North Road Baptist Church is located at Great North Road, Milford Haven, and was built in 1878. On Sunday 26 October 1919 a memorial service was held in the Church to commemorate the memory of twenty young men from the families of the church and congregation who had fallen during the Great War. The service culminated in the unveiling of a white marble war memorial upon which are engraved the names of the fallen. An additional plaque, fitted beneath, commemorates three other members of the Church who died after the erection of the memorial, while there is also another memorial in the Church, to Maurice Miller. The photographs of the memorials are courtesy of Catherine Miles.
The Great War, 1914-1918
William Adams, Private, South Lancashire Regiment. William was the son of Levi and Mary Adams, of Milford. He married Eveline Mary Routledge at Neath in 1915 prior to joining the South Lancashire Regiment. He served throughout the remainder of the war before returning home to Milford with his wife and set up home at 1, Marble Hall Road. William died at Milford on 5 April 1922, aged 34. Nothing further is known of him, but he is one of the three additions to the memorial.
Percy Barrett, Private, 2189, Welsh Regiment. Percy had served with the 6th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was the Pioneer Battalion of the 1st Division. He was later posted to the Labour Corps, and his service number changed to 48054. Very little information can presently be traced about Percy, but he was killed in action on the Somme on 2 June 1918, and is buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery, France.
Charles Clarke, Second Hand, 206SA, Royal Naval Reserve. Charles was born on 16 March 1893, the son of John Thomas Clarke and Elizabeth Clarke, of 20, Dartmouth Street, Milford. He married Lizzie Ann George prior to the war, and when he was called to the colours, moved the family to McKinley (Grocer), Main Street, Buncrana, Ireland. He served as Second Hand aboard H.M. Trawler Corientes, which had been requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1915, and was fitted with a 6 pounder gun before entering service as a minesweeper. On 23 June 1917, she was patrolling off Malin Head, Ireland, when she struck a mine, and sank with all hands. Charles was one of the men lost aboard her, and he is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
Frederick Davies, Private, 39740, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Frederick was the son of George Lorne and Mary Davies, of 9, St. Peter’s Road, Milford Haven. He was a fireman with the GWR prior to the war, and enlisted at Milford into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 24 January 1916. On 9 July 1916 Frederick landed in France and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which had been in France since the outbreak of war. By the time that Frederick joined the battalion, they had fought throughout the Battle of Loos and the opening of the Somme Battles, and had become attached to 19 Brigade, 33rd Division. Frederick then fought with the battalion at the Battle of the Menin Road and at Polygon Wood, during Third Ypres, and this is where he was killed on 30 November 1917, aged 22. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.
George Samuel Dunn, DSM, Chief Engineman, 92ES, Royal Naval Reserve. George was born at Bristol on 16 October 1882. He married Caroline Stewart, of 12, Brooke Avenue, Milford Haven, in 1904. George served aboard HM Drifter Silvery Harvest. George had been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the notification of which appeared in the London Gazette of 5 April 1918. Sadly George was drowned soon after, when Silvery Harvest was lost in a collision off Berry Head on 16 May 1918. He was 35 years old, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
John Evans Edwards, Private, 278199, Royal Air Force. John was the son of Benjamin and Mary Edwards of Milford, and the husband of Gertrude E. Edwards, of 88, Portfield, Haverfordwest. He had worked as assistant master at North Road Council School for several years before taking up a post at Wilmes Road, Hackney, where he had worked for nine years. He enlisted into the army, before being drafted into the Royal Air Force, and was based at the Armament School at Uxbridge where he was studying for a Cadet Mastership. He became ill at Uxbridge, and died of influenza on 22 October 1918. John was 35 years old, and is buried at Milford Haven Cemetery.
George Arthur Evans, Private, 49583, Welsh Regiment. George was born in 1893, the son of Fanny Evans, of 50, Waterloo Road, Hakin, Milford Haven. He enlisted into the 3rd Battalion, Welsh Regiment and served at the Depot in Cardiff before becoming ill. He was discharged as medically unfit on 11 December 1915 and returned to Milford. He married after being discharged, and lived with his wife, Elinor, at St Lawrence Cottage, Hubberston Hill, Milford Haven. George died of tuberculosis on 18 March 1921, aged 28. His case has recently been forwarded to the CWGC as a result of my research, and I am awaiting a decision from them.
Edward Hoggins, Private, 7180, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. Edward was born in Staffordshire in 1885, the son of John and Jane Hoggins. He was an army reservist, who had retired from the army, and resided with his wife Rachel Ellen Hoggins, at 4, Castle Terrace, Milford Haven, where he played for the town football team. Edward was recalled to the colours at the outbreak of war, and served with the 1st Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, which was attached to 16 Brigade, 6th Division. On 10 September 1914 the Division landed at St Nazaire and proceeded to the Western Front, and arrived in time to reinforce the hard-pressed BEF on the Aisne, before the whole army was moved north into Flanders. Edward was killed soon after, on 24 October 1914. He was 29 years old, and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium. He was the first casualty from Milford during the war.
George Robert Hooper, Lance Corporal, 150909, Royal Engineers. George was the son of Richard Henry Hooper and Mary Jane Hooper, of Plymouth. He had moved to Milford to work as a fish buyer, and married Kate West in 1908. The couple resided at 7, Warwick Road, Milford Haven. George had served with the 1st Volunteer Company, Welsh Regiment for several years, and enlisted at Milford into the Inland Water Transport Company of the Royal Engineers, probably due to his experience working at Milford Docks. He was posted to France on 27 April 1916, where he worked at Dunkirk docks. George is recorded as having died of wounds at Dunkirk on 3 September 1917 after having been struck in the head by shrapnel during bombing of Dunkirk. He was 29 years old, and is buried at Dunkirk Town Cemetery, France.
Jack John, Private, 68123, Cheshire Regiment. Jack was the son of Henry and Mary Ann John, of 8, Greville Road, Milford. He enlisted there on 18 March 1918 into the Welsh Regiment. After training he was posted to the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, which was attached to 15 Brigade, 5th Division. On 14 August 1918 Jack landed in France, joining his new battalion, which was in Reserve. Two weeks later the battalion began its part in the great offensive which forced the German Army into retreat, fighting through Albert (back on the old and devastated Somme ground of 1916), to Irles, and Beugny. Jack was killed during the advance, in the attack on the Canal du Nord, on 27 September 1918, aged 19. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Vis-En-Artois Memorial, France.
William George John, Gunner, Royal Garrison Artillery. William was the son of William John, 3, Marble Hall, Milford Haven. He served with the 1st Pembroke Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. Very little is presently known of William’s service, but he was possibly discharged from the army on 9 May 1916 due to sickness. He died at Milford on 9 October 1918, aged 26. He is not commemorated by the CWGC, so little else is currently known of him.
Charles Benjamin Lake, Second Hand, 602DA, Royal Naval Reserve. Charles was born on 22 October 1883, the son of John and Mary Lake, of Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, and the husband of Lilly Lake, of 54, Gipsy Road West Norwood, London. His family resided at 11, George Street, Milford. He served as Second Hand aboard HM Trawler Apley, and was killed when she struck a mine off Worthing on 6 December 1917. Charles was 34 years old, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
Clifford Mathias, Private, 14374, Welsh Regiment. Clifford was the son of Jonathan and Emma Jane Mathias, of 9, Murray Road, Pill, Milford Haven. He was one of a large group of local men who enlisted at Milford into the 9th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. The party had been given leave in July 1915 to return home, and were awarded a warm send off before embarking for France as part of 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division between 11 and 21 July 1915, and moved to positions near Loos. The Division fought during the opening attack of the Battle of Loos, and then moved to the Somme, where they took part in the second wave of the attack on Ovillers-La Boiselle on 1 July, capturing the village at heavy cost. Clifford was wounded during the fighting at Ovillers on 7 July 1916, and whilst being bandaged was shot by a sniper and killed. He was 20 years old, and was buried on the battlefield by his comrades, but his grave was lost during further fighting, and he is now commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. He is also commemorated on his parent’s gravestone at Milford Haven Cemetery. His brother Frederick also fell.
Frederick James Mathias, Second Hand, 1882SA, Royal Naval Reserve. Frederick was born on 3 August 1890, the son of Jonathan and Emma Jane Mathias, of 9, Murray Road, Pill, Milford Haven. He was the husband of Alice Mathias, of Lliswerry, Newport, Monmouth (late of 1, Vicary Street, Pill). He served aboard HM Drifter Active III, and was killed when she struck a mine off Milford Haven on 15 October 1917. Frederick was 27 years old and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. His brother Clifford also fell.
James Hubert Mathias, Private, 14326, Welsh Regiment. James was the son of Arthur and Martha Maria Mathias, of 7, Greville Road, Milford Haven. He enlisted at Milford into the army, and joined the 11th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, known as the Cardiff Pals, attached to 67 Brigade, 22nd Division (the same battalion as Stokey Lewis, the famous Milford VC winner). The Division crossed to France in early September 1915, with all units being concentrated near Flesselles by 9 September, but on 27 October 1915 the Division, having been moved by train to Marseilles, embarked for Salonika. The division remained there for the duration of the war, and fought several large scale battles against Germany’s Bulgarian allies. James became ill with malaria in Salonika, and returned home on leave. Sadly he contracted pneumonia on the day of his arrival back at Milford, and died on 26 June 1918. He was 31 years old, and is buried at Milford Haven Cemetery.
John Mathias, Sergeant, 45, Royal Garrison Artillery. John was the husband of Mary Mathias, of 175, Robert Street, Milford Haven. He had been a member of the local 1st Volunteer Company, Welch Regiment for many years, prior to enlisting into the Pembroke Company, Royal Garrison Artillery. John remained on home defence duties at Chapel Bay Fort, Milford. He had suffered for several months from stomach problems, but stuck to his duties at Chapel Bay Fort until an X-Ray showed that his complaint was serious. He died on 18 November 1915, aged 41, and was buried with full military honours at Milford Haven Cemetery.
Maurice Miller, Gunner, 371383, Royal Garrison Artillery. Maurice was the son of George and Mary Ellen Miller, of 90, Charles Street, Milford Haven. He enlisted at Milford into the Royal Garrison Artillery, and joined their newly formed 68th Siege Battery. The Battery moved to France in March 1916, and fought through the Somme offensive, and early in 1917 followed the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line. By early April 1917 the battery was near Boisleux Au Mont, in readiness to support the British assault during the Battle of Arras. The battery moved to positions in a sunken road near Henin Sur Cojeul on the night of 26 April where it launched its artillery bombardment on the German lines. It was here that Maurice was killed on 30 April 1917. He was 21 years old, and is buried at Ste. Catherine British Cemetery, France.
William Henry Miners, Skipper, 101SA, Royal Naval Reserve. William was born in Cornwall in 1882, the son of William and Alice Miners. He had lived at Milford for many years prior to the war, working as a fisherman, and had married Caroline Edwards in 1908, residing with his wife at 2, Marble Hall, Milford Haven. He served in the Merchant Fleet, but was attached to the Royal Naval Reserve, as Skipper aboard HM Trawler Norman II, which was taken over by the Admiralty in 1915 for use as a Minesweeper. William died at Stonehouse Naval Hospital, Plymouth on 18 April 1918, aged 35. It is unknown if it was as a result of active service, and is buried at Ford Park Cemetery, Devon.
William Edward Sweeney, Private, 14758, Machine Gun Corps. William was the son of Thomas and Edith Sweeney, of Marble Hall Terrace, Hakin. He married in 1907 and lived with his wife Eveline Sweeney at 56, Cambrian Road, Neyland. William had worked as a fish packer at Milford, Swansea and at Neyland prior to the war, prior to enlisting into the Yorkshire Regiment. He had served overseas with the Machine Gun Corps, but had been gassed at Loos in September 1915, returning home for hospital treatment, and spent several months in hospital. He was discharged from the army in December 1916 and returned home, but was bed ridden for the rest of his short life. William died at Milford as a result of being gassed on 10 April 1917, aged 31. He was buried with full military honours at Milford Haven Cemetery.
Ernald Clifford Thomas, Private, 74241, Notts & Derby (Sherwood Foresters). Ernald was the son of Henry and Elizabeth Ann Thomas, of 48, Demsland Street, Milford Haven. He originally enlisted into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, before being transferred to the 10th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters and saw action in France. He returned home to Milford after the war and died on 12 March 1921, aged 21. Nothing further is known of him, but he is one of the three additions to the memorial.
Albert George Wiles, Trimmer Cook, 4773TS, Royal Naval Reserve. Albert was born on 24 June 1897, the son of George Criton Wiles and Gertrude Wiles, of 4, Warwick Road, Milford Haven. He served as Trimmer Cook aboard HM Trawler Lord Airedale. Albert lost his life when Lord Airedale struck a mine and sunk off Harwich on 29 November 1916. He was 19 years old, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. His brother Wilfred also fell.
Wilfred John Wiles, Private, 41796, South Wales Borderers. Wilfred was the son of George Criton Wiles and Gertrude Wiles, of 4, Warwick Road, Milford Haven. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the Training Reserve. Wilfred was posted to France, probably early in 1918, joining the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which was attached to 87 Brigade, 29th Division. The German Spring Offensive hit the British on the Somme on 21 March 1918, and hit in Flanders just weeks later. The 29th Division fought at the desperate defensive battles of Estaires, Messines, Bailleul and Kemmel, before the war turned in favour of the Allies after a series of successes on the Somme in August. The Division then took part in the Offensive in Flanders, where they took part in the Action of Outtersteene Ridge, and then at the Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Courtrai. Wilfred was wounded by gunfire in both thighs during the final stages of the war. He died of his wounds on 8 October 1918, aged 19 and is buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille, France. His brother Albert also fell.
John Williams, Private, 26566, Royal Fusiliers. John was born at Abercastle, Mathry in 1892. For several years prior to the war he had resided with his Uncle and Aunt, Lori and Mary Adams, at 3, Coombs, Milford Haven, and had worked as a fish merchant. Despite his attempts to remain at home to run his own fish merchant business, John’s appeal was refused in March 1916, and after training he was posted to the 8th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, which was attached to 36 Brigade, 12th (Eastern) Division. He joined the battalion in the summer of 1916. By June the 12th Division was in position at the Somme, and attacked Ovillers on 2 July. It fought in the Battle of Pozieres at the end of July, and in the later Battle of Le Transloy, which is where John was badly wounded. He was evacuated to the military hospital at Boulogne for treatment, but sadly died of his wounds there on 7 October 1916, aged 24. John is buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France.