Sarnau lies astride the A487 road from Cardigan to Aberystwyth, about ten miles east-north-east of Cardigan. The men of the area who fell during both World Wars are commemorated on several war memorials which are housed inside the Memorial Hall. These memorials commemorate the seventeen men of the village who fell during the Great War; a scroll commemorating the men and women who served and survived; and a memorial for the ten men who fell during World War Two. Another plaque inside the hall was removed from Glynarthen School after its closure, and commemorates the nine former pupils who fell during the Great War. The school memorial is on a separate page. The photographs of the memorials are courtesy of Raymond Jones.
The Great War, 1914-1918
Evan Davies, Private, 25815, Lancashire Fusiliers. Evan was the son of David and Martha Davies, of Lowergate, Sarnau. He enlisted at Cardigan into the army, and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, which was attached to 12 Brigade, 4th Division. The Division was one of the first Divisions to move to France, and fought at The Battle of Le Cateau, then the epic retreat to the Marne, where the German Offensive was halted, and in the advance to the Aisne. The Division was then moved north to Flanders, and took part in the Battle of Messines, where Units of the Division took part in the famous Christmas Truce while they were still in this area, in trenches near Ploegsteert Wood. In 1915 the Division fought at the Second Battle of Ypres, and in the summer of 1916 were on the Somme, where they fought at the Battle of Albert and the Battle of Le Transloy. Evan was wounded early in 1917, and died of wounds on 5 February 1917, aged 23. He is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, France.
Rhys Davies, Private, 33009, South Wales Borderers. Rhys was the son of John and Mary Davies, of Penffos, Rhydlewis. He enlisted at Colwyn Bay into the South Wales Borderers, and was posted to France, joining the 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which was attached to 3 Brigade, 1st Division. The Division had been in France since the outbreak of war, and had fought in the retreat from Mons, before moving to Ypres, fighting at the First and Second Battles of Ypres. In September 1915 the Division took part in the Battle of Loos, and in the summer of 1916 fought on the Somme. Rhys probably joined the battalion in time for the Somme offensive. They followed the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line in early 1917, and were then briefed for an operation on the Flanders Coast, and moved there during the summer of 1917. While training on the coast, the Battle of Third Ypres had stalled in the mire, and the Division were recalled to Ypres, where they fought at the Second Battle of Passchendaele. After spending another winter in Flanders, they were near Estaires when the German Spring Offensive caught them, and saw heavy fighting over the coming weeks. Rhys was wounded during the relatively calm period after the German offensive had died down. He died of his wounds on 23 July 1918, aged 20, and is buried at Pernes British Cemetery, France.
John Evans, Gunner, 112115, Royal Garrison Artillery. John was the son of Benjamin and Jane Evans, of Mount Farm, Llanarth. He had worked as a shopkeeper in the valleys before returning to Llanarth prior to 1911 due to ill health, and then looks to have lived at Brynarthen, Sarnau, where he worked as a farmer and egg merchant. He enlisted at Brecon into the army, and was posted to the 37th Company, Royal Garrison Artillery. John had been stationed at Portsmouth when he began to feel ill, suffering from severe headaches. John received some hospital treatment, but returned to west Wales for further treatment at Pembroke Dock Military Hospital. He was on his way back to Portsmouth, when he was found hanging at Carmarthen on 24 November 1916, after having apparently committed suicide. John was 36 years old, and is buried in Brynrhiwgaled Independent Chapelyard.
Morgan Owen Evans, Private, 1007, Welsh Regiment. Morgan was the son of Thomas and Sarah Evans, of Clydach Vale. He married Esther E Evans, the daughter of Daniel and Mary Evans, of Llainhir, Glynarthen (and later of Coedmore Lane, Newcastle Emlyn) in 1913. Morgan enlisted at Maesteg into the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to the 3rd 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, and fought at the First Action of Givenchy, where Morgan was wounded. He died of wounds on 26 January 1915 aged just 22, and is buried at Bethune Town Cemetery, France. Morgan is not commemorated locally, but is commemorated on his in-laws grave at Glynarthen.
Simon Davies Evans, Lieutenant, Royal Air Force. Simon was born on 28 August 1896, the second son of James and Mary Evans, of Penbank, Beulah, Newcastle Emlyn. He was a Clerk with the Civil Service at Cardiff before joining the Royal Naval Division, and after seeing service in the Mediterranean with Hawke Battalion, was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps on 28 August 1917. He qualified as a Pilot, and joined 12 Squadron in France on 20 April 1918, which flew the BE2c. Simon rapidly gained a strong reputation for his flying skills. Sadly he took ill from Pneumonia, and died at No. 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station on 1 November 1918, aged 22. Simon is buried at Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt, France.
Samuel James, Private, 2635, Welsh Guards. Samuel was the son of Evan and Hannah James, of Brynpark, Bryngwyn, Newcastle Emlyn. He served in the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Guards, which was a Reserve Battalion. Samuel became ill whilst still training to go to France, and died in Caterham Military Hospital, Surrey on 2 April 1916 of pneumonia. Samuel was just 20 years old, and is buried at Glynarthen Congregational Chapelyard.
Daniel Thomas Jones, Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Daniel was born on 21 January 1895, the son of David Glyn Jones, and Martha Jones, of Glynarthen. He was commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and was posted to France where he became attached to the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The battalion had been in France since 7 October 1914, attached to 22 Brigade, 7th Division, and had fought during the First Battle of Ypres. In March 1915 the Division fought at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, and during May 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. The Division then took part in the Battle of Delville Wood, and the Battle of Guillemont, before spending the winter on the Ancre. In March 1917 they followed up the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and took part in Flanking Operations Round Bullecourt, alongside the Australians. Daniel was killed in action at Bullecourt on 4 May 1917, aged 23. Daniel is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France.
Enos Jones, Gunner, 29697, Royal Field Artillery. Enos was the son of Thomas and Anne Jones, of 5, Glynarthen. He enlisted at Merthyr Tydfil into the Royal Artillery, and was posted to France with the 91st Brigade Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery, which was attached to the 20th (Light) Division. On 26 July 1915 the Division moved to the Fleurbaix Sector for trench familiarisation and training. When the Battle of Loos was launched on 25 September 1915 the Division fought a diversionary attack towards Fromelles. Later that year they moved north, and fought at the Battle of Mount Sorrel alongside the Canadian Corps. They then fought through the Somme Offensive. Enos was killed on the Somme on 2 October 1916. He was 22 years old, and is buried at Guards Cemetery, Lesbouefs, France.
Evan Jones, Saddler, 5253, Royal Field Artillery. Evan was the son of Mary Jones, of Vron Villa, Sarnau. He enlisted at Caerphilly into the Royal Artillery, and was posted to France with the 20th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, which was attached to the 5th Division. Evan must have been invalided home early in 1918, and he died on 29 August 1918. Evan is buried at Penbryn (St. Michael) Churchyard.
Evan Philip Jones, Second Mate, Mercantile Marine. Evan was the son of Ben and Anne Jones, of Brigydon, Tresaith. He served with the Mercantile Marine aboard the cargo steamer S.S. Greenhill. On 15 December 1917 Greenhill was en route from Blyth to Dunkirk with a cargo of coal when she became wrecked on Long Sand in the Thames Estuary. At least five men were drowned in the sinking, including Evan. He was 26 years old when he died that day and is not recognised as a war casualty by the CWGC because Greenhill was not a war loss.
Simon James Jones, Lieutenant, South Lancashire Regiment. Simon was the son of David Orllwyn and Elizabeth Jones, of Marffo, Glynarthen, Henllan. He was commissioned into the South Lancashire Regiment, and was posted to France, joining the 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment. The battalion had been in France since the outbreak of war, attached to 7 Brigade, and on 26 October 1915 was transferred to 64 Brigade, 21st Division. The Division had fought throughout the Somme Offensive in 1916, and in March 1917 followed the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line. In April the Division fought at Arras and Bullecourt, and later that year fought at the Third Battle of Ypres, and the Battle of Cambrai. The division was one of the units hit by the German Spring Offensive on the Somme in March 1918, fighting at the Battle of St Quentin and the First Battle of Bapaume, before being evacuated to Flanders to rest. Unluckily though, the Germans launched a fresh offensive on the Lys in April 1918, and the division was caught up in the thick of the fighting again, during the Battle of Messines, and the Second Battle of Kemmel. The battered division now moved south to rebuild, but again was unlucky, as the Germans launched a fresh offensive on the Chemin-des-Dames, and the division was caught up in the action again, fighting in the Battle of the Aisne. Simon was badly wounded here, and died on 5 June 1918, aged 24. He is buried at Marfaux British Cemetery, France.
John James Nuttall, Steward, Mercantile Marine. John was the son of Mathew John Nuttall and Mary Nuttall, of Pencnwcyfedwen, Tanygroes. He served with the Mercantile Marine aboard the SS Porthkerry, a Cardiff registered steamer. On 20 May 1917, Porthkerry was about eight miles south of Beachy Head, when a fellow steamer, SS Tycho, was torpedoed, and began sinking. Porthkerry slowed down to pick up the survivors, when she too was torpedoed, sinking with the loss of eight lives. The survivors from Tycho were killed in the explosion. John was 19 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Henry James Owen, Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Henry was the son of Captain Thomas Owen and Ellen Owen, of Ivy Cottage, Aberporth. He was commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and was posted to France, where he joined the 16th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 16 July 1918. The battalion had been in France since December 1915, attached to 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division, and had taken part in the capture of Mametz Wood in July 1916, and Pilckem Ridge in July 1917. Over the winter of 1917-18 the Division was stationed around the Armentieres area, and at the end of March 1918 was moved south to the Somme, to bolster the British defences there after the German offensive of 21 March. The Division remained here over the coming months, holding the line north of Albert towards Beaumont Hamel. Henry joined the battalion here. On 21 August 1918, elements of the 38th Division crossed the River Ancre, and consolidated positions in readiness for a general assault. On 23 August the 16th RWF moved into position, and on the morning of 24 August 1918 crossed the River Ancre, and assaulted the German positions at La Boiselle. Henry was killed in action here by German machine-gun fire that day. He was 28 years old, and is buried at Ovillers Military Cemetery, France.
Thomas Richard Parry, Private, 29563, South Wales Borderers. Richard was the son of Thomas and Ellen parry, of Morfa Uchaf, Penbryn, He resided at Henllan prior to the war. He enlisted at Brecon into the 11th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which moved to France during December 1915 attached to 115 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division was initiated into trench warfare in the Fleurbaix sector, and in July 1916 famously captured Mametz Wood. After suffering heavy casualties at Mametz, the Division moved to Boesinghe, and on 31 July 1917 launched its successful assault on the Pilckem Ridge. The Division wintered around Armentieres, where in February 1918 the 11th SWB were disbanded, with some men going to other units of the 38th Division, and others to the 2nd Entrenching Battalion. When the 38th Division moved to the Somme, the 2nd Entrenching Battalion remained at Merville. He it was thrown into action during the German offensive on the Lys, which was launched on 9 April 1918, and took part in heavy fighting. Richard was killed in action during heavy fighting on 11 April 1918, aged 21. He is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium.
David Alfred Thomas. David was born in 1900, the son of Thomas and Maria Thomas, of Morfa Villa, Sarnau. Little else is presently known of him.
David John Thomas, Private, 561, Australian Infantry. David was born at St. Dogmaels, the son of Lewis and Elizabeth Thomas, later of Brynteg, Henllan. He had emigrated to Australia prior to the war along with his brother James Louis Thomas, and after the declaration of war, both brothers enlisted into the Australian Imperial Force. David attested at Perth into the 44th Battalion, AIF, and embarked at Fremantle on 6 June 1916 aboard the HMAT Suevic, bound for England. David was then posted to his Battalion in France on 16 March 1917, after spending two months in hospital in England. The Battalion spent most of May 1917 training near Armentieres, and at the end of the month moved to Ploegsteert, where they took up billets in the catacombs, providing working parties within the wood. David was killed during his first day at Ploegsteert on 1 June 1917. He was 34 years old, and is buried at Strand Military Cemetery, Belgium. His Brother, James Louis Thomas, died the previous year.
James Louis Thomas, Private, 2936, Australian Infantry. James was born at St. Dogmaels, the son of Lewis and Elizabeth Thomas, later of Brynteg, Henllan. He had emigrated to Australia along with his brother David prior to the war, and enlisted there at Blackboy Hill into the Australian Imperial Force. James was posted to the 48th Battalion, AIF, which was in France attached to the 12th Australian Brigade, 4th Australian Division. On 5 October 1915 James embarked at Fremantle aboard the HMAT Hororata, and arrived at Ismailia on 8 January 1916. On 9 June 1916 the 48th Battalion landed at Marseilles, and moved to Bailleul. The Division moved to the Somme at the end of July 1916, and took up positions in Sausage Valley, while the 2nd Australian Division was fighting at Pozieres, and got ready to move into the line to replace them. James was killed just days after, when his battalion moved through the battered ruins of Pozieres, to attack the German positions near the Windmill on 6 August 1916. He was 33 years old, and is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France. His brother David was killed at Ypres the following year.
John Ellis Williams, Private, 57912, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. John was the son of John and Jane Williams, of Pant, Sarnau, and the husband of Mary Williams, of Merthyr. He enlisted at Merthyr into the Welsh Regiment, and was posted to France, probably in 1917, joining the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. In 1917 the Division moved North to Ypres, taking part in the Battle of Messines, and fought on the Menin Road and at Polygon Wood, before moving up to Broodseinde, Poelcappelle and Passchendaele Village itself. In 1918 they were caught up in the German Spring Offensive near St. Quentin, where they suffered terrible casualties, and fought at the Battle of Bapaume. They moved to Ypres, but were caught up in the German attack at Messines. After suffering terribly again, they moved South to the quieter French sector to rebuild, but were caught up in the German offensive on the Aisne. John was among a large number of men killed in action here on 14 June 1918. He was 36 years old, and is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial, France.
Wilfred Howell Williams, First Mate, Mercantile Marine. Wilfred was born at Sarnau, the son of George and Margaret Williams. He had married Williams Margerison, of 31, Clive Street, Cardiff. Wilfred served in the Mercantile Marine prior to the war, and was First Mate aboard the SS Mohacsfield. She was a 3,678 ton defensively-armed Merchant Vessel. During January 1917 she was attacked by a German U-boat U-35, and captured. Three men were killed during her capture, when the crew valiantly attempted to fight off the U-Boat, armed only with a small deck gun. The remainder of the crew was detained, and the ship then sunk by shelling, 40 miles off Malta on 7 January 1917. Wilfred was wounded when the Mohacsfield was attacked by the German Submarine. He was released by the Germans, and brought home for treatment, but sadly died as a result of his wounds on 18 April 1917. Wilfred was 29 years old, and is buried at Cardiff (Cathays) Cemetery.
World War Two, 1939-1945
Hugh Robert Davies, Able Seaman, Merchant Navy. Hugh was the son of Thomas and Ellen Davies, of Pencwm, Sarnau. He served with the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Llanishen, a London registered Steamer. On 23 August 1940, Llanishen, was on voyage from Savona to Melilla in ballast, when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-33, with the loss of two lives. Hugh was 28 years old when he did that day, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Johnny William James Davies, Boatswain’s Mate, 1062099, Royal Naval Auxiliary. Johnny was the son of Arthur and Elizabeth Davies, of Hirnant, Sarnau. He lived at Fern Cottage, Sarnau prior to the war and served with the Merchant Navy aboard the S.S. Manistee. The ship was requisitioned by the Admiralty at the start of war to be converted into an Ocean Boarding Vessel, and became HMS Manistee. Johnny remained with the ship, transferring to the Royal Naval Auxiliary, and served as a Boatswain’s Mate. On 24 February 1941, Manistee was in the North Atlantic attached to Convoy OB-288 sailing from Liverpool, when she was torpedoed and sunk by the submarine U-107, with the loss of 141 lives. Johnny was 38 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Liverpool Naval Memorial.
Evan John Parry Evans, Boy, Merchant Navy. Evan was the son of Joshua Parry Evans, and of Anne Evans, of Fronfelen Isaf, Aberporth. He served with the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Beaverford, a London registered steamer. On 5 November 1940, Beaverford was part of Convoy HX-84 from Halifax, Nova Scotia, which was intercepted by the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer. The escort vessel, HMS Jervis Bay, a defensively armed merchant ship, suicidally attacked Admiral Scheer in an attempt to gain time for the convoy to escape. Hopelessly outgunned, Jervis Bay was destroyed after a brave fight, and the German battleship went on to sink six of the Convoy ships, Kenbane Head, Beaverford, Fresno City, Maidan, Mopan, Trewellard and set the tanker San Demetrio on fire. Beaverford went down with the loss of all 77 of her crew. Evan was 18 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
James Lloyd Jones, Private, 7605729, Pioneer Corps. James was the son of Josiah Lloyd Jones and Anne Jones, of Parcau, Glynarthen. He served with the Auxiliary Militia, Pioneer Corps. James was in France at the outbreak of war, and was evacuated aboard the Cunard Liner, SS Lancastria. On 17 June 1940, Lancastria came under attack from enemy aircraft, receiving three direct hits from a German Junkers 88 bomber. In less than 20 minutes, the luxury liner sank, taking with her an estimated 4,000 victims. James was 57 years old when he died that day. His body was washed ashore, and is buried in a collective grave at St. Gilles-Sur-Vie Communal Cemetery, France.
Samuel Walwyn Parry Jones, Chief Officer, Merchant Navy. Samuel was born in Beulah in 1908, the son of Owen Parry Jones and Margaret Ellen Jones. The family later resided at Llety, Aberporth, while Samuel and his wife Bertha Mary Parry Jones (nee Jarvis) briefly lived at Briton Ferry after marrying in 1942. Samuel served with the Merchant Navy as Chief Officer aboard the London registered oil tanker M.V. Eulima. On 23 February 1943 Eulima was en-route from Liverpool for New York in Convoy ON-166 when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-186, with the loss of 86 lives. Samuel was 35 years old when he died that day and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Ellis Wynne Parry, Master, Merchant Navy. Ellis was the son of Alban and Sarah Jane Parry, of Brynberwyn, and the husband of Sarah Elizabeth Grace Parry, of Tresaith. He served with the Merchant Navy as Master of the SS Ocean Crusader. On 26 November 1942, Ocean Crusader was in the Atlantic, West of Newfoundland, whilst on voyage from Portland, Maine to Britain via Panama and New York, when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-262, with the loss of all of her crew of 45 men. Ellis was 36 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
David Emlyn Powell, Master, Merchant Navy. David was born on 18 May 1903, the son of Brychan Morgan Powell and Mary Powell. After the death of his mother David was brought up with his grandfather David Timothy at Sarnau Cottage. He enlisted into the Merchant Navy, becoming Master of the S.S. Menin Ridge, and married Alice Jane Aikens in 1928. On 24 October 1939, Menin Ridge was in the Bay of Biscay returning from North Africa to Port Talbot with a cargo of iron ore, when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-37. David was 36 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated with his crew on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Benjamin Arthur Thomas, Chief Officer, Merchant Navy. Benjamin was born on 12 May 1894, the son of Samuel and Hannah Thomas. He married Elizabeth Ellen Jones at Beulah Chapel on 16 December 1913, and the couple lived at Bungalow, Sarnau, where their four children were raised. Benjamin served as Chief Officer aboard the London registered cargo steamer S.S. Alnmoor. On 15 February 1942 Alnmoor was in the Atlantic en route from New York to Glasgow via Sydney when she was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-123, with the loss of 42 lives. Ben was 46 years old when he died that day and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial. His widow Elizabeth died in 1944 and is buried in Glynarthen Cemetery.
Emlyn Thomas, Sailor, Merchant Navy. Emlyn was the son of John and Elizabeth Thomas, of Tanrallt, Sarnau, and the husband of Ada Thomas, of Talog, Carmarthenshire. He served with the Merchant Navy aboard the MV San Emiliano, a London registered tanker. On 9 August 1942 she was on route from Curacoa for Trinidad and Table Bay carrying a cargo of aviation spirit, when she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-155, and sank with the loss of 39 lives. Emlyn was 22 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
Evan Owen Thomas, Master, Merchant Navy. Evan was the son of Captain and Mrs. S. Thomas, of Aberporth. Prior to the war, he resided with his wife, Margretta Thomas, at Llysowen, Tanygroes. Evan served with the Merchant Navy aboard the SS Newton Pine, a Cardiff registered cargo steamer. On 16 October 1942, she was on route from Hull for Halifax in ballast when she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-410, and sunk. Evan was 43 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.
David Glanmor Williams, Pilot Officer, 160521, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. David was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Evan Williams, of Bryn Eglur, Beulah, and the husband of Gwen Williams, of Pontyberem. He served as a Pilot with 14 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which flew the Martin B-26 Marauder, based at Protville, and flew anti-submarine patrols. David was killed on 19 October 1943 while flying aboard Marauder FK127 which crashed in the Mediterranean following a mechanical failure. He was 23 years old, and is commemorated on the Malta Memorial, Malta.
Sarnau Great War, 1914-1918, Roll of Honour