There are many war memorials around Wales which are located in Chapels, some of which which are now closed. In recent years the details from several of these local memorials: at Ponterwyd Chapel; Ebenezer Chapel, Ystumtuen; and at St. John’s Church, Ysybyty Cynfyn, have been merged onto one war memorial, which also commemorates the life of a local servicewoman who passed away in 2011. The names on the memorial are laid out in order of date fell, not alphabetically as most other memorials are, and omit one man who was living at Ponterwyd prior to the Great War. I have listed them all alphabetically.
The Great War, 1914-1918
Joel Griffiths, Private, 54228, Durham Light Infantry. Joel was the son of John and Mary Griffiths, Lluest Goch, Ystumten. He had enlisted at Aberystwyth into the Welsh Regiment in 1914, but a few months later was posted to the 20th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, which landed at Le Havre on 5 May 1916 attached to 123 Brigade, 41st Division. The Division moved to positions around Ploegsteert and the Douve valley, south of Ypres. They remained here until August 1916, when they moved to the Somme, and took part in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. The Division remained in the line, pushing on to Courcelette over the next few days before coming out for a rest and re-fit. They then fought at the Battle of Le Transloy, before moving to positions south of Ypres in 1917, where they took part in the Battle of Messines. Joel was killed in action while the battalion was readying for the next phase of the offensive, on 27 July 1917. He had become the third man from the village to be killed, all three of whom are commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.
William Edward Houlbrook, Corporal, 9395, East Yorkshire Regiment. William was born on 30 October 1891, the son of Walter and Emily Houlbrook of Batley, Yorkshire. A career soldier, he had been in the army for eight years previous to the Great War, and first came to the Ystumtuen area with the 1st Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment for summer camp. It was then that he met his wife Elizabeth Ellen of Ystumtuen whom he married at Beverley Minster. At the outbreak of war, the 1st Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment was at York, attached to 18 Brigade, 6th Division, and landed with the Division at St. Nazaire on 10 September 1914. The Division moved to join the BEF in Flanders, where it took part in the Action of Hooge during June 1915. On 26 November 1915 the 1st East Yorks transferred to 64 Brigade, 21st Division at Armentieres. The Division fought throughout the Somme campaign of 1916, capturing Gueudecourt before taking part in the Battle of Le Transloy. In March 1917 they followed the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and in April fought at Arras. Later in 1917 they were moved to Ypres, and took part in the Battle of Polygon Wood, the Battle of Broodseinde and the Second Battle of Passchendaele. William was killed action here on 27 October 1917, aged 25, and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.
Emlyn Mason Jones, Gunner, 102654, Royal Garrison Artillery. Emlyn was the son of Edward and Laura Louisa Jones, of Gwynfa, Ponterwyd. Emlyn enlisted at Aberystwyth on 8 December 1915 into the Royal Artillery, and on 12 August 1916 was posted to the 236th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, landing in France on 30 January 1917. The battery moved to positions near Ypres, where it supported the Allied assault on the Passchendaele Ridge from 31 July 1917 onwards. Emlyn was killed in action at Ypres on 22 December 1917. He was 21 years old, and is buried at Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery, Belgium. His brother Iorwerth also fell. He was described as a man of unblemished character and his senior officer, Major Colman, wrote to his parents to say; “The loss to me is great, for he was one of those remaining who had shared all the discomforts of the twelve months we have spent overseas together.”
Iorwerth Mason Jones, Ordinary Seaman, J/85359, Royal Navy. Iorwerth was born on 5 July 1888, the son of Edward and Laura Louisa Jones, of Gwynfa, Ponterwyd. He married Mary Myfanwy Morris on 15 November 1916, and the couple resided at Pengraig, Capel Bangor. He entered the Royal Navy in March 1918 having been in the employ of his father throughout the war, as the postmaster at Penllwyn Post Office. Iorwerth was posted to HMS Vivid, the Royal Naval establishment at Portsmouth. Iorwerth died from disease at East Stonehouse, Devon on 20 March 1918, aged 29, and is buried at Penllwyn Calvinistic Methodist Chapelyard.
Thomas Lemuel Jones, Private, 15211, Grenadier Guards. Lemuel was the son of Thomas and Anne Jane Jones of Nanybyr, Ystumtuen. He was a Policeman in Cardiff prior to the war, and enlisted into the Grenadier Guards. Lemuel was posted to France on 14 August 1914 with the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, which was attached to 4th (Guards) Brigade, 2nd Division. They moved to Belgium, where they fought at the Battle of Mons, and retreating southwards, fought at the Affair of Landrecies, the Rearguard Actions of Villers-Cotterets, and at the Battle of the Marne where the German offensive was stopped. The Germans retreated north, and the BEF met them, fighting at the Battle of the Aisne. The 2nd Division were then moved to Flanders, where they fought at the First Battle of Ypres, when the German sweep through Flanders was stopped. Lemuel was killed in action at Ypres on 10 November 1914. His body was not recovered from the battlefield and his name is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. (The Menin Gate Memorial is incorrectly inscribed as T.S. Jones).
Richard Owen Margetts, Private, 536470, Royal Army Medical Corps. Richard was the son of James and Harriet Margetts, of Coombe, Oxfordshire. He had lived at Ponterwyd prior to the war, but returned to London to enlist at Chelsea into the 2nd London Sanitary Company, Royal Army Medical Corps. Richard joined the unit in France at some time after 1916. He was killed in action at Ypres on 5 August 1917, aged 23, and is buried in Brandhoek New Military Cemetery, Belgium. Richard does not appear to be commemorated anywhere locally.
Richard Clement Richards, Private, 93541, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Richard was born in 1892, the son of Richard and Elizabeth Richards, of Cwmrheidol. He was called to the colours in February 1918, but appealed on the grounds that he was a lead miner and had worked throughout the war at Fort Mine, Ystumtuen. In April he was informed his appeal was refused and Richard was posted to France, where he joined the 13th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The battalion was on the Somme, attached to 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. On 21 August 1918 the 38th Division launched an attack across the River Ancre, and within days had captured the heights of Thiepval Ridge and Pozières Ridge. The Division then drove eastwards, towards Longueval, and after capturing Delville Wood, moved towards Morval. Richard was killed in action on 1 September 1918, during the assault on Morval village. He is buried in Morval British Cemetery, France. The cemetery is almost purely Welsh, apart from the grave of one German.
Josiah Williams, Private, 15132, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Josiah was the son of John and Mary Jane Williams of Lluest Park, Ystumtuen. He enlisted at Wrexham into the 10th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which had formed there on 16 September 1914, becoming attached to 76 Brigade, 25th Division. On 27 September 1915 Josiah landed at Boulogne with the battalion, who subsequently transferred with 76 Brigade to the 3rd Division, and over the coming weeks participated in heavy fighting. The Brigade joined the Division at Bellewaarde, where it had been for several months. On 2 March 1916 the Division attacked the German positions at The Bluff, and over the day suffered heavy casualties. The following morning, the Germans bombarded the captured positions, and the 10th RWF suffered terribly. Josiah was killed in action here, on 3 March 1916. He was 22 years old, and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.
World War Two, 1939-1945
Harold Teify Jones, Lance Corporal, 6139353, East Surrey Regiment. Harold was known as Teify, and was the son of Isaac and Emily Jones, of Tegfan. He served with the 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. The Battalion was in France soon after the outbreak of the Second World War and were evacuated through Dunkirk in June 1940. Teify was killed during the retreat to Dunkirk, on 21 May 1940. He was 28 years old and is buried in Heverlee War Cemetery, Netherlands.
Ivor Martin Kendall, Aircraftman 2nd Class, 1470879, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Ivor was the son of Ivor J. Kendall and Sarah Kendall, of Erwyd Villa, Ponterwyd. Ivor served during the war with the Royal Air Force. He died at Aylesbury whilst on active service, on 10 January 1942. He was 19 years old, and was brought home for burial at Yspytty Cynfyn (St. John The Baptist) Churchyard.
John Gilbert Kendall. John was the son of Ivor J. Kendall and Sarah Kendall, of Erwyd Villa, Ponterwyd. He was born two years after his brother Ivor (above), in 1924. He died early in 1944, aged 19. John’s military service cannot presently be traced, but he is buried in Yspytty Cynfyn (St. John The Baptist) Churchyard.
Tegwyn Mason Lewis, Lance Corporal, 14531306, Reconnaissance Corps. Tegwyn was the son of John and Elizabeth Lewis (nee Davies), of Brynchwith, Ponterwyd. He served with “C” Squadron, 52nd (Lowland) Reconnaissance Regiment. The regiment arrived in Holland in September 1944 and its first action was Operation Market Garden, the attempt to take the bridges over the lower Rhine, Maas and Waal. He was 23 years of age when he was killed in action on 25 October 1944. On the same day the British 1st Airborne Division was evacuated following the failure to cross the Rhine in sufficient numbers. It remained a barrier until March 1945. Tegwyn is buried in Adegem Canadian War Cemetery near Antwerp in Belgium along with to two of his comrades in “C” Squadron killed on the same day; Troopers Frederick Heath and Charles James Purser. Tegwyn is also commemorated on his parents headstone at Ponterwyd.
Daniel Arllwyd Richards, Fusilier, 14308360, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regt). Daniel was the son of Enos Brinley Richards and Annie Letitia Richards, of Bwlchybrynar, Ystumtuen. He served with the 9th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. The battalion served in the North African campaign, and after the fall of the Axis Forces in Tunisia, took part in the liberation of Italy. Daniel was killed in Italy during the advance to Monte Cassino on 19 December 1943. He was 19 years old, and is commemorated on the Cassino Memorial, Italy.
Sandra Evans, Staff Sergeant, W1030816, Royal Corps of Signals. Sandra was born on 25 November 1972. She enlisted into the Royal Corps of Signals and by 2011 had reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. She passed away on 1 April 2011, aged 38 and is buried in Ponterwyd Chapelyard.