Laugharne War Memorial
The Great War, 1914-1918
Arthur Laugharne Allen, Private, 291399, Welsh Regiment. Arthur was born in 1897 at Seaforth, Lancashire, the son of William Arthur and Ellen Allen. He was educated at the Merchant Taylor's School at Liverpool, before the family moved to Gosport House, Laugharne, adding Laugharne as their middle name. Arthur enlisted into the Pembroke Yeomanry, and was posted to the 7th Welsh, before joining the 15th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was in France attached to 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The battalion was known as the Carmarthen Pals, and had been in France since December 1915. The Division had famously captured Mametz Wood during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, and the Pilckem Ridge during the battle of Passchendaele, on 31 July 1917. Arthur probably joined the battalion after they had moved from Ypres to positions at Armentieres. During March 1918, the 15th Welsh was in reserve at The Laundry, Erquinghem. On 6 March they relieved the 13th Welsh in support trenches at Houplines, and over the coming days came under heavy fire from German gas shells. Arthur was killed when his position was shelled on 22 March 1918. He was just 20 years old, and is buried in Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres, France. Arthur's Brother Cyril served as a Private in the Lancashire Hussars, and won the Military Medal for Bravery in the Field in November 1917 whilst attached to the Kings Liverpool Regiment.
Geoffrey Fleetwood Andrews, Second Lieutenant, Royal Garrison Artillery. Geoffrey was born in 13, Bellots Road, Bath on 24 November 1898, the son of Albert and Mary Andrews. The family used to spend every summer in Laugharne, staying with Albert's sister, Mrs Robert Bowen, in Duncan Street. Geoffrey enlisted into the RGA on 26 July 1917, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Garrison Artillery on 23 December 1917, being posted to 499 Siege Battery. The Battery had a very short life span; they went out to Western Front on 23 January 1918, equipped with 6 inch guns, and joined the 5th Army on 4 February 1918, moving to the Somme sector. On 16 September 1918, Geoffrey was wounded during the British advance on the Somme. He died that same day at the 5th Casualty Clearing Station, at Proyart. Geoffrey was buried at Heath Cemetery, Harbonniers, France. Geoffrey is not commemorated at Laugharne.
Arthur Edward Bathurst Beresford, Sergeant, 467, Australian Infantry. Arthur was the Son of Joseph Arthur Hamilton and Katherine Gertrude Beresford. His father Joseph had been born at Laugharne in 1862, and had lived at Devonport, before emigrating to Australia, where he joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1897, rising to the rank of Commander, and taking command of the Australian East African fleet at the outbreak of the Great War. Arthur was born at Devonport, and emigrated with his parents to Australia, with his wife Ellen M. Beresford. He enlisted at Melbourne at the outbreak of war into the 9th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Arthur fought at Gallipoli with the 9th Battalion, before being wounded, and evacuated to England for treatment. He was then posted to the 69th Battalion, and promoted Temporary Company Sergeant Major, before rejoining the 9th Battalion in France in February 1918, after a long recovery. Upon arriving in France Arthur was posted to the 26th Battalion as Sergeant, joining the battalion on the Somme. On 26 June, while in dugouts at Frechencourt, Arthur got into an argument with a Lance Corporal, and several hours later a hand grenade exploded in his dugout, severely wounding him. Arthur died at 61 Casualty Clearing Station on 29 June 1918. The perpetrator of the crime was duly court martialled and suffered four years imprisonment. Arthur was 27 years old when he was killed, and he is buried at Vignacourt British Cemetery, France. Arthur is not commemorated at Laugharne.
David Bevan, Private, 40116, Welsh Regiment. David was born around 1881, the son of Wilkin and Jane Bevan of Laugharne, and by 1901 was boarding with Rich Smith, a collier, at Ystradfodwg in the Rhondda, and worked as a Coal Hewer. Also lodging with him was his 23-year-old brother Richard Bevan. David enlisted into the army, and joined the 19th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. The battalion was formed as the Glamorgan Pioneers at Colwyn Bay during February 1915, as Pioneer Battalion to the 43rd (later renumbered the 38th) Welsh Division, and moved to France in December 1915. After a period of trench initiation in the Fleurbaix sector, some men of the 19th Welsh were attached to 255 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers. By May 1916 David was at Laventie, where 255th Tunnelling Company was at work digging mines beneath the German lines. The Battalion War Diary for the 19th Welsh during May 1916 is very sketchy, but during the first week of May, several men were wounded due to German sniper and grenade fire. David was wounded during this period, and died at the 33rd Casualty Clearing Station on 4 May 1916, aged 36.
Henry Lewis Bevan, Private, 5444, Pembroke Yeomanry. Henry was born at Newbridge Road, Laugharne, the Son of William and Sarah Bevan. He married a young widow with four children, Kate Wright, at Tenby Presbyterian Chapel on 11 June 1900, and the couple had another four children, Albert, William, Mollie and Sally, at their home at Frog Street, Tenby. He had served with the Pembroke Yeomanry for four years prior to the Great War, and re-attested on 3 December 1915 at Tenby, aged 40 years, into the 2/1st Pembroke Yeomanry. The battalion was formed as a Second-Line regiment in September 1914, moving to Carmarthen in early 1915, under orders of 2/1st South Wales Mounted Brigade. The Brigade moved during the year to Llandeilo, Dorchester and by September was at Yoxford, where it came under orders of the 1st Mounted Division. In July 1916 the battalion converted to a cyclist unit under orders of 2nd Cyclist Brigade in 1st Cyclist Division, and during November 1916 merged with the 2/1st Glamorgan Yeomanry to form the 2nd (Pembroke & Glamorgan) Yeomanry Cyclist Regiment, under 1st Cyclist Brigade. Henry remained on Home Service with the battalion throughout his time at war, due to his age. He became ill during the winter of 1916, and was discharged from the army on 5 January 1917, due to becoming ill with bronchitis. Henry died at home on 27 August 1918, aged 45, and is buried at Tenby (St. Mary) Church Cemetery. Henry is not commemorated at Laugharne, but on the Tenby War Memorial.
William John Lewis Bevan, Private, 12897, Welsh Regiment. William was the grandson of William Bevan of Island House, Laugharne. He lived at Swansea by the outbreak of war, and enlisted alongside his brother Archibald Bevan, into the 9th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, with the service numbers 12897 and 12898 respectively. The 9th Welsh was a service battalion, formed at Cardiff during September 1914, attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division, and moved to France in July 1915. After a short period of trench initiation, the Division moved to the sector north of Loos, near Richebourg, and took part in the opening assault of the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915. The battle was a disaster fro the British, and the position at Loos stagnated over the winter of 1915-16. It was during this period that William was wounded, and was evacuated to the Base Hospital at St. Omer for treatment. He died of his wounds on 2 December 1915, and is buried at Longuenesse Cemetery, St. Omer, France.
John Ritso Nelson Bolton, Lieutenant, Royal Field Artillery. John was one of two brothers from the same family who gave their lives in the Great War. He was the son of Lieutenant Colonel A.H. Bolton and Mary Bolton of Elm House, Laugharne. During the 1901 census of England and Wales, John and his brother Stewart lived in Fullerton House, next to the Browns Hotel in Laugharne, with their aunt Elizabeth Leach, their sister Mary and two servants. John was educated at Bedford Grammar School, where he was elected Head Boy. In 1912, he won a place at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, and in August 1914 was gazetted as a Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery, serving in the 104th Battery, 22nd Brigade, which was attached to the 7th Division of the British Expeditionary Force. By the end of May 1915, John Bolton had proved his worth in the field of battle, after taking part in the Battle of Neuve Chappelle, and the Battles of Aubers Ridge, and Festubert, and was mentioned in Despatches for his bravery. By 25 September 1915, John was at Vermelles, where the 22nd Brigade, RFA took part in the opening barrage of the Battle of Loos. The battalion's war diary for this day states that John was severely wounded at 1.30 p.m. by German counter-battery fire. John died two days later, on 27 September 1915. He was 22 years old, and is buried at the picturesque Foquieres Churchyard Extension, France. He was recommended for the Distinguished Service Order the same day, but the award could not be granted, due to it not being awarded posthumously.
Stewart Bladen Nelson Bolton, Mishipman, Royal Navy. Stewart was the youngest son of Lieutenant Colonel A.H. and Mary Bolton of Laugharne. He enlisted into the Royal Navy in May 1910, and served in a training establishment until August 1914, until being confirmed as a Midshipman on 2 August 1914. He joined the crew of the Battle Cruiser HMS Indefatigable on 14 May 1916. Indefatigable was commissioned in February 1911, and at the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 took part in the pursuit of the German Warships Goeben and Breslau, and also bombarded Cape Helles during the fighting at Gallipoli. After a refit at Malta she joined the Grand Fleet and just after Stewart joined the crew at Edinburgh, Indefatigable set sail from Leith, as part of the Grand Fleet, and moved into the North Sea in an attempt to intercept the German High Seas Fleet, which had been reported as leaving port. On 31 May 1916, Indefatigable took part in the famous Battle of Jutland. Sadly she became the first casualty of the battle, being struck by 11-inch shellfire from the SMS Van der Tann. Official reports state that she was hit by two shells in the X magazine, causing her to stagger out of formation, sinking by the stern. This was followed by another hit on the foredeck, causing a much larger explosion, which sank her. Of her company of 1,012, only two were picked up by the German navy, the ferocity of the explosions causing the loss of the remainder of the men. Unfortunately Stewart, after just 17 days service aboard Indefatigable, was killed in the explosion. He was just 18 years old, and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
Isaac James Brace, Private, 24421, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Isaac was born around 1898 in Aberdare, the son of James Brace and Elizabeth Anne Brace. James was a Collier, and had moved from Laugharne to 2, Bell Vue, Aberdare. Isaac was well known in Laugharne, and often visited family there. Prior to the war, Isaac worked as a miner, and was an early recruit into the army, joining the Royal Artillery before being transferred to the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. On 1 October 1915 the battalion was attached to 22 Brigade, 7th Division, and were sent into the line at Cambrin, where the campaign at Loos had foundered. The Battalion did a tour of duty in the Cuinchy sector until 23 November 1915, passing through Bethune to Gonnehem, and on 5 December entrained at Lillers for Saleux. They then made an 18-mile march to Montagne, where they remained training until the end of January, when they moved up into the line at the Somme, east of Meaulte, on the Somme. By 22 February 1916, the Battalion was in the line at Morlancourt, improving the defences. On 1 July 1916, the 1st RWF took part in the opening of the Battle of the Somme, at the Battle of Albert. The 7th Division took part in the successful capture of Mametz Village, but during the fighting Isaac was badly wounded, and evacuated to the 36th casualty clearing station at Heilly. His wounds proved to be fatal, and Isaac died, aged 18, on 9 July 1916. He is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L'abbe, France.
Thomas Hall Brigstocke, Petty Officer, 146229, Royal Navy. Thomas was the son of Sarah Brigstocke, of Gosport Street, Laugharne. Thomas had enlisted into the Royal Navy on 14 July 1888, and lived with his wife Bessie at 9, Greatlands Crescent, North Prospect, Swilly, Devonport. He had a long and interesting career, serving aboard many ships and working his way up slowly through the ranks. Thomas served all over the Empire; during The China War, India and South Africa, seeing much action. His papers show him to be a good seaman, and he was pensioned off on 1 July 1910. Upon the outbreak of the Great War, reservists were recalled for active service, and Thomas joined the crew of HMS Goliath, a Canopus Class Battleship, which was part of the 3rd Fleet (Pembroke Reserve). Her complement was drawn up from the naval reserve on 2 August 1914. Goliath was despatched in September 1914 to the East Indies for escort duties, operating against the German light cruiser Konigsberg in November. In April 1915 she was transferred to the Dardanelles to support the ill-fated Gallipoli landings around Cape Helles. She was damaged during the landings of 25 April and again on 2 May, and was sunk by three torpedoes fired by the Turkish torpedo boat Muavanet on 13 May 1915, with the loss of 570 of her crew, including Thomas. Being in the engine room, he had no chance of escape, even if he had survived the initial explosions from the torpedo strikes. Thomas was 48 years old when he died that day, and he is commemorated on the Plymouth War Memorial in Devon. He left behind his wife and eight children, the youngest of whom he never saw.
William Constable, Private, 12134, Welsh Regiment. William was the son of Philip and Jane Constable, of Horsepool Road, Laugharne. The family lived with Jane's mother, Bridget Jones, along with Williams other brothers and sisters, Gwendoline, John and Neville. At the outbreak of the War, William enlisted in Finsbury, in Middlesex, into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was subsequently posted to the 19th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was the Pioneer Battalion to the 38th (Welsh) Division, and landed in France on 5 December 1915. After trench initiation at Fleurbaix, the 38th Division moved to the Cuinchy Sector, where the 19th Welsh became attached to 255 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers. In June 1916 the Division moved to the Somme, where it took part in the capture of Mametz Wood between 7 to 11 July 1916. After suffering heavy casualties at Mametz, the Division was posted to the sector north of Ypres, at Boesinghe. On 28 January 1917, William was in billets with his battalion behind the front lines at Trois Tours. The Battalion had been training and brought up to strength for the Summer Offensives, and were enjoying some relaxation in the Belgian towns around Poperinge. Sometime that day, William was killed alongside several of his comrades in their billets by shellfire from German long range guns. William was 20 years old, and is buried at Ferme-Olivier Cemetery, Belgium.
Kenrick Watkyn Brinley Richard Cook, Private, 16826, Machine Gun Corps. Richard, as he was known, was born in 1898 in Ewell, Surrey, the son of Henry and Elizabeth Frances Cook (nee Hugh), of The Outfall Works, Roxley, West Ewell, Epsom, Surrey. The family had spent a lot of time in Laugharne, as Elizabeth was born there, the daughter of Sarah Hugh, of Market Street, and her cousin Mr G. M. Wilkins owned the Newsagents shop. The family visited every summer, and were well known in Laugharne. Richard originally enlisted into the East Surrey Regiment, taking the service number 10970. He was trained as a company Machine Gunner, and was therefore brought into the newly formed Machine Gun Corps when they were formed in October 1915, with his service number changing to 16826. The 14th Machine Gun Company, of which Richard was part, formed part of 14 Brigade, 32nd Division, part of the Fifth New Army. The Division took part in the opening of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916, known as The Battle of Albert. Just two days into the battle, while fighting at the Leipzig Redoubt, near Thiepval, Richard was killed in action. He was just 18 years old, and his body was lost in the carnage of the Somme battlefield, and so he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, France. His elder brother Henry was killed on the Somme three months later. Richard is not commemorated at Laugharne.
Henry John Hugh Cook, Private, 9093, Leicestershire Regiment. Henry was the Son of Henry and Elizabeth Frances Cook (nee Hugh), of The Outfall Works, Roxley, West Ewell, Epsom, Surrey. The family had spent a lot of time in Laugharne, as Elizabeth was born there, the daughter of Sarah Hugh, of Market Street, and her cousin Mr G. M. Wilkins owned the Newsagents shop. The family visited every summer, and were well known in Laugharne. Henry served at the outbreak of war with the 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, and landed in France on 8 September 1914, attached to 71 Brigade, 6th Division. The Division had arrived in time to reinforce the hard-pressed BEF on the Aisne, before the whole army was moved north into Flanders. Here they took part in the Action of Hooge during June 1915, and in 1916 moved to the Somme, where the Division fought at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. Henry was killed during his battalions attack on Straight Trench on 15 September 1916. He was 23 years old. Henry has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. His younger brother, Richard, had been killed two months previously. Henry is not commemorated at Laugharne.
Arthur William Cooper, Private, 26005, King's Shropshire Light Infantry. Arthur was born around 1898, the son of Arthur and Sarah Cooper, of Wheel Barrow Lodge, Easton Grey, Chippenham. Arthur's father had moved the family to Laugharne before the war, and worked as the Head Gardener at Broadway Mansion, for Herbert Eccles. Arthur enlisted into the Hereford Regiment, then transferred into the 6th Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry. The 6th KSLI was formed in September 1914 as part of 60 Brigade, 20th (Light) Division, and landed at Boulogne on 22 July 1915. Arthur joined the battalion as a Signaller sometime in 1917. In 1917 the Division fought at the Battles of Langemark, The Menin Road, Polygon Wood, and at Cambrai. It was one of the divisions hit by the German offensive on the Somme on 21 March 1918, and during the summer of 1918 they were withdrawn to South West of Amiens, where they received several new drafts of men. The 20th Division took over the Mericourt Sector, near Arras, on 14 August 1918. The 6th KSLI replaced the 1st Notts and Derby Regiment in the line until 24 August, before being moved to the Acheville Sector. On 31 August the 6th KSLI were back in the line at Mericourt, just in time to see the Germans opposite them withdraw on the next day. September saw the British push the German Army back to the Hindenburg Line, and from 26 September 1918 the Allies launched four converging offensives against the Germans, which ultimately broke the Hindenburg Line defences and pushed the Germans to surrender. The 6th KSLI sent out a raiding party on 1 October, and came across a deserted German front line trench. The 20th Division extended its line the next day, and on 3 October sent out patrols to investigate how far the Germans had retreated. Another patrol of the 6th KSLI went out on 3 October 1918, and Arthur, as a Signaller went out with them. The patrol came under heavy fire and was forced to withdraw, but in the process, Arthur was killed. Arthur was 21 years old, and is buried at Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France.
Robert Craig David, Private, 2161, Australian Infantry. Robert was one of four sons of Robert and Agnes David of Maroon, Queensland, Australia, who had had emigrated to Australia from Laugharne during the 1880's, and all four enlisted and served in the Australian Imperial Forces in the Great War. Robert worked as a Stockman and was married to Edith Matilda David, but she sadly died soon after Robert enlisted into the 49th Battalion, AIF at Brisbane, on 24 February 1916. After training Robert embarked on the SS Arundel with the 4th Reinforcements, arriving in Plymouth on 13 October 1916. On 12 December Robert embarked from Folkestone, arriving at Etaples on 13 December 1916, and on 20 December was taken on strength in the field with the 49th Battalion. The Battalion formed part of 13 Infantry Brigade (Queensland), Australian Imperial Force, and had just taken part in heavy fighting on the Somme. Remaining on the Somme, the Australians took a major part in the winter operations in the Ancre Valley at the end of 1916, fighting alongside the British II Corps throughout the terrible winter months. On 5 February 1917, whilst in action near Bernafay Wood, Robert was mortally wounded. He was brought to the 12th Australian Dressing Station where he died of his wounds that same day, aged 32. Robert was buried in Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, but his grave was later lost owing to further fighting and shellfire on the site, and so Robert is remembered by a 'Special Memorial' inside the entrance, on which an inscription states 'Known to Be Buried in This Cemetery'. Robert is not commemorated at Laugharne.
Thomas Jackson David, Lance Corporal, 6486, Australian Infantry. Thomas was a younger brother of Robert Craig David. He was born in Fassifern Station, Boonah, Queensland in 1885 and was educated at Engelburg State School, Boonah. At the outbreak of war, Thomas worked as a Stockman in Boonah, and was married to Margaret Kerr Sanderman. Thomas enlisted into the 15th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, on 2 May 1916. The Battalion formed part of the 4th Brigade, commanded by the famous Colonel John Monash, and had taken part in fighting in Egypt and Gallipoli, before being sent to France in June 1916, forming part of the 4th Australian Division. Thomas sailed from Australia aboard HMAT Boonah, on 21 October 1916, as part of the 21st Reinforcements for the Battalion, and joined his Battalion on the Western Front. The winter of 1916 saw the 1st Anzac Corps carrying out operations around Gueudecourt on the Somme. It turned out to be a terrible winter for the Australians. The conditions were alien to the men from Down Under, and they suffered badly over the winter months. In January 1917, the Germans retired to the Hindenburg Line. By the end of March 1917, the Australians held a position around Bapaume, facing the Hindenburg Line and were putting pressure on the Germans, gaining ground toward Bullecourt and Hermies. Boursies and Demicourt were captured by the 4th Division during the first week of April, and then the 15th Battalion were plunged into the heart of an attack on Bullecourt. The 4th Division attacked two sectors of the German front between Bullecourt and Queant, with the 16th and 14th Battalions taking on the Hindenburg Line and the 15th and 13th tasked with passing through them to attack and capture Riencourt. Some time during this attack, Private Thomas Jackson David disappeared and was reported as Missing in Action. After months of investigations and questioning of survivors of the attack, the AIF headquarters listed Thomas as having been killed in action on 11 April 1917. His body was never recovered, and so Thomas is remembered on the Villers-Brettoneux Memorial, France. Thomas is not commemorated at Laugharne.
Thomas Morgan David, Lieutenant-Commander, Royal Navy. Thomas was born on 24 October 1875, the son of Thomas and Caroline David of South Hills, Laugharne, and a cousin to Lionel Mordaunt Smith. He was the husband of Eleanor David of 7, Wentworth Villas, Plymouth. Thomas had a long career in the Royal Navy, his service papers show that in 1897 he was training as a ships engineer, and passed 'very creditably'. On 1 June 1899 he was serving on the HMS Compendium, and on 6 July 1902 was transferred to the Hannibal. His papers show him to be a very good engineer, taking an active role in ships life. Thomas then served on three ships before being posted to the Argonaut and then the Rattlesnake. His service record is full of praise for both his quality of work and his attitude. He was becoming a very highly regarded officer. On 13 February 1913, Thomas was posted to the Edgar class destroyer, HMS Hawke as Engineering Officer. On 15 October 1914, the Hawke was part of the 10th Cruiser squadron and was stationed off the North-East Coast. The Hawke was in convoy, steaming second in line behind the HMS Endymion and at 9.30 am had stopped to send a boat to the Endymion to collect mail. At 10.30 am the Hawke began steaming again, when she was hit by a torpedo abreast the foremost funnel, which had been fired by the German submarine U-9. She listed immediately and sank in a few minutes. There was only time to launch two lifeboats, with 21 men aboard, and 49 other men were picked up by a Norwegian steamship. The total loss of life in the disaster was nearly 524 officers and men including her Captain Williams. Only 70 men survived. Thomas, an officer with a great future ahead of him, was lost in the sinking of the Hawke. He is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
Daniel Davies, Private, 13369, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Daniel was born in Laugharne, to Mr and Mrs T. Davies of the Grist. He married and moved with his wife to Llanelli, and was an early volunteer in the army, serving as Private in the 8th (Service) Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which was attached to 40 Brigade, 13th (Wetsern) Division. In July 1915 the Division were landed at Mudros, then moved to the Gallipoli peninsula. Daniel landed on Gallipoli on 15 October 1915, as part of a batch of reinforcements. In January 1916 the 8th RWF were sent to Egypt, before heading through Suez on 14 February 1916, arriving at Basra on 28 February 1916. The 8th RWF was then involved in the bitter campaign against the Turkish army in Mesopotamia. The Battalion fought on throughout April 1916, pushing the Turks back through Falahiyeh, Sannaiyat, Beit Aieesa and Abu Roman Mounds. They were hit by savage Turkish counter-attacks, but held on, before being replaced in the front line on 28 April and moving to a rest camp. The Battalion were then entrenched in Beit Aieesa. At some time during this period, Daniel was shot in the back by a German sniper, and was sent to a Hospital in India. There he was operated on, having the bullet successfully removed, but succumbed to his wounds on 10 May 1915. Daniel is commemorated on the Kirkee Memorial in Poona, near Bombay, India.
Thomas Davies, Corporal, 16317, Welsh Regiment. Thomas was born at Brynonen, near Bwlchnewydd Chapel, Laugharne in 1886, the Son of John and Margaret Davies. The family moved to St. Clears when Thomas was young, and resided at Penpitch, with John working as a Platelayer with the GWR. The family later moved again, to 38, Henry Street, Bargoed, Glamorgan, and it was there that Thomas enlisted into the 10th (Service) Battalion, The Welsh Regiment. The Battalion had formed in 1914 and trained at Rhyl, then moved to Winchester, where it became part of 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. Thomas landed with the battalion at Le Havre on 2 December 1915, and the Division moved to the Armentieres sector, where they were initiated into trench warfare. In June 1916 the Division marched south to the Somme, where on 7 July 1916 it launches its assault on the fortified Mametz Wood. The initial attack was repulsed at a heavy cost of lives due to well positioned German machine guns, and after a change in Commander renewed its assault on 10 July. The initial assault was renewed by 114 Brigade on the right, with two battalions of 113 Brigade on the left. Thomas was with the 10th Welsh in reserve, on the ground overlooking the wood. Later in the morning the 10th Welsh were sent into the wood to reinforce the Brigade, and it was at some time after this that that Thomas became wounded. Thomas was evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Station at Heilly, before being moved again to one of the hospitals on the channel coast. Two weeks after being wounded at Mametz Wood, Thomas was stretchered aboard a Hospital Ship, to be moved back to a hospital in England for more specialist treatment. Sadly Thomas died of his wounds on the journey home, on 23 July 1916. He was about 29 years old. The location of his grave is not known, so Thomas is remembered on the Brookwood Memorial, Surrey. Thomas is not commemorated at Laugharne or St. Clears.
John Henry Dodd, Private, 22050, Royal Engineers. John was born on 15 April 1893 at Penlan-Coed, Aberarth, Cardiganshire. His father Charles was a publican from Shropshire, and his mother was Anne Dodd. By 1901 the family lived at the Ram Inn, Coedmore, Carmarthen, before John moved to Dan-y-Coed, Llanddowror. John joined the army on 29 August 1917 and was placed into the 68th Battalion Training Reserve, based at Ripon in Yorkshire. In December 1917 John was transferred to 635th Home Service Company, Labour Corps. The 635th Home Service Company was stationed at Larkhill from September 1917 to April 1919, and then moved to Durrington until disbanded in June 1919. They were employed as cooks, clerks, orderlies, camp staff etc. John was seconded to the Royal Engineers and was sent to France on 15 January 1918, but by the end of March, had been sent home to Plymouth Hospital suffering from Shellshock. John received treatment at Devonport and Lyme Regis Hospitals before being recalled to the Labour Corps at Salisbury Plain on 20 August 1918. At the beginning of October 1918, John was taken seriously ill with Pneumonia and was sent to Bulford Manor Convalescent Home. He recovered and rejoined his unit, but soon fell ill again, and in February 1919 he was taken to Fargo Military Hospital, and then transferred to Plymouth Military Hospital where he died after an operation, aged just 26 on 1 July 1919. John is buried in the Efford Cemetery in Plymouth.
David James Edwards, Gunner, 190346, Royal Field Artillery. David was born in Aberystwyth in 1883, the son of Evan and Anna Marie Edwards of 48, Cambria Street, Aberystwyth. Sometime before the start of the War, David had met and married a Laugharne girl, named Elizabeth, and had settled at Lower Gosport Street, Laugharne. In 1916, David was called up and became a Gunner in 'A' Battery, 296th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, which was attached to the 59th (Second North Midland) Division. In April 1916, the Division moved to Ireland to help quell the Republican uprisings that were gathering momentum at the time, and took part in the fighting of the Easter uprising. In January 1917 the Division returned to England, before heading to France in February, moving to Ypres. David was part of the crew of a Gun Battery that took part in the shelling of the German Lines which marked the beginning of the Battle of the Menin Road, on 20 September 1917. After weeks of heavy fighting, the artillery was slowly moved forward, keeping pace with the slow advance of the infantry. David was wounded at the Battle of Polygon Wood, and was brought back to the Casualty Clearing Station at Dozinghem, where he died of his wounds on 29 September 1917, aged 33. David's widow, Elizabeth Edwards stayed in Laugharne, residing in Gosport Street. David is not commemorated at Laugharne.
Richard Edwards, Private, 56935, Welsh Regiment. Richard was born around 1890 at Morfa Bach Cottage, Laugharne, the son of David Edwards, a railway platelayer, and Lizzie Edwards. Richard served in the Pembroke Yeomanry, with the rank of Private and the service number 5193, before transferring to the 13th (Service) Battalion, Welsh Regiment. The Battalion was raised in Cardiff as the 2nd Rhondda Battalion on 23 October 1914, and eventually became part of 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) at Rhyl. In December 1915 they landed at Havre, and after a short period of trench initiation, moved to the Somme, where the Division captured Mametz Wood. After suffering heavy casualties after Mametz, the Division moved to Ypres, which is where Richard joined his new battalion, during August 1916. He survived the Divisions successful capture of the Pilckem Ridge in August 1917, before the Division moved to Armentieres, then to positions near Albert on the Somme in March 1918. Richard was killed during an operation to straighten the Welsh lines on the Somme on 24 April 1918. He was 18 years old, and is buried in Contay British Cemetery, France.
Llewellyn Humphreys Evans, Private, 25830, Lancashire Fusiliers. Llewellyn was born in Laugharne around 1893, the son of James and Eliza Evans, who were farmers living at Grassland Farm, near Brixton Farm in Laugharne. He had two older brothers, Richard James Evans and William James Evans. Llewellyn enlisted at Carmarthen, and was posted to the 15th (Service) Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers, the Salford Pals. The battalion landed in France on 22 November 1915 attached to 96 Brigade, 32nd Division, and moved to the Somme Sector. Llewellyn was killed in action while in the front line near Munich Trench, at Beaumont Hamel, on 26 November 1916. He was 23 years old, and is buried at Mailly Wood Cemetery, France.
Thomas William Arnold Evans, Private, 18043, Welsh Regiment. Thomas was born around 1887 in Market Street in Laugharne, the son of George and Marianne Evans. Thomas was living in Loughor at the outbreak of war, with his wife Elizabeth Sarah Evans, who was also born in Laugharne. They had married on 12 April 1909 and had no children. His trade upon enlistment was butcher. Thomas volunteered at Swansea into the 14th Battalion, Welsh Regiment on 14 December 1914. The battalion was known as the Swansea Pals, and became part of 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division, landing at Le Havre in December 1915. Thomas fought through the bloody capture of Mametz Wood, and moved with the Division to Ypres in August 1916. According to the War Diary for the 14th Welsh, the Battalion were based at Brandhoek at the start of September 1916. The battalion moved to Camp E, then into reserve and were relieved by the 17th Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Machine Gun Farm and Canal Bank. The battalion was shelled during its relief, and several men were badly wounded, including Thomas. He died of his wounds on 17 September 1916 at No. 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, and was buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.
David Emrys George, Greaser, 912812, Mercantile Marine Reserve. Emrys was born in Laugharne in 1898, the Son of Frank and Martha George. The family had moved to Pantyderi Mill, Blaenffos prior to 1911. Emrys served in the Mercantile Marine, aboard the H.M.S. 'Derwent'. HMS Derwent was a River class destroyer which served with the Royal Navy. She was built by Hawthorn Leslie and launched in 1904. She was 200 feet long and her Yarrow boilers produced 7,000 H.P. and a top speed of 26 knots. She was fitted with sponsons, rather than turbines, and was originally armed with one twelve pounder but was upgraded to four such guns, and two torpedo tubes. Derwent served in home waters during the Great War and was sunk by a mine of Le Havre on 2 May 1917. Emrys was drowned with the sinking of the ship that day. He was just 18 years old, and is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon. David is not commemorated at Laugharne.
John Llewellyn Griffith, Private, 51673, Gloucester Regiment. John was born around 1897 in a 'Cottage by the Cliff' in Laugharne, the son of William and Mary Griffith. His father was a gardener. John had four brothers; Hubert, Granville, Harold and Hector, and two sisters, Constance and Eira Griffith. There are no surviving records of John's wartime service, but he served in the 4th Battalion, Gloucester Regiment, a Territorial Battalion, which was formed on 4 August 1914 at Bristol. The Battalion was sent to France in March 1915, as part of 144 Brigade, 48th Division, and in November 1917 moved to Italy. John died in the Military Hospital at Newcastle-on-Tyne of Meningitis on 29 February 1920, aged just 23, and was buried in St. Martins' Churchyard in Laugharne, to the North of the Church in the old graveyard.
William John Howells, Captain, Welsh Regiment. William was born in White Lion Farm, Eglwys Cummin, in 1888. His Grandfather was Ben John of Brook, who William was living with before he enlisted. William was educated at Tremoilet School and Whitland Grammar Schools, before gaining a BA with Honours at Aberystwyth University. He then moved on to work in Lampeter University before the war broke out. William enlisted into the Welsh Regiment at the outbreak of hostilities, and was commissioned into the 8th Battalion, the Welsh regiment as a Lieutenant. The 8th Battalion formed at Cardiff during August 1914 as attached to 40 Brigade, 13th Western Division. The Division assembled at Salisbury Plain, and in June 1915 moved to the Mediterranean. On 4 July 1915 the Division landed on Cape Helles and relieved the 29th Division. From there, the Division took part in several actions, most notably The Battle of Sari Bair. The Battalion War Diary for the period from 8 August 1915 shows that they had moved up to positions around Chunuk Bair, in support of the Gloucester's and the Wellington Battalion. The fighting was ferocious and the diary shows that on that one day, the 8th Welsh suffered 4 Officers and 4 Other ranks killed, 9 Officers and 154 Other Ranks wounded, and 4 Officers and 266 Other Ranks Missing in Action. One of the wounded officers was Captain William John Howells. William was evacuated from Gallipoli, but died of his wounds on 10 August 1915 aboard the Hospital Ship HMHS Valdivia. William was buried at sea, so he is commemorated on the Helles memorial, Turkey. William is commemorated at Whitland, not at Laugharne.
Augustus Edward Hugh, Private, 45307, Welsh Regiment. Augustus was the Son of David James and Charlotte Hugh, of Bay View, Station Road, Kidwelly. David was from Laugharne. Augustus enlisted at Haverfordwest into the 8th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, who were attached to 40 Brigade, 13th (Western) Division. The Division concentrated at Blackdown in Hampshire, and on 13 June 1915 left Britain for Alexandria. By 4 July1915, the Division moved to Mudros, then landed at gallipoli between 6 and 16 July 1915, relieving the 29th Division. They left and returned to Mudros at the end of the month, and the entire Division landed at ANZAC Cove from 3 August 1915, taking part in the Battles of Sari Bair, Russell's Top, and Hill 60, ANZAC. Soon afterwards the Division was transferred from ANZAC to Suvla Bay, and it was evacuated from Suvla on the 19th December 1915, whereupon the infantry moved after a weeks rest to the Helles bridgehead, where they faced the last Turkish attacks at Helles. On 8 January 1916, the Division was evacuated from Helles, and by 31 January was concentrated at Port Said, where they held forward posts in the Suez Canal defences. On the 12th February 1916 the Division began to move to Mesopotamia, to strengthen the force being assembled for the relief of the besieged garrison at Kut al Amara. Augustus was killed in action during the advance into Mesopotamia on 14 January 1917. He was 36 years old and is buried at Amara War Cemetery, Egypt. Augustus is commemorated at Kidwelly.
Thomas James Jackson, Private, 18440, South Wales Borderers. Thomas was born in Gosport Street, Laugharne, in 1896, the son of David and Harriet Jackson. His father was a mason (builder). Thomas enlisted into the army in October 1914, and after training joined the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which had just returned from China, where they aided the Japanese army to force the German garrison from Tsingtao. They embarked from Hong Kong on 4 December 1914 for Plymouth. Once back on British soil, they joined 87 Brigade, 29th Division at Rugby, and this is where Thomas Jackson joined his Battalion. On 17 March 1915 the battalion sailed from Avonmouth on the SS Canada for Alexandria, and on 25 April 1915 they landed at Gallipoli. Thomas was slightly wounded just after arriving at the Dardanelles, and wrote home to his parents to inform them. On 10 June 1915, an attempt was made to dislodge the Turks from a trench east of the Gully Ravine. Thomas was one of a party of men under Lieutenant Inglis who attempted to bomb their way into the Turkish lines. Unfortunately Thomas became one of six men killed out of the party that day. He was 29 years old and was buried at Twelve-Tree Copse Cemetery, Gallipoli.
David Thomas John, Lance Corporal, 244, Australian Infantry. David was born on 2 July 1891, the eldest son of William and Eliza John, of Halfpenny Furze, Laugharne. David had a younger brother John James John, and a sister Mary Ann John who were both born in Glamorgan. Their youngest sister Sarah Jane John was born in Laugharne, in Halfpenny Furze. In 1913, David John married Lillian Evans of Laugharne, and they had a son, John William John. In 1913 David ran away from his family, and ended up in Bulli, New South Wales, where he found work as a Coalminer. On 18 August 1914, he enlisted at Randwick, NSW into the 4th Battalion, Australian Infantry, which was part of the 1st Australian Division. In October 1914 the battalion left Australia aboard the Troopship Euripides, and on 4 December disembarked at Cairo. After intensive training, the 1st Australian Division landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, and took part in heavy fighting securing their beach-head at Anzac Cove. On 29 July 1915, David was temporarily transferred to duties with Brigade Engineers as a well sinker, but by 24 August 1915, David was suffering badly with fever, and was admitted to a Casualty Clearing Station, diagnosed with Pyrexia. David rejoined his Battalion on 2 January 1916, after it had evacuated from Gallipoli. On 29 March 1916, the Battalion boarded the troopship Transylvania and embarked from Alexandria to join the BEF in France, landing at Marseilles on 6 April 1916, and moving to positions in Northern France, at Fromelles. The Battle of the Somme began on 1 July 1916, and the 1st Australian Division had been moved to the Somme, where it captured the strongly defended Pozieres Ridge. On 11 August 1916 David was promoted to Lance Corporal, and his Battalion were sent back to the front line, directly opposite Mouquet Farm. At around 14.00 on 18 August 1916, David was sent out in charge of a patrol, which had been detailed to locate the German front line at Mouquet Farm, when the patrol was surprised by a German patrol. David and Private Oliver Williams were killed in the ensuing firefight. David was buried between Pozieres and Mouquet Farm, but his grave was lost during further fighting, and today he is remembered on the Villers-Brettoneux Memorial, France. He was 25 years old and had left a 3-year-old son behind [My Grandfather].
John James John, Private, 320374, Welsh Regiment. John was a younger brother of David Thomas John, and had been born on 21 May 1895 at Pontygwaith, Tyler's Town, the youngest child of William and Eliza John. The family later returned to Laugharne, living at Halfpenny Furze. John enlisted into the Pembroke Yeomanry in 1915, and in 1916 moved to Egypt, where the Pembroke Yeomanry took part in actions against the Senussi Tribesmen. In 1917, the Pembroke and the Glamorgan Yeomanry merged and became the 24th Battalion (Pembroke & Glamorgan Yeomanry), Welsh Regiment, attached to 231 Brigade, 74th Division. After a successful campaign in Palestine, where the 74th Division took part in the capture of Jerusalem, in May 1918 the Division was sent to France, to make up the heavy losses suffered by the British during the German offensives of March and April. The 24th Welsh landed at Marseilles on 7 May 1918, and moved to Northern France. After helping to steady the line in Flanders, the Division moved to the Somme, to take part in the Battle of Epehy, which was a move towards the Hindenburg Line. John was killed in action during the 24th Welsh attack on Gillemont Farm on 21 September 1918. He is buried at Unicorn Cemetery, France, just fifteen miles from where his brother David fell.
John James John, Private, 60742, Welsh Regiment. John was born around 1898 in Laugharne, the son of David and Letticia John, of 7, Gosport Street, Laugharne. He initially joined the Pembroke Yeomanry, then transferred to the 15th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, known as the Carmarthen Pals. John probably joined the battalion at Ypres in 1916, after it had been withdrawn, along with the rest of 114 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division, to positions at Boesinghe. John was wounded during the battalions attack on the Pilckem Ridge on 31 August 1917. He was evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Station at Proven, where he died of his wounds that same day. John is buried at Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium. His medal card shows that he had served with the 14th Welsh for a spell.
William John, Private, 320285, Welsh Regiment. William was the son of James and Sarah John of Spring Gardens Cottage, Laugharne. He originally enlisted into the Pembroke Yeomanry, and fought with them in Egypt before they merged with the Glamorgan Yeomanry to form the 24th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, on 2 February 1917 in Egypt. This new battalion formed part of 231 Brigade, 74th Division. The Division moved into Palestine in 1917, where they took part in the Second and Third Battles of Gaza, capturing the City of Jerusalem. William was killed in action on the Jerusalem Road, on 27 December 1917, while the battalion was holding Hill 1910 R13C, which they had captured the previous day. William was 22 years old, and was buried where he fell. His grave was lost, and today William is commemorated on the Jerusalem War Memorial, Israel. Serving alongside him at the time were two local men; Private David Saer of St. Clears, who was killed alongside William, and Corporal J. Raymond of Laugharne, who wrote home to his parents, telling them of the event, where he saw William shot through the eye. William's family erected a headstone in St. Martin's churchyard in Laugharne, which stands in the old graveyard.
Joseph Johnson, Private, 29688, East Yorkshire Regiment. Joseph was born in London in 1889, the son of James Henry and Emma Johnson. Joseph moved to Llanddowror before the war, finding work as a Farmhand, and married Mary Phillips on 25 October 1913. He enlisted at Carmarthen on 11 March 1915, and joined the Army Service Corps as a Driver. In France, he was attached to No. 1 Section, 99th Company, 27th Reserve Park, before being posted to the 1st Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment, who were part of 64 Brigade, 21st Division. From June to July 1916, the Battalion took part in the Battle of Albert, the opening of the Battle of the Somme. They moved to the Ypres Salient in 1917, before returning to the Somme in 1918. On 21 March 1918, the Germans launches a massive offensive on the Somme, and the 21st Division was caught up in terrible fighting. Joseph was killed in action on 31 March 1918 whilst his Battalion were fighting a fierce defensive battle against the superior numbers of the German Army. It shows how chaotic and awful the conditions were, as nothing at all had been heard of him by his family, until Christmas Day 1919. Joseph's wife received a telegram from the War Office saying that he had been confirmed as killed. Joseph was 29 years old. His body, like so many others of that terrible time, was lost, and so Joseph is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial, France. Sadly, Joseph left two children; Oliver Henry Johnson had been born on 2 March 1915 and Joseph Randall Johnson born on 20 July 1917. Joseph's bereaved widow Mary died on 10 February 1920 after a short illness, leaving the two boys orphaned.
William Killa, Private, 4301, Welsh Regiment. William was born in 1895, the son of John and Esther Killa, of Laugharne. The family lived at Pendine, before moving to Alltycnap Road, Carmarthen. Williams's Grandparents stayed in Laugharne. William enlisted into the 1/4th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment in August 1914. The 1/4th was a territorial Battalion, and it formed part of South Wales Brigade. On 17 April 1915 it was attached to 159 Brigade, 53rd Division and in July 1915, was shipped to Egypt and there they trained for the Gallipoli Campaign. On 9 August 1915, the Division landed at Suvla on Gallipoli. The day after landing on the hostile shores of Gallipoli, William was killed in Action. He was just 20 years old and had seen just one day of fighting. He is remembered on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli. William is not commemorated at Laugharne, but at Llangynog.
Charles William Wykeham King, Company Sergeant Major, 76003, Artist's Rifles. Charles was born in Wykeham, Fareham, London. Charles had been educated at Llandovery College from 1895 to 1901, and was then resident at the Vicarage in Laugharne. He married Ida Schroeter before moving to London, where they lived at 80, Shrewsbury Road, New Southgate. Charles served as a Company Sergeant Major in the 28th Battalion (Artists Rifles), the London Regiment. The Artists Rifles Battalion was an elite unit, used as an Officer Training Corps, and by November 1915 was in France. They absorbed the 2nd/28th Battalion and by March 1916 were at Hare Hall, Romford. In 1917 the Battalion was reformed and in June became part of 190 Brigade, 63rd Royal Naval Division. The first major Front Line battle faced by the Artists Rifles was to be the Second Battle of Passchendaele. Charles was killed in action by German Artillery Fire just before that fateful attack on Passchendaele Ridge, on 28 October 1917. He is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium. Charles had been awarded the Bronze Medal for Valour by the Italian Government (London Gazette 26 May 1917). Ida had remarried by September 1919, and lived with her new husband Sydney Lane.
Martyn Tulloch Vaughan Lewes, Second Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. Martyn was born in Marylebone in June 1895, to Captain Price Vaughan Lewes and Anne Josephine Lewes. Martyn was educated at Harrow, and afterwards studied at the Royal School of Mines, Camborne. After qualifying as a Mining Engineer, he travelled to Canada for a years experience before touring the world. Following the family traditions, his mother's father was Colonel J. G. M. Tulloch of the Royal Scots, and his father's father was Colonel John Lewes, the Hero of the Redan, Martyn joined the Officer Training Corps, and on 15 August 1914, was gazetted as a Second Lieutenant into the 3rd Battalion, Welsh Regiment. The 3rd Welsh was a Reserve Battalion that had been raised in Cardiff in August 1914 and stayed home throughout the war, acting as a feeder for other battalions of the Welsh Regiment. After training, Martyn was posted to the Monmouthshire Regiment in France. He was wounded at Ypres soon after moving to the Front, and went home on leave. He then decided to join the Royal Flying Corps, where he trained as an Observer. Martyn was posted to 25 Squadron, who were based in France from February 1916. He is reported in the Harrow Roll of Honour that he was a Pilot, and had shot down three German aeroplanes, but at the moment there is no other evidence of this to be found. Martyn was reportedly taking part in a training flight on 15 July 1916 as Pilot of an F.E.2b aeroplane. He got lost in fog over German lines, and when the fog cleared his aeroplane was hit by 'Archie', which damaged the landing gear. After returning to Bailleul and circling over the ground for a while, wondering how to get down, Martyn flew low to the ground and jumped out of the aeroplane. In the fall he broke his legs and suffered internal injuries, and was rushed to the Hospital at Bailleul for treatment. He sadly died of his injuries on 22 July 1916, and was buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, France. He was just 21 years old. Martyn has no real ties to Laugharne, so is not commemorated there, but his father Pryce was a regular visitor, who was well known in the Township.
Price Vaughan Lewes, Captain, Royal Navy. Price was born on 27 February 1865 at Llanfear, Felinfach, Cardiganshire, to Colonel John and Mary Jane Lewes. At the tender age of 13, Price joined the Royal Navy, serving aboard the training ship HMS Britannia, under Captain E. Kelly. On 23 July 1880, Price was posted to HMS Achilles, and just two months later, at the age of 15, he was promoted to Midshipman. During August 1893, Price had been promoted to Lieutenant, and was the third most senior officer aboard HMS Blanche, which was stationed at Zanzibar. He gained the award of the Distinguished Service Order for his gallantry here. On his return home, Price married his fiancée, Anne Josephine Tulloch at Chester, on 30 April 1894, and a year later, Anne gave birth to their son Martyn Tulloch Vaughan Lewes. From this period onwards, the family often came to Laugharne when Price was on shore leave, spending their time relaxing at Hillside, the home of his friend Samitt Willimott and his family. Price became very well known in Laugharne, which had become a haven for high-ranking military officers at this time. By 1897, Price had gained command of the newly launched gunboat HMS Hazard, and took part in a Victoria Cross action at Crete. For his fine leadership in this affair on Crete, Price was promoted to Commander, by order of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. On 30 June 1905, Price was promoted to Captain in the Royal Navy, and afterwards took command of the Battleship HMS Superb, which was launched in 1909. The Superb was a Bellerophon Class Dreadnought Battleship, with a main armament of ten 12" guns. During 1913 Price received the CB as part of the King's Birthday Honours, to go with his Distinguished Service Order, and his Africa General Service Medal with Juba River Clasp. At the outbreak of the Great War, HMS Superb was part of the British Home Fleet. Due to the outbreak of hostilities, the Royal Navy reorganised its fleets, and the Superb became part of the 4th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet, which was commanded by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe aboard HMS Iron Duke. Price was on sick leave in Laugharne, but promptly resumed command of his ship HMS Superb. At the beginning of November 1914, Price was invalided to Devonport Naval Hospital, where he sadly died at the age of 49, on 10 November 1914. He lies buried in the Plymouth (Western Mill) Cemetery, Devon. Price is not commemorated at Laugharne.
George Lewis, Chief Stoker, 293940, Royal Navy. George was born in Gosport Street, Laugharne, on 6 May 1880, the son of Henry and Elizabeth Lewis, who were both cockle merchants. George became a Farm Labourer, until on 26 December 1899, he signed up at Devonport, for 12 years in the Royal Navy. After serving on a succession of training ships, HMS Vivid, Vulcan, Hood, Caesar & Indus, and was aboard HMS Leande when War broke out. George passed for Chief Stoker on 9 February 1917, whilst serving aboard HMS Dido, then spent three months ashore at Devonport with HMS Vivid II. On 15 February 1918, George transferred aboard the Battleship HMS Roxburgh. From September 1916 she served on the North America and West Indies Station until the Armistice. She rammed and sank the German U-Boat U89 while escorting a convoy off the coast of Northern Ireland on 12 February 1918. Roxburgh was assigned to Atlantic Convoys, escorting US troopships to Great Britain. On 20 September 1918, she was at anchor in Quebec, when George slipped and fell off a trestle bridge and was killed. George was given a Military Burial by his shipmates in the Quebec City (Mount Hermon) Cemetery, and they paid for a stone on his grave. George left behind a widow at Devonport, Elizabeth Jane Lewis, of 18, Horne Road, Ilfracombe, Devon. Nothing more can be found of Elizabeth. George is not commemorated at Laugharne.
John Herbert Morris, Second Lieutenant, Welsh Regiment. John was the Youngest son of Watkin Morris, of 10, The Terrace, Cwmavon, Glamorgan, the Manager of the Duchy Colliery, Cwmavon. His uncle was Herbert Eccles, Manager of the Briton Ferry Steelworks, Glamorgan, who resided at Broadway Mansion, Laugharne, and John was a frequent visitor. John was educated at Llandovery College from 1904 until 1911, and in 1915 was commissioned into the 20th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He later transferred into the 6th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was the Pioneer Battalion to the 1st Division. They were used to clear the battlefields after the July battles on the Somme. It was while engaged upon this work near Fricourt that John was killed on 21 September 1916. He was 25 years old, and is buried at Flatiron Copse Cemetery, France. John is not commemorated at Laugharne.
George Fison Muller, Major, Royal Marine Light Infantry. George was born on 28 May 1876 in Horsforth, Yorkshire, the son of Harry and Agnes Muller, who were living at 12, West Park, Eltham, London at the time of their son's death. George married to Katherine Margaret Berkeley of Rawdon, Yorkshire on 4 October 1906. Georges Aunt, Mrs. Brayshay, lived at the Glen, in Laugharne, and George was a frequent summer visitor to the Glen, becoming well known and respected in Laugharne. On 1 September 1894, George followed in the footsteps of his Uncle, Commander Brayshay of the Glen, Laugharne and joined the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. When war was declared George was on leave, and had just arrived at Laugharne with his wife when he received a telegram, recalling him to the forces. He subsequently joined the 10th (Plymouth) Battalion, Royal Marine Light Infantry, which formed part of the Royal Marine Brigade, Royal Naval Division. The Royal Naval Division landed at Dunkirk on 20 September 1914, with orders to assist in the defence of Antwerp, but were withdrawn to England on 11 October 1914. After a lengthy period of refit, the Division moved to Egypt preparatory to the Gallipoli campaign, and on 25 April 1915, landed at Gallipoli and carried out a diversionary attack on Bulair. By dawn on 28 April, some 20,000 British troops had landed, facing only 6,300 Turkish defenders, and began the First Battle of Krithia. Terrible fighting raged for days, with the Allies and the Turks suffering thousands of casualties. It was during this ferocious Turkish onslaught that George was mortally wounded. He died aged 39, on 1 May 1915, and is buried in Lone Pine Cemetery, Gallipoli. George is not commemorated at Laugharne.
John Thomas Parry, Lance Corporal, 1468, Welsh Regiment. John was born around 1892, to Charles and Lydia Parry, in Laugharne. The family later moved to Penvilla road, Swansea. He had an older sister Margaret, two younger sisters, Florence and Clarice, a younger brother Charles, and another brother Frederick. John enlisted into the 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment, five months before the war broke out. The 2nd Battalion were in Bordon on 4 August 1914, at the outbreak of war, becoming part of 3 Brigade, 1st Division and moved to France. Here the Division took part in most of the major actions of the war, at the Battle of Mons in the early stages, the Battle of the Marne, the Battle of the Aisne, actions on the Aisne heights, action of Chivy, and the First Battle of Ypres. Whilst still a Private, John attempted to rescue a wounded comrade whilst under heavy fire. John was wounded in this gallant rescue attempt and had to be evacuated to hospital at Rouen. For this act he was recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal, but the army hierarchy deemed not to honour the recommendation. After he had recovered from his wounds, John was promoted to Lance Corporal, and rejoined his battalion, which was preparing to take part in the Battle of the Somme. The division took part in the Battle of Albert and the Battle of Bazentin. John was wounded in the foot on 25 July, being partially buried in a blown up trench, but with the help of his comrades, he was dug out and rejoined the action, before being fatally wounded the following day, during the attack on Munster Alley on 26 July 1916; the day after the Battle of Pozieres Ridge began. John's body was never recovered and so he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
William Neville Hurt Peel, Private, Canadian Infantry. William was born on 24 February 1884, to Edmund and Winnie Hurt Peel, of Fern Hill, Laugharne. William had two brothers, Francis, the eldest, joined the South African Mounted Police, and Ralph, the youngest, who had emigrated to Canada. He also had a younger sister Dulcie, who was born in 1898 at Fern Hill. William was an adventurer, like his brothers, who ran off with a fair girl, and made his way to South Africa, where he spent two years serving with the 1st Brabant's Horse during the Boer War. He then made his way to Canada, enlisting in the 184th Overseas Battalion, Canadian Infantry, on 21 February 1916. His wife, Harriet Ann Peel, was named as his next of kin and was living at 187, Hargrave Street, Winnipeg, Canada. During November 1916, William embarked on the troop ship SS Empress of Britain, and arrived in England on 11 November 1916. He was taken on strength at Shorncliffe on 12 November, then spent a short spell home in Laugharne on leave, before being transferred into the 8th Manitoba Battalion (Little Black Devils) on 30 November and sent to the Western Front on 1 December 1916. The Little Black Devils were part of the Canadian forces that took part in the famous Battle of Arras which started on 9 April 1917. The Canadians formed part of the 1st Army led by General Sir Henry Horn. Their part in the battle was to capture Vimy Ridge, where the famous Canadian war memorial now stands, and the 8th was used as a Reserve Battalion. The Battle for Vimy Ridge was almost over when the Battalion was brought into the action. On 25 April they were sent to the areas around Bentata and Douai, relieving the 1st and 2nd Battalions in reserve trenches. On 27 April orders were given to attack the village of Arleux-En-Gohelle. By the next day the village had been taken-the War Diary states that resistance was stubborn, with hand-to-hand fighting taking place in the village. William was reported missing in action on 28 April 1917 and it wasn't until the 26 May that he was officially listed as being killed in action. He was 33 years old. William is buried at Orchard Dump Cemetery, France.
James Stanley Phillips, Private, 39605, South Wales Borderers. James was born in 1897 to David and Anne Phillips, of Parcnwc, Llanstephan. James's mother Anne was from Laugharne, the daughter of Mr and Mrs Thomas, Castell-Toch. James spent a lot of his childhood with his Grandparents at Castell-Toch, and was well known in Laugharne. Early in 1917, James was drafted into the army, where he became a Private in the 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers, which formed part of 87 Brigade, 29th Division, and had landed at Marseilles on 29 March 1916 after a torrid spell at Gallipoli. The Division had fought through the Battle of the Somme in 1916, then through the Battles of the Scarpe, near Arras, through the beginning of 1917. On 7 June 1917, the Flanders Offensive, a brainchild of Sir Douglas Haig, was begun around Ypres. The following battles were to become known as 'Third Ypres' or 'Passchendaele'. On 16 August 1917, the Battle of Langemarck began. This area, just North of Ypres, had become a hellhole. The continuous bombardment of the German Front Lines had turned the battlefields around Ypres into a quagmire of foul, sticky mud, full of the debris of three years of non-stop fighting. James, aged just twenty years old, was killed in action that day. As happened to so many other poor souls that fought in that area, his body was lost in the mud, and so he is commemorated on the massive Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. At the very time that James lost his life, his mother also had the agony of her elder brother John Thomas in an Army Hospital in Birmingham having his leg amputated after a terrible wound suffered in France. James is not commemorated at Laugharne.
Richard John Pile, Private, 34189, South Lancashire Regiment. Richard was born in 1898, in Llanelli, the youngest son of Charles and Alvie Pile and had 4 sisters, Alvie, Maisy, Mary and Alexandra, and a brother Thomas. By 1901 the family lives at Broadway Mansion, Laugharne. Richard volunteered into the Welsh Regiment, and was then transferred into the 8th battalion (Prince of Wales Volunteers) South Lancashire Regiment, which formed part of 75 Brigade, 25th Division, and moved to France in September 1915. The Division took part in some of the most horrific battles of the war, at the Battle of Albert, the first phase of the Battle of the Somme, in 1916, at the Battle of Bazentin, where 4,000 Germans were taken captive on one day, and at the Battle of Pozieres, alongside the Anzacs. The battle of the Somme was raging on still since its start on 1 July 1916, and on 21 October 1916, while attacking the German lines at Regina Trench. His body was never recovered, and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, France.
Thomas Henry Price, Private, 192312, Canadian Infantry. Thomas was born in Rhayader, Mid Wales, on 16 August 1891. His mother was Miriam Price David, who was married for the second time, to William David, a butcher from Laugharne who owned the Browns Hotel. Thomas had an elder sister Annie Price, two younger brothers James and John Price, and a stepsister Miriam David. The family emigrated to Canada at the turn of the Century, and lived at 277, Carlton Street, Toronto, Ontario. Thomas enlisted on 13 August 1915, into the 92nd Overseas Battalion, Canadian Infantry, before being posted to the 15th Battalion (Royal Highlanders), Canadian Expeditionary Force. Thomas arrived in England on the troopship SS Empress of Britain on 29 May 1916, and on 17 July 1916 joined his Battalion in France. The 13th Battalion had fought at Ypres during April 1915, where gas was used for the first time, and also saw heavy fighting at Festubert, Messines, Bailleul, and Givenchy, before moving to the Somme. During September 1916, the 13th Battalion marched from Warloy to billets in Herissart. From there they took over the front line trenches near Courcelette. Three Companies of the 13th Battalion held the front line trench until the end of the month, suffering over 231 casualties in the month. Thomas was wounded on 27 September 1916, and was brought back to the 3rd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station at Albert for treatment. He died of his wounds that same day, and is buried at Albert Communal Cemetery Extension, France.
Samuel George Rees, Private, 28765, Herefordshire Regiment. Samuel was born in Angle, Pembrokeshire, to John and Elizabeth Rees, of Court House. When war broke out, Samuel was living in Laugharne, and he enlisted at Carmarthen into the Army. Samuel was posted to the 1/1st Battalion, Hereford Regiment, which was attached to 158 Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. The Battalion embarked at Devonport on the SS Euripides on 16 July 1915, and landed on C Beach, at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on 9 August 1915, immediately taking part in a brave attack on the Turkish Lines. After the Allied forces had been withdrawn from Gallipoli, the 53rd Division fought in Egypt and Palestine. After a hard fought campaign, they had the Turks on the run in the Middle East, and with the Allies facing a shortage of men on the Western Front, after the German Offensive of March 1918, the Battalion left the Division, embarking on 1 June 1918 for France. On 22 June, they landed at Taranto, then arrived in France on 30 June, becoming attached to 102 Brigade, 34th Division. The Division were at this time fighting alongside the French XXX Corps in Champagne, where they took part in the Battle of the Marne, 1918, and the Battle of the Soissonais and the Ourcq. They then moved to Flanders, where they took part in the advance in Flanders, culminating in the Battle of Ypres, 1918, and the Battle of Courtrai. It was during the Battle of Courtrai that Samuel was killed, and he was buried where he fell. His body was relocated after the war, and Samuel now lies in Hooge Crater Cemetery, Belgium. Samuel is not commemorated at Laugharne, but at Angle.
Daniel John Richards, Private, 76031, Welsh Regiment. Daniel was born around 1900 in the Brill, Laugharne, the son of David and Margaret Richards. Daniel had an older brother Thomas and two sisters, Mary Ellen and Annie. Daniel joined the 4th (Reserve) Battalion, Welsh Regiment on 1 June 1918. Daniel's enlistment form shows him to have a history of Bronchial problems, but this was not deemed bad enough to stop his enlistment. On 2 June 1918, Daniel was posted with the 4th Battalion to Cardiff, and then was attached to the 10th Battalion, London Regiment, at Pembroke Dock from 2 September 1918. Daniel never served overseas, but stayed at home with the Garrison force. Daniel died aged just 18 on 9 December 1918 of cirrhosis of the liver in Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot. It was just three weeks after the Armistice was signed. He was buried in St. Martin's churchyard in Laugharne on Saturday 14 December, near the West boundary-about twenty feet from the entrance to the Church.
George Richards, Driver, 19999, Royal Field Artillery. George was the eldest son of George and Sarah Richards, of Treventy Farm, Llanfihangel Abercowin. George's father was born in Laugharne in 1843, and along with his brother Richard Richards and both their wives, moved around the country following various jobs. In 1887 George Richards Junior was born in Herefordshire. George had a younger brother John, and two elder sisters, Ida and Amy. The family moved to Treventy Farm around 1895. George enlisted as a Driver into the Royal Field Artillery, and was posted to the 42nd Battery, 2nd Brigade, and landed in France on 5 December 1915. The Battery later became attached to the 29th Division, which had been evacuated from Gallipoli and sent to France, landing in Marseilles on 29 March 1916, and the entire Division moved to the Somme. They fought in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, taking part in the opening assault on Beaumont Hamel on 1 July 1916, then the Battle of Arras in March 1917, before being sent to Belgium, to the infamous Ypres Salient, to form part of the build up to the Battles of Third Ypres. Except for a brief period fighting at the Battle of Cambrai, the Division stayed in the Ypres sector. April 1918 was to see them playing a big part in the Battle of Messines, and the Battle of Mount Kemmel, when the Germans launched their desperate attempt to finish the war before the rapidly expanding American Army could be deployed. In the middle of this desperate 'backs to the wall' defence of their positions around Ypres, George was killed in Action on 27 May 1918. He was buried in Hagle Dump Cemetery, Elverdinghe. George is not commemorated locally.
James Richards, Private, 41052, Hampshire Regiment. James was born in Haverfordwest on 6 July 1895, the son of James and Elizabeth Richards, of Coltesmore Lodge, Prendergast. In September 1915 he married Mary Ann Brown, the daughter of David and Elizabeth Brown of Frog Street, Laugharne. They briefly set up home in Laugharne, before James enlisted into the army, and was posted to the 2/5th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. James joined the battalion in Egypt, where it was attached to 232 Brigade, 75th Division. The Division had formed in Egypt in March and April 1917, and served in Egypt and Palestine, taking part in the Third Battle of Gaza during November 1917, then the Capture of Junction Station, the Battle of Nabi Samweill and the capture of Jerusalem. At some stage around the time of the Battle of Nabi Samweill, James fell ill with appendicitis, and was hospitalised at the 21st General Hospital, Alexandria. James passed away on 9 December 1917. His bereaved widow, Mary Ann had already suffered the heartbreak of the death of their twenty one month old daughter Florence Martha Richards who had passed away during September 1917 without James ever having the chance to see his daughter. James was buried in Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt. Mary went on to remarry, and in October 1918, she married her next-door neighbour, George Brown. George, or Georgie, as he was known in Laugharne, was to become my Grandfather. It is strange how, out of sad events such as the death of James Richards, a whole family is created that would never have existed had he not died that day in Hospital in Egypt. James is not commemorated at Laugharne.
Lionel St. George Mordaunt Smith, Second Lieutenant, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Lionel was born on 23 April 1896 in Rugby, Warwickshire, the son of Mordaunt Kirwin and Ethel Mordaunt Smith. The family later lived at Milton Bank, Laugharne, after Mordaunt had retired from a distinguished military and banking career. Lionel was educated at Elstree School from May 1906 until July 1910, then at Charterhouse until 1913, where he served as a Sergeant in the Charterhouse O.T.C. Lionel was admitted into the Royal Military Academy during the November to December 1913 intake, and was commissioned into the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, where he served in the 2nd Battalion, which was attached to 12 Brigade, 4th Division. They were then transferred to 5 Brigade, 2nd Division on 26 January 1915. The Battalion was at Montmorency Barracks, Bethune, at the beginning of May 1915, then moved to positions at Richebourg. From 9 May they remained in the Richebourg area, alternating time in the trenches with rest days. On 12 May they were posted to a front line trench, suffering several casualties whilst waiting for the order, which arrived on the night of the 15/16 May, to attack the German lines, during the opening assault of the Battle of Festubert. The battle began with the British artillery bombardment on 13 May 1915, with 433 guns firing onto the German lines over a 5,000 yard front. After two days of intense bombardment, the infantry units were in position, and on the night of the 15/16 May 1915 the battle started. 6 Brigade attacked on the left flank, with 5 Brigade attacking in front. However 5 Brigade ran into heavy machine gun fire, and even though some men of the 2nd Inniskillings reached the German line, the majority were cut down in no-mans land. The Battalion lost four Officers killed, ten wounded and four missing during the assault. The other ranks amounted to 39 killed, 371 wounded and 239 missing. Well over half of the battalion had been lost that night. Lionel was killed during the attack, as an officer he would have been one of the first 'over the top' and would have been the first hit. He was just 19 years old. His body was never recovered, and so he is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial, France.
Richard Douglas Stealey, Leading Seaman, Z/191, Nelson Battalion, Royal Naval Division. Richard was born in London in 1894, the son of Captain John Stealey, a Master Mariner, and of Ada Page Stealey. He had an elder sister Mary Page, who was born in Laugharne, and they lived in Sunny Hill, Holloway Road, Laugharne. Richard was a member of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, and was called up as soon as war broke out, being drafted into the Nelson Battalion, Royal Naval Division. His service number shows that he was in the London Division RNVR. His father had died by now, and his widowed mother had moved the family to Attleborough Cottage, the Tilt, Cobham, Surrey. The Royal Naval Division had been made up of members of the Royal Navy who had no ship to serve on, and had been turned into a land force, akin to the modern day Royal Marines. After an unsuccessful attempt to hold the Port of Zeebrugge, the Royal Naval Division was sent to the Mediterranean, before taking part in the Gallipoli Landings, landing at Anzac beachhead on 29 April 1915. On 3 May 1915 the Royal Naval Division was in the middle of a spell of heavy fighting at Krithia. It was during this terrible fighting that Richard was shot in the head, but managed to walk back to a first aid post from where he was evacuated, by Hospital ship, to Alexandria. Richard died of his wounds aged just 20 on 7 May 1915 and was buried in the Alexandria (Chatby) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.
Brythonfryn Gwyn Thomas, Private, 1972, Royal Army Medical Corps. Gwyn was the son of John and Mary Jane Thomas, of the Blue Boar Public House, St. Clears. He enlisted at Swansea into the 1/3rd Welsh Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps. The 1/3rd Field Ambulance served with the 53rd (Welsh) Division, and landed at Suvla Bay on 6 August 1915, where they set up their stations. These men of the Field Ambulance were soon to be sorely tested. Over the coming days, they became swamped with hundreds, if not thousands, of casualties from the first days fighting during the Battle of Sari Bair. Conditions must have been dreadful, as the battlefields were already sown with the dead of previous assaults, and the bloated corpses in No Man's Land played host to millions of flies, which infested everywhere, sowing their germs and diseases, adding to the misery of the men on the peninsula. Sadly Gwyn was wounded during this terrible time, although the details are not known, just days after landing, and he was evacuated off the Peninsula, onto a Hospital Ship moored in Suvla Bay. Gwyn died of wounds on-board the Hospital Ship on 15 August 1915. He was 23 years old, and was buried at sea, and so he is remembered on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli. Gwyn is commemorated on the War Memorial at Bwlchnewydd Chapel, Laugharne.
John Arloe Edward Thomas, Leading Carpenter, 345555, Royal Navy. John was born on 24 August 1880 at Horsepool Farm, Laugharne, the son of Charles and Martha Thomas. When Charles retired from farming at Horsepool, the family moved to number 17, St. Thomas' Green, Haverfordwest. John was already a veteran in the Royal Navy at the outbreak of the Great War, after having enlisted in September 1902, and by the outbreak of war was aboard HMS Hawke. Here he served with another local man, Engineering Lieutenant Commander Thomas Morgan David, of Laugharne. HMS Hawke was an Edgar class cruiser, which saw service in the war as a converted depot ship for destroyers and submarines. John was killed when Hawke was torpedoed and sank by the German submarine U-9 on 15 October 1914, with the loss of 500 men. Only 70 survived. John is commemorated alongside his former crew men on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
Charles Vincent Todman B.A., Lieutenant, Royal Air Force. Charles was born in Victoria Street, Laugharne on 12 January 1892, the son of William and Matilda Todman. The family later moved to Cricklewood, London, where Charles was educated at the University of London, gaining his B.A. before taking a job as a Teacher, employed by the London County Council. Charles enlisted into the army in April 1914, joining the 9th Battalion (Queen Victoria's Rifles), London Regiment, which was attached to 13 Brigade, 5th Division. They landed at Le Havre on 5 November 1914, and fought through the Battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Marne, the Aisne, La Bassee, Messines and the First Battle of Ypres. On 18 March 1915, Charles was promoted to Corporal, before being granted a Commission into the 10th Battalion (Hackney), London Regiment. He served with the 175th Trench Mortar Battery throughout the Battle of Passchendaele, before being evacuated to Hospital in England with severe Gas Wounds on 12 September 1917. Following an operation to remove his damaged tonsils, Charles left Hospital in Chelsea on 4 December 1917, and on 23 May 1918 was listed in the London Gazette as being appointed as a Lieutenant (Flying Officer) with the newly formed Royal Air Force, in Number 16 Squadron. Number 16 Squadron formed part of 41 Wing, based at Ochey in France. It mounted its first attack against a factory at Saarbrucken in Germany on 17 October 1917, and a week later carried out a night attack against the same target. The wing was later expanded with the inclusion of numbers 99 and 104 Squadrons. From June 1918, the wing gained greater involvement in bombing missions in Germany flying the RE-8 aeroplane from their new base at Camblain-l'Abbé. From there the Squadron were used in support of the First Army at their junction with the Second Army at Armentieres. Charles was acting as an Observer in an R.E.8, serial Number C2518 piloted by Lieutenant Percy West, on 3 August 1918, when they were attacked by three German Aircraft East of Vimy Ridge, whilst on Artillery Observation. After a brave fight, their attackers finally drove them down near Aubigny, and both men sadly died in the resulting crash, which was claimed as a victory by Leutnant Paul Billick of Jasta 52. Charles was buried at Aubigny Communal Cemetery, France, alongside his pilot, Percy West.
Thomas Rees Waters, Lance Corporal, 44078, Welsh Regiment. Thomas was born in Laugharne on 4 October 1884, the son of John and Martha Waters, of Penrhiw, New Mill, Laugharne. Thomas enlisted into the army, and was posted to France during the summer of 1916 where he joined the 16th (Service) Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was the Cardiff City Battalion, attached to 115 Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division had been in France since December 1915, and had been posted to the Fleurbaix Sector for training. Thomas was drafted into France in April 1916, as part of the build up to the Battle of the Somme. It was in France that he joined 'C' Company of the 16th Welsh. Thomas was promoted to Lance Corporal in June 1916, and fought through the carnage of Mametz Wood, when the 16th Welsh was decimated during a futile attack on Mametz Wood on 7 July 1916. After the severe mauling that the 38th Welsh Division suffered at Mametz, they were withdrawn from front line service to rebuild and recover their immense losses. They then had the misfortune to be posted to the Ypres Salient, where they played a big part in the actions at Boesinghe and the Pilckem Ridge, during the Third Battle of Ypres, which is better known today as 'Passchendaele'. After the Welsh Divisions successful capture of the Pilckem Ridge, the Division was withdrawn to rest areas, leaving the 15th and 16th Welsh behind to assist the 20th (Light) Division in an attack on Langemarck. Thomas was killed in action during a suicidal attempt to attack the German lines at Langemarck through a barrage on 27 August 1917. His body was never recovered, due to the terrible conditions of the Battlefield, and so he is commemorated on the walls of the massive Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. Thomas is not commemorated at Laugharne, but at Llanddowror.
William Waters, Bombardier, 79715, Royal Garrison Artillery. Thomas was born in Laugharne around 1883, the son of John and Jane Waters of Pantyglass Farm, Broadway, Laugharne. He had an elder brother, Joseph, and younger siblings Mary Jane and Llewellyn Waters. William enlisted at the age of 22 years and 9 months along with his friend Herbert Roblin of Colston Farm, Laugharne, and was posted to the 216th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, while Herbert was posted to the Royal Field Artillery. The 216th Siege Battery consisted of four 6" howitzers, which together with their crews formed a small part of the 46th North Midland Division. The 46th Division had fought through some of the toughest campaigns of the Great War. They took a leading part in the opening of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, and fought through the Battles of the Ancre, the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line in 1917, and through to the Battle for Hill 70. On 15 August 1917, the Battle for Hill 70 began, near Loos. Throughout the day, and the next, William's gun crew were in action, firing their massive shells at the German lines, when a German shell crashed into their gun pit, killing William and the rest of the crew on 16 August 1917. William is buried at Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay, France, alongside his fallen comrades; William Holt and Henry Barber. Gunners William Wallbank, Alfred Steele, Albert Stanisford, John Richards, Simeon Johnson, David Dair, and Bombardier Albert Rowley, from the same Battery as William, all died within a few weeks of each other and are also buried at Maroc.
George Watts, Lance Corporal, 208, Australian Infantry. George was born in Laugharne on 4 February 1883, the son of John Watts, who lived at The Lakes, Laugharne. George also had two elder brothers Thomas and William Watts, who later lived at 25, Biggyn Road, Llanelli. George was another Laugharne man with a taste for adventure. On 31 May 1902, George enlisted at Devonport into the Royal Navy, signing up for 12 years. He served for over five years in the Royal Navy on active service, and for six years on the reserve. In 1914, George found himself in Australia, working as a miner, and on 28 September 1914, he enlisted in Townsville, into the 15th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, which was part of 4 Brigade, 4th Australian Division. George embarked at Melbourne on 22 December 1914 aboard the Australian Troopship Ceramic, bound for Egypt. On 25 April 1915 the Australians landed on the shores of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, and were thrown into desperate fighting. From May to August, the 15th battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the ANZAC front line. On 14 July 1915 George was admitted into the 4th Field Ambulance, and sent to the Greek Island of Mudros, with a boil on his neck. He returned to Gallipoli, but was again admitted to the 4th Field Ambulance at Anzac beach on Gallipoli on 11 August 1915. George returned to his Battalion the next day and found himself caught up in one of the final stages of the Gallipoli campaign, the Battle for Hill 60. A detachment from 'A' Company of the 15th Battalion was sent to reinforce the 13th Battalions unsuccessful attempt to take the position. It was during this futile struggle that George was wounded, and taken to the 16th Casualty Clearing Station, on 27 August 1915, to be treated for a gunshot wound to his left arm. George was ferried aboard the hospital ship Huntsgreen, where he died of his wounds on 30 August 1915. The chief officer aboard HS Huntsgreen buried George at sea that day. George is commemorated alongside 4,931 comrades on the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli.
Eric Western Wilson, Second Lieutenant, West Yorkshire Regiment. Eric was born on 12 July 1893 at Thornton-le-Moor, Yorkshire, the only son of John Western Wilson and C.M. Wilson, later of The Corse, Laugharne. Eric was a nephew of Engineer Lieutenant Commander Thomas Morgan David. Eric was educated at Carmarthen Grammar School, at Kelly College, Tavistock, and at Leeds University, before graduating from the University Officer Training Corps, and was commissioned into the Special Reserve, the Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment in July 1913. He joined the 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment on the outbreak of war, which was stationed at Lichfield. They were sent to France with the BEF, landing at St. Nazaire on 10 September 1914, as part of 18 Brigade, 6th Division. The German Army had been hard hit by the BEF in early September, and by 11 September 1914 it was clear to the British that the Germans had retreated behind the River Aisne. On 15 September, Marshal Joffre ordered the French and British armies to attack the withdrawing Germans. This action became known as the Battle of the Aisne. The main attack was carried out by the British, against the Chemin-des-Dames ridge in the direction of Laon. On 20 September 1914, Eric was killed in action, around 60 kilometres east of Paris, on the river Marne, while leading his platoon to recapture a trench near Troyon that had been taken by the enemy earlier in the day. He has no known grave, and is remembered on the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial, France. He was just 21 years old, and the first Laugharne man to be killed in the Great War.
Laugharne War Memorial, World War Two, 1939-1945
John William Congreve, Lieutenant, Royal Navy. John was born in 1912, the son of Major Claude Vyvian Congreve, of the Indian Army, and Mary Hudson Congreve, of Island House. John enrolled into the RNVR (London Division) on 22 January 1937. He was promoted to T/S/ Lieutenant on 28 September 1939 and posted to HMS Rhodora, an armed yacht. On 15 August 1940 John was made a full Lieutenant and posted to the destroyer HMS Tynedale, a newly built 'Hunt' class destroyer. Tynedale took part in 'Operation Chariot' on the on the night of 28 March 1942. Operation Chariot was an ambitious plan hatched by the British Combined Operations to disable the Normandie dry dock at St. Nazaire on the French coast. HMS Tynedale was part of the escort to the old American destroyer HMS Campbelltown, which was used to smash into the gates of the massive dry docks, and was exploded there-putting the dock out of action for the rest of the war-and thus prevented the Germans from bringing their massive Battleship, the Tirpitz into the port. She was escorting a convoy off the coast of Algeria on 12 December 1943 when she was spotted and torpedoed by the German submarine U-593. John died that day, as a result of the torpedo explosion, at the age of 31. He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.
Thomas Lewis Ebsworth, Captain, Welsh Regiment. Thomas was born in Pendine, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Ebsworth of the Beach Hotel. At the outbreak of the Great War, Thomas enlisted into the Welsh Regiment. He was soon promoted to Sergeant, and in 1916 Thomas was commissioned into the Officer Training Corps, Ayrshire. He was commissioned into the 6th Welsh on 19 December 1916. The battalion was the Pioneer Battalion to the 1st Division. Thomas saw much action during the Great War, which saw him being awarded the Croix-de-Guerre by the French Government. He returned back to Wales and set up home in Fullerton House, Laugharne. Thomas settled back into civilian life well. Along with his brother John, he became a partner in the firm of Ebsworth Brothers, at Clifton Garage. He took an active role in the Township, becoming the Vice President of the regatta committee, a member of the War Comforts and Welcome Home Committee; Chairman of the Billiard and Social Club, as well as a Foreman of the Jury in Laugharne Corporation. Upon the outbreak of WW2, Thomas re-enlisted, and raised the local Home Guard. He enrolled over 100 men, and was appointed Company Commander of 'E' Company, Carmarthenshire Home Guard. On 23 December 1941, Thomas' wife, Rose Emily, passed away at their home aged 50. The stress of losing his wife, coupled with his efforts to raise the local Home Guard, took its toll on Thomas' health, and on Sunday 1 February 1942, after a short illness, Thomas died at his home, Fullerton House. The couple were survived by their son, Tommy, but sadly Tommy died on 30 July 1943, aged just 20. On the Thursday following his death, Thomas Lewis Ebsworth was laid to rest at St. Martins Church, Laugharne. Thomas is not commemorated on the Laugharne Memorial.
Douglas George Edmunds, Private, 3963251, Hampshire Regiment. Douglas was born at Halldown Farm, Laugharne in 1917, the son of Thomas Rees and Mary Jane Edmunds. The family later moved to Hendy, near Pontardulais. Douglas married before the war, and lived at Hendy with his wife, before enlisting into the Army, and joining the 5th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment. The Battalion was part of the allied army that landed at Sicily between 9 and 12 July 1943. They invaded Italy on 3 September and mounted an amphibious assault at Salerno on 8 September 1943. The objective of the Italian campaign was to draw German troops away from the Russian front, and especially from the French coast, where the offensive was planned for the following year. Douglas was killed during the battle at Salerno on 9 September 1943, and is buried in the Salerno War Cemetery, Italy.
Henry Brynmor John, Lieutenant-Commander (S), Royal Navy. Henry was the son of Jonah and Mary John, and was born in 1897 in High Street, Narberth. Henry had married Elizabeth Dorothy Williams, who was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John F. Williams of Laugharne. Henry was educated at Narberth School, and during 1914, at the age of 17, he entered into St. George's College in London to pursue a Naval Career. At the age of 18, Henry was serving in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Juno, where he assisted with the rescue of survivors from the torpedoed passenger ship 'Lusitania', which had been sunk by a German submarine off the Irish coast with great loss of life. By 1920, Henry had been awarded the Order of the Nile, whilst serving at the Royal Naval base at Port Said. And had reached the rank of Paymaster-Lieutenant. Later that year Henry was awarded the MBE and was invested by King George V at Buckingham Palace. By the age of 38, Henry had risen to the rank of Paymaster Commander. Henry's first posting after the Great War was aboard the cruiser HMS Frobisher. On 14 November 1930, he was posted to Bermuda (HMS Flora). Henry spent a year aboard the battleship HMS Rodney, until July 1935, and then transferred to the cruiser HMS Exeter where he saw active service during the famous 'Sinking of the Graf Spee' off the River Plate in South America. From 15 November 1941, Henry served aboard the Battleship HMS Resolution, as Squadron Accountant, 3rd Battle Squadron. On 29 December 1943, Henry was transferred to the navigation school at Portsmouth (HMS Dryad). He was promoted to Commander in the Royal Navy, and served on the Combined Operations staff under Lord Mountbatten, which planned the D-Day landings. Henry's last posting was at HMS President, a Royal Naval Gunnery School in London. It was whilst serving there that Henry and his wife decided to visit Plymouth en-route to a trip home to visit family in Narberth and Laugharne. Whilst in Plymouth, Henry took ill and was taken into St. George's Hospital in London. He died three weeks later of heart failure, aged 49, on 26 August 1946, and was cremated in the Golders Green Crematorium, Middlesex. He had been a Burgess of Laugharne and also a Vice-President of the 'Laugharne Sports and Attractions.' Henry left behind his wife Elizabeth, his brother, Lieutenant-Commander Roy John, and two sisters, Mrs J. Evans Williams of Llanelli and Miss Elvie John of Narberth. Many thanks to Helen John for the photograph of Henry.
Thomas William Saint John, Gunner, 1089358, Royal Artillery. Thomas was born in 1911, the son of Thomas and Mary John, of Avon Bank, St. Clears. He had played rugby for Laugharne, before enlisting into the Royal Artillery. Thomas was posted to the 118th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, and sailed for the Far East, where the Regiment formed part of the Singapore Garrison. The Regiment was in Singapore at the time of the Japanese attack on 8 February 1942, as part of 18th Division. After a week of heavy fighting, the Garrison surrendered to the Japanese on 15 February 1942. The survivors of the Battle for Singapore were interned in the infamous Changi Jail. From here, the men were shipped to various parts of the Far East to be used as labourers by their Japanese captors. Thomas was among 900 British Prisoners of War who boarded the Japanese 'Hell ship' Kachidoki Maru on 6 September 1944 at Singapore. Six days into her voyage to Japan, the convoy containing the Kachidoki Maru was spotted by a patrol of three American Submarines in the South China Sea. The Americans opened fire; The USS Sealion sank the Rakuyo Maru with over 1,300 POW's aboard, while the submarine USS Pampanito fired a spread of torpedoes into the helpless Kachidoki Maru, with 900 POW's aboard. After realising what they had done, the Americans surfaced and began to pull survivors out of the water, but over 1,550 British and Australian POW's were lost in the sinking. Amongst the dead was Thomas. Thomas was tragically killed, aged 34, on 12 September 1944 aboard the Kachidoki Maru. The inscription on his parents headstone states that he was Lost in Action at Sea. Thomas is remembered on the Singapore Memorial, Kranji.
Daniel Delme Owen Lewis, Private, 3963252, Welch Regiment. Delme was born in Laugharne on 29 April 1920, the son of David and Beatrice May Lewis of Bronwast Farm. Against his father's wishes, Delme enlisted into the Territorial Army around 1937, along with many of his friends from Laugharne. At the outbreak of War the Territorials were called up, and Delme joined the 1st Battalion, Welch Regiment, joining the battalion in Palestine. The battalion then moved to the Western Desert, arriving at Mersa Matruh during November 1939. Before they had a chance to take on the Italians in North Africa, they were sent to Alexandria and when the threat to the British refuelling bases at Crete became serious, were sent to reinforce the garrison on the island. On 14 May 1941, the German onslaught against Crete began. The island was saturation bombed by 600 Luftwaffe aircraft, softening up the British defences before the German airborne assault was launched. Waves of Junkers 52 troop carrier aircraft and gliders brought German paratroopers to the battle, and by pouring in reinforcements the Germans were virtually in control of the island within a week. The last stand for the 1st Welch in Crete came on 28 May, when nine German battalions overwhelmed them. Some 300 survivors reached the British naval base at Sphakia, where they were evacuated to Alexandria. Here the remnants of the 1st Welch were to face the might of the German Afrika Korps. Now rebuilt to full strength, the 1st Welch were involved in the fierce struggle to hold Benghazi throughout January 1942, but were ordered to withdraw to the Egyptian frontier. The Welch battalions had been split into individual companies during the withdrawal, and met with vastly differing levels of success-many were wiped out by the Germans. Of the 700 odd officers and men of the 1st Welch who fought at Benghazi, only 214 survived. The survivors of the battalion were sent to Khartoum, where it refitted and was brought back up to strength and then was sent to Palestine to train for the invasion of Italy. Letters from the International Red Cross Archives show that Daniel was captured on 11 February 1942 by the Italian Army at Tobruk. The Red Cross have records of a telegram sent to them by the Italian Authorities on 19 February 1942 stating that Delme was a Prisoner of War of the Italians, and that upon being shipped from North Africa back to Italy, along with hundreds of other Allied POW's, the steamer that they were on was torpedoed and sank, probably by a British submarine. Delme is today commemorated on the Alamein War Memorial, Libya.
Henry Douglas McDermott, Major, Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Henry was born at Gosport, Hampshire in 1899, the son of Commander Thomas and Mrs. Frances McDermott, later of Laugharne. On 29 May 1915 Henry enlisted into the 2nd Portsmouth Battalion, Royal Marines. He was discharged to a Commission into the Army a month later, and served in France for the remainder of the Great War. After the war Henry returned to Laugharne, with his wife Eliza McDermott, and the couple lived at Victoria Street. At the outbreak of World War Two, Henry was posted to the Far East with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. The Royal Army Ordnance Corps were responsible for the storage and supply of food, weapons, clothing and equipment for the British Army. Douglas died in Burma aged 46 on 20 July 1945, and was buried in the Kirkee Cemetery, Poona, India.
Francis Edward Hugh Owen, Able Seaman, C/SSX 15155, Royal Navy. Francis was born in 1915, the son of Hugh and Edith Owen of Laugharne. He served as an Able Seaman aboard HMS Huntley, a minesweeper that operated in the Mediterranean. On 31 January 1941, HMS Huntley was attacked by German aircraft in the Eastern Mediterranean, and sank about 30 nautical miles West of Mersa Matruh. Francis was killed in the attack, and is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.
Thomas Brian Owen, Sergeant, 1162333, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Thomas was born in 1920 in Laugharne, the son of William and Annie Owen, who were living in Carmarthen at the time of their son's death. Very little is known of Thomas, but he served throughout the war with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Thomas died in the RAF Hospital at St. Athan, aged 26, on 30 May 1947, after suffering from Tuberculosis and was buried in the new graveyard at St. Martin's church, Laugharne, with a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone.
Austin Thomas Phillips, Leading Stoker, D/KX 91896, Royal Navy. Austin was born on 29 January 1918, the son of Richard Lewis Phillips and Mary Winifred Phillips of Brook Cottage, near Laugharne. Austin was a pupil of Brook School, before he went to Whitland Grammar School. After leaving school at 17 years old, Austin went to work at Great House Farm, Laugharne, before enlisting into the Royal Navy at 19 years old, on 17 August 1937. Austin was married to Margaret Winifred Phillips and they had a daughter Rose Mary Phillips. Training was thorough in the Royal Navy, and Austin spent time training at several Naval Bases including Drake and Tamar-before getting a posting on the ship HMS Glenearn on 12 December 1940. He was now a Stoker 1st Class. Glenearn was commandeered by the Royal Navy in October 1939 and converted into a Fast Fleet supply Ship. Her role was to supply fuel and ammunition to secret Atlantic Squadrons-tasked with the destruction of German surface ships in the Atlantic, but the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk in 1940 meant that she was brought into service to aid in the evacuation of the besieged forces from the famous beaches. She was then converted to a Troopship-capable of carrying 1,090 troops, 12 small Landing Craft and two large Landing Craft. In April 1941 she was sent to Malta, along with her sister ship the Glengyle and on 19-20 April was used in the first ever Commando assault from specialised ships. On 22 April, while assisting in the evacuation of Greece, she received a direct hit on the focsle but remained operational, and on 26 April was hit twice more. She had to be towed to Crete by the destroyer HMS Griffin, and then to Alexandria. After the evacuation of 50,672 troops from Greece, she sailed through the Suez Canal, and was hit by a burning ship, and had to go to Colombo for repairs. In mid 1942 she returned to England and was fitted with davits to handle larger Landing Craft and was used in the Allied landings on D-Day on Sword Beach. In 1945, the Glenearn was sent to the Far East to join the Pacific Fleet, but in April was damaged by a fuel explosion while she was near the mouth of the Markham River, Papua New Guinea. Several crew members were badly wounded during the resulting fire, and were evacuated to Hospital at Hollandia, Papua New Guinea. On 15 April 1945, after being critically ill for several days, Austin died of burns. He was 27 years old. Austin was originally buried at Hollandia Hospital Cemetery, but after the War, the Graves from outlying cemeteries were brought into Lae War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea, as it was impossible to maintain the smaller outlying cemeteries.
Frank David Thomas Phillips, Flight Sergeant, 1128364, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Frank was born in Laugharne around 1907, the son of John and Mary Anne Phillips of Laugharne (who resided in Carmarthen at the time of Franks' death) and the cousin of Austin Thomas Phillips. He joined the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of war, becoming a Flight Sergeant in 35 Squadron, RAFVR, and trained as an Air Gunner-becoming a 'Mid-Upper Gunner'. The Squadron was a bomber squadron, which in November 1940 was reformed for the purpose of introducing the new Handley-Page Halifax bombers into active service. The squadron was one of the groups that attempted to sink the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau during their escape dash from the North German Ports. In August 1942, 35 Squadron was incorporated into the elite 'Pathfinder' force, taking a major part in many bombing missions during the war, including the commando raids on Le Creusot and Peenemunde. In March 1944, the squadron converted to Lancaster's, taking part in the D-Day bombing campaigns. On the night of 19/20 October 1944, Frank was part of an eight-man crew of the Lancaster Mark III serial no. TL J. Their mission was to bomb the German City of Stuttgart, which was deep behind the front lines. At 17:56 on 19 October 1944, Lancaster TL J took off from RAF Gravely. The raid was numbered ND755. The Lancaster had crossed the front Lines, and was almost into Germany, when it was brought down by enemy fire. The unfortunate crew were all killed in the resulting crash and are buried together at Wintzenbach Protestant Churchyard, Bas-Rhin, France.
George David Roberts, Steward, Merchant Navy. George was born in 1912 in Mardol, Rhondda, the son of Frank Roberts of Laugharne. He joined the Merchant Navy on 26 March 1928 and served aboard several ships, before joining the crew of the SS Queen City on 23 February 1940. The Queen City was a cargo ship that had been built in 1924. It formed part of the Cardiff based fleet of the Reardon Smith Line Ltd. George's papers show that he died of wounds received on 28 September 1940 aboard the SS Queen City, due to enemy action. The ship was 40 miles out of Hull when German Dive Bombers attacked it. George was aged 27, and is buried at the Rhondda (Ferndale) cemetery, in the family plot. George's younger brother Jimmy Roberts was killed alongside George aboard the Queen City, but is not commemorated on the Laugharne War Memorial. The SS Queen City survived another 2 years at war, before being torpedoed and sank on 21 December 1942 off the coast of Paraguay.
James Frederick Roberts, Steward, Merchant Navy. James was the brother of George, and was born in 1920 in Mardol, Rhondda. He served with George aboard SS Queen City, and was killed during the same attack. He was just 20 years old, and is buried in a joint grave with George, at Rhondda (Ferndale) Cemetery. For some reason, James is not commemorated alongside his brother at Laugharne.
Thomas Essery "Tim" Rose-Richards, Sub-Lieutenant, Fleet Air Arm. Tim was born in Glamorgan in 1902. His father Major Thomas Picton Rose-Richards, had served throughout the Great War, and had become a Mid-War MP for Breconshire, before retiring, and moving to Island House, in Laugharne. Tim was a well known racing driver. He had entered Le Mans five times, finishing in 3rd place in 1931, 1932 and 1933. He also raced in Grand Prix, finishing fourth in the 1934 Dieppe GP with a Bugatti T51, and third in the 1935 Eifel Voiturette GP driving ERA R1A. Tim won a coveted BRDC Gold Star in 1935, and this resulted in him being remembered in the BRDC Hall of Fame, at the famous Brooklands. When War broke out, Tim volunteered into the Royal Navy. From the Navy, he became a Flight Lieutenant in the Fleet Air Arm, serving at HMS Daedalus on the South Coast, with 765 Squadron. The Squadron flew the Supermarine Walrus. This was a single-engined 'flying-boat', which was used as a search and rescue and reconnaissance aeroplane. On 7 October 1940, during the Battle of Britain, a German Bomber was forced down in the English Channel. Thomas and his aircrew were sent to rescue the downed crew, in their Supermarine Walrus. As they came down to prepare for landing, their aircraft was raked by machine-gun fire from a German Heinkel, which sent them spinning into the sea. Thomas was reported mission 7-8 miles south of Anvil Point. None of the bodies were recovered, and so Tim is commemorated on the walls of the Lee-On-Solent Memorial, Hampshire. Tim is not commemorated at Laugharne.
Bridgeman Rochfort Mordaunt Smith, Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. Bridgeman was the husband of Elsie Mordaunt Smith, of Copthorne, Essex. His parents Mordaunt Kirwan Smith, and Blanche had lived in Laugharne, and are buried in the churchyard, and his older brother Lionel was killed in the Great War, serving with the Inniskilling Fusiliers. Bridgeman served in the Great War as a Midshipman in the Royal Navy. He was aboard HMS Colossus in the Battle of Jutland, when the Colossus was hit by German shellfire and damaged. He was home in Laugharne on leave shortly afterwards, before returning to sea and finishing the war off unscathed. After the Great War, Bridgeman was commissioned into the Royal Indian Navy, where he served as Sub-Lieutenant until resigning his Commission in 1922. Later that year he was commissioned into the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as Second Lieutenant, resigning his commission there in September 1926, due to Bankruptcy proceedings due to a failed business venture. At the outbreak of the Second War, Bridgeman was commissioned as Temporary Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve on 16 November 1939. From 10 January 1940, he served at HMS Elfin, a submarine base in Blyth, then from 7 January 1941 at HMS Flora, a Royal Naval base at Invergordon, for miscellaneous services. Bridgeman is recorded with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as being killed in action on 6 September 1943, but the details of his death are a bit sketchy, as his Death Certificate shows that he died at home in Warwick of Heart Failure at the age of 44. He is buried in the Mordaunt-Smith Family plot in St. Martins, Churchyard Laugharne.
Ivor Morgan Thomas, Sub-Lieutenant, Royal Naval Reserve. Ivor was born in Laugharne to Albert William and Sarah Dora Thomas (nee Harries). He joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve at the outbreak of war, and was transferred to the submarine service as a Sub Lieutenant aboard a top secret experimental craft, the submarine X-4. She was designed and built early in WW2 for the express purpose of attacking enemy warships moored in protected anchorages, in particular the German battleship 'Tirpitz' which was moored in a protected anchorage in Norway. Before moving to Scotland for his training on the Submarine, Ivor married Josephine Thomas in London. Four craft, the X-1 to X-4 were built in utmost secrecy, and sent to Loch Striven in Scotland for sea trials. The training was rugged and thorough, with the crews trained in every facet of an operation, such as cutting through anti-submarine nets and escape and evasion. The crew were also subjected to depth charge attacks to familiarise themselves with the fearful experience. Two men lost their lives through accident during training. The first of these was Ivor. On 11 December 1942, X-4 was caught in a storm while on an exercise on the Loch. Ivor opened the rear hatch to ditch some garbage, when X-4 was swamped by a wave, sweeping Ivor to his death. The submarine began flooding, but after two hours battling to stay afloat, X-4 was towed back to safety. Ivor's body was never found, and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Devon. The fellow crewmen of Ivor Morgan Thomas went on to mount a successful mission to inflict damage to the Battleship Tirpitz-which put her out of action for practically the rest of the war. Two men were awarded the coveted Victoria Cross for the action; one of whom was Ivor's compatriot from the X-4, Lieutenant Godfrey Place.
Gordon Thomas Garfield Williams, Aircraftman 2nd Class, 932450, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Gordon was the son of Thomas Stanley Garfield and Annie Jane Williams of Laugharne. He was related through marriage to George Roberts, who was killed in 1940. They were both related to Cyril Roberts, a well known man in Laugharne. Gordon was the Head Gardener at Amroth Castle before the war, but had moved back to Cardiff with his wife and two children, where he enlisted into the Royal Air Force. Gordon was transferred overseas with the Royal Air Force, and was stationed in Malaya at the early part of the war. Simultaneously with their attack on Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, on 7 December 1941, the Japanese landed at Kota Bharu, Malaya, and also crossed the border into Mainland Hong Kong. Hong Kong fell on 25 December 1941 when 100 RAF men were captured. As the Japanese advanced down Malaya, one by one, the twenty-two airfields in Malaya were evacuated and by 16 January 1942 all Air Force Squadrons, Units and Station Staff had been driven back to Singapore Island. At much the same time the aircraft and pilots from 232 and 258 Squadrons arrived, having been despatched from the United Kingdom, and the evacuation of ground staff RAF men to Java began. By 10 February, all but one of the four airfields on Singapore Island was in Japanese hands and the few remaining aircraft were withdrawn to Palembang on Sumatra. Singapore fell on 15 February 1942, less than 100 RAF men remaining to be captured there. Many of the ships evacuating civilians and service men from Singapore were sunk off Sumatra. Approximately 125 shipwrecked RAF men survived to be captured by the Japanese and taken to Bangka Island. Another 150 RAF men were captured at Padang, which fell on 17 March 1942. These men had used the established River Indragiri Escape Line through central Sumatra to Padang but there were insufficient boats for all to get to Ceylon. Those RAF men withdrawn from Singapore to Palembang were joined by two Fighter Squadrons (605 and 242 Squadrons) who had left the United Kingdom on 8th December 1941 and two Bomber Squadrons (84 and 211 Squadrons) who had been in the Middle East at the outbreak of war in the Far East. However, after a two-day battle, it was decided on 14 February 1942 that all air force units must withdraw to Java. In Java were not only those RAF men withdrawn from Eastern Sumatra, and those evacuated from Singapore, but also men unattached to any Squadron or Unit who had left the United Kingdom on 8th December 1941, the intention being that they would relieve men who had been overseas for three years. On 28 February 1942, soon after midnight, the Japanese landed at three places on Java. By 5 March the few remaining British aircraft had been assembled at Tasikmalaya and that evening all British Units were ordered to an area south of Bandung. They were in position before dawn on 8th March but soon afterwards a Dutch proclamation declared that all organised resistance had now ceased. A few RAF men did manage to board the few boats and reach Australia safely, but approximately 4,600 men went into captivity. About 100 men of the RAF and the various Commonwealth Air Forces were captured after being shot down in Burma. Less than 30 were shot down elsewhere. Generally, shot down aircrew were very badly treated by the Japanese. Little is known of how Gordon met his fate, but he died on 6 March 1942, aged 33, and is remembered on the Singapore Memorial, Kranji.
Laugharne War Memorial, Post WW2
William Howell Morse, Lieutenant, Royal Navy. William was born at New Mill, Laugharne on 18 January 1931. He was educated at Whitland Grammar School, and after leaving in 1946, passed his entrance exam for the Royal Navy. He originally joined as an Artificers Apprentice and passed out four years later as a Petty Officer. The Royal Navy was looking to recruit pilots at the time, so William applied, and was accepted. After undertaking further officer training, William undertook flying training at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland. He then successfully passed his jet conversion training before joining 800 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm at Brawdy in March 1955. After six months at Brawdy, during which time William flew over New Mill several times, the Squadron was posted to HMS Ark Royal for her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean. On 14 October 1955 Ark Royal passed through the Straits of Gibraltar. William was the first man to take off that day, but the catapult failed, and without the extra boost in speed to get airborne, Williams' aircraft plunged off the deck into the sea. The ship was stopped and a search was carried out, but there was no trace of William nor his aircraft. William was 24 years old when he died that day, and is commemorated on the Armed Forces Memorial at Alrewas, Staffordshire. Many thanks to Walter Morse for sending in the information about his brother William, who is not commemorated at Laugharne.
Other Laugharne men who Served
Above is a newspaper clipping showing the four sons of Willie John, of South Hills, Laugharne, who all served in WW2. All survived the War, and descendants live in Laugharne still today.
This photo postcard shows three soldiers, and is dated August 25th 1911. I saw this for sale on ebay, and bought it, as it is addressed to a Mrs. Jones, C/O Mr. Lewis, Hugdon, Laugharne. After looking at the uniforms and badges, and comparing with the list of Laugharne soldiers who fought in WW1 (which is below), I am 99% sure that the three men are Lance Corporal J. Jones, Royal Engineers, of Broadway, Sapper William Henry Jones, Royal Engineers, also of Broadway, and the man in the middle is Alfred Lewis, Royal Marine Light Infantry, of Hugdon. There is a note on the back of the postcard also which says 'Remember to be at Llanstephan tomorrow-tell David John'.
A photograph of Private John Thomas, of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. I discovered by chance a poem written by his brother, Private Jack Thomas, also of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He sent it home to his parents, Mr and Mrs R. Thomas of Castell Toch, a year after his brother John had his leg amputated following serious wounds suffered at the front. Their nephew James Phillips of Llanstephan, was lost at Langemarck.
A Laugharne Hero
Don't take him, Sir, take me instead,
He's far more useful to my Dad than me!
And in the Great War's records none are found
More worthy of a noble name than he.
Four sons there were, of worthy, Welsh farm home,
And one they wanted for the Army's ranks;
Thus spake the hero and the other's place
He freely took, and asked no other thanks.
Two years and more he spent in France's Hell,
And fought with single power the deadly foe
Till wounded in each limb he fell in strife,
And back to Blighty came with strength but low.
An amputated leg, a fractured arm,
And scarce his medals are. And for reward
A conscience clear, which bids him rise and take
The gratitude of brother, King and God.
Jack Thomas, August 1918.
Above is a clipping showing the two Rowlands brothers, Verdun and Bernard. They both served in No. 1 Commando, after having volunteered from the 4th Welsh, and saw active service in North Africa and Italy with the Commandos. Four men from Laugharne volunteered to serve in the Commandos in WW2, and were accepted after having passed their rigourous training course at Achnacarry, Scotland. They were my Uncle, Glynford Brown (below), Maurice Brace, and Verdun and Bernard Rowlands. Glynford was wounded on a Commando raid, either at Dieppe or St. Nazaire, and was posted to the 5th Welsh. He landed with the 5th Welsh as part of the 53rd (Welsh) Division as part of the second wave of troops into Normandy, and was wounded again in France. These were tough men even into their old age!
Copyright © Steven John 2013