Carno is a village in Montgomeryshire, situated on the A489 road between Machynlleth and Newtown, some nine miles northwest of Newtown, in the centre of Wales. The area is of great historical interest, as well as being very picturesque, and was the original home to the Laura Ashley empire. The men of the village who fell during both World Wars are commemorated on the village war memorial, which is situated besides the Parish Church. The memorial takes the form of a Celtic Cross and commemorates nine men who fell in the Great War and four men who fell in the Second World War.

The Great War, 1914-1918

David Howell Evans, Private, 203536, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. David was the son of Evan and Ann Evans, of Blaengwm, Carno. He worked as a Waggoner prior to the war. David enlisted into the 4th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Caersws on 10 December 1915, and was initially placed on the Army Reserve. David was mobilised at Wrexham on 18 January 1917 and was posted to Park Hall Camp, Oswestry for training. He spent most of June in hospital at Oswestry after contracting influenza, and after recovering, embarked at Southampton for France on 18 August 1917 and was posted to No 5 Infantry Base Depot at Rouen. On 30 August 1917 he was posted to Ypres to join the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. David joined the battalion while it was taking part in the Battle of Passchendaele, having seen heavy fighting at Messines Ridge and during the opening phase of the battle. The Division remained in the Messines area while the main battle raged at Ypres, and at the end of November the Division moved out of the Ypres Salient and moved south, taking over a section of front line near Ribecourt, facing the Hindenburg Line. The Division wintered here, its infantry battalions carrying out the usual routines of trench life over the coming months. On 21 March 1918 the 9th RWF was in Herrick Camp, between Haplincourt and Bertincourt, in reserve, when the Germans opened up a massive artillery bombardment along the entire section of Western Front running from Croisilles to La Fère. The battalion was ‘Stood To’ at 05.00 and moved to assembly positions in Gaika Copse, west of Velu Wood. Heavy fighting was by now raging along this sector of the front, and the 9th RWF moved forwards to dig a new line on the Beaumetz to Hermies Ridge, with the 9th Welsh on the right. The situation in front had now become desperate and the two battalions were ordered to withdraw behind the crest of the ridge and on the following morning withdrew again, digging in to the west of Morchies, then at 14.30 the Division was hit by a wave of German infantry. Heavy fighting raged throughout the day, with heavy casualties on both sides. David was taken prisoner on 22 March and was taken to Giessen PoW Camp in Germany, but his health broke down in captivity, and he died at the POW Hospital at Giessen on 15 October 1918, aged 25. He was originally buried in Giessen Military Cemetery, but after the war his grave was exhumed and he was re-buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel, Germany.

John Ellis Evans, Private, 202940, Welsh Regiment. John was born at Cyfic, Carno in 1898, the son of Morris and Mary Margaret Evans. By 1911 the family had moved to Henefail, Talerddig, Llanbrynmair. John enlisted into the army at Welshpool and was posted to the 4th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. After embarking for France in the autumn of 1917, John was posted to the 14th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. On 31 July 1917 the Division had launched its famous assault on the Pilckem Ridge, capturing Iron Cross and reaching its objective of the Steenbeek, then played a supporting role in the Battle of Langemarck. The Division was transferred to the Sailly-sur-la-Lys sector in September, and remained in the area over the winter before being moved to positions north of Albert, at Bouzincourt Ridge, at the end of March 1918, relieving the battered 2nd and 47th Divisions. It held this sector, again carrying out minor operations and trench raids, over the coming months. On 10 May 1918, the 14th Welsh supported a raid by the 15th Welsh in Aveluy Wood. Soon after launching their assault, the attacking troops came under heavy artillery fire from their own guns, which had miscalculated their range, and as a result their barrage fell short into their own men. John was among many casualties suffered during the raid, being killed by his own artillery support. The 20-year-old is buried in Martinsart British Cemetery, France. John is not commemorated on the Carno war memorial.

John Maldwyn Evans, Private, 15058, Ox and Bucks Light Infantry. John was the son of Evan and Mary Evans, of Carno. His mother had died when John was young, and Evan had moved with five of their youngest children to 8, Aberdare Road, Abercynon, where he had found work. John enlisted into the army at Mountain Ash, and was posted to the 7th Battalion, Ox and Bucks Light Infantry, which was attached to 78 Brigade, 26th Division. The Division had begun embarking for France in September 1915, and concentrated near Amiens, however, in November 1915 the Division moved to Salonika, to help defend the Greek frontier following the Austrian and Bulgarian invasion of Serbia. The Division remained in Salonika, in a disease-ridden environment throughout the rest of the war, but at sometime John was invalided back to England, and was posted to the 3rd Battalion, Ox and Bucks Light Infantry, which was on garrison duties at Dover. John died of disease, possibly malaria, in the Military Hospital at Dover on 7 November 1918. The body of the 24-year-old was brought back to Wales and he was buried in Abercynon Cemetery.

Thomas Morgan Evans, Private, 203527, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Thomas was the son of Edward and Ann Evans, of Mill Cottage, Carno. He worked as a Waggoner prior to the war. Thomas enlisted into the 4th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Welshpool on 18 January 1917 and was sent to Park Hall Camp, Oswestry for training. Thomas embarked for Egypt on 12 July 1917, and upon his arrival was posted to the 24th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The battalion had formed in Egypt on 1 March 1917 from the dismounted Denbighshire Yeomanry, joining 231 Brigade, 74th (Yeomanry) Division, and took part in its first major action during the Second Battle of Gaza from 17 to 19 April 1917. Thomas joined up with the battalion after this, while the EEF was being re-organised under its new commander, Sir Edmund Allenby. On 15 September 1917 Thomas was sentenced to 42 Days Field Punishment No 2 for losing his rifle whilst travelling on a train from Sidi-Gaba to Kantara. The punishment was the lightest of those handed out by court martials, in that the offender was shackled but not fixed to anything, unlike Field Punishment No 1. Thomas had completed his punishment before the EEF attacked again, when a third offensive was launched against a wider front from Beersheba to Gaza on 31 October 1917. This time the Turkish defences were breached, and the road to Jerusalem now lay open and the EEF began to advance north into the Judean Hills, capturing Hebron and Bethlehem, before securing the Jerusalem to Jericho road. Allenby finally made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on 11 December. Due to the terrible casualties suffered by the British on the Western Front in March and April 1918 the Division was recalled to the Western Front, and arrived at Marseilles during May 1918. The Division trained near Le Cauroy before taking over positions in the St. Floris Sector, moving into the front line between the La Bassée Canal and the River Lys, with the left resting on the small village of Corbie. The Division faced the recently lost town of Merville, some 3,000 yards away. On 16 July 1918 the 24th RWF moved into the front line here to begin a short tour in the trenches, but this spell was to be horrendous, with their lines being shelled almost continually over the coming days. Thomas was badly wounded during this spell and was admitted to the 95th Field Ambulance, before being evacuated to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, where he died of his wounds on 24 July 1918, aged 20. He is buried in Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, France.

William Henry Fox, Private, 88426, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment). William was the son of Thomas Fox and Martha Ann Fox (nee Owen), of Penybont, Llangyniew. He married Margaret Delia Rowlands at Carno in 1916. William enlisted into the army after this and was initially posted to the East Surrey Regiment. After embarking for France in the winter of 1917, he initially joined the 2/7th Battalion, King’s (Liverpool Regiment), but was then posted to the 4th Battalion, King’s (Liverpool Regiment), which was attached to 98 Brigade, 33rd Division. William probably joined up with the battalion while it was in the Passchendaele Sector, following the closure of the Third Battle of Ypres. On 12 December the battalion was relieved and entrained at St. Jean for Eecke with the 33rd Division, to rest and rebuild. In January 1918 the battalion moved back into the line at Passchendaele, spending the coming weeks rotating between spells in the front line, and spells in reserve, and also supplying working parties. To the south, of 21 March 1918 the Germans launched the first phase of their Spring Offensive, along the section of front running from Croisilles to La Fère. On 9 April they launched the second phase of their offensive along the Lys valley, and broke through the Allied lines. The 4th Kings were training behind the lines at Ambrines when the offensive was launched, and on 10 April was moved by train to Strazeele, to shore up the Allied line, taking up positions at Kemmel and Dranoutre, before advancing to Meteren where the battalion came into contact with the Germans on 15 April, beginning a period of desperate fighting over the coming days until the survivors were relieved on 19 April. On 21 April the remnants of the 33rd Division were inspected at Bavinchove by the grateful French Prime Minister, Clemenceau. The Division moved back into the line in the Dickebusch Lake and Ridge Wood sector on 4 May, and on 8 May the division became the target of a massive German artillery and gas bombardment, suffering heavy casualties before launching a counter-attack on the east side of the lake. William was killed in action during the attack on 9 May 1918. The 23-year-old is buried in Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery, Belgium.

David William Griffiths, Private, 31363, South Wales Borderers. David was the son of Edward and Anne Griffiths, of Parc, Adfa. He worked on his father’s farm prior to the war. David enlisted at Caersws into the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, and after completing his training was posted to France in the late summer of 1917, joining the 12th Battalion, South Wales Borderers. The battalion was attached to 119 Brigade, 40th (Bantam) Division and had spent most the year in the Arras sector, after following up the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in March 1917. The Division had been holding various sectors at La Vacquerie and then at Villers Plouich and Gonnelieu during the summer, before being withdrawn from the line to train at Gouy-en-Artois, preparatory to moving under cover of darkness into the Cambrai sector on 21 November 1917. On the following night the Division advanced under cover of darkness again to Graincourt, and on the following morning, 23 November 1917, launched a frontal assault on Bourlon Wood. The 12th SWB advanced on the Divisional left, with the 19th RWF to their right, supported by tanks. David is recorded as being killed in action at Bourlon Wood on 22 November 1917, but this is most likely incorrect, as he would have been killed on 23 November, the day of the assault on the wood. The 20-year-old has no known grave and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France.

John Wilson Lloyd, Guardsman, 3494, Welsh Guards. John was the son of Joseph Lloyd and Sarah Jane Lloyd (nee Williams), of Liverpool House, Carno. He enlisted into the Welsh Guards at Welshpool and was posted to France in the summer of 1917, joining the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards, which was attached to the 3rd Guards Brigade, Guards Division. He probably joined the battalion at Ypres, following its efforts during the Battle of Pilckem Ridge on 31 July 1917, when the Guards had attacked alongside the 38th (Welsh) Division. The Guards Division then had a brief rest before seeing further action during the Battle of Passchendaele, then in November moved south to take part in the Battle of Cambrai. The Guards saw further heavy fighting at Cambrai, becoming embroiled in the desperate defensive action which followed the German counter-attack. The Division wintered in the area, and was stationed near Gouzeaucourt when the German Spring Offensive hit the area on 21 March 1918, and saw more heavy fighting as it was forced to withdraw west. After this, the German Offensive petered out on the Somme, and their focus switched to the Lys and then to the Aisne. On 8 August a combined Canadian, Australian and British assault towards the town of Villers Bretonneux broke the will of the Germans, and on 21 August 1918 the Allies launched a massive assault all along the Western Front, driving towards the Hindenburg Line over the coming weeks. By 3 September the Guards had reached Lagnicourt, and took part in a series of minor offensives over the coming days. On 11 September 1918 the Welsh Guards moved into the front line at Boursies and began consolidating their gains. John was among a wiring party sent out to lay barbed wire in No Man’s Land that day, when he was killed, together with three other men. The 21-year-old is buried in Moeuvres Communal Cemetery Extension, France.

Meredydd Cledwyn Morgan, Private, 53265, Cheshire Regiment. Meredith was born at Abertridwr in 1899, the son of John and Winifred Morgan. His mother died when he was young, so his father sent Meredydd to live with his uncle, John Morgan, at Ty Hamon, Carno. Meredydd enlisted into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Newtown on 27 July 1916, and was initially placed on the Army Reserve. On 17 July 1917 he was mobilised, and joined the 59th Training Reserve Battalion at Kinmel Park. Three weeks later he was posted to the 58th Training Reserve Battalion at Aldeburgh, Suffolk. On 27 March 1918 Meredydd embarked for France to join the 6th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, but upon arrival was transferred to the 9th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. The battalion was attached to 56 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division, and had suffered terrible casualties following the launching of the German Spring offensive on 21 March 1918, being forced to withdraw from its positions near Moeuvres towards Beugny then Puisieux, where the battered Division was relieved and moved to the Messines sector to rest and rebuild. Meredydd joined the 9th Cheshire’s at Rossignol Camp, where it received news on 9 April that the Germans had launched another offensive, along the Lys, and the Division was rushed forwards, taking part in desperate fighting again over the coming days. Meredydd was posted as missing on 15 April 1918 during heavy fighting at the Kemmel Defensive line. Oddly he was later deemed to have been taken prisoner of war, but that he had been killed at some time between 1 August 1918 and 1 November 1918. The 19-year-old has no known grave and is commemorated on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial, Haucourt, France.

Richard Edward Morgan, Private, 203679, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Richard was the son of Richard and Jane Morgan, of Bryn Eithin, Carno. He worked as a Bailiff prior to enlisting into the 4th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Machynlleth on 18 November 1916, and was posted to Park Hall Camp, Oswestry for training. On 14 April 1917 Richard contracted tonsilitis and was hospitalised at Oswestry for a short while. After recovering, he embarked for France on 20 July 1917, joining No 5 Infantry Base Depot at Rouen, and on 5 August 1917 was posted to Ypres to join the 15th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division had just suffered heavy casualties during the capture of the Pilckem Ridge on 31 July 1917, as part of the opening offensive of the Battle of Passchendaele. Richard joined the battalion in a rest camp at Proven on 13 August. On 27 August the battalion moved back into the line at Candle Trench, in reserve positions while the Battle of Langemarck raged. In the middle of September, the Division was relieved from the Ypres Salient, and took over positions at Erquinghem-sur-la-Lys, near Armentieres. On 26 September Richard was admitted to the 130th Field Ambulance after being gassed, and was sent to the 54th Casualty Clearing Station before being sent to the 14th General Hospital at Wimereux. Richard was then sent back to England and hospitalised at the Stoke-on-Trent War Hospital on 29 October 1917, suffering from trench fever. After recovering again, he embarked for France for the second time on 17 July 1918, joining No 5 Infantry Base Depot before being posted to the 13th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was by then on the Somme, attached to 113 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division, and joined the battalion on 30 July, while it was preparing for its part in the forthcoming offensive. On 21 August 1918 the 38th Division launched an offensive across the Ancre, as part of the overall Allied offensive, and over the coming days captured Thiepval Ridge, Pozieres, Mametz Wood, before reaching Longueval. Richard had been wounded during the advance towards Longueval, and died of his wounds at the 34th Casualty Clearing Station on 28 August 1918. The 25-year-old is buried in Fienvillers British Cemetery, France.

John Swancott, Bombardier, 68040, Royal Garrison Artillery. John was the son of Edward and Hannah Swancott, of Penrhin, Carno. He was a schoolteacher prior to the war, and by 1911 was lodging at Sydenham Villa, Sydenham Terrace, South Street, Rochford, Essex. John enlisted into the Royal Garrison Artillery at Southend on 8 November 1915, and was posted to Dover. On 22 March 1916 he was promoted to Bombardier and posted to the 119th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. The battery embarked for France on 2 July 1916. John served in France with the battery throughout the rest of the war, but by May 1918 the Battery had the misfortune to have been posted to the Aisne sector, where it became one of the units hit hard when the Germans launched the third phase of their Spring offensive on the Chemin-des-Dames on 27 May 1918. John was posted as wounded and missing 27 May 1918. He was later found to have been taken prisoner and sent to a PoW camp at Bogny, near Mézières, in the Ardennes. He died of sickness following his wounds on 3 October 1918, aged 38 and was buried in Bogny Braux Communal Cemetery. On 8 May 1980 the war graves in Bogny Braux were exhumed, and moved into Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, France.

World War Two, 1939-1945

Emrys George Jones, Private, K/52876, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps. Emrys was born on 8 July 1905, the son of David and Jane Jones, of Hen Siop, Carno. He emigrated to Canada as a young man, and became a farmer and miner, living at Cambie Rooms, Vancouver. Emrys enlisted into the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada at Vancouver on 5 March 1940 and was posted to Toronto before embarking for England at Halifax on 16 July 1940. After disembarkation, Emrys was posted to the 3rd Holding Unit at Camp Bordon. He then transferred to the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, probably due to his age, and qualified as a Storeman before being posted to the 7th Infantry Brigade Company, RCAS. Emrys appears to have been the victim of a hit and run road accident, as his severely injured body was found by the roadside one morning. He was taken to the No 1 Canadian General Hospital at Horsham, where he was treated for his injuries, but died of shock following the amputation of his leg on 1 August 1943. The 38-year-old was buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey.

John Richard Jones, First Radio Officer, Merchant Navy. John was born at Aberfan in 1910, the son of Richard Jones and Helena Annie Jones (nee Davies). A year later the family had moved to Bank House, Carno. John enlisted into the Merchant Navy and was posted aboard the Motor Tanker M.V. Edwy R. Brown. On 17 February 1941, the Edy R. Brown was sailing from Halifax for Liverpool in Convoy HX-107, when she began to straggle from the Convoy in bad weather, southeast of Iceland. The lone ship was sighted and torpedoed by the German submarine U-103, but initially escaped, before being hit again and set alight. The crew abandoned ship in two lifeboats, while the Germans finished off the stricken tanker. Sadly, the entire crew of 50 men were lost. John was 31-years-old when he died on 18 February 1941. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.

John Evans Jones. John cannot presently be identified.

Leonard Maldwyn Lewis, Flight Sergeant, 1653266, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Leonard was born on 17 December 1923, the son of Richard Albert Lewis and Mary Elizabeth Lewis (nee Evans), of 1, Bank House, Carno. He enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and after training as a Wireless Operator, was posted to 14 Squadron, RAF. The squadron moved to Egypt after the outbreak of war, equipped with the Vickers Wellesley bomber., and took part in missions against the Italian forces before re-equipping with the Bristol Blenheim. The squadron continued its operations against the Italians and Germans over the Western Desert with its new aircraft and in August 1942 converted to the Martin Marauder and later supported the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy. In September 1944 the squadron transferred back to England and moved to RAF Chivenor, carrying out anti-submarine flights over the Western Approaches and the Bay of Biscay using Vickers Wellington Mk.XIVs. On 24 January 1945, Leonard took off from Chivenor flying Wellington XIV, Serial MF450 on a night exercise. At some time afterwards the aircraft hit the sea, killing five of her crew of six men. Leonard’s body was one of two which were recovered from the sea afterwards. The remains of the 21-year-old were brought home for burial in Machynlleth Nonconformist Cemetery.