Devil’s Bridge is set a beautiful location, in the valley of the River Mynach, a tributary of the Rheidol. The village is famous for its waterfalls, and for its bridge, which actually comprises three separate bridges, each one built upon the previous. According to legend the original bridge was built by the Devil, who agreed to build the bridge in return for the soul of the first life to cross it. The Devil built the bridge but was tricked when a dog crossed the bridge, becoming the first life across. The men of the area who fell during the Great War are commemorated on the War Memorial, which is located between the junction of the A4120 and the B4343.
The Great War, 1914-1918
David Davies, Private, 41455, South Wales Borderers. David was the son of Evan and Mary Davies, of Tancwarel, Devils Bridge. He had spent several years of his childhood in the South Wales valleys, where his father had worked as a miner, before the family returned to Devil’s Bridge. David enlisted into a Young Soldiers Battalion of the Training Reserve. He was posted to France in 1917 and joined the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which was attached to 87 Brigade, 29th Division. David most likely joined the battalion in time to take part in the Passchendaele offensive, and in the Battle of Cambrai later in the year. Over the winter the division moved back to Flanders, and took up positions near Passchendaele Ridge for the winter. On 9 April 1918 the Germans launched their Lys offensive, and the 29th Division was ordered to move to Outtersteene, to bolster the defences there. David was killed in action during heavy fighting in an attempt to recapture Estaires on 11 April 1918, aged 20. His grave was lost in subsequent fighting, so he is commemorated on a special memorial within Croix-du-Bac British Cemetery, Steenwerck, France.
David Evans, Private, 534577, London Regiment. David was born in 1890, the son of Stephen and Jane Evans, of Rhosrydd, Devils Bridge. David worked as a Corn Merchant, and resided with his Grandparents in London prior to enlisting there into the 1/15th Battalion, London Regiment, which was known as the Civil Service Rifles. The battalion had moved to France in 1915, and was attached to 140 Brigade, 47th (2nd London) Division. The division fought at Loos in September 1915, and the following year fought in the Battle of the Somme. It fought in the Battle of Messines in the summer of 1917, before moving south to take part in the Battle of Cambrai. This is where David was killed on 30 November 1917, aged 27. He is buried in Point-Du-Jour Military Cemetery, Athies, France. David is also commemorated on his parents’ grave at Llantrisant Chapel, Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn.
John Hancock, Private, 35339, South Wales Borderers. John was born at St. Agnes, Devon in 1894, the Son of Arthur Hancock. The family later resided at Ysbytty, Devils Bridge. John enlisted at Aberystwyth into the 12th Battalion, South Wales Borderers. The battalion was attached to 119 Brigade, 40th (Bantam) Division, and moved to France during the first week of June 1916, taking up positions 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. John was wounded here in May 1917, and died of his wounds at Péronne on 5 May 1917. He was 22 years old, and is buried at La Chapelette British and Indian Cemetery, Péronne, France.
Ivor Jones, Private, 42834, King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment). Ivor was born in 1899, the son of David and Sarah Jones, of Tanglanfedwen, Devil’s Bridge. He was still in school at the outbreak of war, but enlisted at Brecon into the army, probably during 1917. Ivor was posted to France late in 1917, where he joined the 4th Battalion, King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment). The Battalion was attached to 164 Brigade, 55th (West Lancashire) Division, and had suffered terrible casualties during the Third Battle of Ypres. The Division moved to positions near Honnecourt Wood in September, and fought at the Battle of Cambrai, facing the German counter-attack of 30 November 1917, where it was again decimated. The battered remnants of the Division moved to Bomy, near Fruges, to rebuild, and it was probably here that Ivor joined his new unit. On 15 February 1918 the Division moved into positions at Givenchy, where it held off several German raids over the coming weeks. These raids were a prelude to a massive offensive, which was launched by the Germans on the Lys in April 1918, and the Division was caught up in heavy fighting in the Defence of Givenchy. Ivor was badly wounded here, and died of his wounds on 12 May 1918. He was 19 years old, and is buried at Pernes British Cemetery, France.
John Arllwyd Jones, B.A., Second Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. John was born in 1883, the son of David and Elizabeth Jones, of Gyfaellwyd View, Devils Bridge. Prior to the war he became a Teacher at Wrexham County School, and resided with his wife, Winifred Jones, at 56, Alexandra Street, Wrexham. John enlisted at Wrexham into a Training Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was commissioned into the Welsh Regiment, and landed in France on 6 June 1917, joining the 9th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. He joined the battalion at Messines, and fought with them during the latter stages of the Battle of Messines, and at the opening of the Battle of Pilckem Ridge on 31 July 1917. The Division was relieved on the night of 7/8 August, and after a brief rest, moved back into the front line on 11/12 September, taking up positions near Klein Zillebeke. Here the Division geared up in readiness for a planned attack on 20 September, the Battle of the Menin Road. John was killed in action during the opening of the battle, early on 20 September 1917. He was 34 years old, and Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.
Morgan Jones, Private, 16106, Devonshire Regiment. Morgan was born in 1890, the son of Evan and Mary Ann Jones, of Prignant, Devils Bridge. He resided at Gilfach Goch prior to the war, and enlisted at Tonypandy into the 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. He landed in France on 28 July 1915, joining his battalion at Festubert, where it was attached to 95 Brigade, 5th Division. March 1916 saw the Division moving to positions between St. Laurent-Blangy and Vimy, near Arras, and the Division saw plenty of action during it’s spell here. Morgan was wounded here during June 1916, and was evacuated to the Base Hospital at Rouen for treatment. He died of his wounds there on 21 June 1916, aged 25. Morgan is buried at St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France.
William John Jones, Private, 30603, Lancashire Fusiliers. William was born in 1898, the son of Evan and Mary Ann Jones, of Maenarthur, Devil’s Bridge. He enlisted at Brecon into the army, and was posted to France early in 1916, where he joined the 1st Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, which was attached to 86 Brigade, 29th Division. The Division moved to the Western Front on 15 March 1916, after having distinguished itself at Gallipoli, and saw its first major action in France on 1 July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme. 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, taking part in the Battles of the Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde and Poelcappelle. Later in 1917 the Division fought at the Battle of Cambrai, before moving back to Flanders early in 1918. The German Spring Offensive hit the British on the Somme on 21 March 1918, and hit the 29th Division in Flanders just weeks later. William is shown as having died on 16 April 1918. He was 19 years old, and is buried at Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France. Many thanks to Wil Troughton for the photograph of his great uncle.
David Davies Lewis, Private, 24929, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. David was born in 1889, the son of Jenkin and Mary Anne Lewis, of Rhiwmynach, Devils Bridge. He was a Postman prior to the war, and enlisted at Aberystwyth into the 13th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The battalion was attached to 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division, and landed in France on 2 December 1915, spending their first winter in the trenches near Armentieres. David was killed in action during a particularly hard spell in the trenches at Cuinchy on 18 February 1916. He was 26 years old, and is buried at Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, France. His brother, John, was killed on the Somme on 1 July 1916.
John Emrys Lewis, Second Lieutenant, Somerset Light Infantry. John was born in 1891, the son of Jenkin and Mary Anne Lewis, of Rhiwmynach, Devils Bridge. He was a Teacher prior to the war, and was commissioned into the Somerset Light Infantry. John landed in France on 20 May 1916, and proceeded to join the 8th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, which was attached to 63 Brigade, 21st Division. John joined the battalion on the Somme, where it was preparing for its part in the forthcoming offensive of 1 July 1916. The 21st Division moved into positions near Fricourt, with the 8th Somerset Light Infantry being allotted a section of the line opposite Empress Trench, north of Fricourt. At 06.30 on 1 July 1916, amidst the noise of huge underground mines being blown beneath the German lines, whistles blew, and the British climbed out of their trenches. The Somersets took their objectives, but had suffered heavily whilst doing so, coming under intense German machine-gun fire. John had been killed in the early charge that morning. He was 24 years old, and is today buried at Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers-La Boiselle, France. His brother, David, had been killed at Cuinchy on 18 February 1916.
David Charles Morgan, Private, 16670, Canadian Infantry. David was born on 20 December 1879, the son of John and Elizabeth Morgan, of Tynllwyn Farm, Devil’s Bridge. He had emigrated to Canada prior to the war, and enlisted at Valcartier on 23 December 1914 into the 7th Battalion (British Columbia), Canadian Infantry. The Battalion was attached to the 2nd Brigade. 1st Canadian Division, which had arrived in Britain on 14 October 1914, moving to Salisbury Plain. David joined the Division here in January, and underwent several weeks of intensive training before the 1st Canadian Division embarked for France during February 1915. The Battalion saw its first major action at Ypres, during the Battle of Gravenstafel on 22 April 1915, when the Germans launched the first ever gas attack on the positions of French Colonial troops at Gravenstafel. The French, not surprisingly fled in terror, with eyes streaming and lungs burning, and a massive gap opened in the defensive line. The 1st Canadian Division was rushed up to breach the gap, and over the next few days fought off a series of ferocious German assaults. David was killed in action here in the ensuing Battle of St. Julien, on 24 April 1915. He was 37 years old, and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.