Wolfscastle is a village located about 7½ miles north of Haverfordwest, and lies along the A40 road to Fishguard. The men of the area who fell during both world wars are commemorated on a granite memorial which is situated in St. Margaret’s Churchyard at Ford. There is another war memorial locally at Hayscastle, which commemorates the same men. Also in Wolfscastle, affixed to the school, is a memorial dedicated to the two men of the village who fell during WW2. These men are all commemorated below. Photographs of the memorials were kindly sent in by Dai Phillips.
The Great War, 1914-1918
David Edward Court, Private, 389355, Labour Corps. David was the son of James and Ann Court, of Ffynnon Ddewi, Wolfscastle. He originally enlisted into the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry on 19 February 1916 and on 26 October that year landed in Salonika. By June 1917 his health had begun to break down and he spent several spells in hospital after contracting malaria. He was subsequently transferred to the 90th Company, Labour Corps and was still serving by the time the Armistice was signed. David returned home after demobilisation, but his health had now gone and he died of malaria on 22 March 1921, aged 24. He is not commemorated by the CWGC, so further details are presently unknown. As far as is known, he is not commemorated on any local memorial.
Ebenezer George Griffiths, Driver, DM2/165522, Royal Army Service Corps. Ebenezer was the son of John and Mary Griffiths, of Ambleston. He worked as a Drapers salesman prior to the war, and married Florence Mary, of Castlefields, Devonshire Road, Hornchurch, Essex. Ebenezer served as an M.T. driver with the Army Service Corps, and was posted to France attached to 281 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. He died in France after the armistice, on 1 March 1919, aged 29, and is buried in Charleroi Communal Cemetery, Belgium. His parents are buried in Wolfscastle, but Ebenezer does not appear to be commemorated locally.
Herbert William Hatton, Private, 26714, Gloucestershire Regiment. Herbert was the son of William and Amelia Hatton, of Newnham, Forest of Dean. He resided at Rose Cottage, Hayscastle prior to the war, and enlisted back in Gloucestershire into the 10th (Service) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment. The battalion was attached to 1 Brigade, 1st Division, and had been in France since the outbreak of war. Herbert joined the battalion in France in 1916, in time to take part in the Battle of the Somme. He was killed on the Somme on 20 July 1916, aged 26, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
Thomas James John, Private, 36054, Welsh Regiment. (Shown on the memorial as William John) Thomas was the son of James and Mary John, of Pontyrhafod, Hayscastle. He enlisted at Ferndale into the South Wales Borderers, but was transferred into the 1st Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was in France attached to 84 Brigade, 28th Division. Thomas landed in France on 5 May 1915, joining the battalion at Festubert. Thomas fought at the Battle of Aubers Ridge within days of joining the battalion. He survived the main battle, but was killed on 25 May 1915, when the 1st Welsh were in the trenches at Festubert. Thomas was 24 years old, and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.
James Hartley Jones, Private, 54162, Welsh Regiment. James was the son of Dan Jones (Weaver) and Annie Jones, of Martell Factory, Letterston. He married Amy Anna Lewis, of Ambleston in 1910, and the couple lived at Wallis, Treffgarne. James enlisted at Woodstock with his brother in law David Lewis into the 4th Welsh, and was posted to France late in 1916 among a batch of reinforcements for the 38th (Welsh) Division. James was posted to the 13th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which had suffered heavy casualties at Mametz Wood with 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The division moved to Hébuterne at after its withdrawal from Mametz, before spending a month training in Northern France, and in August moved into positions along the canal bank north of Ypres, near Boesinghe. The division spent the following month’s trench building and carrying out raids against the German lines, and on 31 July 1917 launched its famous assault on the Pilckem Ridge. James survived the fierce fighting to capture the ridge, but was badly wounded during the Battle of Langemarck, on died on 6 August 1917, aged 30. He is buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium. His widow Amy’s brother, David, was killed on 30 April 1917. His parents are buried in Wolfscastle, but James does not appear to be commemorated locally.
Levi Lamb, Private, 54408, Welsh Regiment. Levi was born at Letterston, the son of James and Mary Lamb. He enlisted at Carmarthen into the Pembroke Yeomanry, and was posted to France late in 1916, where he joined the 16th Battalion (Cardiff City), Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 115 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division moved to positions at Boesinghe, north of Ypres, in the summer of 1916, after taking part in the capture of Mametz Wood in July. They remained at Boesinghe, until launching their attack on the Pilckem Ridge on 31 July 1917. The 16th Welsh took part in an abortive attack on Eagle Trench, Langemarck on 27 August 1917, and it was during this attack that Levi was killed. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.
Thomas William Owen, Able Seaman, R/3391, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Thomas was born in February 1891, the son of Watts and Martha Owen, of Bill Cottage, Wolfscastle. Thomas enlisted into the Pembroke Yeomanry on 18 November 1916, and eight months later was posted to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, for service with the Royal Naval Division. He was among a draft of men sent to France on 6 August 1917, and was posted to Hawke Battalion, Royal Naval Division. Thomas saw his first major action during the Second Battle of Passchendaele. Thomas was evacuated from Ypres suffering from shellshock soon after, the trauma of that terrible battle being too much for him to bear. He rejoined the battalion a week later. The divisions next major action was at Cambrai, during the Action of Welch Ridge. Thomas then became ill, and was hospitalised from 19 October, returning to Britain for a short spell of recuperation. On 22 April 1918 he rejoined the battalion, which had seen heavy fighting during the German Spring Offensive the preceding month. In August, the Division took part in the Battle of Albert, which marked the beginning of the great offensive which was to end the war. They then fought at the Battle of Drocourt-Queant, the Battle of the Canal du Nord and the Battle of Cambrai, before forcing the Passage of the Grand Honelle. Thomas was killed in action here on 8 October 1918. He was 28 years old, and is commemorated on the Vis-En-Artois Memorial, France.
John Rees, Private, 33509, Devonshire Regiment. John was the son of Thomas and Mary Rees, of Lordship Farm, Wolfcastle. He enlisted at Haverfordwest into the army, and after a spell with the Gloucester Regiment, was posted to the 8th (Service) Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, which was attached to 20 Brigade, 7th Division. In the summer of 1916, the Division was on the Somme, and took part in the Battle of Albert, where they captured Mametz, one of the few successes of 1 July 1916. It then fought at the Battle of Bazentin, and the attacks on High Wood, becoming the first troops into High Wood. The Division then took part in the Battle of Delville Wood, and the Battle of Guillemont, before spending the winter on the Ancre. In March 1917 they followed up the German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and took part in the Battle of Bullecourt. John was killed at Bullecourt on 15 June 1917. He was 22 years old, and is buried at Ecoust Military Cemetery, Ecoust-St. Mein, France.
Sidney James Reynish, Private, 33510, Devonshire Regiment. Sidney was the son of James and Lettice Reynish, of Hayscastle. He enlisted at Haverfordwest into the 10th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. The Battalion had formed at Exeter on 25 September 1914, and moved to Stockton Camp, Salisbury Plain in 79 Brigade, 26th Division. In November 1914 it moved to billets at Bath, and in April 1915 to Sutton Veny. On 23 September 1915 the Division landed at Boulogne, but in November 1915 they were on the move again, to Salonika. On 26 December 1915 units began to move from Lembet to Happy Valley Camp, and all units were in place there by 8 February. The Division then took part in the Battle of Horseshoe Hill, during August 1916, and the Battle of Doiran during April and May 1917. Sidney was killed in action just before the Second Battle of Doiran, on 4 September 1916, aged 25. Sidney has no known grave, and is remembered on the Doiran Memorial, Salonika.
World War Two, 1939-1945
William Lloyd Lewis, Gunner, 912695, Royal Artillery. William was born in 1913, the son of John Lewis and Jane Lewis (nee Bushell), of Wood’s End, Spittal. He served with the Royal Artillery, as a gunner, and was attached to the 1/1 Maritime Regiment. He was posted aboard the Norwegian Merchant Steamer S.S. Blink as a gunner. During the afternoon of 10 February 1942, Blink was steaming in the Atlantic after having left Charleston with a cargo of phosphate, bound for Ipswich via Halifax, Nova Scotia, when she was attacked by the German submarine U-108, which fired two torpedoes at her. One failed to explode, while the second missed, so Blink steamed on, hoping to reach safety. The Germans hunted Blink during the remainder of the night and early the following morning managed to hit her with a torpedo, which failed to explode. The Germans quickly fired a second torpedo which exploded by the engine room, causing Blink to sink. Several members of the crew managed to escape on a lifeboat, but William, another gunner, and twenty two of her crew, were killed. William was 28 years old when he died during the sinking of Blink and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.
Ronald Miles, Engineer II, 1651815, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Ronald was born at Trerhos, Wolfscastle on 7 December 1922, the son of David Thomas Miles, and Mary Jane Miles (nee Nicholas). He had worked for Barclays Bank prior to enlisting into the Royal Air Force. Ronald married Verena May Taylor, of Newton Abbot, Devon, in 1944. Ronald continued to serve with 202 Squadron, Royal Air Force after the war. On 18 April 1947 Ronald was a crewman aboard a Handley Page Halifax, on a meteorological flight off the Shetlands when the aircraft crashed into the sea, killing all of the crew of nine. Ronald was 24 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Ronald does not seem to be commemorated locally.
Lloyd George Morris, Flight Sergeant, 628708, Royal Air Force. Lloyd was born in 1914, the son of Dan and Sarah Ann Morris, of Scolock East, Clarbeston Road. He joined the Royal Air Force, and trained as a Wireless Operator, before being posted to RAF Pocklington, in Yorkshire. Lloyd married Elsie Irene Aylett at Pocklington in 1941. On 10 April 1941, Lloyd took off from England aboard an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, Serial T4165, which was on a secret mission to drop a team of Polish saboteurs in occupied Europe. The aircraft developed problems whilst flying over France, and turned back. It crashed at Tangmere early in the morning of 11 April 1941, killing Lloyd and two other crewmen. He was 28 years old, and is buried in Middleton-on-the-Wolds Church Cemetery. He is commemorated on his parent’s grave at Wolfscastle.
Peter Argent Saunders, Lieutenant, 217639, Army Air Corps. Peter was the son of Edward Argent Saunders of 1, Apley Terrace, Pembroke Dock, and was educated at Pembroke Dock County School. His Grandparents Dr Edward Saunders and Louisa Gertude Saunders lived at Ford, and Peter was a regular visitor to the village. Peter was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade on 15 November 1941, and on 3 January 1943 volunteered to serve with the Army Air Corps, joining D Company, 10th Battalion, Parachute Regiment. He saw his first action during the Italian Campaign in 1943, when he was Mentioned in Despatches for his bravery. He returned to Britain prior to the invasion of Normandy, and took part in Operation Market Garden in September 1944, landing with his battalion at Arnhem on 17 September 1944, in command of D Company. Peter was killed in action during a heavy German attack at Oosterbeek on 22 September 1944, aged 24, and is buried at Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Netherlands. Peter is commemorated on a wooden panel inside Ford Church.
John Lloyd Thomas, Deck Boy, Merchant Navy. John was the son of William and Mary Annie Thomas of Wolfscastle. He served as a Deck Boy aboard the M.V. Mary Slessor, a Liverpool registered motor vessel. On 7 February 1943 she struck a mine which had been laid by the German submarine U-118 and sank with all hands. John was 17 years old when he died that day and is commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.