Pwll is a small coastal village, located between Llanelli and Burry Port, along the north of the A484, which overlooks Carmarthen bay and the Gower Peninsula. The village is home to several Chapels, and the local Church, Holy Trinity, which is located on Elgin Road. The men of Pwll who fell during both World Wars are commemorated on the slate memorial, which is located in a small memorial garden, outside the Church gates. The original memorial, which was donated to the Parishioners by Lady Catherine Stafford Howard, is located inside the Church.
The Great War, 1914-1918
Alfred Ernest Bullock, Private, 50898, North Staffordshire Regiment. Alfred was the son of Alfred and Annie Bullock of Bath. He had served in the army during the Boer War, then married, and resided with his wife, Lily Louisa Bullock, at Thornsbeach Bungalow, New Road, Pwll, Llanelli. Alfred re-enlisted into the Army Service Corps as a Driver on 18 January 1915, and was posted to the Depot Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment. Alfred was deemed as unfit for service overseas, and remained on home service for the duration, being attached to the 504th Agricultural Company at Carmarthen Grammar School on 26 February 1918. He became ill, and died at Pembroke Military Hospital on 14 March 1918, aged 35, and is buried at Llanelli (Old Road) Church Cemetery.
Benjamin Davies, Private, 13095, Welsh Regiment. Benjamin was born at Porth, the son of David and Esther Davies. The family had moved to 4, Thomas Terrace, Pwll prior to the war. Benjamin resided at Llandefeilog, probably working as a stationary engine driver at Tumble. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the Welsh Regiment, and was posted to France on 11 March 1915, joining the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 3 Brigade, 1st Division. The battalion was in trenches at Neuve Chapelle, near Bethune in Northern France. Benjamin saw his first major action during the Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9 May 1915, where the 2nd Welsh suffered heavy casualties. The battalion then went into reserve, to rebuild, before moving back into the front near Cuinchy on 20 May 1915. The sector was notoriously dangerous, and on 25 May 1915 Benjamin was listed as missing presumed dead after the battalion positions were shelled by the Germans. Benjamin was 21 years old, and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Richebourg L’Avoue, France. His brother Thomas was killed with the 8th Welsh at Gallipoli on 8 August 1915.
David William Davies, Private, 200821, Welsh Regiment. David was the son of Thomas and Theodosia Davies, of Llamanbach, Bankyfelin. He resided at Pwll prior to the war, and enlisted at Llanelli into the 1/4th Battalion, Welsh regiment, which was attached to 159 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Division had landed in Gallipoli in August 1915, and remained there until December that year, when they were evacuated to Egypt. They later fought in Palestine, and it was here, during the First Battle of Gaza, that David was Killed in Action, aged 23, on 26 March 1917. He is remembered on the Jerusalem Memorial, Israel.
Thomas Davies, Private, 12159, Welsh Regiment. Thomas was the son of David and Esther Davies, of 4, Thomas Terrace, Pwll, Llanelli. He enlisted there into the 8th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was the Pioneer battalion to the 13th (Western) Division. On 13 June 1915 the Division sailed for Alexandria, and moved to Mudros before being landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli from 6 July 1915, relieving the 29th Division. Thomas was killed here during the Battle of Sari Bair, on 8 August 1915. He was 19 years old, and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli. His brother Benjamin was killed with the 2nd Welsh on 25 May 1915.
William Evans, Sapper, 156505, Royal Engineers. William was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Evans, of Myrtle Hill, Pwll, Llanelli. He had enlisted into the 10th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 17 September 1914, and had landed in France in September 1915. William suffered several periods of sickness that year, and on 5 May 1916 was transferred to the 250th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers. The Company was in the Messines ridge sector by October 1915, when they began work on the deep mines at Petit Bois, Peckham and Spanbroekmolen, which were exploded with terrible effect during the Battle of Messines Ridge, on 7 June 1917. William was killed in his billet near La Clytte, on 24 August 1917, after it burst into flames during the night. He was 32 years old, and is buried at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium.
William John Griffiths, Gunner, W/5476, Royal Field Artillery. William was the son of Lewis and Elizabeth Anne Griffiths, of Stepney Road, Pwll. He enlisted at Llanelli into the Welsh Divisional Artillery. He was then posted to France with B Battery, 107th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, which was attached to the 24th Division. William was killed during the Battle of Messines on 14 June 1917, aged 29. He is buried at Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Belgium. The memorial shows him as having served with the 15th Welsh, however, the memorial is incorrect, as a newspaper clipping confirms that he was in fact serving with the Royal Artillery. His brother, Trevor Griffiths, also fell, and is commemorated at Burry Port.
Thomas Harries, Private, 91688, Durham Light Infantry. Thomas was the son of John and Mary Ann Harries, of New Road, Pwll. He originally enlisted at Llanelli into the Pembroke Yeomanry under the name of Thomas Harriman, then transferred into the Welsh Regiment, before being reposted to the 1/6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, which was attached to 151 Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division. It moved to France 16 April 1915, and took part in the Second Battle of Ypres from April to June 1915. During the summer of 1916 the Division fought at the battle of the Somme. After spending a winter on the Somme, they moved north to Arras, where they took part in the Arras Offensive of April 1917, before being sent north again to Ypres. Here they fought at the Second Battle of Passchendaele, and remained here for the winter. During March 1918 they were stationed near St. Quentin, and were hit here by the German Spring Offensive of 21 March 1918, during the Battle of St Quentin. They took part in a gallant rearguard action during the Actions at the Somme Crossings, and then at the Battle of Rosieres. After suffering terrible casualties, the Division moved north to Flanders to rest and rebuild, but in April the Germans launched an attack in Flanders, around the Lys, and the Division took part in the Battle of Estaires, and the Battle of Hazebrouck. Following a most trying time on the Somme and Lys battlefields, the Division was withdrawn and sent to IX Corps, then on the Aisne, believed to be a much quieter area. This was unfortunately not the case, as the Division was hit hard by a surprise enemy attack, and fought at the Battle of the Aisne 1918. Thomas was killed here on 28 July 1918, aged 34. He is buried at Glageon Communal Cemetery Extension, France.
Alfred Horne, Private, 201621, Welsh Regiment. Alfred was born at Bristol, and by 1911 had moved to Llanboidy, where he worked as a farm hand. He then moved on to live at Pwll, and married Mary Jane Evans of Pwll in 1914. Alfred enlisted at Llanelli into the army. He was posted to France late in 1916, where he joined the 15th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was known as the Carmarthen Pals battalion, attached to 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The battalion had been in France since December 1915, and had fought at Mametz Wood in July 1916. After two days of heavy hand to hand fighting within the wood, the Germans withdrew, and the battered Welshmen moved via Hebuterne to Boesinghe, on the Yser Canal, where it remained until launching its attack on Pilckem Ridge on 31 July 1917. Alfred was killed during the build up to the main attack, on 27 July 1917. He was 30 years old, and is buried at Dragoon Camp Cemetery, Belgium.
Evan Jenkins, Private, 260465, Gloucestershire Regiment. Evan was the son of Griffith and Mary Jenkins, of Gregynog House, New Road, Pwll, Llanelli. He originally enlisted at Llanelli into the South Wales Borderers, but was later transferred to the 12th (Bristol) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, which was attached to 95 Brigade, 5th Division. Evan probably joined his new battalion at Arras early in 1917, where the Division was rebuilding after the Somme Battles. They next saw action at the Battle of Arras, fighting at the Battle of Vimy in April 1917, and the attack on La Coulette. On 3 May they fought in the Third Battle of the Scarpe, and captured Oppy Wood. On the 7th September, they were pulled out of the line again, and moved north to join the great offensive in Flanders- Third Ypres, or Passchendaele as it is better known. On 26 September they fought at the Battle of Polygon Wood, then at Broodseinde and Poelcappelle in September. Evan was severely wounded during the fighting around Poelcappelle, and was evacuated to the Base Hospital at Wimereux, where he died of his wounds on 2 November 1917, aged 29. Evan is buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery, France.
John Knill, Private, 118303, Machine Gun Corps. John was the son of Thomas John and Bessie Knill, of 9, Sandy Gate Terrace, Llanelli. He married May Ryan, of Erw Fach, Pwll in 1910. John enlisted at Pembrey into the Welsh Regiment. He was posted to the North Lancashire Regiment, before being transferred to the 59th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps, which was attached to the 59th (2nd North Midland) Division. John was killed during the German Spring Offensive, at the Battle of St. Quentin, on 21 March 1918. He is buried at Ontario Cemetery, Sains-Le-Marquion, France.
Gwilym Lewis, Driver, 118041, Royal Field Artillery. Gwilym was the son of Thomas and Rachel Lewis, of Pantycelyn, Pwll, Llanelli. He enlisted at Pembrey into the Royal Field Artillery, and was posted to D Battery, 52nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, which was attached to the 9th (Scottish) Division. During the summer of 1915 the Division moved to France, and saw its first major action during the Battle of Loos. They then took part in the Battle of the Somme, fighting at the opening Battle of Albert, and then at the Battle of Bazentin, where they captured Longueval. They then fought at the Battle of Delville Wood, and the Battle of Le Transloy, and in April, 1917 were at Arras, where they fought at the First Battle of the Scarpe and the Third Battle of the Scarpe. The Division moved to Ypres soon after, where it was to take part in the forthcoming Third Battle of Ypres. Gwilym was killed here on 21 July 1917, during the build up to the initial assault. He was 37 years old, and is buried at Dickebusch New Military Cemetery Extension, Belgium.
Isaac Lewis, Private, 12678, South Wales Borderers. Isaac was the son of David and Sarah Lewis, of Pwll. He was a widowed father of two, and enlisted at Llanelli into the 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which moved to France at the outbreak of war, attached to 3 Brigade, 1st Division. The Division had been one of the first to arrive in France, fighting at the Battle of Mons, and taking part in the retreat to the Marne, where the Germans were stopped. They then fought at the Aisne, and at Chivy, before being moved north to Ypres. Here they fought at the First Battle of Ypres, where they again stopped the German Offensive, before wintering in Flanders. The following year saw them in action again at the Battle of Aubers, before moving South to Loos. On 29 June 1916, the 1st SWB were in reserve at Petit Sains. Isaac was attached to D Company, which was in billets in the village, when a large German shell hit the building, killing Isaac and wounding several others. Isaac was 40 years old, and is buried at Bully-Grenay Communal Cemetery, British Extension, France.
Robert (Bob) Lloyd. This man cannot presently be identified, but he was possibly born in 1892.
Griffith John Owen, Private, 229407, Monmouthshire Regiment. Griffith was the son of John and Jane Owen, of Tanygraig, Tregarth, Bangor. He worked at the Pembrey T.N.T. Factory at the start of the war, and enlisted at Carmarthen on 7 December 1915 into the army. Griffith was posted to France on 21 June 1917, joining the 1st Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment, which was were attached to 84 Brigade, 28th Division. During March 1917 the Division followed the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and then fought in the Battle of Arras, taking part in the Battle of Hill 70. In 1918 the Division was still in the area, when they were hit brought into action to attempt to stop the German Offensive. Griffith was killed in action during the desperate battle on 12 April 1918, aged 25, and is remembered on the Arras Memorial, France.
Ismael Peregrine, Seaman, J77874, Royal Navy. Ismael was born at Pwll on 10 August 1899, the son of Evan and Catherine Peregrine. He served with the Royal Navy, but died of tuberculosis at Bay View, Pwll on 30 December 1918, aged 19. Ismael’s grave has just been traced to Pwll (Bethlehem) Baptist Chapelyard, but I am presently trying to locate the burial registers, so that proof can be forwarded to the CWGC. Ismael has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC on Wednesday 28 November 2012, and his name will be added to the Addenda Panel of the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon, until proof of his burial can be found.
Christopher James Saunders, Private, 29782, South Wales Borderers. Christopher was born at Talgarth, Breconshire, the son of William and Elizabeth Saunders. He resided at Pwll prior to the war, and enlisted at Llanelli into the 4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which was attached to the 40th Brigade, 13th (Western) Division. On 13 June 1915 the Division sailed for the Mediterranean, and during July 1915 landed on Cape Helles, relieving the 29th Division, before moving to ANZAC Cove from 3 August 1915, taking part in the Battles of Sari Bair, Russell’s Top, and Hill 60, ANZAC. Soon afterwards the Division was transferred from ANZAC to Suvla Bay, and it was evacuated from Suvla on 19 December 1915, transferring to Helles. On 8 January 1916, the Division was evacuated from Helles, and by 31 January was concentrated at Port Said, where they held forward posts in the Suez Canal defences. On 12 February 1916 the Division began to move to Mesopotamia, to strengthen the force being assembled for the relief of the besieged garrison at Kut al Amara, but the relief failed, and Kut fell to the Turks. The Division then took part in the advance through Mesopotamia, which was to successfully liberate the country from 100’s of years of Ottoman rule. By 28 May 1918, Divisional HQ had moved to Dawalib, and it remained here until the end of the war. Many working parties were supplied for work on maintaining roads. On 1 July 1918 the Division received orders to detach 39 Brigade for the North Persia Force. Christopher was taken ill and died in Mesopotamia on 3 July 1918. He was 27 years old, and is buried at Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq.
John Thomas, Sergeant, 14956, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. John was the son of John and Margaret Thomas, of Pwll, Llanelli. He enlisted at Llanelli at the outbreak of war into the 11th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 67 Brigade, 22nd Division. After working his way up to Sergeant, due to his fine work with the battalion, John visited his family at Llanelli in August 1915, just before the division was to move to France. He took ill while on leave, and was rushed to hospital, where he died on 3 September 1915, aged 29. John was buried with full military honours at Pwll (Bethlehem) Baptist Chapelyard. For some reason, John is not commemorated on the Memorial.
William Henry Thomas, Private, 13518, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. William was the son of Mrs. Sarah Thomas, of 143, Sandy Road, Llanelli. He enlisted at Llanelli into the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 22 Brigade, 7th Division. The Division landed at Zeebrugge on 6 October 1914, but the City was falling, and the Division moved to Ypres, where they became the first British Division to hold the city. They fought during the First Battle of Ypres, and helped stop the German advance through Belgium, and in March 1915 fought at the Battle of Neuve Chappelle. During May they fought at the Battle of Aubers Ridge, and at Festubert, before taking part in the Battle of Loos in September. In the summer of 1916, the Division was on the Somme, and took part in the Battle of Albert, where they captured Mametz, one of the few successes of 1 July 1916. They then fought at the Battle of Bazentin, and the Attacks on High Wood. It was here on 14 July 1916 that William was killed. He was 27 years old, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
World War Two, 1939-1945
Hugh Emrys Bonnell, Major, 91409, Royal Army Medical Corps. Hugh was the son of John and Mary Bonnell, of Pwll. He was educated at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire and at King’s College Hospital, qualifying M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. in 1931. Hugh was interested in pathology and held appointments in this specialty at King’s College Hospital, Manchester Royal Infirmary, and the Royal East Sussex Hospital, Hastings. Hugh met and married Catherine Swanston at Battle in 1935, before becoming pathologist to the East Ham Memorial Hospital and consulting pathologist to the Runwell Hospital, Wickford in 1937. He was commissioned on 6 June 1939 into the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was posted to Belfast, possibly with the 53rd (Welsh) Division. Hugh was killed in Belfast during a German Air Raid on 5 May 1941. He was 35 years old, and was brought home for burial at Pwll (Bethlehem) Baptist Chapelyard.
Haydn Melville Charles, Leading Aircraftman, 1409597, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Haydn was the son of Thomas and Gwendoline Charles, of Pwll, Llanelly. Haydn was serving with the RAF in the Far East, and was probably captured during the Japanese invasion of Malaya. He died in captivity on 5 May 1945, aged 23, and is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial. Many thanks to Nigel Anstey for the photograph.
Joseph Elved Daniel, Junior Engineer Officer, Merchant Navy. Joseph was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Daniel, and the husband of Ivy Daniel, of Burry Port. He served as an Engineer in the Merchant Navy, aboard the MV Narragansett, a London registered tanker, run by British Petroleum. At 06.09 hours on 25 March 1942, the Narragansett was hit in the stern by one torpedo from U-105 about 400 miles east of Hampton Roads, Virginia and sank with all her crew. Joseph was 26 years old, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Harry Lawrence Davies, Gunner, 1818704, Royal Artillery. Harry was the son of John Jared and Margaret Davies, of Llanelli. He married Charlotte Annie John at Llanelli in 1936. Harry served with the 21st Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. The unit had seen action during the Battle of Britain, before moving to Carlisle. The Regiment sailed aboard the SS Warwick Castle on 7 December 1941, originally heading for Iraq, but were instead sent to Singapore, due to the Japanese invasion of Malaya. Singapore was under attack before they arrived, so the ship was re-directed to Batavia, on the island of Java on 3 February 1942. When Java fell on 23 February 1942 the men of the battery were held at Usapa Besar POW, and was later broken up, and sent to different parts of South East Asia, where the men were used as forced labour. Many of the men subsequently died from disease or accidents in labour camps on the Siam-Burma ‘Death’ Railway, in Japan, Java, Borneo, and Changi Prison. Harry died as a POW on 30 January 1945. He was 45 years old, and is buried at Jakarta War Cemetery, Indonesia. (The memorial shows Harry J. Davies, but this is the only man who matches, although a Harry J Davies was born locally in 1921).
Tudor Ellis Gay, Sergeant, 2021150, Royal Artillery. Tudor was the son of John and Lizzie Jane Gay, of Pwll. He served with the 484th Searchlight Battery, Royal Artillery, which was an anti-aircraft unit. Tudor died at Bridgend on 23 July 1940, aged 35, and was brought home for burial at Pwll (Holy Trinity) Churchyard.
William David Conrad Hughes, Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. William was the son of Lt. David John Hughes and Muriel Annie Hughes (nee Thomas), of Llanelli. William served as a Pilot with 812 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service, and was based at HMS Daedalus at Portsmouth. William died when his aeroplane crashed in North Buckinghamshire on 10 January 1941, also killing Norman Koelges, his fellow crewman. William was 21 years old, and was brought home to be buried at Llanelli (Box) Cemetery. His father David John Hughes had died in 1921 as a result of wounds suffered during the Great War.
Heber Jenkins. This man cannot presently be identified.
Sidney John, Civilian, Air Raid Precaution. Sidney was the Husband of Margaret Annie John, of 2 Monksford Street, Pwll, Kidwelly. He was killed at Llanelly during a German Air Raid on 23 January 1943, aged 47. Sidney is not commemorated locally.
Gwynne Llewellyn Jones, Lance Corporal, 14342698, Corps of Royal Military Police. Gwynne was born at Llandeilo late in 1913. He resided at Pwll prior to the war, before marrying Eileen Davies at Sketty, Swansea in 1938. Gwynne served during the war with the Military Police. He survived the war, but died at Swansea on 23 March 1947. Gwynne was 33 years old, and was buried at Pwll (Libanus) Congregational Chapelyard.
John Rhagfyr Jones, Lieutenant, 230116, Royal Engineers. John was the son of Dafydd and Anna Jones, of Oaklands, Pwll, 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. No ships were lost that day, so it can only be presumed that John died of natural causes. He is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey, and is also commemorated on his parents’ gravestone at Pwll.
Reginald Saunders Lewis, Ordinary Seaman, LT/JX. 214956, Royal Naval Patrol Service. Reginald was born at Talgarth on 15 August 1918, the son of George J. Lewis and Janet Lewis. The family later moved to Pwll. Reginald served in the Royal Naval Patrol Service (RNPS). The RNPS were known as ‘Churchill’s Pirates’, and served aboard requisitioned trawlers and fishing boats of all kinds, carrying out duties ranging from minesweeping to spying. Reginald served on HMS Elan II, which was a Diverse Class Rescue Tug which had been commissioned into Admiralty Service on 3 July 1940. Reginald died at the Royal Naval Hospital, Plymouth on 22 March 1941. He was just 22 years old, and is buried at Pwll (Holy Trinity) Churchyard.
Thomas Kenneth Morgan Williams, Sergeant (Air Gunner), 1709098, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Thomas was the son of Thomas and Mary Williams, of Pwll, Llanelly. He served with 550 Squadron, Royal Air Force as an Air Gunner. The Squadron was equipped with the Avro Lancaster II, and was based at RAF Waltham. On the night of 19 February 1944, Thomas was a crewman aboard Lancaster LM461/ BQ-U, which took off on a raid to Leipzig. On the return journey the following morning, the Lancaster was intercepted by a German night fighter, and was shot down, crashing into some woods near Sichau, Germany. Thomas and two other men were killed in the crash early in the morning of 20 February 1944. The remainder of the crew survived, but were taken POW. Thomas was 20 years old, and is buried in Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Germany.
Alexander Williamson, Private, 3960382, Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Alexander was the son of Peter and Edith Williamson, of Pwll. He married Elsie Hallet in 1937, and the couple later lived at Hyde Park, London. Alexander served with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, but was serving with the Royal Engineers when he died at sea on 17 June 1943, aged 32, probably during the sinking of the Troopship Yoma. Alexander has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey.
William Wallace Williamson, Gunner, 784480, Royal Artillery. William was the son of Peter and Edith Williamson, of Pwll. He married Lilian Marguerite Jones at Llanelli in 1940, and the couple resided at Pwll. William died at Salisbury on 14 December 1944, possibly during a training accident. He was 36 years old, and was brought home for burial at Pwll (Holy Trinity) Churchyard.