Ysbyty Ystwyth is a small village, situated thirteen miles from Aberystwyth. The name of the village is derived from an ancient hospital which was formerly sited there, which is supposed to have belonged to the Knights Hospitallers; Ysbyty being Welsh for Hospital. The men of the parish who fell during both World Wars are commemorated on the War memorial which sits at the edge of the Parish Churchyard, which is dedicated to St John.
The Great War, 1914-1918
Lotton Breeze, Gunner, 161311, Royal Garrison Artillery. Lotton was the son of Christmas Breeze and Mary Breeze of Mountain Ash, and the husband of Mary Breeze (nee Thomas) of Tynporth, Ysbytty Ystwyth. He enlisted at Porth into the Royal Artillery, and was posted to Egypt on 23 August 1917 with the 13th Mountain Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. The battery concentrated at Sidi Bishr, and became attached to the 75th Division between 25 March and 15 September 1918, taking part in the Palestinian offensive. Lotton’s health deteriorated in Palestine, and he was invalided to hospital at Cairo, where he died on 4 November 1918. He was 30 years old, and is buried at Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.
John Howell Edwards, Private, 28944, South Wales Borderers. John was born at Clydach Vale in 1898, the son of Samuel and Margaret Edwards. Within two years his family was residing at Penbanc, Ysbyty Ystwyth, and John was raised there. He enlisted at Brecon into the South Wales Borderers. John was posted to Egypt in 1916, joining the 4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which was attached to 40 Brigade, 13th (Western) Division. 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. The relief failed, however the Mesopotamian campaign was ultimately successful. John survived the war, but died of sickness in Basra on 7 March 1919, aged 20. John is buried at Basra War Cemetery, Iraq.
Evan Jones Hopkins, Private, 26560, South Wales Borderers. Evan was the of William and Jane Hopkins, of Tycoch, Pontrhydygroes, Ystrad Meurig. He had been born at Ysbytty Ystwyth, and enlisted at Aberystwyth into the South Wales Borderers. Evan was posted to Egypt in 1916, joining the 4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which was attached to 40 Brigade, 13th (Western) Division. 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. Evan was wounded during operations around Baghdad, and died on 28 March 1917, aged 23. He is buried at Amara War Cemetery, Iraq.
John Prosser Ishmael, Private, 43355, Welsh Regiment. John was born at Ysbyty Ystwyth in 1881, the son of William and Anne Ishmael. He enlisted at Aberystwyth into the army, and was posted to the 17th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 119 Brigade, 40th (Bantam) Division. The Division moved to France during the first week of June 1916, and moved to the front 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. Later in the year they took part in the Battle of Cambrai, playing an important role in the attack on Bourlon Wood. John was killed at Bourlon Wood on 25 November 1917. He was 36 years old, and is buried at Anneux British Cemetery, 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.
Thomas Richard Pugh, Lance Corporal, 22213, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Thomas was born at Ysbytty Ystwyth in 1895, the son of Thomas and Naomi Pugh, of Wesley Terrace. After his father’s death in 1905, Naomi moved the family to 92, Upper North Street, Poplar, where Thomas and his eldest brother Charles worked as schoolteachers. Thomas enlisted at Holborn, London into the 15th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. Thomas landed in France with the battalion on 3 December 1915, and the entire Division moved to the Fleurbaix sector, where it was initiated into trench warfare. During June 1916 the Division marched south to the Somme, and on 7 July 1916 attacked Mametz Wood. The initial attack failed, and it was three days later, on 10 July, that a fresh attack was mounted. Thomas was killed in Mametz Wood on 10 July 1916, aged 21. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
World War Two, 1939-1945
Gareth Pryse-Howell, Sergeant, 1282866, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Gareth was the son of John Pryse Howell and Phyllis Pryse Howell, of Aberystwyth. He enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was posted to 1 TTU. Gareth was killed on 12 October 1942, whilst flying aboard a Handley Page Hampden I, Serial AN151 of Coastal Command, which crashed with the loss of all four of her crew. Gareth was 22 years old, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. One other crew member is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, whilst the remains of the other two men were recovered.
Robert John Jones, Lance Corporal, 7899174, Royal Armoured Corps. Robert was the son of Robert Jones, and of Anne Jones, of Pontrhydygroes. He served with the 2nd Derbyshire Yeomanry, which was a reconnaissance unit, attached to the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards. Robert died on home service on 1 October 1941, aged 23. He is buried at Llangristioulus (St. Christioulus) Churchyard, Anglesey.