Penybont and District History Group Notes
5th November 2018
Geraint opened the meeting to another crowded room and welcomed the members once again.
He reminded members that our next meeting on Monday 3rd December is an opportunity to bring items with a particular provenance to the District when we can share their History and even have them valued. Michael Winterton, who is a retired expert and whose son regularly appears on the Antique’s Roadshow, has very kindly agreed to share his expertise about the items that will be ‘on the table’. There is of course the opportunity for those who have not got an item particular to Penybont District to bring a hidden Ming Vase or Rembrandt!
Geraint also referred to next year’s programme, which is beginning to take shape, and asked members to contribute to the vacant slot with suggestions, and/or offers to contribute to the programme directly. He hopes to have a Programme confirmed by our next meeting and be in a position to give members a card with all the dates.
Geraint asked Mary to talk about her visit to the Radnorshire Museum where there is an exhibition of memories, pictures and artefacts from the War period. Philip Jones and Will Adams have done a marvellous job in drawing together the information and then turning it into an exhibition. Only about ¼ of the material collected has been used in the exhibition, and they are still adding to it as new information comes in. The exhibition goes on until January. Mary highly recommended it as it is just full of local stories. Geraint reinforced Mary’s tribute to the exhibition and he will show some photos from the exhibition in his talk.
Mary went on to mention an event in Llandrindod on 11th of the 11th. This is part of a World-Wide Tribute to those who served, and in particular those who lost their lives. It will take the form of a Lantern Light Vigil between 6.30 p.m. and 7.30 p.m., and will finish with a ‘Cry for Peace’.
The Penybont District will have its usual service next Sunday at 10.30 a.m. at the War Memorial.
Geraint then asked Elizabeth to contribute a true-life story to the proceedings
Elizabeth was the Registrar for Herefordshire dealing with Births, Marriages and Deaths, and in this area of work she had a particular interest in Family History.
One morning, out of the blue, she had a challenging phone call from France and from a person who only spoke French. The person wanted to trace the background of her Father, Owen, who had connections with Hereford.
From the information that she was given, and could understand, she took the research of the background to this request as a particularly interesting challenge. Elizabeth managed to trace the man’s Birth Certificate and discovered that he was not born in Herefordshire but in Walton, Radnorshire. Following the line of enquiry through she also discovered that he got married in Herefordshire and subsequently had 4 children.
Having managed to get a Birth Certificate from Llandrindod Wells and a copy of the Marriage Certificate she phoned the person who had made the original enquiry with this exciting information. There was a sharp intake of breath on the phone line from France. Ahh! – But he was married to my mother! Naughty Owen! Fortunately, the French son was thrilled to have ½ brothers and sisters in England and vice versa.
Owen’s story was quite complicated and in a sort of way he ‘paid for his naughtiness’ in the end. Owen had been conscripted relatively early in the War and had appealed against this, but lost the Appeal. He ended up in the King’s Liverpool Regiment where he was part of a clearing group. He did not get discharged at the end of the War but was eventually discharged in 1921.
By then he was lost to his family back home, but he was not shown on any War Memorial. He married in France where he also had children. Life was probably good for Owen as he had been a Labourer in England but was described as a Cabinet Makar. Things however turned difficult for Owen when the 2nd World War came along and the Police in France, who worked with the Germans, discovered him as an Englishman in France, and he was interned. Over the next few years he would be in Camps in France, Belgium, Germany and Poland. Fortunately for Owen, and others similarly interned, these were not concentration camps. He would have been treated reasonably well.
For Elizabeth this was a secret on both sides of the Channel, but a secret that everyone knew about, but never talked about.
There were probably many similar stories, but Geraint felt certain that there was no one quite so naughty living in Penybont!?
Main Topic: War Memorial Project in Powys: Speaker Catherine Pugh; and Impact of the Ending of World War 1 on Community Life in the Penybont District: Speaker Revd. Geraint Hughes
Part 1: Catherine Pugh – War Memorials Project
Geraint then introduced our surprise speaker, Catherine Pugh. Catherine has recently taken over from Nathan Davies, our expected speaker, to continue to develop the War Memorials Project on behalf of the County Council. She had only made contact this morning as Nathan had left a note that he had agreed to give us a talk on his Project. Catherine agreed to come immediately and Geraint, who knew Catherine, was very pleased that she was in a position to give us an understanding of how the Project had developed over the last few years.
Catherine started by telling us that Nathan had made a major contribution to improving War Memorials throughout the County. He has now moved on to work for a national charity for blind people. As well as making this change, he, and his wife, are expecting a baby. Catherine has only recently taken over the Project and has had to dive in, and run, at the same time. Her strategy has been to deal with things as they come along, and hence the somewhat late phone call this morning about this event.
The main feature of the Project has been to offer funds, up to £5000 for the renovation of War Memorials and a separate £200 to restore the railings that often surround the War Memorial. Any type of War Memorial has been eligible. These have included:
- A Roll of Honour in Builth Wells
- A Horse trough
Alongside the aim to include all these different types of Memorial has been the aim to include as many communities as possible, all under the Banner:
“A Mark of Respect”
There were many other elements that the Project was able to support:
- Identifying and Mapping War Memorials. Initially 300 were identified but this has now gone up to 350, and rising.
- Encouraging and enabling young people to take responsibility for their community War Memorials
- Developing Kits for training, recording, carrying out a condition survey, and for repairing and maintaining A War Memorial
- Establishing Walks and Trails including Brecon, Llandrindod, and Llanidloes
- Establishing a website: https://www.powyswarmemorials.co.uk/ ; which is still being added to
There are a number of continuing projects:
- In conjunction with Theatre Hafren a film is being developed featuring tanks; a unique and special piece of music has been composed ; and work to show the Tommies in a cheery mood; Showing the work that went on behind the front line; and featuring prisoners of war.
- Following on from the film, and play; War Horse; work has been done to feature the horse and the conditions they had to endure – mud up to their knees; carrying paniers loaded with shells – 5 million horses died in the course of the War.
- Work has been done in Ystradgynlais and Llanidloes on the Battle of the Somme
- Work has also been done in Ystradgynlais with the Primary Schools to encourage them to have a pride in their War Memorial.
- A special kit for schools has been developed with lesson plans.
- A module that contributes to the Welsh Baccalaureate has been developed
In many instances the £5000 has not been enough to do all the work that has been needed to restore a War Memorial. The one in Montgomery was a particular example. The Earl of Powys had donated land to build the War Memorial and it was situated in such a way so that he could see it from his bed when he woke up in the morning. In Rhayader they had to close the road to be able to carry out the necessary repairs.
In Penybont the Memorial was cleaned in order to repair the names on the Memorial. The other work that was done has made it possible for people with a disability to gain access to the War Memorial. At about the same time the railings were repainted by a team of volunteers under the direction of Geraint Hughes. This was not covered by the Project as it had begun before the grant application went in.
Volunteers have been crucial to the War Memorial in Penybont and none more so than Chris Carpenter. Geraint made special reference to the work that Chris and Marlene have done over the last 15 years. Chris, who has lost Marlene in recent years, has now stepped down and the Community Council are advertising to find a someone to carry on the work. Members as a whole thanked Chris in the usual way.
Geraint thanked Catherine for her talk which was very well received by members.
Part 2: Impact of the Ending of World War 1 on Community Life in the Penybont District: Speaker Revd. Geraint Hughes
Geraint started with a reflection on the extraordinary number of people who died in the War. Roughly 1 million people died from Britain and the colonies. This number is dwarfed in comparison to the toll in other countries across Europe. In simple terms the main impact was this shocking loss of young men, a lost generation.
Number of men mobilised = 65M
Total Killed = 16M Total Wounded = 21.2M
` Killed Wounded
Germany 2.4M 4.2M
Ottoman Empire 2.9M 0.4M
Austria/Hungary 1.5M 3.6M
Russia 3.7M 4.9M
Italy 1.2M 0.9M
France 1.6M 4.2M
UK 1.0M 1.6M
At the beginning of the War it was recruitment that was the main concern. The fact that there was no Recruitment Centre in Radnorshire had an impact on the numbers who put themselves forward. A lot of young men did volunteer, 1466, but this was not quite as many as in other areas as a percentage of the population. This represented about 6% of the population. This was the first loss, the loss of young, fit and able young men, from a predominantly rural economy.
Evidence suggests that the majority of young people joined up out of a sense of patriotic duty, but there is also evidence that some saw it as a way out of poverty, or a way of getting away from home. In parts of Britain where the head of the household had a military history his staff were more or less marched to the recruiting office, but whether this happened to any degree in Radnorshire is not known.
The first to go were the young people who had previously joined the Territorial Army. They went automatically and as young people joined the territorials, as the War went on, this was a significant recruiting tool.
Geraint then turned to the photo of a young man in uniform that was found hidden in Cadogan Hall. Geraint likes to think that Miss James, who never married, might have remained true to the young man who went off to war. Neil, who knew Miss James, was not so sure, he said that Miss James frightened him. Cadogan Hall had no electricity.
In many ways’ life went on as usual during the years of war. Rock Chapel was still running ‘Teas’, and these were enhanced by people who had been billeted in Llandrindod to help in running the War Hospital.
Taken from Brecon and Radnor Newspaper.
The billeting did produce tensions within households however. People did not have the option whether to have or have not an additional person in their household. There were also large numbers of people in the area who were here in connection with military training. The town could be quite lively with all this going on – Boys will be boys!
Brecon and Radnor Newspaper cutting
Even though things carried on as usual, there was a desire to keep in contact with the ‘boys on the front’. Llanbadarnfawr Church would send Easter Cards and though it seems unlikely the postal system worked well. Miss James had given Geraint a number of examples of cards and messages destined for the front. There was quite a strong sense of “What can we do?”
Well one thing that Penybont excelled at was collecting eggs, probably used to supplement the food at the Hospital in Llandrindod. In collecting 317 eggs Penybont beat Crossgates!
Christmas parcels and clothing parcels were sent. In a note found in Presteigne that talked about the German tactics as: “Not playing cricket”, it mentions that the men were given 250 cigarettes. This prompted Geraint to comment: Well of the Germans did not get them, the cigarettes would!”
Turning to Agriculture there was a conflict between the need to recruit for the War effort, but also to maintain production on the land. The fact that some young people were deemed too valuable to send off to the front led to considerable friction between them and their friends who were told they had to go. Alongside this some young people volunteered to go anyway. The Brecon and Radnor newspaper reported on a shortage of labour.
This led to women being encouraged to carry out ‘light duties’ on the land and it was suggested that old age pensioners should also get involved.
Some of the Annual events that Penybont traditionally hosted were cancelled but others went ahead. The Annual Grand Concert went ahead in an attempt to ‘keep the old flag flying’. There was a lot of the patriotic support for the war effort. A concert in the Iron Room had 500 people crammed in to hear the Vagabonds and £40 was donated to the ‘Comforts Committee’. This helped to keep moral up against a background where ‘terrible noises’ were heard at night from injured people who were billeted locally.
Penybont Annual Concert.
Since the war, the beautiful village of Penybont has lost several of its annual events, but so far it has been possible to hold the annual grand concert on New Year’s Day. Mr T. L. Vaughan, C.C., Llandrindod Wells, was the appointed chairman this year, and the event was as usual a great success, the profits being for the Calvinistic Methodist Church. The second part of the concert comprised a dramatic sketch entitled, “Keep the old flag flying,” and this was sustained by Mr S. Arthur Jones., headmaster of the Llanbadarn- fawr council school, and a band of his scholars. The presentation was a great success, and was greatly enjoyed by the crowded audience. We understand the sketch was composed by Mr J. A. Jones himself, and both the composition and the way the children were trained reflected the highest credit upon Mr Arthur Jones. Cordial votes of thanks were passed at the close.
January 10th 1918
A variety entertainment and social evening were held in the Iron Room. There was a crowded house, nearly 500 persons being present. The old Pierrot troupe, revived as “Vagabonds,” gave an excellent programme of solos and choruses. A sketch, as part of the entertainment, was well received, and great praise is due to those taking part for the excellent way each represented the characters in the play. The audience were kept in interest and enjoyment during the whole evening. Refreshments were served at very moderate charges. The sum of £40 8s 8d has been handed to the treasurer of the Penybont Comforts’ Committee as the net result.
February 21st 1918
Geraint then showed a number of slides depicting the rurality of Penybont in the period after the War and through the 20’s a couple are shown below:
The War Memorial in Penybont shows the names of the fallen but Nathan in his research has named a few more people. Some of these were had addresses relating to Penybont Station but this indicated a wider area and the people concerned did not in the Penybont District. Geraint has started to try and identify people who were wounded as a result of the War. Only the Memorial in Llanbister has the wounded included in this area.
An exception was:
Gunner G. A. Evans, R.G.A. (Penybont) has been wounded in France. Prior to joining up, he was employed at Penybont Hall for 20 vears. He is now in the Cambridge Hospital at Aldershot.
Armistice was greeted in a relatively quiet way in the local area. The Brecon and Radnor did mention it on the front page, which was unusual as their front page was usually given over to adverts. In the middle of the adverts they printed a short statement:
HOSTILITIES AT AN END.
The Prime Minister made the following announcement through the Press Bureau at 10.20 a.m. on Monday. The armistice was signed at 6 o’clock this morning, and hostilities are to cease on all fronts at 11 a.m. to-day.
Though the Armistice has become the day to celebrate the ending of hostilities it was not until the Treaty of Versailles Signed: 28 June 1919 and became Effective: 10 January 1920 that peace was confirmed.
Interestingly the Headmaster at Llandegley School did not even mention the Armistice on the 11th ,11th ,1918, school carried on as normal. At Llanbadarn Fawr the school was closed for the day but this was not because of the Armistice but because the Headmaster was ill.
November 11th 1918
Revd Albert Jordan made an inspection of the School. He found that there were 85 pupils present but the Master “was not in a fit state to proceed owing to the influenza” At 9.30 a.m. the thermometer registered 47 degrees only. “I therefore closed the School for the Day”
The story of the Headmaster’s war exploits was also documented alongside and interest social comment on the role of women (his wife) at that time:
Mr Alfred Bufton the headmaster was called up for military duties in June 1915. The children processed to the Railway Station to send him on their way “the children waving union jacks”. His wife was obliged to take over his woodwork classes and her daughter the sewing classes. Mrs Bufton reports: “Under the circumstances Mr Taylor the school inspector very kindly instructed me in the teaching and practice of ‘woodwork’ so that I may be able to attempt to carry on the woodwork class”.
The churches had quite different responses: at Llandegley there was the same response at the church as we have mentioned at the school; but at Lanbadarn Fawr there was a special service to celebrate ‘victory’, and a collection of 3s 6d was considerably up on recent collections.
A Celebration Banquet was organised in 1919 and this brought together the 2 churches above with St Michael’s at Cefn Llys. Geraint wondered if the churches would come together in the same way today?
When the veterans began to arrive home, they were welcomed. There was a ‘Comrades of the War’ event in the village hall in 1918 – the origins of the British Legion. When Sidney Pugh arrived home with a wooden-leg, he was given a Bible.
Pte. Sidney Pugh, who was for 10 years at “The Shop,” was wounded on November 19th, and received first treatment in the South African Hospital, Abbernfile, France. He is now In King George’s Hospital, London, and we regret to learn that his left leg has been taken off at the thigh. In a letter received last week he says he is getting on well, and truly glad to be in England once more. His many friends wish him a speedy recovery.
January 10th 1918
From the Radnor Express: October 24th 1918
“Ceremony at the CM Church, Penybont on October 20th. Five Scholars of the Sunday School joined the Army and two, Sidney Pugh, late of the Shop, Penybont and Ernie Bufton, Swydd have been discharged. Sidney Pugh lost his leg in the battle of Cambrai last November and has now been fitted up with an artificial limb and is able to get about reasonably well. Both were presented with a Thumb Index Bible from the officers and scholars of the school. The superintendent and teachers spoke words of encouragement and thankfulness for their bravery in defending their country so nobly in her hour of need. The presentations were made by Freda Thomas and Corris Morgan.”
Celebrations did follow however when a public holiday was announced:
Peace Celebrations. PUBLIC HOLIDAY, SATURDAY JULY, 19TH. 1919
Proclamation of the Peace Treaty was made throughout the Empire on Wednesday. Saturday, July 19th, which has been fixed as the date for the national celebrations. Thanksgiving services will be held next Sunday.
It was not an easy time agriculturally:
While farming had great importance during the War, the change in Wales was immediately felt by farmers.
Great Slump in Prices at November Fair. 1918
On the 11th inst., November a fair was held at Carmarthen. There was a big supply of horses. Sellers at the start asked £130 for first-rate carters. The dealers replied laughingly “Haven’t you heard the war is over?” Horses for which £130 were asked sold for £80. On the whole there was an average drop of £20 a head as compared with last year. There was a decided fall in cattle prices, although it was not so marked as in the case of the horses. Small stores were down about £30 a head.
In addition to the fall in demand and how this impacted on prices, the large Estates throughout Britain started to off-load their land. Tennant farmers were caught, they either lost their home and their work or they bought their farm. The price of land did not fall as many farmers took out large mortgages to buy the farms they had worked, often for many generations. The impact of this change in the structure of how the countryside was managed contributed to the economic depression that was to follow. In Radnorshire however, there were often no bids for land that was put on the market.
LLANBADARN ESTATE, BETWEEN NEWTOWN AND PENYBONT.
SALE OF 3,400 ACRES. For some time past Messrs. Millar, Son, and Co., 46, Pall Mall, London, have through our columns been advertising the above for sale by auction at Newtown on the 6th August. The Estate is to be offered in thirty-two lots and consists of sixteen farms, small holdings, and 11 cottage properties and valuable woodlands. A feature of the sale is the inclusion, with a shooting box, of two and half miles of trout fishing in the river Ithon, the shooting over the property being exceptionally good.
August 2nd 1918
Thinking about how to commemorate the War dead soon became a matter of interest and concern:
THE RADNORSHIRE MEETINGS.
We note that Miss Christabel Parkhurst will be the chief speaker at the War Anniversary meeting in the Pavilion, Llandrindod Wells, on Sunday, when Sir A. Walsh (lord-lieutenant) will preside. The organiser”. hope also that Lord Ormathwaite will be in attendance, and, if well enough, lie will probably address the meeting. There will also be an evening meeting (7.30) at Penvbont, when Miss Parkhurst will again speak. Arrangements have also been made for a Knighton meeting on Monday evening (8 o’clock).
August 1st 1918
In Llandrindod Wells the interest in a Radnorshire War Memorial came to the fore:
Radnorshire War Memorial.
A meeting was held at Llandrindod on Friday to consider proposals for a county war memorial. The Hon Sir Arthur Walsh, K.C.V.O., presided as lord lieutenant, and the speakers included Sir Francis Edwards, Major Thompson (high sheriff), Colonel Venables-Llewelyn Capt. the Hon. William Walsh, Major Murray, and Drs. Ackerley, Worthington and Morgan Evans. The meeting decided unanimously in favour of a scheme submitted by Col. Venables-Llewelyn for the re- building of the hospital at Llandrindod Wells. April 19th 1919
At about the same time Rev. Dr. Jordan was proposing a ‘War Shrine’ to commemorate those who were lost within the Parish:
The challenge of getting everyone recorded and the details correct was a difficult task. It was clear that there was no simple way as nobody knew all of the facts. It was reported that in Kington the approach was simply for people in the town to bring information to the Butchers Shop!
Nathan in his research came up, even at this late stage with:
- Jones, David J, Private M/427214. Died of pneumonia 22/11/1918, aged 31, at Sydenham Hospital, London. Army Service Corps. Buried Llanbadarn Fawr (St Padarn) Churchyard. Royal Engineers. Son of David James Jones and Jane Jones, of Glandwr, Penybont. Not named on Penybont war memorial.
- Jones, William Trevor, Private 260463. Died 04/10/1917 aged 18. Gloucestershire Regiment. Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. Son of Owen Daniel Jones, of The Manse, Penybont, Radnorshire, and Annie Edith Jones. Not named on Penybont war memorial.
- Mills, DJ, Private M2/174967. Died 19/11/1917 aged 32. Army Service Corps. Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery. Son of William Mills of Clewedog Cottage, Penybont station. Not named on Penybont war memorial.
The first of these, David Jones, died shortly after the Armistice and this ruled him out.
William Jones’s family had been in Penybont, but moved away, and he was clearly forgotten when the list was compiled.
DJ Mills’s address as Penybont Station referred to a wider District and he was probably a resident in Llanbister.
The Memorial in Penybont:
It carries the names as shown below:
Geraint has been drawing together as much information as he has been able to find out about these young people who died in the War. Tom Price, Blacksmith, was an initial source of information but he did not know everyone.
THOMAS BERRY Private in the 8th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Contracted diphtheria at Gallipoli in the Dardanelles Campaign.
Died on a hospital ship December 4th 1915. Age 19. Buried at sea. Service Number: 31062. Named on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.
Son of Henry and Mary Ann Berry, Holly Cottage, Llandrindod Wells.
He was a member of Tabernacle Baptist Church and Sunday School. A memorial service was held at Tabernacle. Had worked for Mr. H. Leckenby, Jeweller, Middleton Street.
HENRY BOTWOOD Private in the 1st Battalion Kings Shropshire Light Infantry.
Killed June 11th 1916. Age not recorded.
Service Number: 17969.
Buried at Poperinghe Cemetery, Belgium.
Lived at Cefn Farm.
Gold Medal presented to Henry Botwood’s mother by ‘Penybont and District. “1914-1918 Peace To our Brave Men”. And on the reverse: “To the Memory of Henry Botwood
Killed in the Great War. From Penybont and District”.
JOHN BRICK Private iLight Infantry.
Died of wounds in France. August 14th 1918. Age 19
Buried at Esquelbeeg Military Cemetery, France.
Son of John and Annie Brick,Little Rabber,
GARNET BUFTON Gunner in the 218th Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison.
Killed in action. May 6th 1918. Age 25
Service Number: 74067
Buried at BrandHoek New MilitaryCemetery No 3.
Son of Edward and Sarah Bufton,Penybont Post
Husband of EA Bufton, (living later at 71, Holme
R East Ham, London.). He was also thefather of a
Educated at LlandrindodIntermediate School he
entered the Civil Service in the GPOLondon. He
voluntarilyenlisted in April 1916 and trained as a
signaller. HisCommanding Officer, writing to his
widow, reported that he had been killed instantly
and that he was ‘very willing and cheerful
and regarded as one of my best men’.
Hisbrother, Sgt. Alfred Bufton, also saw active
service in France.
BENJAMIN DAVIES Private in the 12th Battalion South Wales Borderers.
Died from wounds November 23rd 1917. Age 19
Service Number: 41265
Buried at Cambrai Memorial Cemetery, Louverval, France.
Youngest son of Mr Evan and MrsHarriet Davies,
WoodsideCottage, Fron, Cross Gates. He had been
an employee of the L & N.W. RailwayCompany. He
was a ‘constant attendant’ at the services at the
Rock Baptist Church and a member of the
His eldest brother Stanley had been wounded earlier and lost the use of an arm. Two other brothers also served in France.
THOMAS DAVIES (no record yet found)
EDWARD HOPE Lance Corporal in the 38th (Welsh) Division Machine Gun Corps.
Killed August 22nd 1918. Age 21
Service Number: 128131
Buried at Varennes MilitaryCemetery, Somme,
by the Chaplain of the 16th Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Major W Williamson wrote to his parents:“As my
your son was all that a good soldier should be and
Imiss him very much. Everyone with whom he
has asked that their deepest sympathy be sentto
in your loss. In your sorrow I pray that youwill
consolationin the fact that Edward died doing his
andthe example he set will go down with many
I was in the line when your son was woundedand
fromhis wounds. The transport line was bombed
he was wounded. He was at once taken to hospital
butdied of his wounds the next day. You son was a
lad and we will miss him very much”
Son of Aaron and Eliza Hope of Llandrindod Wells.
DAVID EVAN LEWIS Private in the 6th Battalion Kings Shropshire Light Infantry.
Killed in action March 3rd 1917. Age 34.
Service Number: 21404 Buried at Thiepval Cemetery, Somme, France.
Son of Evan and Ann Lewis, Red House, Fron, Cross Gates.
Husband of Selena Lewis, 1, Boundary Terrace, Llandrindod Wells. Father of two children.
He was a carpenter by trade and also worked as a postman. Formerly employed at the Llanfawr Quarry.
His Commander, Lieut R C Craigie writing to his widow says: “He was killed on the afternoon of the 3rd at about 4 o’clock. He was in the front line when a shell landed in the trench. He was killed instantly. He was ‘one of the best.’”
His name is also recorded on the grave of his parents at the Rock Chapel “also David, son of the above, killed in action in France. March 3rd 1917 Aged 34 years. Duty Done”
JOHN LLEWELLYN Private in the Welsh Regiment.
Died of wounds October 28th 1917 Aged 21
Died at 54 Casualty Clearing Station, France, and buried there. Rev E Ellis Williams, Church of England Chaplain wrote to his mother: “It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you that poor John passed away yesterday evening. His end was painless and quite peaceful. I buried him today at 3.30 p.m. in our cemetery in the presence of some of his comrades. I shall long remember John Llewellyn and shall always think of him as a brave, honest and God-fearing young man, and you will have every reason to be proud of his memory”. His mother, Mrs J Davies, lived at the Nursery, Cefnllys, where John had been brought up. He was also in farm service at Llanrithol, Howey. The local newspaper report of his death states: “Being a young man of fine physique he would probably have joined the Radnorshire Constabulary if war had not broken out”.
(Newspaper cuttings recording his death were found in a maid’s bedroom in Llanddewi hall.)
GEORGE LUCAS Private in the 1st Battalion Kings Shropshire Light Infantry.
Killed in action December 1st 1917.
Service Number: 22206
Buried at Cambrai Memorial Cemetery, Louverval, France.
Son of William and Sarah Ann Lucas, later living at Baynham Farm, Knighton.
REGINALD MILLS Reported killed in the Radnor Express of December 20th 1917.
Private. Killed instantly in action in France on November 27th 1917.
Son of Mr & Mrs Mills, Baileymawr, Penybont.
His company officer wrote: “It is my sad duty to inform you of the death of your son in action on November 27th. It is perhaps some small consolation to you to know that he was killed instantly, and can have suffered no pain. All the officers and men of B Company send their warmest and deepest sympathy to you in your sad bereavement. Please console yourselves by knowing that he did his duty.”
IVOR OWENS Private in the 1st Battalion Herefordshire Regiment.
Died of pneumonia in training at Oswestry Camp February 2nd 1917. Age 18
Service Number: 239043
Buried at Llandegley Church. Hisbody was brought by train to Penybont Station andcarried with a military guard of honour forburial at Llandegley. The service at the grave was conducted by Rev.Watkin Jones, Baptist Minister, Presteigne. The ‘LastPost’ was sounded by buglers from his regiment. The RevStephen Williams, RD, Vicar was also present. Local arrangements were made by the Central Wales Emporium under the
direction of Mr William ThomasBuried at Llandegley Church. Hisbody was brought by train to Penybont Station and carried with a military guard of honour forburial at Llandegley. The service at the grave was conducted by Rev.Watkin Jones, Baptist Minister, Presteigne. The ‘LastPost’ was sounded by buglers from his regiment. The RevStephen Williams, RD, Vicar was also present. Localarrangements were made by the Central Wales Emporium under the direction of Mr William Thomas.
Son of Mr J W Owens J.P. and MrsM Owens, Llanevan.
Born at Llanevan, Llandegley. Helived before going to the army at The Moors, Presteigne.
JOHN REES OWENS Private in the 25th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Killed in action September 21st 1918. at Gauzaucourt Wood. Age 21
Service Number: 355456
HENRY PRINCE Private 6th Battalion South Wales Borderers.
Killed April 15th 1918. Age 26
Service Number: 29802
Buried at Ploegstoert Memorial Cemetery, Belgium.
Second Son of Daniel and Mary Prince, Pales Villa, Penybont.
Born at Barrington,Herefordshire. Prior to the
War she was in farm service.
He was a member of the Baptist Church, baptised by Rev D G Miller, Minister at Gravel Chapel.
CHARLES PRITCHARD Private in the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards.
Died of pneumonia February 14th 1917. Age 23
Service Number: 25621
Buried at Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte, Somme, France.
Son of William andFortune Pritchard, Hill House, Penybont.
A letter written to his mother on February 15th by the Sister-in-charge of No. 34 Casualty Clearing Station, British Expeditionary Force says: ‘ your son Pte Pritchard came into this hospital with acute pneumonia last evening and passed away early this morning. I asked him if he had any message for you, but I do not think he understood, he was so very ill. I am so sorry I could not save him for you’.
GILES SWANCOTT Private 10th Battalion Border Regiment.
Killed November 11th 1916.
Service Number: 54431
Buriedat Thiepval memorial Cemetery, Somme, France.
JAMES TUNLEY Private 11th Battalion Border Regiment.
Killed April 1st 1917 at the village of Savy. Aged 31.
Service Number: 27825
Buried at Savy British Cemetery, Aisne, France.
Son of Nathaniel and Harriet Tunley, Pentre Farm,
Cefnllys and earlier of Midway Villa. One of
brothers in the armed forces.
HENRY VICKERY Son of John Vickery, headmaster of Llandegley School
1902 – 1919. Killed October 7th 1916. Queens Surry
Regt. Thiepval Memorial.
Geraint finished his talk with a few slides about the excellent Centenary exhibition at the Radnorshire Museum in Llandrindod.
A huge amount of work has been done, and continues to be done, to convey the enormity of the impact of the War on Radnorshire and this area in particular.
Pte. Harold Whitfield K.S.L.I.; VC
But the final honour went to Pte. Harold Whitfield K.S.L.I. eho was awarded the Victoria Cross:
He was 31 years old, and a private in the 10th Battalion, The King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 10 March 1918 at Burj El Lisaneh, Egypt, during the first of three counter-attacks made by the enemy on the position which had just been captured by his battalion, Private Whitfield, single-handed, charged and captured a Lewis gun, killed the whole gun team and turned the gun on the enemy, driving them back with heavy casualties. Later he organised and led a bombing attack on the enemy, again inflicting many casualties and by establishing his party in their position saved many lives and materially assisted in the defeat of the counter-attack.
Pte. Whitfield does not appear on any War Memorial as he survived the War and died in 1931.
Derek thanked Geraint and Catherine for an excellent morning that gave an extraordinary insight into the impact of the War on the District.
Do not forget to bring items of local interest to our December meeting on Monday, 3rd December.