (nee Thomas), of Greenhill, Pontyates. After being educated at Carmarthen Grammar School, he found work as a Carpenter’s Mate, but left his job to enlist into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and after qualifying as a pilot, was posted to 196 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which flew the Vickers Wellington X, based at RAF Leconfield. Russell was then attached to 466 (Royal Australian Air Force) Squadron at Leconfield. On 19 February his aircraft, Wellington HE-531, became the first aircraft in the squadron to shoot down a German night fighter which had damaged their Wellington. On 14 April 1943, Russell took off from Leconfield flying a Vickers Wellington X, Serial HE166 and took part in a raid on Stuttgart. The Wellington safely got back to England, landing at Tangmere on the following morning and Russell and his crew managed to snatch some sleep before taking off from Tangmere on the following day, 15 April 1943, to return to Leconfield. Tragically an engine cut out as the Wellington was starting to climb and the stricken aircraft plunged three miles west of the airfield, killing Russell and his crew of four. The remains of the 21-year-old were recovered from the wreckage, and he was brought home for burial in St. Mary’s Churchyard, Pontyates. He was the holder of the Distinguished Flying Medal.
Bruce Leighton Squires, Trooper, 7945575, Royal Armoured Corps. Bruce was born in 1921. the son of Charles Percy Squires and Edith Maud Squires (nee Howe), of 21, Parcyrafon Road, Carmarthen. Bruce was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School before enlisting into the army and was posted to “C” Squadron, North Irish Horse, which was attached to the Royal Armoured Corps. On 2 February 1943 the North Irish Horse landed in Algiers, as part of Operation Torch, equipped with the Churchill tank. After a trying campaign in Tunisia it re-equipped with the Sherman Tank before moving to take part in the Italian campaign. Bruce was posted as missing believed killed in action on 23 May 1944 during a bloody assault on the Adolf Hitler Line, which saw the North Irish Horse suffer terrible casualties. The body of the 23-year-old was recovered soon afterwards and he was buried on the battlefield. In February 1945 his grave, together with several other scattered burials, was exhumed and re-interred in Cassino War Cemetery, Italy.
Daniel David Thomas, Sergeant, 2031229, Royal Engineers. Daniel was born in 1911, the son of John Rees Thomas and Elizabeth Thomas. He married Elizabeth Doreen Gilligan in Carmarthen in 1937 and the couple set up home at 97, Lammas Street, Carmarthen. Daniel enlisted into the Royal Engineers soon after the outbreak of war and in January 1941 was posted to the Mediterranean with 580 Army Troops Company, Royal Engineers, disembarking at Port Tewfik on the Suez Canal 4 March. In March 1941, troops were sent to Greece to assist the Greek Army against a probable German invasion. The bulk of the front-line forces were Australian, New Zealand and Polish troops, but they were supported by British armour and a number of RE works and transportation units including the newly arrived 580th Army Troops Company, which had been tasked with repairing and improving the rudimentary road and rail network of the Greek mainland, as well as preparing demolitions to delay the enemy advance. The German attack came on 5 April, before the Commonwealth troops were fully in position, and the Allied forces were soon in retreat. On 19 April troops began to be evacuated from the port of Piraeus, whilst delaying actions were fought in the passes leading to the town. A large steam yacht, the Hellas, came into the harbour on 24 April and took aboard a large number of civilians and soldiers, including the men of 580 Army Troops Company. Tragically as the ship was about to sail out of Piraeus it was attacked by German Junkers 87 Stuka Dive-Bombers and sank with the loss of almost 500 lives. Daniel was posted as missing, presumed killed in action on 25 April 1941, becoming the second Carmarthenshire man of the unit to lose his life in Greece. The 29-year-old has no known grave, so is commemorated on Face 4 of the Athens Memorial, Greece.
Daniel David Clifford Thomas, Fusilier, 4204908, Royal Welch Fusiliers. Daniel was born in 1920, the son of Jonny Thomas and Rachel Thomas (nee Bowen), of Waunllanau-Uchaf, Newchurch. He enlisted into the army and was posted to the 6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers, which was attached to the 158th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Division was mobilised at the outbreak of war, moving to Northern Ireland to begin garrison duties. The Division then moved again to Pembroke Dock, before moving again to the south of England, where it trained in readiness for the D-Day Landings. During the last week of June 1944 the various units of the Division left England for Normandy, and landed at La Riviere near Ver Sur Mer, taking part in heavy fighting over the coming weeks, as part of the effort to break-out of the Normandy beach-head, seeing heavy fighting at Évrecy as part of Operation Greenline. The 158th Infantry Brigade came under temporary command of the 15th (Scottish) Division for the operation and on the night of 16/17 July went into action, ordered to take Évrecy. As the men descended the hill into the valley of the River Guighe the enemy released a quantity of smoke which rolled across the battlefield, slowing up the pace of advance, but by 02.00 the advance parties of the Brigade had crossed the Guighe and were advancing up the slope towards the Ferme de Mondeville, but came under heavy fire and suffered heavily before being ordered to withdraw. Daniel was killed in action during the attack that day, on 17 July 1944. The 24-year-old was originally buried in an isolated grave in Baron, but in November 1945 his grave was exhumed and he was re-interred in Hottot-Les-Baggues War Cemetery, France.
David John Dudley Thomas, Sergeant, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. David was born on 13 April 1922, the son of Mansel Thomas and Elizabeth Thomas (nee Phillips), of Porthyrhyd, Tanerdy, Carmarthen. He worked as a painter with his father prior to enlisting into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner, was posted to 226 Squadron, Royal Air Force, a medium bomber squadron which flew the Douglas Boston IIIA, based at Swanton Morley. On 25 January 1943 David took off from Swanton Morley aboard a Douglas Boston III, Serial W8354, which joined a number of other aircraft despatched to strike targets in Flushing Docks, in Vlissingen. David and his three fellow crewmen were killed when their Boston was hit by Naval flak and crashed near Vlissingen Airfield. The 20-year-old was buried besides his fellow crewmen in Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery, Netherlands.
David Lynam Thomas, Trooper, 7945206, Royal Armoured Corps. David was born in Jubbulpore, Bengal in 1922, the son of Gwilym Thomas and Blodwen Thomas (nee Phillips). Upon leaving the army his father returned to Wales with the family and settled in Carmarthen, where David was educated. He enlisted into the army and was posted to India to join the 26th Hussars, Royal Armoured Corps. The regiment was raised at Meerut in June 1941 from a cadre of personnel taken from the 14th/20th King’s Hussars, and was assigned to 2nd Indian Armoured Brigade, equipped with American Stuart and Grant tanks. David died at Nira Camp, near Poona, on 3 June 1942, aged 20. He is buried in Kirkee War Cemetery, India. His father died in Carmarthen in 1936 and his mother moved to Llanishen, Cardiff.
Horace Samuel Thomas, Lance Corporal, 80466, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force. Horace was born on 15 June 1916, the son of John Thomas and Mary Thomas, of Brynawellon, Millbank Crescent, Carmarthen. He was living in Malacca when war broke out and volunteered to serve with the 4th (Malacca Volunteer Corps) Battalion, Straits Settlement Force, which was a volunteer force, stationed in Malacca. Horace was taken POW by the Japanese after the invasion of Singapore in December 1941. He was held at Changi Jail until 4 September 1944, when he sailed from Singapore in the Hell Ship Rakuyo Maru, which was crammed with POW’s bound for Japan, to be used for slave labour. On 12 September 1944 the ship was torpedoed and sunk by the American Submarine USS Sealion, with the loss of 1,159 POW’s. Horace was 27 years old when he lost his life that day and is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, Singapore.
Percy Thomas, Sergeant, 967631, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Percy was born in 1921, the son of Rees Thomas and Lizzie Thomas (formerly Evans), of Gwarcwm, Llanpumsaint. He enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner was posted to 61 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was based at Wick, and equipped with the Handley Page Hampden. On the night of 1 March 1941, Percy was one of the crew members aboard a Handley Page Hampden, Serial X3147, which took off from RAF Hemswell, Lincolnshire as part of a force of over 130 aircraft bound for Cologne. The raid was a success, but when the aircraft returned to England, the ground was found to be covered in a thick fog. Percy’s Hampden ran out of fuel while desperately searching for a place to land, and crashed at Syderstone, Norfolk early in the morning of 2 March 1941. The doomed Hampden burst into flames, killing all of the crew. Percy was 21 years old when he died in the crash. His remains were recovered from the wreckage and he was brought home for burial in Bethel Calvinistic Methodist Chapelyard, Llanpumsaint.
Stephen George Thomas, Flight Sergeant, 1314103, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Stephen was born on 27 September 1922, the son of Stephen Lewis Thomas and Helen Josephine Thomas (nee Murphy), of 1, Friars Row, Carmarthen. He enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after completing his training was posted to 14 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Martin B-26 Marauder, medium bomber. After the Allied invasion of Italy, 14 Squadron moved to Ghisonaccia, on the island of Corsica to carry out strategic bombing missions over mainland Italy. On 15 December 1943 Stephen took off from Ghisonaccia aboard a Martin Marauder I, Serial FK127, on a low flying navigational exercise. The aircraft went missing, believed to have crashed into the sea off the Algerian coast, with the loss of all six of her crew. Stephen was 21 years old, and is commemorated on the Malta Memorial, Malta.
William Geoffrey Thomas, Third Radio Officer, Merchant Navy. William was born in 1922, the son of Mrs. Muriel Thomas, of 2, Guildhall Square, Carmarthen. Upon leaving Carmarthen Grammar School he enlisted into the Merchant Navy and after training to become a Radio Officer was posted aboard the Swansea registered cargo steamer SS Tunisia. On 4 August 1941 Tunisia was about 350 miles off Ireland, carrying a cargo of manganese ore, when she was bombed by German FW200 aircraft and sank about 350 miles West of Achill Head, Co. Mayo, going down with the lives of 36 men. William was 19 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
William Glanville Thomas, Lieutenant, EC/9637, Indian Army. William was born at 41 Water Street, Kidwelly on 14 April 1922, the son of Benjamin Thomas and Sarah Thomas. The family then moved back to his mothers home town of Carmarthen, and moved into 36, Spilman Street, Carmarthen. After leaving Carmarthen Grammar School, William enlisted into the army and was commissioned as an officer into the Indian Army on 12 December 1942, before being posted to the 7th Battalion of the 9th Jat Regiment. The regiment saw much action during the war, taking part in the campaigns in North Africa, Ethiopia, Burma, Malaya, Singapore, and Java-Sumatra. William died in India on 12 September 1944. He was 22 years old and is buried in Delhi War Cemetery, India.
Harold Arthur Trumper, Ordinary Seaman, C/JX 259999, Royal Navy. Harold wwas born in Hereford on 17 April 1914, the son of Thomas Trumper and Ada Trumper (nee Williams). By 1925 the family had moved to 42, Parcmaen Street, Carmarthen, where Thomas worked as a coal salesman. Harold worked as a clerk prior to enlisting into the Royal Navy and was posted aboard the Flower Class Corvette HMS Zinnia. She was built at Smiths Dock Company, South Bank-on-Tees, launched on 28 November 1940 and commissioned on 30 March 1941, her sole purpose being to carry out convoy escort duties, and served in the North Atlantic. On 23 August 1941 Zinnia was escorting Convoy OG-71 and was west of Portugal when she was hit by a torpedo from the German submarine U-564, exploded and sank with the loss of some 65 lives. Harold was 27 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
Lawrence Walters, Warrant Officer, 1316296, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Lawrence was born in 1922, the son of Rachel Eunice Walters, the daughter of William John Walters, of Ffordd, Llangain. His mother married Percy Allney Jones, of Carmarthen, in 1926 and later emigrated with him to Australia. Lawrence enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and after gaining his pilots wings was posted to the Far East to join 681 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which had been formed at Dum Dum in India in 1943, flying on coastal defensive work. The Squadron was initially equipped with the Spitfire IV, but was re-equipped with the Mosquito IX in August that year. In October it received a batch of brand new Supermarine Spitfire XI’s, and moved to Alipore in May 1944. The Squadron flew missions over the Far East throughout its time at war. Lawrence was tragically drowned during a swimming incident on 22 February 1945. The 23-year-old has no known grave, so is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, Kranji.
Michael Anthony Jones, Private, 24398540, Army Catering Corps (Attached Welsh Guards). Michael was born at Carmarthen on 17 September 1959, and served with the Army Catering Corps, attached to the Welsh Guards. He was aboard the troopship RFA Sir Galahad when she was attacked by A4-C Skyhawks of the Argentinian Air Force on 8 June 1982, and was hit by three bombs. The resulting explosions and fire killed 48 men, mostly of the Welsh Guards, but also men of other units, including Michael. He is commemorated on the Armed Forces Memorial at Alrewas, Staffordshire.