Rhulen, or Rhiwlen, is a hamlet which lies five miles to the east of Builth Wells, in the county of Radnorshire, some three miles north-east of Aberedw. Within the hamlet is the small Church of St. David’s, inside of which are two war memorials, a wooden one which commemorates the parishioners who served during the Great War, and a marble one which commemorates the two parishioners who fell.

The Great War, 1914-1918

Albert Havard, Private, 425559, Canadian Infantry. Albert was born on 18 June 1889, the son of John and Sarah Havard, of Rhulen. He emigrated to Canada just prior to the war, sailing from Liverpool on 15 April 1914 aboard the SS Virginian, and found work as a Horseman. Albert enlisted into the 45th Overseas Battalion, Canadian Infantry at Carman, Manitoba on 30 September 1915. The unit sailed for England on 13 March 1916, and moved to Salisbury Plain. On 24 May 1916 Albert embarked for France, and was posted to the 52nd Battalion, Canadian Infantry, which was attached to the 9th Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division at Hill 62, in the Ypres Salient. The Canadians had endured heavy fighting in this area during the spring of 1916 and during June 1916 saw further heavy fighting during the Battle of Mount Sorrel. On 21 August the 3rd Canadian Division began to move south with the Canadian Corps to the Somme sector, to take part in the great Somme offensive. The Canadians took over the line near Mouquet Farm from the Australians, before taking part in heavy fighting over the remainder of the Battle of the Somme, especially at Regina Trench and Courcelette. Following further fighting during the Battle of the Ancre Heights, on 12 October the Canadians began to withdraw from the Somme, moving north to take over positions at Maroeuil, in the Arras Sector. On 6 December 1916, the 52nd Battalion carried out a trench raid against the Germans opposite their positions, and after blowing gaps in the enemy wire, with Bangalore Torpedoes, successfully entered the German front line, which incorporated the Paris Group of craters. A large number of Germans were killed, and several deep dugouts were bombed, before the raiding party withdrew with four prisoners. Albert was one of just four casualties suffered during the raid that day, being killed in No Man’s Land whilst the party was returning to their own lines. His body was recovered on the following day, and the 27-year-old was buried in Maroeuil British Cemetery, France.

William Thomas Jukes, Driver, 851294, Royal Field Artillery. William was the son of Charles John Jukes and Mary Ann Jukes (nee Minton), of Cwmfillo, Rhulen. He had served with the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry, a Territorial unit, prior to enlisting into the Royal Field Artillery at Knighton on 22 April 1916. He was posted to No 3 TA Training School before being drafted to France to join the 531st Howitzer Battery on 20 July 1916. On 1 January 1917 William was transferred to the regular Royal Field Artillery, and posted to D Battery, 241st Brigade, RFA. William came home on leave on 24 March 1918 and married Evelyn May Mason at Llanelwedd Church on 4 April 1918, three days before returning to France. Upon his return to the front, he moved to Italy with his Brigade. William took ill just a month before the Armistice, and died of pneumonia at the 39th Casualty Clearing Station on 17 October 1918, aged 22. He is buried in Montecchio Precalcino Communal Cemetery Extension, Italy. His widow, Evelyn, died in 1920, aged just 20.

They Also Served

John Henry Davies, Gunner, Royal Field Artillery (Fronshaw, Rhulen)

Thomas Davies, Trooper, Canadian Corps (Noyadd, Rhulen)

Evan Rees Pugh, Rifleman. Monmouthshire Regiment (Gilfach, Rhulen)

William Price, Private, Royal Field Artillery (Bailey, Rhulen)