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Llanelly and the War. -1


Llanelly and the War. -1 How it Helped to Beat the Germans. Stirring Story of Achievement. That Llanelly boys played their-, part in the war is made clear in the wonderful stories of gallantry and valour on many a stricken field. to ¡ was reserved for a Pwll youth-Sergt. Ivor Rees to win immortal fame in France and to secure the coveted V.C. —the highest military, award in the Llanellyitea, equally brave, have gained the Mili- tary Cross, the Military Medal the D.S.O., the D.S.M., and other deco- rations. A Lieutenant's Experiences. I One of the iirst local officers to ex- perience the full force of the German attack was Lieut. Nicholl Roderick, who was attached to the famous "Fighting Fifth" (the Northumber- land Fusiliers). In the early months of the war, he was left in charge of hjs Company, all the other officers Saving been killed. On November 7th the Germans were making a supreme effort to break through around Ypres, and a shell from a "J ack Johnson" burst in the trench with terrible results. Most of its oc ccpants were killed but Lieut. Roderick escaped and was eventually "dug out." In this trench he and a few others had to remain for a whole week. When they were relieved they were in sore straits. Lieut. Roderick being practically hors de combat with rheumatism. A Charmed Life. I Pte. David Fisher, 2nd Battalion Welsh Regiment, also took part in the fierce November fighting in which he seemed to bear a charmed life. He escaped death narrowly several times and ultimately had to go to hospital suffering from shrapnel wounds in the knee. A bursting shell killed all his comrades, but he escaped.. On an- other occasion his pouches were blown off and the same afternoon his cap was neatly taken off by a German bullet. Four Brothers in the Forces. I A fine family record was set up by Mrs. Watkeys, 4, Gilbert place, four of her sons joining up soon after war was declared. Uanellyite's rousing War Poem. I Notable recruiting work in London if as done by Mr. J. Beynon Nicholas, -3 Llanelly boy, who composed and recited a rousing war poem which took the Metropolis by storm. Here is one of the verses:— Men of England Do you hear It ? Are your souls unstirred and cold ? Does not weakness in its anguish Move your pity as of old ? By your British wiv and mothers Safe within the circling main, Shall your sisters in their peril Call your vengeance down in vain ? Men of England Rise in anger I Rouse the Viking in your blood Put away your modern mildness And unmask your ancient mood t From the desk and from the work- shop Spring to meet the maddened Hun! Get behind a gun, my brothers Get behind a gun Colonel Nevill, D.S.O. I The local Engineers who gave such a good account of themselves in the eastern battlefields,, were fortunate in their O.C. Col. Nevill proved him- self a born soldier and the award of the D.S.O. was repeived with grati- fication in the town where he bears such an honoured name. The Colonel was particularly solicitous of the wel- fare of the men under his command. As one of them said in a letter: "Col. Neviii never asks us to go where he is not prepared to lead. With him it is always 'Come' and not 'Go.' He is beloved bj all of us and there is no irmible too much for him to take on our behalf." This ain't no bloomin ode, But youve 'elped the soldier's load And for benefits bestowed, Bless yer, Colonel. Welcome to the Belgians. j Nothing stands to Llanelly's credit more than her generous treatment of the Belgian refugees. A large colony were hospitably received at Pare Howard, the Mansion House being an ideal home for them. On their ar- Tival, the homeless and destitute families were received with the fol- I lowing words of welcome:— "Wij, het Llanelly volk, wij vers- I chaSen U, in our land, eene niewe i haarchtede wij bi2den U onze eigne I Teiligheld, ouze eigne vrijbeid. Wij i willen U opniew het hinselijk geluk weerschenken U al het gedane deed dren vrgeten." The English translation of this is as follows:- We the people of Llanelly, offer you, in our country, a home. We offer you our own security and our own liberty. We wish to make you comfortable and make you forget all your troubles and all your horrible sufferings." Captured by tha Emden. 1 Before she was finally despatched by H.M.S. Sydney, the German raider Emden wrought serious mis- chief on the high seas. One of its earliest victims was the Exford, a well-known Cardiff trader, of which Mr. John Lloyd Griffiths, son of Mrs. Griffiths, grocer, Dillwyn street, was third engineer. The Exford had a cargo of 8,000 tons of coal and was proceeding under sealed orders when she encountered the Emden. Schools and the War. I The schoolchildren of Llanelly proved themselves to be real patriots in the best sense of the word. Their first care was the welfare of the sol- diers and sailors and in nearly all the schools, regularly organized collec- tions took place with the object of providing funds for the purchase of comforts. The prisoners of war also came in for their generous sympathy. The progress of the war was followed keenly day by day. Maps showing the varying positions of the rival armies were prepared by the teachers, and pictures shown of famous towns and cathedrals, etc. The causes of the war were taucht. The support of Belgium by Britain—the strong aid- ing the weak—was shown as the source of the reverence of the smaller nations for Britain—Britain the old time friend of Portugal, Italy, and other small nationalities. The Na^al Brigade. rl- I\I' i < < ? f'l'?Ht' 1 • £ [ -• .¡ It would be impossible to mention any branch of the services in which Llanelly boys were not conspicuous. For instance it may not be generally known that several of our gallant young townsmen figured in the Naval Brigade which was sent to the relief of Antwerp. One of them was Mr. D. M. Bowen, Old Castle road who gave a pathetic account of the plight of the hapless Belgians fleeing in terror from their burning homes. It was a pitiful sight to see old men and women, and young children perched on carts carrying bundles which re- presented all their possessions. These bundles were a. sufficient reminder of the terrible carnage and appalling de-- struction that had devastated Bel- gium. First German Helmet. j As the war proceeded, trophies and souvenirs of various kinds became familiar in the town. The first Ger- man helmet to be brought to Llan- elly was in October 1914, Pte. Dodds, New Dock, creating a great sensation as he walked along Station road carry- ing with him an unmistakeable Hun helmet. "I picked it up at Mons." he said, "and although it does not require anything to remind one of that terrible struggle, this helmet will, at least be a curiosity for friends to see." Hoise killed under him. I Thrilling were the experiences of Staff-Farrier Dick Keenan who went through the memorable battles on the Afsne. In an artillery duel on the banks of the river, "Dick's" com- pany was practically wiped out. When, the roll was called later on, not, a single officer answered to it. But heavy as were our losses, those of the Germans, who advanced in close masses, were much greater. Keenan was wounded in the arm and the horse he was riding was killed. Llanellyites at Mons. Among the Llanellyites who were in the retreat from Mons was Pte. Bradbury, Tunnel road. He and his comrades were shipped off to France in August, and next month they were up against a terrible state of things. "We had to start fighting," he said, "almost as soon as we got to France. There was no time to look around, so to speak. The pity is that we were misled as to the number of enemy opposed to us. Where we were told there were hundreds there were thousands of Germans. In fact they were poured out against us." Pte. Bradbury fell in the retreat with wounds in the shoulder, but he made a good recovery. Generous Employers. j All the large employers of labour in the town made special arrangements for looking after the welfare of the wives and families of their employees who answered their country's call. The Corporation and the Harbour Trust set the example by deciding to make allowances to each family and this was followed by practically all the private employers. This gener- ous action was much appreciated and it greatly lightened the responsibility of the local Sailors and Soldiers Help Society. I Dafen Man in Brussels. The capture of Brussels aroused no little anxiety locally as it was known that included in the civil population of the Belgian capital were a number of Llanellyites in the service of the Stepney Spare Wheel Ltd. One of them, Mr. R. Oswald Evans, the manager, went through some exciting experiences during the German occu- pation, but managed by ingenious methods to get into communication from time to time with his relatives at Dafen. Garments for the Troops. I Excellent work was done by the Llanelly United Needlework Guild in providing comforts for the troops. The Guild was formed a few days after war broke out, and the members knitted and sewed with assiduity under the presidency of Lady Howard. The chairman was Mrs. R. W. Evans, treasurer, Mrs. W. Phillips, Old road, and the secretary, Mrs. A. W. Phillips, Caronia. Public Officials join up. -1 The public officials of Llanelly did their share of war servce. The Town Clerk had to get along as best he ould without Mr. A. T. Thomas, the I-orouc,h accountant, who went on duty with the Territorials to Pem- brokeshire, as well as the Collector, Mr. E. D. Jones, and Mr. J. H. Randell, from the Surveyor's Depart- ment. The County Court t.also lost 'he services of its Registrar, Mr. J Walton Bishop who served contin- 110usly with the Yeomanry. Last to leave Antwerp. I It is of interest to recall the fact hat the last steamer to leave Vntwerp was the Llanelly-owned Jason. It was a narrow escape and only Capt. Jones' insistence that got her away in the nick of time. On her run to Llanelly, the Jason came right into the British and French -ets. It was a staggering display of power that made the Jason's crew orouder than ever of being British. I indsr the Southern Cross. ? ? «•~ ? 1 The capture of German New Guinea was one of the dramatic coups of the war. Those who took part in the operations included Mr Ben Price, formerly of the Ladies' Realm, Llan- elly. "Ben" left Llanelly for Aus- tralia, and when men were wanted, he promptly joined the Australian Expeditionary Force. After the con- quest was complete, he was ap- pointed one of the administrative officers of the colony. Football team joins up. I The patriotic action of the New Dock Stars in joining up to a man, members of the committee included, created a wave of recruiting enthusi- asm in the town. These young athletes went to the recruiting office in a body and afterwards did good' work in France. Mr. Hiorns, the New Dock poet celebrated the event in some capital verses of which we give two:- Honour to the New Dock Stars, They've joined the Kitcheners Have our Dock Stars. They heard their country's call, Left home and work and ball, True Britons one and all Are our Dock Stars. We'll want them home again When this great war is o'er And victory won.. We'll make old Christ Church bell And the children sing as well- Well done, Dock Stars The Haulier's Horse. i A remarkable experience befell Pte. Patrick Murphy, a Llanelly haulier After joining up, he was sent to France with the artllery and by a strange coincidence, the horse he was given was the one that he used to drive when employed at Llanelly by Mr. Protheroe, Penygaer. At Arm- n- tieres, a shell burst and killed ine faithful animal, Murphy escaping with slight scalp wounds. I On the Lion. I Up to the retirement of Jellicoe, the Lion was the flagship of Admiral Beatty, and those serving under him on this famous ship included Gunner Edward Ephgrave, Llanelly. In the great achievement in January, 1915, when two German battleships were sunk and two seriously damaged, Ephgrave had a busy time and was wounded, and later on he was gazet- ted D.S.M. in recognition of his gallantry during this brilliant en- | gagement. Brewery Roll of Honour. I A roll of honour of the staff and em- ployees of Buckleys Brewery who went on active service up to 1915 in- cludes the following names:—Capt. H. Bucklev Roderick, Lieut. W. H. Buckley, H. S. Lloyd, H. Gaunt, J. Millet, J. Caine, J. Rees, W. Bratt, B. Sutherland, Howell Jones, Daniel Davies, T. Mabbett, T. Tapsell, R. Salter, C. Durant, T. Havnes, G. T. Evans, J. Lodwick, G. Smedley, W. Oldham, F. Orme, W. P. Williams, W. James, E. Phillips, J. Evans, D. J. Rees, D. Jenkins, W. Davies, D. J. Williams, and T. G. Morris. I "The finest Territorial Battalion." Before leaving for foreign service, the 2nd/4th Welsh were inspected by Gen ral Sir Pole-Carew, inspector of the Territorial .forces. After the in- spection, the General addressed the Battalion, complimenting them high- ly on their smart, soldierly appear- ance. He went on to say:—"You are the finest Territorial Battalion I have inspected in Wales. Th warm eulogium of so brilliant a soldier as Pole-Carew gave great satisfaction to the officers and men who soon after- wards left this country for "an un- known destination." 4 First Sea Casualty. I About the first of the naval casual- ties to be reported locally was that of Stoker Perrins, 16, Emma street, who was killed on the Amethyst in March, 1915, during that cruiser's operations in the Dardanelles. An- other Llanellyite, Stoker Joseph O'Neill, 19, Burry street, was wounded in the same engagement. Both stokers were friends and before the war, were employed at Nevill's Dock. Local Steamer and Submarine. I On the arrival of the local trader "Lizzie" at Llanelly in April, 1915, it was reported that she had sunk a German submarine. The Admiralty were communicated with and an in- spection of the vessel was made at Penarth. Several marks were found on the "Lizzie's" keel, but in the vi-3w of the Admiralty officials, there would have been a deeper indentation if she had actually rammed a sub- marine. The captain and crew, how- ever, were perfectly satisfied that "hey had done the trick. They saw her periscope just before they passed over her and it immediately disap- peared as if the pirate had sunk like ? stone. They also saw oil on the surface of the water.

Answering the Call.

Formation of the V.T.C.

Llanelly as a Muniton Centre…

Y. M.C.A. Record —«•-—

Red Cross Record i

ISt. John's Ambulance.