Manordilo is a small village situated on the A40 road between Llandeilo and Llandovery, about four miles north-east of Llandeilo. There is a war memorial inside St. Paul’s Church at Manordilo, which was the first war memorial to be unveiled in Carmarthenshire early in 1919, but also sadly the last to be unveiled by General Sir James Hills-Johnes, VC, who died soon afterwards. A photograph of the memorial has recently been kindly sent in by Reverend Jeff Thomas. The memorial commemorates all of the men of Manordilo who served in the Great War, while those who fell have the word (Fallen) next to their names. The memorial takes the form of a wooden board, onto which are fastened three brass plates, one of which contains the epitaph and the other two which record the names of the men.
TO THE GLORY OF GOD
IN HONOUR OF THOSE FROM THIS PARISH
WHO SERVED THEIR KING AND COUNTRY
IN THE GREAT WAR OF 1914-1918
Billiard, J. Jones, Kim
Boyd, J. T. Jones, Aubrey
Brooks, J. Jones, W. R.
Carter, W. Jones, T. P.
Casson, G. Lane, W. (Fallen)
Cooksley, W. Lewis, Tom (Fallen)
Davies, Arnold (Fallen) Lewis, Willie
Davies, J. Lewis, T. H.
Edwards, W. J. Lloyd, Willie
Edwards, D. J. Lloyd, D. J.
Entwistle, W. Lloyd, Alfred (Fallen)
Evans, Albert Pape, A. J.
Evans, Morgan Parry, E. H.
Evans, Tom Price, D. J.
Evans, Ernest Roberts, H.
Haines, Fred Rodley, F.
Harries, D. Thomas, J. S.
James, Jonnie Waters, W.
James, W. Williams, ED.
Jones, Tom Williams, David
Jones, Frank Willmott, W.
The Great War, 1914-1918
Arnold Edward Davies, Private, 865923, Canadian Infantry. Arnold was born on 26 October 1887, the son of Alex and Minnie Davies, of The Bryn, Manordilo. He had emigrated to Canada prior to the war to work as a farmer. Arnold enlisted at Brandon, Manitoba on 2 January 1917 into the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and was posted to Britain, before joining the 8th Battalion (Winnipeg), Canadian Infantry in France. The battalion was attached to the 2nd Canadian Brigade, 1st Canadian Division and Arnold would have been one of a number of much needed reinforcements the battalion received after taking part in the latter stages of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The battalion remained in the Arras sector over the summer, and on 14 September 1917 moved out of the front line into reserve at Lievin. On 16 September the battalion was employed in carrying gas canisters to the front line, and came under shellfire by the German artillery. Arnold was killed by shellfire that day. He was 29 years old, and is buried at Noeux-Les-Mines Communal Cemetery Extension, France.
George Henry Gifford, Private, 285314, Welsh Regiment. George was the son of Henry Stuckey Gifford and Balbina Gifford, of Red Lion Cottage, Manordilo. He married Amy Matilda Lovell at Cardiff on 2 April 1911, and the couple set up home at 40, Broadway, Roath, Cardiff. George enlisted at Cardiff into the Welsh Regiment, and was posted to France early in 1918, joining the 13th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. Georg probably joined the battalion after it had moved to take up positions overlooking the Ancre Valley, north of Albert during April 1918. He was killed by German shellfire while the battalion was in the line on 13 June 1918. George was 35 years old, and is buried at Varennes Military Cemetery, France. George does not appear to be commemorated locally.
Walter Lane, Sergeant, 11620, Welsh Regiment. Walter was the son of Ellen Lane, of 3, Catterall Cottage, Hanley Swan, Worcs. He had worked at Manordilo prior to the war, and enlisted at Carmarthen into the Welsh Regiment. He served at Gallipoli with the 8th Welsh from 4 August 1915, but must have been wounded, and transferred to the 19th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was in France attached to the 38th (Welsh) Division, as Divisional Pioneers. Walter probably fought with the division during its famous capture of Pilckem Ridge on 31 July 1917, and during the weeks that followed, the division saw more fighting at Langemarck. It was then transferred to a quieter sector near Fleurbaix to rebuild after its efforts at Ypres. Walter was killed in action here on 13 November 1917. He was 23 years old, and is buried at Rue-Du-Bois Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France.
Thomas Stephen Lewis, Lance Corporal, 5727, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Thomas was the son of William and Anne Lewis, of Rhyw Fach, Manordilo. He originally enlisted at Llandeilo into the Welsh Regiment, before being transferred into the 2/7th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, that was attached to 182 Brigade, 61st (2nd South Midland) Division. The division took over the Fleurbaix sector from the 38th (Welsh) Division during June 1916, and training began in what was then a quiet sector of the front. On 1 July 1916 the British launched the Battle of the Somme, and in an attempt to draw German reserves away from the Somme, planned a diversionary attack at Fromelles. Thomas was badly wounded during the build up to the battle, and died on 16 July 1916, aged 27. He is buried at Laventie Military Cemetery, La Gorgue, France.
Alfred Lloyd, Private, 2176, Royal Army Medical Corps. Alfred was the son of David and Ann Lloyd, of Cefn Bryn, Manordilo. He enlisted at Swansea into the 3rd Welsh Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, which was a Territorial unit, attached to the 53rd (Welsh) Division. The division landed at Gallipoli on 8 August 1915, and saw heavy fighting in the first weeks, before the campaign bogged down. It was evacuated to Egypt from Gallipoli after the campaign was closed down, and moved into positions along the Suez Canal, to guard against any possible Turkish offensives. Alfred died in Egypt on 28 April 1916, aged 23, and is buried at Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.
Edgar Percival John Lloyd, Gunner, 43324, Royal Field Artillery. Edgar was the son of John and Mary Lloyd, of 164, King Edward’s Road, Swansea. He enlisted at Swansea into the Royal Artillery, and was posted to France with the 29th Battery, 42nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, which was attached to the 3rd Division. The division had spent much of the early stages of the war at Ypres, before taking part in the Somme offensive in 1916. It moved to Arras in May 1917, and took part in the Battle of Arras. Edgar was mortally wounded at Arras, and died on 6 May 1917, aged 20. He is buried at Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, France. Edgar’s father John was from Llansawel, and moved to Manordilo after the death of his wife. He died there on 9 March 1944, and is buried at Manordilo Churchyard. Edgar does not appear to be commemorated locally.
Oswald Francis Thomas, Private, 22650, Welsh Regiment. Oswald was the son of Thomas Morris Thomas and Margaret Thomas, of Manordilo. He was an auctioneer at Llandeilo prior to the war and enlisted at Swansea into the 11th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which had formed at Cardiff in September 1914. The battalion was known as the Cardiff Pals, and was attached to 67 Brigade, 22nd Division. They crossed to France in September 1915, but a month later were sent to Salonika, and on 27 October left Marseilles. The Division completed concentrating in Salonika in November 1915, and remained in the theatre for the duration of the war, fighting at the Battles of Horseshoe Hill, Machukovo, and the Battles of Doiran. Oswald was Killed in Action on 29 September 1917, aged 29, and is buried at Karasouli Military Cemetery, Salonika. Oswald is commemorated at Llandeilo, and also on his parent’s grave at Manordilo Churchyard, but is not named on the Manordilo Memorial. The CWGC records show that he was the son of Francis Thomas, of Swansea, and the Husband of Adela Thomas, of 476, Upper Richmond Road, Putney, London, but this is incorrect, as I have checked the details on his parents gravestone against birth and census records, and they all match up with what I have written above.
William George Stanley Wilmott, Private, 13569, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. William was born at Kennington, London. He worked as a farm servant at Manordilo prior to the war and enlisted at Ammanford into the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. The battalion moved to France on 18 July 1915, and moved with the division to positions near Loos, where it took part in the opening attack of the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915. The following year the Division moved to the Somme, where it took part in the second wave of the attack on Ovillers-La Boiselle on 1 July, capturing the village at heavy cost. It then fought through the Somme Battles of Pozières and the Ancre in 1916. William was killed in action in the Ancre Valley on 11 November 1916, aged 22. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. William does not appear to be commemorated locally.
John Robson Wilson, Stoker, 66495, Royal Naval Reserve. John was born on 25 August 1876, the son of Richard and Mary Ann Wilson, of Manordilo. The family had moved to Swansea by 1881 and John married Annie Benallack there in 1893. John was a Royal Naval Reservist and was recalled to the colours at the outbreak of war before being posted to HMS Vivid. He became ill and died at Plymouth on 20 March 1915, aged 38, and is buried in Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth. John does not appear to be commemorated locally.
World War Two, 1939-1945
Caradog Morgan Davies, Corporal, 3954983, Corps of Royal Military Police. Caradog was the son of Timothy and Sarah Davies, of Manordilo. He was a Military Policeman, and was based at Singapore when the garrison surrendered to the Japanese in December 1941. Caradog was taken POW, and interred at Changi Jail, where he died on 7 February 1942, aged 34. Caradog is buried at Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore.
John Mansel-Lewis, Flying Officer (Pilot), 42248, Royal Air Force. John was born on 11 October 1920, the Son of Archie and Muriel Mansel-Lewis, of Cliff Cottage, Pembrey. He was educated at Larbrook, Bracknell and at Stowe, and joined the RAF in May 1939. John was posted to 27 Squadron, which flew the Bristol Blenheim IF, based at Kallang in Malaya. When the Japanese invaded Malaya, the Squadron virtually ceased to exist. John was killed there on 4 April 1941, aged just 20, and is buried at Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore. His parents are buried in a family plot at Manordilo Churchyard.
Hubert Gwyn Williams, Sergeant (Pilot), 1394323, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Hubert was the son of Joseph and Sarah Williams, of Manordilo. He trained as a pilot and was posted to 138 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which flew the Handley Page Halifax V, based at RAF Tempsford and flew missions to support SOE agents in occupied Europe. On 19 December 1943 Hubert was flying Halifax BB364, Serial NF-R on a training flight, when he collided with chimney near Henlow, Bedfordshire and crashed while attempting to make a forced landing, killing all the crew. Hubert was 21 years old and was brought home for burial in Taliaris (Holy Trinity) Churchyard.
John Clyde Williams, Aircraftman 1st Class, 1029551, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. John was the son of Robert and Margaret Mary Williams of Manordilo School House. He married Phyllis May Coombes, of Llandeilo in 1929. John served with 9 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with the Avro Lancaster I, based at RAF Waddington. He died at Haverfordwest Hospital on 12 February 1943, aged 39 and was brought home for burial in Manordilo (St. Paul) Churchyard.