Trimsaran is a village in the Gwendraeth Valley, which lies on the B4308 between Llanelli and Kidwelly, six miles from Llanelli, and 13 miles from Carmarthen. The history of the village is closely linked to that of the coal mining industry, which was at its peak at the outbreak of the Great War. The men of Trimsaran who fell during both World Wars are commemorated on the village War Memorial, which is located inside the former Miners Welfare Hall.

The Great War, 1914-1918

Sidney Cobb, Private, 2219, Leicestershire Yeomanry. Sidney was born at Stevenage, the son of Sidney and Anne Cobb. His father worked as a Gamekeeper, and by 1911 the family was residing at Dunvant, before moving again to Keeper’s Lodge, Trimsaran at some time during the war. Sidney enlisted at Melton Mowbray into the 1/1st Battalion, Leicestershire Yeomanry. He landed in France on 25 May 1915 joining his battalion, which was attached to the 7th Cavalry Brigade, 3rd Cavalry Division. Sidney would have fought in the Battle of Loos, which opened on 25 September 1915. The 3rd Cavalry Division remained in the Loos sector over the winter, and it was there that Sidney was killed on 21 January 1916. He was 30 years old, and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France. Sidney is not named on the Trimsaran Memorial.

Samuel Ivor Dunn, Private, 32486, Devonshire Regiment. Samuel was born at Trimsaran in 1900, the son of Charles and Elizabeth Ann Dunn. By 1901 the family had moved to Sheffield, where Charles took up work as a labourer in a steelworks. Samuel enlisted at Sheffield into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was then posted to France, becoming transferred to the 5th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, which was attached to 185 Brigade, 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division. The Division concentrated on the Western Front by 18 January 1917, and took part in Operations on the Ancre. In March 1917 the Division followed the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and then fought at the Battle of Arras, during the Flanking Operations Round Bullecourt. Later that year saw them in action again at the Battle of Cambrai. On 5 January 1918, the Division took over the front line in the Arras area, between Gavrelle and Oppy, and suffered heavy casualties during the German offensive of 21 March 1918, and was moved to Northern France the following month to rest. When the Germans launched their offensive on the Aisne, the division was among four British divisions sent there to aid the French, and again suffered heavy casualties. The Division then moved back north to the British sector, and took part in the advance to the Hindeburg Line from August 1918 onwards. Samuel was killed in action during the Battle of the Canal Du Nord, on 27 September 1918. He was 18 years old, and is buried in Lowrie Cemetery, Havrincourt, France. Samuel is not named on the Trimsaran Memorial.

Ivor Emmanuel, Lance Corporal, 275, Welsh Guards. Ivor was born in Trimsaran, the son of John and Mary Emmanuel. He married Prudence P. Richards in 1915, and she resided at Brynygraig, Mynyddygarreg. He enlisted at Llanelli into the Grenadier Guards, but after the formation of the Welsh Guards on 26 February 1915, he transferred into the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards. On 18 August 1915 they landed at Havre, and were attached to 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division. This Division has the distinction of being formed in France in August 1915. It remained on the Western Front throughout the war and saw its first major action during the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915, and this is where Ivor was killed in action aged 23, on 27 September 1915. Ivor has no known grave, and so is remembered on the Loos Memorial, France.

Charles Harries, Private, 17003, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Charles was the son of David and Elizabeth Harries, of Rosehill, Waunyclyn, Trimsaran. He enlisted at Ferndale on 2 September 1914 into the South Wales Borderers, but within three weeks had been discharged after having been deemed physically unfit for service, as he had no teeth. Undeterred, Charles then re-enlisted, joining the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and was posted to France on 2 February 1915, joining the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was in Flanders attached to 22 Brigade, 7th Division. Charles saw his first major action in March 1915, at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. During May the Division fought at the Battle of Aubers Ridge, and then at Festubert. Charles was killed in action during the Battle of Festubert, on 21 May 1915. He was 27 years old, and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Richebourg L’Avoue, France.

Griffith Lloyd, Private, 307171, Lancashire Fusiliers. Griffith was born in Cileen, Flint, the son of Pryce and Ellen Lloyd. Griffith and his father were Gamekeepers at Trimsaran, living at the Keeper’s Lodge prior to the war. Griffith enlisted at Kidwelly into the 2/8th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, who were attached to 197 Brigade, 66th (2nd East Lancs.) Division. The Division concentrated on the Western Front by 16 March 1917, and moved to the Flanders Coast. At the end of September 1917 they moved to Ypres, and took part in the Battle of Poelcapelle. They then moved south to the Somme, and on 21 March 1918 were hit by the German Spring Offensive at the Battle of St Quentin, and moving back west fought at the Actions at the Somme Crossings, which is where Griffith was wounded. He died of wounds aged 28, on 28 March 1918, and is buried at Namps-Au-Val British Cemetery, France.

John Elias Morris, Private, 80265, Welsh Regiment. John was the son of David and Mary Morris, of Bryn Golen, Waun-y-clyn, Trimsaran. The family resided at Kidwelly prior to the war, and John enlisted at Carmarthen into the Monmouth Regiment. He was posted to France late in 1918, where he joined the 14th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division had been in France since December 1915, and had fought at Mametz Wood the following year, then at Ypres in 1917. The division then spent several months in the Armentieres sector, before moving back to the Somme in April 1918. On 21 August 1918 the division took part in the great offensive, driving across the River Ancre, and rolling back the German lines over the coming days. John would have joined his battalion here at the end of August 1918. Then the move began towards the mighty Hindenburg Line, and the Division carried on with their march east, fighting at the Battle of Havrincourt, and the Battle of Epehy. A short rest period ensued, during which time the Canal du Nord was breached, so opening a passage through the Hindenburg Line. The Division then fought at the Battle of Beaurevoir, and moved up towards Cambrai, capturing Villers-Outreaux, before advancing towards the Forest of Mormal. John was wounded during the Battle of the Sambre. He died of his wounds on 10 November 1918, aged just 19, and is buried at Caudry British Cemetery, France.

William Leslie Shenton, Acting Sergeant, 18731, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. William was born in Luton, Bedfordshire in 1899. By 1901 he was living with his Uncle and Aunt, William and Mary Smith, at Leek, Staffordshire, and by 1911 the family lived at Brickmakers Cottage, Trimsaran. William enlisted at Kidwelly into the 16th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, who were attached to 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division had landed in France during December 1915 and had spent their first winter in the trenches near Armentieres. In June they marched south to the Somme, where they famously captured Mametz Wood. The Division suffered terrible casualties at Mametz, and were taken out of the line, and moved to Ypres to rebuild. Here they fought at Pilckem Ridge, where William was killed in action on 31 July 1917. He has no known grave, and so is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.

World War Two, 1939-1945

William Bowen, Fusilier. This man cannot presently be identified.

Phillip Clarke, Private. This man cannot presently be identified.

William George Cunnington, Sergeant (Pilot), 740754, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William was the son of Eileen Cunnington. He served as a Sergeant (Pilot) with 607 Squadron, a fighter squadron which operated during the early part of the war from various locations in France, first during the Battle of France and then during the Battle of Britain. By this time the squadron was equipped with Hawker Hurricanes, which had arrived from March 1940. William then transferred to 261 Squadron, which was reformed on 2 August 1940 to combine the two flights operating in the defence of Malta, operating the Hawker Hurricane. William failed to return after a mission on 16 November 1940, and was declared as having been killed on that date. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.

William Dennis Dixon, Sergeant (Air Gunner), 1835971, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. William was the son of William and Annie Dixon, of Carway, Carmarthenshire. He served as an air gunner with 50 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which by 1943 had been equipped with the Avro Lancaster III, and was based at RAF Skellingthorpe. On 3 May 1944 William took off from Skellingthorpe aboard Lancaster LM480 as part of a detachment from 50 Squadron which had been sent to bomb a German military camp at Mailly-le Camp. The Lancaster was one of four lost during the raid, when it was shot down soon after clearing the target area and crashed near the village of St. Mesmin. Two crewmen escaped but William was among seven men killed in the crash. He was 20 years old and was buried alongside his fellow crew-members in St. Mesmin New Communal Cemetery, France. One of the survivors was captured and interred at Buchenwald, while the second survivor came into contact with a Resistance group and was killed when their camp was attacked by a German patrol on 24 June 1944. William is not commemorated on the Trimsaran Memorial but worshipped in Sardis Chapel.

William Samuel Gwyn Edwards, Gunner, 933179, Royal Artillery. William was the son of Thomas and Lily Edwards, of Trimsaran. He served with the 9th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, which fought with the 20th Indian Division. The Division was raised in Bangalore on 1 April 1942, and trained in Ceylon before seeing Active Service in Assam, Burma and Indo China. The Division distinguished itself during the Defence of the Imphal plain, in the spring and summer of 1944. William was killed here on 11 June 1944. He was 26 years old and is buried in Imphal War Cemetery, India. William is not named on the Trimsaran Memorial.

Victor Emanuel, Sergeant, 563099, Royal Air Force. Victor was the son of Thomas and Florence Emily Elizabeth Emanuel, of Myneddygarreg. His father had moved from the village when he was young to serve with the Royal Marines, and saw action during WW1, however, his uncle, Ivor Emanuel, was killed at Loos in 1915. Victor married Eileen Muriel Hages in Wiltshire in 1938, while based locally with the Royal Air Force. By the outbreak of war he was serving with 61 Squadron, RAF, which was a bomber squadron, equipped with the Handley Page Hampden. The squadron took part in the first bombing raid on a German land target when it bombed Hornum on the night of 19 March 1940. On 15 April 1940, Victor was a crew member of Hampden Mk 1, Serial L4113, which departed from its base at RAF Hemswell to lay mines in the Elbe estuary. The aircraft failed to return, and was presumed lost at sea that night. Victor was 27 years old, and is commemorated alongside his fellow crewmen on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Victor does not seem to be commemorated locally.

Keri Evans, Lance Corporal, 23343324, Royal Military Police. Keri was born on 6 August 1934, the son of Alwyn and Katherine M. Evans, of Maesybryn, Trimsaran. Keri served with the Royal Military Police, and was based in Germany when he was killed as the result of a motor accident, when he crashed his Jeep on 20 June 1958. Keri was 23 years old and his body was brought home for burial in Sardis Congregational Chapelyard.

Richard Lewis Evans, Fusilier, 4197438, Royal Welch Fusiliers. Richard was the son of James and Hannah Evans, of Kidwelly. He served with the 1st Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. The battalion took part in the evacuation from Dunkirk in May 1940, before being sent to the Far East, taking part in the campaign in India and Burma. Richard was killed in Burma on 5 May 1944, aged 26. He is buried in Kohima War Cemetery, Burma.

Russell Fokes, Rifleman, 5338931, Rifle Brigade. Russell was the son of Stanley Theodore Fokes and Florence Fokes (née Lewis), of Trimsaran. He served with the 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade, which took part in the North African campaign, and then in the invasion of Italy, before being recalled to Britain in May 1943, to train for the D-Day 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. He was 26 years old, and is buried in Ranville War Cemetery, France.

Leonard Frater, Fusilier, 14200801, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Leonard served with the 6th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The battalion took part in the North African campaign, and in the ensuing invasion of Italy, serving as an armoured unit. Leonard was killed by artillery fire on 29 November 1943, during an assault on a ridge overlooking the Sangro River. He was 20 years old, and is buried in Sangro River War Cemetery, Italy.

Osmond Glyndwr Guest, Rifleman, 4208565, Cameronians. Osmond served with the 1st Battalion, Cameronians. The battalion spent the entire war in the Far East, during the defence of India, and became part of the famous Chindits, who took the fight to the Japanese in Burma. Osmond died in India on 17 June 1943, aged 20, and is buried in Kirkee War Cemetery, India.

Joseph Vincent Hutchings, Captain, 184115, Somerset Light Infantry. Joseph was the son of William and Miriam Hutchings, of Cloverdale, Trimsaran. He served as a Captain with the Somerset Light Infantry. Joseph died on 9 June 1944, aged 32, and is buried in Trimsaran (Sardis) Independent Chapelyard.

Evan Esmond James, Craftsman, 23338702, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Evan was born on 27 July 1936, and served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. On 1 May 1957 he was among around 25 service personnel and ten civilians who boarded a Vickers Viking aircraft at Blackbushe Airport on 1 May 1957, in order to fly to Libya. The aircraft suffered an engine failure on take-off and crashed into a copse whilst attempting to land. Thirty four of the 35 people on board were killed, including Evan, who was just 20 years old. His body was brought home to be buried at Trimsaran. The cause of the crash was, possibly harshly, adjudged to be the failure of the pilot to maintain a safe altitude whilst approaching to land following the failure of an engine.

Oliver Jones, Private, 3963311, Welch Regiment. Oliver was the son of William and Margaret Jones, and the husband of Gladwen Jones, of Burry Port. He served with the 4th Battalion, Welch Regiment, which was the Carmarthenshire Territorial Battalion. Oliver died at sea while training on 2 July 1940. He was 36 years old, and is commemorated on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey.

William John Lloyd, Able Seaman, C/JX 198531, Royal Navy. William was the son of Richard James and Elisabeth Lloyd, and the husband of Iris Gwyneth Lloyd, of Tumble. He served with the Royal Navy aboard H.M.S. Curacoa, a Ceres group C-class light cruiser. On 2 October 1942, Curacoa was north of Iceland, escorting the RMS Queen Mary, which was packed with 10,000 American Troops. Queen Mary was following the standard pattern of zig-zagging, to help prevent against torpedo strikes, when Curacao cut across her bow. Queen Mary struck the destroyer amidships, sending her to the bottom in six minutes, with the loss of over 200 men. William was 25 years old when he died on 2 October 1942, and is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.

Alun Rees, Sergeant, 1316996, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Alun was the son of Thomas John and Lily Rees, of Trimsaran. He served with 9 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was a heavy bomber squadron, based at RAF Waddington, equipped with the Avro Lancaster I. Alun was killed when his Lancaster was lost on a raid on 14 January 1943. He was 19 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey.

Robert Charles Santley, Flight Sergeant, 566738, Royal Air Force. Robert was born in 1917. He served as a pilot with 253 Squadron, Royal Air Force. On 30 October 1939, the Squadron reformed at Manston, and became equipped with Hurricanes in February 1940, becoming operational on 3 April. In May 1940 one flight was sent to France to reinforce the hard-pressed Hurricane squadrons while the second flight flew daily to French airfields during May. After re-equipping in Lincolnshire, 253 Squadron took part in the Battle of Britain, and remained in southern England until January 1941. In February the squadron moved to the Orkneys for air defence duties, returning to England in September for convoy patrols off the East Coast. Robert married Florence Melling, an A.T.S. Officer, at Liverpool in March 1942. He was killed on 27 August 1942, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. His widow remarried in 1948.

Bernard William Susans, Fusilier, 3970325, Royal Welch Fusiliers. Bernard was the son of Bertram and Valentine Ada Beatrice Susans. He served with the 1st Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. The battalion had been decimated at St Venant during the retreat to Dunkirk in May 1940, whilst holding up two German Panzer Divisions. The battalion reformed in Britain, before joining the 2nd Division, and moving to the Far East in 1942, taking part in the defence of India, and then taking the fight to the Japanese in Burma. Bernard was killed during the Battle of Kohima on 28 May 1944. He was 21 years old, and is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, Myanmar.

Rees Owen Thomas, Private, 3971772, Welch Regiment. Rees was the son of William and Margaretta Thomas, of Trimsaran. He served with the 2nd Battalion, Welch Regiment. The battalion fought with the 14th Army during the Burma campaign. Rees was killed in India on 30 April 1941. He was 28 years old, and is buried in Kirkee War Cemetery, India.

Evan Gethin John Williams, Greaser, Merchant Navy. Evan was the son of William and Elizabeth Williams, of Trimsaran. He served with the Merchant Navy aboard the M.V. Tower Grange, a London registered cargo ship. On 18 November 1942, Tower Grange was sailing unescorted on a voyage from Calcutta to Trinidad with 8,332 tons of general cargo, when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-154, about 200 miles East of Cayenne. Six men were lost in the sinking, including Evan, who was just 16 years old. He is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

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. Ivor is not named on the Trimsaran Memorial.