Llanfihangel-Helygen is a parish situated some two and a half miles north of Llandrindod Wells, in the ancient county of Radnorshire, a mile south of the main A44 road from Rhayader to Cefnllys. Within the Parish is the simply built St. Michael’s Church, which dates from the 17th Century. Within the Church is a simple family memorial, to the sole Parishioner who fell during the Great War.
The Great War, 1914-1918
John Garnet Gordon Davies, Private, 33767, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry. John was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Davies, of Busnant Farm, Nantmel, Radnorshire. He enlisted at Llandrindod Wells into the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry at some time in 1916 and after completing his training, was posted to the 7th Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, which was attached to 76 Brigade, 3rd Division. John had probably been in France early enough to take part in the Divisions actions during the Battle of the Somme, during the summer of 1916. In May 1917 the Division was at Arras, and took part in the First and Second Battles of the Scarpe, the Battle of Arleux and the Third Battle of the Scarpe, where it captured the heavily defended village of Roeux. The Division then moved north to the Ypres Salient, and fought in the Third Battle of Ypres, at the Battle of the Menin Road and the Battle of Polygon Wood. John was invalided home with trench fever around this time, and upon recovering, was posted back out to France in July 1918, re-joining the battalion at Locon, in the Ypres Salient, where it was rebuilding following heavy losses during the German Spring offensive. The Division was relieved by the 19th (Western) Division soon after John arrived, and moved into the back areas for training. On 21 August 1918 the Allies launched a massive offensive along the Western Front, and the 3rd Division, which had moved back into the front line in the Arras sector, launched its opening assault against Courcelles. After a short rest, the 7th KSLI went back into action, assisting in the capture of Lagnicourt on 3 September, where it suffered terrible casualties. At dawn on 27 September 1918 the 7th KSLI took part in the assault on the Canal du Nord, and came under heavy machine-gun and artillery fire, with the Germans also using gas shells. John was killed by machine-gun fire during the assault that morning. The 20-year-old was buried in Lowrie Cemetery, Havrincourt, France on the following day, by a burial party from his battalion.