Fixed to the front wall of the Guildhall in Carmarthen are two marble plaques, which commemorate the men of the County who died while serving with the Royal Engineers during both World Wars. This commemoration began during the First World War, as the Royal Engineers had their own Welsh Field Company, which served with the 53rd (Welsh) Division at Gallipoli and in Palestine, which contained the local Territorial Company of the Royal Engineers. This custom continued during the Second World War, when all of the known men of the County who died serving with the Royal Engineers were commemorated on a new plaque: the Carmarthen Royal Engineers of World War Two Memorial.
Carmarthen Royal Engineers of World War Two Memorial
Francis Ashby, Sapper, 14248183, Royal Engineers. Francis was the son of William and Margaret Ashby, and the husband of Beatrice Mary Sophia Ashby, of Llandebie. He served in 857 Quarrying Company, Royal Engineers, and died at home on 4 December 1942, aged 25. Francis is buried at Llandebie (St. Tybie) Churchyard. Many thanks to Dave Hanson for the photograph.
Jesse Clifton, Sapper, 14381971, Royal Engineers. Jesse was the son of David and Ethel Clifton, and the husband of Irene Alice Clifton, of Rhosmain. He served with the 59th Field Company, Royal Engineers, and had fought in North Africa, before the invasions of Sicily and then Italy. On the 19th October, 1944 Allied forces reached the town of Cesena in Italy, and found that the Germans had withdrawn to a line behind the Savio River. Jesse was killed in Action here just two days later, on the 21st October, 1944, and is buried in Cesena War Cemetery. Jesse is not commemorated on the County Memorial.
Ronald William Coole, Sapper, 3915905, Royal Engineers. Ronald was the son of William and Doris Coole, of Llandeilo, and served with 144 Field Park Company, Royal Engineers. In 1942 the Company were operating in North Africa, from Medjez-el-Bab, during the Tunis Offensive, and then moved to Italy with the 6th Division. Their role was to pave the way for the Divisions advance through Italy, and in one such operation they built a Bailey bridge under enemy fire, which enabled the advance of the British into the Po Valley. Ronald was killed in Italy on 30 December 1944, aged just 21, and is buried at Faenza War Cemetery.
Charles Llewellyn Davies, Sapper, 14527401, Royal Engineers. Not much is known of him, but he died at home on 5 September, 1947 and is buried at St. Issells Cemetery, Pembrokeshire. Charles is commemorated in the Memorial Hall at Whitland, but is not named on the County Memorial.
Glydon Charles Davies, Sapper, 14342926, Royal Engineers. Glydon was the son of William and Mary Davies, of Burry Port, and the husband of Dorothy Eileen Davies, of Burry Port. He served with the 17th Field Company, Royal Engineers, which was a regular army formation, which had served in France during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940, attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. After the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, 17th Field Company took part in the drive through France, into Belgium and Holland. Glydon was killed in Holland around the time of the clearing of the Scheldt Canal, on 11 November 1944. He was 33 years old, and is buried at Mierlo War Cemetery, Netherlands, which lies 12 km east of Eindhoven.
Clifford Lewis Evans, Sapper, 2144528, Royal Engineers. Clifford was the son of Henry and Elizabeth Evans, of Conwyl Elfed, Carmarthenshire. He served with the 125th Quarrying Company, Royal Engineers. Little else is known, but Clifford was killed in Normandy on 29 August 1944. He was 24 years old, and is buried at Bayeux War Cemetery, France.
Henry Gwyn Evans, Sapper, 2045238, Royal Engineers. Henry was the son of William and Sarah Evans, of Carmarthenshire, and the husband of Irene Evans, of Llantwit Major, Glamorgan. He served with 580 Army Troops Company, Royal Engineers. Henry’s unit was in Greece in 1941 when the Germans invaded. They retreated through the Servian Pass, demolishing bridges and crossings as the Allied Forces in Greece withdrew in front of the advancing German troops. Henry was killed at sometime between 20 and 23 April 1941, during the evacuation of Greece. He was 28 years old, and is commemorated on Face 4 of the Athens Memorial, Greece.
Leslie Charles Fortey, Sapper, 2004187, Royal Engineers. Leslie was the son of Thomas and Emma Fortey, of Tumble. Very little is known of him, except that he served with the Royal Engineers, and died on 16 December 1945. Leslie is buried at Llanarthney (St. David) Churchyard. He was 28 years old. Many thanks to Bev Lewis, of Swansea, for the photograph. Leslie is not commemorated on the County RE Memorial.
Cyril Elvet Griffiths, Sapper, 2000886, Royal Engineers. Cyril was born in 1919, the son of David Howell Griffiths and Sophia Griffiths (nee Davies), of Tegfan, Newchurch. He enlisted into the army soon after the outbreak of war and after being posted to the Royal Engineers embarked for Palestine with the 3rd (Cheshire) Field Squadron, Royal Engineers, which was attached to the 10th Armoured Division, under the command of General Bernard Montgomery. Cyril was killed in action in North Africa on 7 January 1942, not long after the division had moved to North Africa from Palestine. The 22-year-old has no known grave and is commemorated on the Alamein Memorial, Libya.
William Leslie Jenkins, Sapper, 1949486, Royal Engineers. William was the son of William and Elizabeth Jenkins, and the husband of Sarah Gwyneth Jenkins, of Cwmgwili, Carmarthenshire. He served with the 14th Field Company, Royal Engineers, which formed part of the famed 8th Army. William fought in North Africa and Italy, before the 8th Army was pulled back to Britain, ready to take part in the invasion of Europe. William was killed in action in Normandy on 21 August 1944. He was 26 years old, and is buried at St. Charles De Percy War Cemetery, France.
Gwilym Arthur Jones, Sapper, 1873012, Royal Engineers. Gwilym resided at Glaspant, Llandyssul, and was the son of Ben and Mary Anne Jones, of Tregroes, Cardiganshire. He served prior to the war with the Royal Engineers, with the 59th Field Company, and moved to France with the BEF in 1939. Gwilym was killed during the retreat through Belgium to the evacuation beaches at Dunkirk, on the 31st May, 1940. He was 22 years old, and is buried at De Panne Communal Cemetery, Belgium. He is not commemorated on the County RE Memorial.
John Rhagfyr Jones, Lieutenant, 230116, Royal Engineers. John was the son of Dafydd and Anna Jones, of Oaklands, Pwll, near Llanelli, and was the Husband of Anne Lang Jones, of Saxilby, Lincolnshire. Little is known of John, but he died at sea, aged 35, on 30 September 1942, and is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey. He is also commemorated on his parents’ gravestone at Pwll.
Thomas Ivor Jones, Sapper, 1925471, Royal Engineers. Thomas was the son of David and Rosamond Jones, and the husband of Iris Jones, of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. He served with 994 Docks Operating Company, Royal Engineers. Thomas was serving in the Mediterranean, and was with his company when they boarded the SS Yoma at Sfax in June 1943. SS Yoma was a Passenger/Cargo liner of 8,131 tons , owned by the British and Burmese Steam Navigation Company, and served in the Mediterranean as an auxiliary transport. She was in convoy with the ships SS Amarapoora, Pegu, Kemmendine and Sagaing en route from Sfax to Alexandria when she was sunk by the U-81 near Derna. On board were 1,670 troops of which 451 were lost. One of the dead was Thomas. He was 36 years old, and is commemorated on Panel 6 of the Brookwood Memorial, England.
Jack Lewis, Serjeant, 1874707, Royal Engineers. Jack was the son of Henry and Mary E. Lewis, of Carmarthenshire, and the husband of Gladys M. Lewis, of Shirley, Croydon, Surrey. He served with 83 Field Company, Royal Engineers. Jack served in North Africa and in the Western Desert, and was killed in Tunisia on 23 April 1943, aged 31. He is buried at Massicault War Cemetery, Tunisia.
Hermas Llewellyn, M.M., Lance Corporal, 2136378, Royal Engineers. Hermas was the son of John and Martha Llewellyn, of Garnant, Carmarthenshire. He served with the 275th Field Company, Royal Engineers, which was attached to the 51st Highland Division. The Division was in North Africa by June 1942, after having suffered terrible losses during the withdrawal to Dunkirk in 1940. Hermas was killed in North Africa on 15 February 1943. He was 29 years old, and is buried at Tripoli War Cemetery, Libya. Hermas had been awarded the Military Medal during the Battle of El Alamein, the award of which was published in the London Gazette of 11 March 1943.
Rowly Gwyn Morgan Matthews, Major, 65548, Royal Engineers. Rowly was the son of Mr. and Mrs. F. Morgan Matthews, of Warborough, Llanelli. Little is known of his service, but he died, aged 32, on 22 June 1944, and is buried at Swansea (Oystermouth) Cemetery. Many thanks to Bev Lewis, of Swansea, for the photograph. Rowly is not commemorated on the County RE Memorial.
Urias Nicholas, Corporal, 1875385, Royal Engineers. Urias was the son of Thomas and Letitia Nicholas, of Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, and the husband of Elizabeth Nicholas, of Merthyr Tydfil. Little is known of him, but he died in East Africa on 26 April 1945, aged 27, and is buried at Nairobi War Cemetery.
Christopher William Norman, Lance Corporal, 2047691, Royal Engineers. Christopher was the son of Charles and May Norman, of Carmarthenshire, and the husband of Blanche Norman, of Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire. He was killed during the fighting in Normandy on 17 August 1944, aged 23, and is buried at Tilly-Sur-Seulles War Cemetery, France.
William Thomas Fred Nuttycombe, Corporal, 2132532, Royal Engineers. William was the son of Daniel John Fred and Emily Esther Nuttycombe, of Carmarthenshire, and the husband of Ivy Nuttycombe, of South Ockenden, Essex. He served with 757 Field Company, Royal Engineers, which was attached to the 49th West Riding Division, and were experts in the building of Bailey Bridges. William was killed during the advance into Belgium on 26 September 1944. He was 31 years old, and is buried at Lier Belgian Military Cemetery, Belgium.
James Edward O’Brien, Sapper, 4208432, Royal Engineers. James, or Jimmy as he was known, served in the 1024 Docks Operating Company, Royal Engineers. The men of the Company consisted of the various trades required to operate a dockyard, crane drivers, forklift drivers, engine drivers and so on. Jimmy was possibly an engine driver with the GWR, which led to his being called up into the Royal Engineers, and he served with them in North Africa, but sadly died in Tunisia on 4 August 1943. He is remembered on the Medjez-el-Bab Memorial, 60 km west of Tunis. Jimmy is commemorated in the Memorial Hall, at Whitland, and is also on the Pendine Roll of Honour and the Red Roses Memorial.
William Ronald Perkins, Sapper, 14374282, Royal Engineers. William was the son of John Alister and Sarah Perkins, and the husband of Hannah Mary Perkins, of Llangadock. He served in the Royal Engineers, in the 703rd Artisan Works Company. The Company was formed from men with experience of road building, and were used for the building of airfields and roads for the British Forces. William died whilst serving, on 8 November 1945 aged 36, and is buried at Llangadog Church Cemetery.
Herbert Charles Phillips, Sapper, 1881743, Royal Engineers. Herbert was the son of Charles Henry and Martha Anne Phillips, of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. He served with 2 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers. Herbert was killed during the Battle of El Alamein on 3 December 1942. He was 28 years old, and is buried at Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.
Edgar Ronald Roberts, Corporal, 2123348, Royal Engineers. Edgar was born in Llanelli in 1917, the son of Trevor Edgar Roberts and Margaret Roberts (nee Howells). The family moved to The Manse, Brecon prior to the war. Edgar had enlisted into the Royal Engineers and was posted to 79 Assault Squadron, Royal Engineers, an armoured unit, which was equipped with a variety of modified tanks, or ‘Hobart’s Funnies’. He married Catherine Dorothy Davies whilst home on leave at Brecon in 1943. Edgar’s unit was attached to the 1st Assault Brigade, RE, which was attached to the 79th Armoured Division and had formed in March 1943. The squadron had been based in various locations including Fort George near Inverness, where it trained in the use of these modified tanks before landing on Sword Beach on D-Day. Edgar was killed during the D-Day landings, on 6 June 1944. The 26-year-old has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel 11 of the Bayeux Memorial, France.
Thomas John Foster Roberts, Lieutenant, 203580, Royal Engineers. Thomas was the son of Christopher Emlyn Roberts and Mary Roberts, of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. He was educated at Llandovery College before the war, before enlisting, and served with the 20th Field Company, Royal Engineers. Thomas was killed during the Battle of Normandy on 27 June 1944. He was 23 years old, and is buried at St. Manvieu War Cemetery, Cheux, France.
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.
Evan John Thomas, Sapper, 13113958, Royal Engineers. Evan was the son of William and Anna Kate Thomas, and the husband of Annie Jane Thomas, of Pumpsaint. Little is known of him, but he died on 27 March 1946, aged 41, and is buried at Llanpumsaint, at Cwrt-Y-Cadno Calvinistic Methodist Chapelyard.
Edmund John Thyrkel Trafford, Second Lieutenant, 189697, Royal Engineers. Edmund’s family lived near Meidrim, Carmarthenshire. He served with 209 Field Company, Royal Engineers, which was attached to the 44th (Home Counties) Division, part of XIII Corps. The Corps was commanded by General Brian Horrocks. Edmund was killed in North Africa, during the Battle of El Alamein on 4 September 1942, and is buried at El Alamein War Cemetery, Libya. Edmund is not commemorated on the County RE Memorial.
Hanvar Walters, Sapper, 1881335, Royal Engineers. Hanvar was born in Carmarthenshire, and was the Husband of Violet Theresa Walters, of Tenby. He served with 930 Port Construction Company, Royal Engineers. Little else is known of him, but he died on 27 August 1941, aged 28, and is buried at Tenby (St. Mary) Church Cemetery.
Leslie Walters, Sapper, 1905896, Royal Engineers. Leslie was the son of William and Elizabeth Walters, of Kidwelly, and the husband of Pat Walters. He served with the 11th Field Company, Royal Engineers, who had formed part of the invasion force that landed at Normandy during June 1944. Leslie was killed during the advance through Holland on 19 September 1944, aged 26, and is buried at Bergen-Op-Zoom War Cemetery, Netherlands.
Wilfred Edwin White, Driver, 2068052, Royal Engineers. Wilfred was the son of Edwin Alfred and Winifred Maude White, of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. He served with the 234th Field Company, Royal Engineers. The Company built landing bays on the Normandy Beaches after D-Day, and it was probably during this work that Wilfred was killed on 7 July 1944. He was 25 years old, and is buried at La Delivrande War Cemetery, Douvres, France. Wilfred is not commemorated on the County RE Memorial.
John Vincent Williams, Lance Corporal, 2199829, Royal Engineers. John was the Husband of Elenor Eunice Williams. He served with 997 Docks Operating Company, Royal Engineers. The Company moved to Italy after the invasion at Anzio, and were put to work repairing and operating the many harbours required by the Allies to land troops and supplies. John was killed during this type of work at Naples on 1 May 1944. He was 42 years old, and is buried at Naples War Cemetery, Italy.
Thomas Alun Williams, Sapper, 1870215, Royal Engineers. Thomas had been born in Carmarthenshire, and was the son of Alun and Mary Williams, later of Aberdulais, Glamorgan. He served with 22 Fortress Company, Royal Engineers, which was part of the Hong Kong Garrison. He was in Hong Kong when the Japanese invaded on 8 December 1941, and was probably taken prisoner during the subsequent surrender of the Garrison there on 25 December 1941. On 27 September 1942, 1816 Prisoners of War were embarked onto the Japanese ‘Hell Ship’, the SS Lisbon Maru. The ship was bound for Japan, where the Prisoners would be used as forced labour. At daylight on 1 October 1942 the ship was hit by a torpedo from the American Submarine USS Grouper. Sat dead in the water, the SS Lisbon Maru was now a sitting duck, but the Americans thought they had sunk her, and had quietly sailed away. The panicking Japanese guards locked the Prisoners in the hold, while they decided what to do. Many of the prisoners escaped, and began to swim to safety to a nearby island, but it seems that Thomas died during the attempt, on the night of 1/2 October 1942. He was 27 years old, and is commemorated on Column 8 of the Sai Wan Memorial at Hong Kong.
Thomas John Irlwyn Williams, Sapper, 2147820 Royal Engineers. Thomas was the son of David James Williams and Margaret Anne Williams, of Llandebie, and served in the 210th Field Company, Royal Engineers. The 210th Company had been with the BEF during the fall of France, and then moved to North Africa, where they took part in the Battle of El Alamein. Thomas was killed during the battle on the 14th November, 1944 aged just 21 and is buried at El Alamein War Cemetery.
Thomas Leslie Williams, Sapper, 14342826, Royal Engineers. Thomas was the son of Thomas and Frances Williams, of Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. He served with the 204th Field Company, Royal Engineers, attached to the 43rd Wessex Division. Thomas saw action during the Battle of Arnhem, where his unit was involved in the push to relieve the beleaguered Paratroops, which had become isolated in the City. He was killed during the advance through Holland, on 14 November 1944. Thomas was 31 years old, and is buried at Brunsuum War Cemetery, Limburg, Netherlands. Many thanks to Ruud Scholten for the photograph of Thomas’ grave.
Ivor Willyeo, Sapper, 2074896, Royal Engineers. Ivor was the son of James Edwin and Lavinia Willyeo, of Skewen. He married Phyllis Gwenllian Calford, of Trimsaran, in 1940. Ivor served with 10 Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers. Little is known of Ivor, but he was killed in Barrow-in-Furness on 10 March 1944, aged 27, and is buried at Skewen (St. John) Churchyard. Phyllis sadly died in 1946, also aged 27. Many thanks to Bev Lewis, of Swansea, for the photograph. Ivor is not commemorated on the County Memorial.