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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.
Answering the Call. HOW LLANELLY WORKERS ENLISTED. l i j .J r < t r As showing how the men of Llan- elly answered their country's call, an analysis prepared by Lieut. Tregon- ing is most interesting. Lieutenant Tregoning took charge at the Drill Hall in November, 1915, and his re- turn covers a period from that date up to June, as well as an estimate going back to August. The figures speak for themselves:— Army and Classified Trades. Enlisted Ter Force for Army from from 1st Nov- Aug. Steel and Tinplate Workers 280 1260 Colliers 143 684 Other Labourers 76 496 Butchers, Bakers and Shop Assistants 31 —. 90 Clerks, Surveyors, Tele- graphists, etc. 51 190 Building Trade Employes 57 246 Shoeing Smiths '10 25 Railwavmen 28 70 Electricians, Mechanics and Foundry hands 23 120 Motor Drivers and Domestic Servants 28 68 Farm Labourers 18. 70 Police 7 14 Others 65. 167 Total 816 3500
Formation of the V.T.C.
Formation of the V.T.C. LOCAL CORPS WHICH DID USEFUL WORK. In any review of local war activities the formation and equipment of the Volunteer Training Corps must find a worthy place. This fine body of men was brought into being in June, 1915, and kept up its activities to the end. There was a splendid rally when the appeal was made, the inten- tention being to utilize the services of men who although over military age, were perfectly fit and capable of tak- ing up arms for the defence of their country. It was properly felt that such a force would prove invaluable in case of invasion by the enemy. The Corps was recognized as a military unit of H.M. Forces and underwent arduous training. The volunteers were usefully employed in various capacities and never failed to prove their real soldierly qualities.
Llanelly as a Muniton Centre…
Llanelly as a Muniton Centre —— Shells, Shell Steel and High Explosives. Apart from its contribution to the fighting forces of the Crown,—and no town responded to the appeal for men with such alacrity—Llanelly helped to win the war by transform- ing itself into a munitions centre. When war broke out, Nobels Explo- sives Co. were b.uilding a new factory for their own purposes at Pembrey. Later on, the Government called upon them to manufacture high ex- plosives of which there was an alarm- ing shortage at the front. Sigh ex plosives were not a part of Nobels' original programme for Pembrey, but they quickly got to work, altered their plans, and in a short time had erected new plant for turning out high explosives in large quantities. In ad- dition a Shell Filling Factory was elected in record time- and here millions of shells of various calibres were filled and despatched to France and the other war fronts. Of more local interest was the in- auguration of a Shell Factory at the Burry Extension Works. This was primarily due to the initiative of the late Mr. Beaumont Thomas, who pressed upon the authorities the suitability of the premises for the manufacture of shells. After some delay, orders came to "go ahead, and in a short time, the works was equipped with lathes, etc., and some hundreds of male and female em- ployees were taken on. A local board of management was appointed in- cluding Mr. Beaumont Thomas, Mr. Dan Williams, Mr. W. J. Rees, Mr. F. R. Nevill, Mr. A. J. Burn, Mr. W. E. Clement and Mr. Jos. Holmes with Mr. D. J. Thomas as manager. The Llanelly Shell Factory gained the reputation of being the best managed and most economically worked Government concern in Wales. Later on calls were made for shell steel, and here again Llanelly was able to lend the Government a help- ing hand. The Llanelly Steel Works, the Bynea Steel Works and the South Wales Steel Works adapt-ed their machinery for manufacturing steel billets, and some thousands of tons were despatched to France there to be turned into shells for use bv our French allies. It may not be generally known that Llanelly steel played a big part in France's immor- tal defence of Verdun. Mention should also be made of the fact that most of the engineering es- tablishments in the town were con- tinuously engaged on work for the Admiralty and the War Office.
Y. M.C.A. Record —«•-—
Y. M.C.A. Record —« • -— How Sailors and Soldiers were Helped. The soldiers and sailors stationed at or passing through Llanelly found no better friend than the Y.M.C.A. This world-wide institute rose to the emer- gency in 1914 with splendid enthu- siasm and nowhere more than in Llanelly where Mr. Watkins, the energetic organizer, quickly gathered round him a willing band of workers. One of the first steps taken was to open wide the doors of the Institute in Stepney street to all men serving w,;th the forces. They were given the run of the building, reading rooms, writing rooms, etc., being fitted up for them with free supplies of writing paper. Later on a Canteen was opened, thanks to the generous initiative of Mr. Evan Jones, Bay View, who laid himself out with characteristic energy to promote the comfort and happiness of the "boys" in every way. The value of the Canteen to the soldiers and sailors cannot be overestimated, and a warm tribute is the due of the splendid band of lady workers who rallied to the call of Mr. Jones. They included Misses Agnes Jones, Nissie Daw. Winnie Edwards, L. Cox, Bowen (Lyndhurst), Blanche Powell E. Powell, Blanche Rees, Mary Ran- dell, Minnie Coombs, Nan Maliphant, Peggy Roberts, Mrs. W. Geo. Wil- liams, Mrs. Chapman; with Mr. Theo Nicholl and Mr Robert Thomas, the last named being co-secretary with Mr. Watkins. Some idea of the activities of the Canteen may be formed from the following summary:— 135 stranded soldiers and sailors were billeted and given tea, bed and breakfast free. 200,000 cups of tea were given away free. 400,000 biscuits were given free. 8,000 teas provided at 6d. each. 8,000 teas (value 6d. each) were given free. Thousands. of sheets of writing paper and envelopes free. A monthly Sunday afternoon social, followed by tea, was arranged at a total cost of £ 150. Each month a billiards and draughts competition took nhce between the two local hos- pitals, for silver cups given by the tradesmen of Llanelly. Cases for these cups were presented by Benj. Howell and Son Ltd., and Brown, Thorns and John, Ltd, nnd thev were decorated by Mr. Lew Rees.
Red Cross Record i
Red Cross Record Splendid work for the Wounded. No local organization can boast of a more crodtable war record than the Red Cross detachment. For efficiency in their own special province, the Llanelly branch of this great philan- thropic society is not surpassed any- where, and the work done in Llanelly during the war will for ever be a monument to the zeal and public spirit of the members. Before the war had been long in progress, there was a cry for Red Cross men to serve on the various battle fronts, and a large proportion of the Llanelly mei immediately offered themselves and were acceplv.l for service overseas. j Others took L) equally onerous duty at Netley and other great hospitals, while those who remained at home devoted themselves to the equally important duty of caring for the wounded soldiers who came for treat- ment to Pare Howard, which was converted into a Red Cross Hospital. Thanks to the generosity of the people of Llanelly this beautifully situated Mansion was liberally maintained and some hundreds of Tommies "broken in our wars," found there a haven of rest and healing. Appended is a list of Red Cross members who served in various capacities:- Royal Navy: T. Ll. Jones. R.A.M.C.: Luther Rees, Haydn I Jones, Ifor Rees, Bertie Rees, John Thomas, Hugh Bassett, Archie John, T. C. Morris. Staff of Netley Hospital: Stephen Thomas, J. E. Owen, and 0. T. Glover. Red Cross Work in France: W. P. Marker, E. D. Jenkins. R.A.O.C.: D. C. Roderick. Welsh Regiment: Jos. Howell, J. R. Jones, W. Oswald Davies, W. J. I Daniells, D. L. Evans, D. J. Davies, Dan Rees. Lieut.-Q.-Master W. J. Jarrett served with th-3 Salonika forces. Several of the members acted as orderlies at Carmarthen and Llanelly Red Cross Hospitals. U W. Geo. Williams (the popular local commandant), J. H. Jacob s Percy Phillips, Harry Davies, Thos. Davies, John Emmanuel, David Protheroe, J. Lewis, Morgan Rees, and L. Rees attended to the convey- ance of the wounded to the different hospitals in the county. Messrs. W. G. Williams, Jacob, Phillips, T. Davies, and H. Daviea have been included in the roll of honourable service and presented with certificates signed by H.M. Queen Alexandra. The lady workers were under the command of Mrs. Nevill, Glyncoed, and rendered much appreciated ser- vice. Two of them, Miss Doris Wil. liams, Box House, and Miss Phyllis Evans, The Graig, received Red Cross decorations from the King at Buckingham Palaco.
ISt. John's Ambulance.
I St. John's Ambulance. THE STORY OF STEBONHEATH. Like the Red Cross. the St. John Ambulance Association "made good" during the war, and in Llanelly, ren- dered magnificent service to tha wounded soldiers. The local branch was formed in October, 1916, in re- sponse to an urlent appeal from Sir Herbert Lewis. Without loss of time a woman's detachment was formed with Miss Brodie, M.B.E., as com- mandant, the nucleus of this being found in the nursing class which Miss Brodie was holding at the time. The men's detachment had an energetic superintendent in Nlx. E. D. Jones, who soon gathered around him over a hundred trained workers. The next step was the opening of a local hoa- pital, and after negotiations with tha Education Committee the new school at Stebonheath was handed over for the purpose. This proved to be an ideal building and in a short time it was fully Equipped with 175 beds. With Miss Yates as matron and the men and women members taking their turns on duty, the Hospital soon settled down and hundreds of wounded soldiers were treated in what they described as a home from home. The services of the voluntary workers were always given cheerfully with the result that Stebonheath gained the reputation of being one of the happiest hospitals in the country. In recognition of her devoted work as commandant, Miss Brodie was in- vested with the M.B.E., and the fol- lowing members of the staff received war medals:- Morgan Morgan, E. D. Jenkins, W. H. Webb, T. J. Williams, Thomas Maund, J. H. Williams, Alex Hay- ward, Frank Gomn, J. J. Winter, Dd M. James, Chas. Griffiths, L. Jones, G. E. Smith, Wm. Williams, J. E. Williams, Wm. Jones, Martin Ed- wards, C. B. Millar, Edward Sim- monds, D. R. Williams, Robt Dyche, D. S. Jones, Thomas Williams, Evan S. Williams, Walter S. Beard, Wm. J. Evans, Dd. Thomas, Lionel P, Virgin, Charles Farr.
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