The village of Llawhaden occupies a prominent position between the towns of Narberth and Haverfordwest, in the heart of Pembrokeshire. The village was an important medieval settlement, lying on the Landsker Line, the ancient fortified border, which separated the Welsh speaking north from the English speaking south of the county. Llawhaden is dominated by the remains of Llawhaden Castle which dates back to the 12th Century. The parish church of St Aidan is situated below the village beside the river Cleddau. The War Memorial to the fallen of the Great War is located inside St. Aidan’s Church, and takes the form of an illuminated scroll, which also contains the names of those from the Parish who served and returned safely.

The Great War, 1914-1918

Albert Butler, Private, 38373, Welsh Regiment. Albert was born at Stepney Green, Middlesex in 1889, and had moved to Llawhaden prior to the outbreak of war. Albert married Emma Allen at Llawhaden in the summer of 1901, and the young couple set up home at Tynewydd, Penffordd. Albert enlisted at Haverfordwest into the 9th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. The Battalion had formed at Cardiff in August 1914 and were attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. The Division moved to France in July 1915, and moved to an area North of Loos, near Festubert, where the division was initiated into trench warfare. On 25 September 1915, the 19th Division was tasked with a diversionary attack near Festubert, in an attempt to divert German attention to the main assault at Loos. Albert was Killed in Action here, on 25 September 1915, and is buried at Brown’s Road Military Cemetery, Festubert.

Thomas Maurice Davies, Sergeant, 6017, Welsh Regiment. Thomas was born on 23 October 1879, at Penffordd, Bletherston. Thomas worked at Narberth Post Office prior to 1898, and served with the 1st Volunteer Battalion, Welsh Regiment. In 1899 the Battalion was sent to South Africa to fight in the Boer War. Thomas was awarded the QSA and KSA for his time in South Africa, and moved to India with the 2nd Welsh in 1902, not returning to Wales until 1905. In 1908 he married Elizabeth Morgan of Tenby, and resided at Lodge Gate, New Hedges, Tenby, with Thomas working there as a Postman. Thomas re-enlisted at Pembroke Dock at the outbreak of WW1, into the 8th Battalion, the Welsh Regiment, which were part of 40 Brigade, 13th (Western) Division. In January 1915 the Battalion became the Divisional Pioneers, and in June, 1915 the Division embarked for the Mediterranean, and from there to Gallipoli via Mudros, landing at ANZAC Cove between 3 and 5 August 1915. On Gallipoli, the Division fought in the Battles of Sari Bair, Russell’s Top and Hill 60, before moving to Suvla Bay, from where they were evacuated in January, 1916. After being moved to Egypt, the Division was sent to Mesopotamia, as part of a force to relieve the Siege of Kut el Amara. Thomas was Killed in Action here, at Abu Romans Mound, near Sannyiat, Mesopotamia, aged 36, on 23 April 1916. He has no known grave, and so is remembered on the Basra Memorial, Iraq. Thomas does not appear to be commemorated locally. Many thanks to Thomas’s grandson, Graham Davies for the extra details on Thomas.

Wilfrid St. Martin Gibbon, Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. Wilfrid was born in Glasbury, Brecon in 1889, the son of Reverend Hugh Harries Gibbon and Esther Gibbon (nee Roberts). His father was from Llawhaden and was widowed when Esther died in 1909. Wilfrid had been educated at Christ College, Brecon before working for the National and Provincial Bank. He enlisted soon after the outbreak of war and was granted a commission into the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment in November 1914. Whilst on leave some months later he married Marjorie Isobel Forester at Formby on 1 May 1915. Wilfrid remained on home service for much of the war until being posted to India. The climate did not agree with him and he suffered three bouts of malaria before dying of enteric fever at Nowshera on 24 April 1918, aged 28. Wilfrid is buried in Nowshera Military Cemetery and is also commemorated on the Delhi Memorial (India Gate). He is not commemorated locally.

David Griffiths, Private, 20115, Grenadier Guards. David was born in 1880, the son of Thomas and Martha Griffiths, of Pontshawe Mill, Narberth. He worked as a as a coal cleaner at Mountain Ash prior to the war, and married Nora May Heal at Pontypridd in 1907. The couple set up home at Camerton House, High Street, Mountain Ash. David enlisted at Mountain Ash into the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, who landed at Le Havre on 27 July 1915, before becoming attached to the 2nd Guards Brigade, Guards Division. The first test for the Guards was at the Battle of Loos from 25 September 1915 onwards, and after a brief rest period in early 1916, they moved to the Somme, where they fought in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. David was Killed in Action during the battle, at sometime between 14 to 17 September 1916. He was 36 years old, and is buried in Serre Road Cemetery, No. 2, France. The location of his grave was lost, and so he is remembered by a Special Memorial in the Cemetery.

John William James, Sapper, 7278, Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers. John was born in 1885, the son of Anne James, of Gate House, Llawhaden. By 1911 he was living at 25, Brynmawr Place, Maesteg, where he worked as a house painter. He enlisted at Bridgend on 3 December 1914 into the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers.  On 23 March 1915, John was at the Infantry Base Camp at Boulogne, and was posted to the 4th Siege Company, Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers, which was stationed on the French/ Belgian border. On 21 April 1915 John was wounded in action, and evacuated to No 15 Casualty Clearing Station at Bailleul. He died of his wounds there on 28 April 1915, aged 29, and is buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, France.

Richard Jenkins, Private, 201048, Welsh Regiment. Richard was born in 1895, the son of William and Elizabeth Jenkins, of Oak Pack Cottage, Llawhaden. His parents had passed away by the time that Richard enlisted at Llanelli into the 1/4th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. The battalion was a territorial unit, attached to 159 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Division landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, on 9 August 1915, and was immediately thrown into action, spending the next few days in isolated pockets, fighting against a Turkish counter-attack during the Battle of Sari Bair, and then at the Attack on Scimitar Hill. The Division remained here throughout the coming months, and suffered severe losses in manpower strength during the great November 1915 blizzard on Gallipoli, when its total strength was reduced to less than that of a full-strength Brigade. On 11 December 1915 the Division was evacuated to Mudros, and by 23 December 1915 were moved to Egypt. Richard survived the battalion’s time at Gallipoli, and moved to Egypt with them during the withdrawal from Gallipoli. After a year fighting Arab tribesmen in Egypt, the division moved into Palestine. Richard was wounded during the Second Battle of Gaza, and died in hospital in Egypt on 20 April 1917. He was just 21 years old, and is buried at Deir El Belah War Cemetery, Israel.

Peter John, Private, 49052, King’s Liverpool Regiment. Peter was born in 1892, the son of Daniel and Ann John, of Penrhiw, St. Dogmaels. He moved to Llawhaden prior to the outbreak of war, and enlisted at Preston into the Royal Field Artillery, with the service number 136559. Peter then transferred into the 17th Battalion (Liverpool Pals), Kings Liverpool Regiment, which formed part of 89 Brigade, 30th Division. The Battalion was the first ‘Pals’ Battalion to be formed, by Lord Derby, on 29 August 1914 at Prescot. They moved to France during November 1915, and took part in the opening part of the Battle of the Somme, capturing Montauban. They stayed on the Somme for the duration of the battle, and followed up the retreating Germans during the early part of WW1, back toward the Hindenburg Line, before taking part in the opening of the Battle of Arras, fighting around the Scarpe. Peter was killed in Action during the Battle of the Scarpe on 28 April 1917. He was 24 years old, and is buried in a joint grave in Cherisy Road East Cemetery, Heninel.

Jason Peters, Able Seaman, Z/2331, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Jason was born at Llawhaden on 9 September 1892, the son of Thomas and Margaret Peters. The family moved upon the death of Jason’s father to Bethesda Cross, Llawhaden. Jason enlisted at Abertridwr into the Anson Battalion, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, part of 189 Brigade, 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. The Royal Naval Division had been formed at the request of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, making use of the several thousand men of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve who were left without ships to serve on, and were surplus to requirements. They first saw action during the Defence of Antwerp, and were sent to Gallipoli. They saw substantial service here, and by the withdrawal from the Peninsula, very few of the original men with naval service remained. The Division arrived at Marseilles during May 1916, and were used in the Somme offensive, taking part in the Battle of the Ancre, where they made a distinguished name for themselves that was to live with them throughout the war. It was during this Battle that Jason was Killed in Action on 13 November 1916. He was 24 years old, and his body was lost in the now swamp-like Ancre Valley. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, France.

Lewis George Roblin, Second Lieutenant, Northumberland Fusiliers. Lewis was born on 29 December 1898, the son of George Lewis Roblin and Ada Mary Roblin (nee Treadgold). He was educated at Haileybury, before being commissioned into the Northumberland Fusiliers on 20 December 1917, and was posted to their 1st Battalion, which was part of 9 Brigade, 3rd Division. The Division had been in France since the Battle of Mons. Lewis would have joined the Battalion around the time of the Battle of Cambrai, and would have spent the winter of 1917/18 in positions near St. Quentin. On 21 March 1918 the Germans launched their last ditch offensive, and swept through the thinly held British lines at St. Quentin and Bapaume, pushing the Allies back over the old Somme Battlefields. The Division were then moved to Northern France, where they were again hit by a fresh German Offensive in Flanders, pushing the Allies back from Estaires, Hazebrouck and to Bethune. Lewis was Killed in Action during these desperate days, on 5 May 1918. He was just 19 years old, and is remembered on the Loos Memorial, France.

Owen Hird Spear Williams, TD, Lieutenant-Colonel, Pembroke Yeomanry. Owen was born at Haverfordwest in 1862, the son of Griffith Morris Williams and Frances Williams. On 27 June 1899 he married Edith Wilford Williams, and the couple bought their first home together in 1901, Hilton Court, near Roch, Pembrokeshire. Owen was commissioned into the 1st Pembrokeshire Volunteer Company, Welsh Regiment on 23 May 1885. Further promotions followed in the ensuing years, coupled with service in the Boer War with the Imperial Yeomanry, then on 1 October 1912, the Colonel of the Regiment, Sir Ivor Philipps, D.S.O., retired, and Owen was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the Pembroke Yeomanry. (Ivor went on to raise and command the 38th (Welsh) Division until its attack on Mametz Wood in July 1916). When war began, the Pembroke Yeomanry mobilised and entrained for Norfolk, however in October 1914, Owen was injured in an accident in Pembrokeshire, falling out of a window of his house while clearing a gutter, and Lieutenant Colonel C. J. H. Spence-Jones succeeded him in command. Owen died of his injuries on 9 December 1914. He was 52 years old, and was buried with full military honours at Llawhaden (St. Aidan) Churchyard. His widow continued to reside at Ridgeway, Llawhaden.

Other Military Burials at Llawhaden

William Gibbon, Corporal, 86761, Royal Engineers. William was born at Llawhaden in 1882, the son of Morgan Lloyd Gibbon and Frances Gibbon, of Rogershook, Llawhaden. By 1901 he was living at Bolton with his Uncle, James Harries Gibbon, and was studying Architecture. William was practising as an architect at Ammanford when war erupted, and he enlisted into the Royal Engineers, becoming a Lance Corporal with the 148th Company, Royal Engineers. William landed in France on 7 October 1915, and served there for the remainder of the war. After the armistice, William stayed in France, where he worked as an Architect with the then Imperial War Graves Commission. He returned to civilian life, and to the family home at Rogershook, where he died on 26 January 1937, aged 54. William is buried at St. Aidan’s Churchyard, Llawhaden. His sister Florence was later buried with him, and they are both commemorated on the same headstone.

Marcel Donald Louis Anthony Brundle, Squadron Leader, 40460, Royal Air Force. Marcel was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire on 23 September 1915. He joined the Royal Air Force on 2 February 1938, and was graded as a Pilot Officer on 31 October 1938. A year later he was promoted to Flying Officer. He served throughout the Second World War with the Equipment Branch of the RAF, and after the armistice bought a home with his wife at Ridgeway, Llawhaden. On 12 September 1948, Marcel was granted an extension of three years service, retiring with the rank of Squadron Leader. He died at Llawhaden in 1982.

Parishioners Who Served and Survived (Including Local Men not on the Memorial)

James Adams, Private, South Lancashire Regiment, 2nd Battalion. Of Chapel House.

Thomas Adams, Sergeant, Royal Engineers. Of Ivy Cottage, Llawhaden.

William Adams, Driver, 17641, Army Service Corps. Of Priory Cottage, Llawhaden.

Gwynne Beddoe, Private. Of Sangoomb.

Thomas Beddoe, Private. Of Westend.

Edward Brown, Sergeant, 23261, Royal Garrison Artillery, 229th Siege Battery. Of Blackholm, Llawhaden.

W. Brown, Private. Of Gelly.

D. Davies, Corporal, Welsh Regiment. Of Tynewydd.

W. M. Davies, Private, Labour Corps. Of Woodview.

E. Evans, Private, Welsh Regiment, 11th Battalion. Of Church Cottage.

J. H. Evans, Petty Officer, Royal Navy, HMS Active. Of Church Cottage.

A. Feetham, Private. Of West End.

John Edmund Feetham, 26164, Trooper, 19th Hussars. West End.

M. Francis, Private. Of Gelly.

William Gibbon, 86761, Sapper, Royal Engineers, 148th Company. Of Rogershook.

Edward Charles Hill, 52995, Sergeant, Machine Gun Corps, 3rd Battalion. Of Oakfield.

Albert James, Private. Of Gate House.

Gilbert Gladstone James, 313576, Driver, Army Service Corps, 668th Company. Of Penllwyn.

Henry Ewart James,  2133, Private, Guards Machine Gun Company, 4th Battalion. Of Penrallt.

J. H. James, Royal Navy, HMS Impregnable. Of Penrallt.

J. S. James, Private, Army Ordnance Corps. Of Gelly.

J. W. James, Quartermaster Sergeant. Of Penrallt.

John William James, 387278, Sapper, Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers, 4th Siege Company. Of Grondre.

Lloyd G. James, MM, Corporal, Royal Field Artillery. Of Penrallt.

Owen James, Private. Of Bankfarm.

Walter James, 2/3030093, Driver, Army Service Corps (HT). Of Gate House.

Richard Jenkins, 201048, Private, Welsh Regiment, 1/4th Battalion.

T. G. Jenkins, Private. Of Gelly.

D. John, Private. Of Brynsifni.

G. John, Private, Green Corner, Narberth.

Howell John, 60538, Private, Monmouth Regiment, 1st Battalion. Of Green Corner, Narberth.

D. Jones, Private. Of Gelly.

Isaac Jones, Private, Welsh Regiment. Of Talybont Cottage, Narberth.

William Jones, 227001, Rifleman, Monmouth Regiment, 1st Battalion Red House.

Griffith Hughes Lewis, 19775, Private, Army Pay Corps. Of Aelybryn.

Gwilym Henry Lewis, 7624, Private, Guards Machine Gun Regiment. Of Aelybryn

W. Lewis, Private. Of Colbymoor.

W. Mathias, Private. Of Shipping.

Alfred Morgan, Private. Of Cotland.

B. Morgan, Private. Of Vaynor, Clynderwen.

P. Morris, Private, Welsh Regiment. Of Gross Farm.

Hugh Owen, Private. Of Tanyffynon.

Thomas John Owen, 74791, Private, Machine Gun Corps, 74th Battalion. Of Croft Cottage, Llawhaden.

Eustace Payne, 151777, Sergeant, Army Service Corps, M.T. Of Vaynor, Clynderwen.

W. Pike, Private. Of Blackpool.

David John Prickett, 243619, Private, Labour Corps, Agricultural Company. Of Brynderwen, Bethesda.

G. Rees, Sergeant, Royal Garrison Artillery. Of Deborahsend.

James Thomas, 2740, Driver, Army Service Corps, Remount Section.

Jonah Thomas, Petty Officer, Royal Navy. Of Corland Mill.

John Hooper Voyle,  49147, Private, Welsh Regiment, 23rd Battalion Newhouse. Of Clarbeston, Llawhaden.

W. Watkins, Private. Of Gelly.

E. G. Williams, Private, Dorset Regiment, 2nd Battalion. Of Foxen.

George Williams, 2392, Private, Welsh Regiment, 4th Battalion. Of Gelly.

Owen H. S. Williams, T.D., Lieutenant-Colonel, Pembroke Yeomanry. Of Ridgeway.

Richard Williams, 88791, Private, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 3rd Battalion. Of Dancoed, Llawhaden.

T. J. Williams, Private. Of Gelly.

W. Williams, Private, Welsh Guards, 1st Battalion. Of Dancoed, Llawhaden.