Ystrad Meurig (or Ystradmeurig) is a village which lies on the B4340 road northwest of the town of Tregaron, and formerly belonged to the Abbey of nearby Strata Florida. The men of the village who fell during the Great War are commemorated on the village War Memorial, inside the Parish Church, which is dedicated to St John the Baptist, and takes the form of a stained glass window. There is a separate brass plaque dedicated to Noel Osborne-Jones.

The Great War, 1914-1918

Griffith Thomas Jenkins, Private, 43637, King’s Liverpool Regiment. Griffith was the son of John and Mary Jenkins, of Ffynonforgan, Felinfach. He enlisted at Newport into the South Wales Borderers, before being transferred to the 13th Battalion, King’s Liverpool Regiment, which was attached to 9 Brigade, 3rd Division. Griffith probably joined the battalion after its exertions on the Somme in 1916. In May 1917 the Division was at Arras, and fought at the First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, and at the Battle of Arleux and the Third Battle of the Scarpe, where they captured Roeux. Griffith was killed in action here, just before the division was transferred to Ypres, on 7 July 1917. He was 22 years old, and is buried at Red Cross Corner Cemetery, Beugny, France.

David Rowland Jones, Private, 55559, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. David was the son of John and Annie Jones, of Dolfawr, Ystradmeurig. He enlisted on 11 December 1915 into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and was mobilised on 7 April 1916, joining the 2nd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The battalion was attached to 19 Brigade, 33rd Division, and David joined them in time to take part in the Battle of the Somme. They then fought during 1917 at the Battle of the Scarpe and at Bullecourt, before heading to Ypres, and fighting at the Menin Road and at Polygon Wood. On 6 February 1918, the battalion was transferred to 115 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division, and moved with the Division to the Somme, where it took up positions north of Albert, overlooking the Ancre Valley. On 21 August 1918 the Division made its famous crossing of the River Ancre, and began its drive towards the Hindenburg Line. On 1 September 1918 David was shot in the arm, whilst the Division was fighting near Bapaume, and was treated at 59 Casualty Clearing Station, before being evacuated to 48 General Hospital, then invalided home. He was discharged from the army on 7 December 1918, but died at home on 23 September 1919 as a result of his wounds. David was 32 years old, and is buried at Strata Florida (St. Mary) Churchyard.

Evan Jones, Stoker, K/53294, Royal Navy. Evan was born at Ystradmeurig on 8 December 1893. He served with the Royal Navy, based at H.M.S. Vivid, the Naval Base at Plymouth. Evan became ill, and died of pneumonia at Devonport on 17 September 1918, aged 24. He is buried at Swansea (Danygraig) Cemetery. His widow Violet later remarried, becoming Violet White (formerly Jones), of 5, Council Houses, Ashburnham Road, Pembrey, Carmarthenshire. Many thanks to Bev Lewis for the photograph of Evan’s grave.

John Idwal Jones, Private, PS/10109, Royal Fusiliers. Idwal was born in 1894, in Well House, Swyddffynnon, Cardiganshire, the son of Joseph and Martha Jones. He enlisted at Lampeter into the army, and was posted to France at some time in 1916, joining the 9th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, which was attached to 36 Brigade, 12th (Eastern) Division. By June the Division was in position at the Somme, and attacked Ovillers on 2 July. They fought at Pozieres and Le Transloy before being moved to the Arras area during October 1916, where they fought in the March 1917 Battle of Arras, taking part in the First Battle of the Scarpe, and the Battle of Arleux. They then fought at the Third Battle of the Scarpe, and helped capture Roeux. The Division remained at Arras until taking part in the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917. After initial successes, the Germans counter-attacked on 30 November, and the 9th Royal Fusiliers were caught up in terrible fighting in trenches south of the Gouzeaucourt-Cambrai road. During that mornings fighting the 9th had lost 13 officers and 208 other ranks killed. Idwal was amongst those men killed at Cambrai on 30 November 1917. He was 23 years old, and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France. The photograph of Idwal is courtesy of his family.

Noel Osborne-Jones, Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Noel was the son of Robert and Ada Mason Osborne-Jones, of Brynawelon, Ystradmeurig. He was commissioned into the 15th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 14 May 1915. The battalion was 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. It moved to the hated Givenchy sector during February 1916, a sector renowned and feared for its underground mining activities. Noel was killed whilst leading a midnight bombing raid at on 8 May 1916. He was 21 years old, and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France.

Frank Rollings, Private, 22230, Welsh Regiment. Frank was the son of William and Ellen Rollings, of Fairmile House, Christchurch, Hants. He lived at Pantyddafod, Ystradmeurig, and worked as a waggoner on the farm. Frank enlisted at Aberystwyth into the Welsh Regiment, and was posted to France on 5 March 1915, joining the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was in Flanders attached to 3 Brigade, 1st Division. Frank was killed in action during the divisions attack on Festubert, during the Battle of Aubers Ridge, on 25 May 1915, aged 30. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Richebourg L’Avoue, France. Frank is not commemorated locally.

Rhys Williams, Private, PS/8687, Royal Fusiliers. Rhys was the son of the late Jenkin and Margaret Williams, of Blaenyrorfa, Tyngraig, Ystradmeurig. He was a Divinity student prior to the war, and enlisted at Aberystwyth into the army. Rhys was posted to the 24th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, which was known as the 2nd Sportsmans battalion, and landed at Boulogne in November 1915. On 13 December 1915 the battalion transferred to 5 Brigade, 2nd Division, and moved to the Bluff Sector, near Ypres. During the summer of 1916 the division moved south to the Somme, taking part in the Battle of Delville Wood. During the latter stages of the Somme, the division took part in the Battle of the Ancre, and it was here that Rhys was killed on 13 November 1916. He was 20 years old, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.