Carmarthen Pals: A History of the 15th (Service) Battalion The Welsh Regiment, 1914-1919, Steven John

Carmarthen Pals: A History of the 15th (Service) Battalion The Welsh Regiment, 1914-1919, Steven John

Carmarthen Pals: A History of the 15th (Service) Battalion The Welsh Regiment, 1914-1919, Steven John

Carmarthen Pals: A History of the 15th (Service) Battalion The Welsh Regiment, 1914-1919, Steven John

The 15th (Service Battalion), the Welsh Regiment, or the Carmarthen Pals, was one of the New Army battalions raised in Britain once it became clear that the First World War was going to last for longer and require a much bigger army than almost anyone had expected in the summer of 1914. This book looks at the history of that battalion from its original formation late in 1914, through some of the most famous battles of the war (including the Somme, Passchendaele and the hundred days offensive 1918) and ending when the battalion was dissolved in 1919.

Perhaps this books defining feature is that the author has taken the time to research the stories of a large number of the dead, so rather instead of the anonymous totals presented in many books here we often have a potted biography of at least some of each day's dead.

This book makes one realise just how costly the final victorious campaigns of 1918 were. A single action on 8 October 1918 cost the battalion 53 dead, nearly 10% of the 570 dead suffered by the 15th Welsh during the entire war, and twice as many men died during 1918 as during 1916, when the battalion was involved in the battle of the Somme!

The appendices nicely round off the book, including complete lists of the battalion's dead, medal winners (with citations where possible), and officers (with brief biographies).

This is an impressive sobering read, which stands as a memorial to the men of the 15th Welsh and the sacrifices they made during the Great War.

Chapters
Raising the Battalion
Western Front: The Nursery Sector
Somme: Mametz Wood
Withdrawal from Mametz Wood and the move North
First Large Scale Trench Raid
Passchendaele: The Build up
Passchendaele: The Pilckem Ridge
Passchendaele: Langemarck
Return to French Flanders
Return to the Somme
The Great Advance: The Battle of Albert
The Great Advance: The Battle of Bapaume
Advance to Victory

Appendices
Casualties of the 15th Welsh
Roll of Honour
Awards to the Battalion
Nominal Roll of Officers
Battle Honours
Order of Battle, 38th (Welsh) Division
Summary

Author: Steven John
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 272
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2009



The Carmarthen Pals

The Carmarthenshire Battalion was one of the early units raised in 1914 as a result of Lord Kitchener's expansion of the regular army by 500,000 men for the duration of the Great War. Lloyd George, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, had a vision of a Welsh Army Group and massive efforts were made to recruit and form Welsh fighting units.The first 200 recruits for the Carmarthen Pals came from Bolton, strangely enough, but later they were mainly drawn from the County and wider Wales. Initial training was at Rhyl.In April 1915 the Battalion became part of 114 Brigade, 38 (Welsh) Division and after completing training and equipping it crossed to France in December 1915.From early 1916 until the Armistice the Carmathen Pals fought with distinction. Initially at Givency, it moved to the Somme in May 1916 and attacked Mametz Wood in the early days of that most terrible July offensive. Thereafter the Battalion moved to the Ypres Salient and in July 1917 attacked Pilckem Ridge. Moves south to Armentieres district, then the Albert Sector followed.In the closing months of the War alone the Pals suffered 40 officer and 900 other rank killed and wounded as they pushed the Germans back capturing Ancre and crossing the Canal du Nord and Selle rivers.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

As a leading member of the Government on the outbreak of the Great War, David Lloyd George was anxious that his native land should play its part in the struggle. He initiated a recruitment drive for a specifically Welsh fighting force, of which the Carmarthen Pals were a component part. Trained at Rhyl on the North Wales coast, in April 1915 the Pals joined 114 Brigade of the 38th (Welsh) Division and crossed to France in December. The Pals went into the trenches at Givenchy, moving to the Somme in May 1916 in preparation for the Big Push . The battalion was part of the Welsh attack on Mametz Wood when the battle of the Somme opened in July, and later moved to the Ypres salient where in July 1917 it attacked Pilckem ridge as part of the Passchendaele battle. Later in the war, the Pals fought at Armentieres and the Albert sectors. In the closing months of the war the battalion suffered grevious casualties - losing 40 officers and 900 other ranks as it took part in the victorious counter-offensive that drove the Germans across the Ancre on the Somme to the Canal du Nord.

The history of a Welsh unit, initially raised on the initiative of David Lloyd George in 1914. The Carmarthen Pals fought at Givenchy, attacked Mametz Wood on the Somme, and Pilckem ridge near Passchendaele and ended the war with casualties of 40 officers and 900 men killed as it drove the Germans back to the Canal du Nord. --Chris Buckland


Welsh Regiment during WW1

Since 1815 the balance of power in Europe had been maintained by a series of treaties. In 1888 Wilhelm II was crowned ‘German Emperor and King of Prussia’ and moved from a policy of maintaining the status quo to a more aggressive position. He did not renew a treaty with Russia, aligned Germany with the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire and started to build a Navy to rival that of Britain. These actions greatly concerned Germany’s neighbours, who quickly forged new treaties and alliances in the event of war. On 28th June 1914 Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by the Bosnian-Serb nationalist group Young Bosnia who wanted pan-Serbian independence. Franz Joseph, the Austro-Hungarian Emperor (with the backing of Germany) responded aggressively, presenting Serbia with an intentionally unacceptable ultimatum, to provoke Serbia into war. Serbia agreed to 8 of the 10 terms and on the 28th July 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, producing a cascade effect across Europe. Russia bound by treaty to Serbia declared war with Austro-Hungary, Germany declared war with Russia and France declared war with Germany. Germany’s army crossed into neutral Belgium in order to reach Paris, forcing Britain to declare war with Germany (due to the Treaty of London (1839) whereby Britain agreed to defend Belgium in the event of invasion). By the 4th August 1914 Britain and much of Europe were pulled into a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.

The Regiment raised 36 Battalions and was awarded 71 Battle Honours and 3 Victoria Crosses losing 8,360 men during the course of the war.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Chakrata, India.
20.11.1914 Returned to England from Karachi arriving at Plymouth and then moved to Hursley Park to join the 84th Brigade of the 28th Division.
18.01.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1915
The Second Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Loos.
24.11.1915 Embarked for Salonika from Marseilles via Egypt and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian army including
1916
The occupation of Mazirko, The capture of Barakli Jum’a.
1917
The capture of Ferdie and Essex Trenches (near Barakli Jum'a), The capture of Barakli and Kumli.
1918
The Battle of Doiran, The pursuit to the Strumica valley.
30.09.1918 Ended the war north of Lake Doiran, Macedonia.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Bordon as part of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division.
13.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1914
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, First Battle of Ypres.
1915
Winter Operations 1914-15, The Battle of Aubers, The Battle of Loos.
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
1918
The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bethune, The Battle of Drocourt-Queant, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Fresnoy le Grand S.W. of Bohain, France.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Cardiff.
June 1916 Moved to Barry and then Kinmel.
May 1917 Moved to Redcar where it remained.

1/6th (Glamorgan) Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Swansea as part of the South Wales Brigade.
29.10.1914 Mobilised for war and landed in Havre to defence the Lines of Communication.
05.07.1915 Transferred to the 84th Brigade of the 28th Division.
23.10.1915 Transferred to the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Division
15.05.1916 Became a Pioneer battalion of the 1st Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
1918
The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bethune, The Battle of Drocourt-Queant, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at La Vallee Mulatre N.E. of Bohain, France.

1/7th (Cyclist) Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Cardiff and then moved to Scotland stationed at Berwick and Montrose.
1915 Moved to Saltburn.
1917 Moved to Seaton Crew and then Middlesbrough where it remained.

2/4th Battalion Territorial Force
Oct 1914 Formed at Carmarthen.
Nov 1915 Moved to Bedford and absorbed by the 2/4th of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry.

2/5th Battalion Territorial Force
Nov 1914 Formed at Pontypridd.
Nov 1915 Moved to Bedford and absorbed by the 2/6th of the Cheshire.

2/6th (Glamorgan) Battalion Territorial Force
Dec 1914 Formed at Swansea.
Nov 1915 Moved to Bedford and absorbed by the 2/5th of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

2/7th (Cyclist) Battalion Territorial Force
1914 Formed at Cardiff.
July 1916 Moved to Holt, Norfolk.
1917 Moved to Fakeham attached to the 223rd Brigade and then moved back to Holt.
1918 Moved to Hunstanton and then Melton Constable.

3/4th 3/5th & 3/6th Battalion Territorial Force
Mar 1915 Formed at Carmarthen, Pontypridd and Swansea and then moved to Milford Haven.
08.04.1916 Became the 4th 5th & 6th Reserve Battalions.
01.09.1916 The 4th absorbed the 5th & 6th.

3/7th (Cyclist) Battalion Territorial Force
1915 Formed at Cardiff and then moved to Milford Haven.
Mar 1916 Disbanded.

8th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers)
Au 1914 Formed at Cardiff as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Parkhouse, Salisbury Plain to join the 40th Brigade of the 13th Division and then moved to Chiseldon and then Bournemouth.
Jan 1915 Became a Pioneer Battalion of the 13th Division and then moved to Aldershot.
15.06.1915 Embarked for Gallipoli from Avonmouth via Mudros.
05.08.1915 Landed at Anzac, Gallipoli and engaged in various actions against the Turkish Army including
The Battle of Sari Bair, The Battle of Russell's Top, The Battle of Hill 60.
Dec 1915 Evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt due to severe casualties from combat, disease and harsh weather. The Division then moved to defend a section of the Suez Canal.
Feb 1916 Deployed to Mesopotamia.
1917
The Battle of Kut al Amara, The capture of the Hai Salient, The capture of Dahra Bend, The passage of the Diyala, The pursuit of the enemy towards Baghdad, Capture of Baghdad.
31.10.1918 Ended the war at Delli Abbas area N.E. of Baghdad, Mesopotamia.

9th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Cardiff as part of the Second New Army and then moved to Salisbury Plain to join the 58th Brigade of the 19th Division then moved to Basingstoke.
Jan 1915 Moved to Weston-super-Mare and then Perham Down.
July 1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1915
The Action of Pietre diversionary action during the Battle of Loos
1916
The Battle of Albert, The attacks on High Wood, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.
1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, First Battle of Passchendaele, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Battle of the Aisne, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre and the passage of the Grand Honelle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Wargnies north of Le Quesnoy, France.

10th (Service) Battalion (1st Rhondda)
Sept 1914 Formed by D. Watts Morgan MP at Rhondda Valley and then moved Codford St. Mary as part of the 76th Brigade of the 25th Division.
30.09.1914 Transferred to the 129th Brigade of the 43rd Division at Rhyl.
29.04.1915 Formation became the 114th Brigade of the 38th Division.
Aug 1915 Moved to Winchester.
Dec 1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1916
The Battle of Albert. (The Division suffered severe casualties and took the rest of the year to rebuild).
1917
The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemark.
06.02.1918 Disbanded in France.

11th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 formed at Cardiff as part of the Third New Army and then moved to South Downs to join the 67th Brigade of the 22nd Division and then moved to Hastings.
April 1915 Moved to Seaforth and then Aldershot.
06.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.
30.10.1915 Embarked for Salonika from Marseilles and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including
1916
The Battle of Horseshoe Hill, The Battle of Machukovo.
1917
The Battles of Doiran.
1918
The Battle of Doiran.
30.09.1918 Ended the war N.W. of Lake Doiran, Macedonia.

12th (Reserve) Battalion
23.10.1914 Formed at Cardiff as a service battalion of the Fourth New Army (K4) as part of the 104th Brigade of the 35th Division.
10.04.1915 Became a 2nd Reserve battalion at Kinmel as part of the 13th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 58th Training Reserve Battalion.

13th (Service) Battalion (1st Rhondda)
23.10.1914 Formed at Cardiff as part of the 129th Brigade of the 43rd Division and then moved to Rhyl.
29.04.1915 Formation became the 114th Brigade of the 38th Division.
Aug 1915 Moved to Winchester.
Dec 1915 Mobilised for was and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1916
The Battle of Albert. (The Division suffered severe casualties and took the rest of the year to rebuild).
1917
The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemark.
1918
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of Cambrai, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Ecuelin east of Aulnoye, France.

14th (Service) Battalion (Swansea)
1914 Formed by the Mayor with a corporation of the Swansea Football and Cricket Club at Swansea as part of the 129th Brigade of the 43rd Division and then moved to Rhyl.
29.04.1915 Formation became the 114th Brigade of the 38th Division.
Aug 1915 Moved to Winchester.
Dec 1915 Mobilised for was and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1916
The Battle of Albert. (The Division suffered severe casualties and took the rest of the year to rebuild).
1917
The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemark.
1918
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of Cambrai, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Ecuelin east of Aulnoye, France.

15th (Service) Battalion (Carmarthenshire)
Oct 1914 Formed by the Carmarthenshire County Committee as part of the 129th Brigade of the 43rd Division and then moved to Rhyl.
29.04.1915 Formation became the 114th Brigade of the 38th Division.
Aug 1915 Moved to Winchester.
Dec 1915 Mobilised for was and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1916
The Battle of Albert. (The Division suffered severe casualties and took the rest of the year to rebuild).
1917
The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemark.
1918
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of Cambrai, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Ecuelin east of Aulnoye, France.

16th (Service) Battalion (Cardiff City)
Nov 1914 Formed by the Lord Mayor and Corporation at Cardiff.
Dec 1914 Moved to Colwyn to join the 130th Brigade of the 43rd Division.
29.04.1915 Formation became the 115th Brigade of the 38th Division.
Aug 1915 Moved to Winchester.
Dec 1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1916
The Battle of Albert. (The Division suffered severe casualties and took the rest of the year to rebuild).
1917
The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemark.
07.02.1918 Disbanded in France.

17th (Service) Battalion (1st Glamorgan)
Dec 1914 Formed as a bantam battalion and then moved to Rhyl attached to the 43rd Division.
Feb 1915 Moved to Rhos and then Prees Heath to join the 119th Brigade of the 40th Division.
Sept 1915 Moved to Aldershot.
June 1916 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1916
The Battle of the Ancre.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (March), The capture of Fifteen Ravine, Villers Plouich, Beaucamp and La Vacquerie, The Cambrai Operations.
09.02.1918 Disbanded in France.

18th (Service) Battalion (2nd Glamorgan)
Jan 1915 Formed as a bantam battalion and then moved to Porthcawl attached to the 43rd Division.
July 1915 Moved to Prees Heath to join the 119th Brigade of the 40th Division.
Sept 1915 Moved to Aldershot.
June 1916 Mobilised for war and landed in France and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
1916
The Battle of the Ancre.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (March), The capture of Fifteen Ravine, Villers Plouich, Beaucamp and La Vacquerie, The Cambrai Operations.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck.
05.05.1918 Reduced to training cadre
18.06.1918 Returned to England as part of the 47th Brigade of the 16th Division and moved to North Walsham.
20.06.1918 Absorbed the 25th Battalion.
07.07.1918 Moved to Aldershot and joined the 47th Brigade of the 16th Division.
29.07.1918 Returned to France
The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war south of Tournai, Belgium.

19th (Service) Battalion (Glamorgan Pioneers)
Feb 1915 Formed at Colwyn Bay as a Pioneers Battalion of the 43rd Division.
29.04.1915 Formation became the 38th Division and then moved to Winchester.
Dec 1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front.
11.11.1918 Ended the war near Aulnoye, France.

20th (Reserve) Battalion (3rd Rhondda)
July 1915 Formed at St. Asaph from the depot companies of the 10th & 13th battalions as a local reserve battalion.
Sept 1915 Moved to Kinmel as part of the 13th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 60th Training Reserve Battalion.

21st (Reserve) Battalion
July 1915 Formed at Colwyn Bay from the depot companies of the 14th 15th & 16th battalions as a local reserve battalion.
Sept 1915 Moved to Kinmel as part of the 13th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 61th Training Reserve Battalion.

22nd (Reserve) Battalion
Sept 1915 Formed at Prees Heath from the depot companies of the 17th & 18th battalions as a local reserve battalion.
Oct 1915 Moved to Conway.
1916 Moved to Kinmel as part of the 14th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 66th Training Reserve Battalion.

23rd (Reserve) Battalion (Welsh Pioneers)
Sept 1915 Formed at Porthcawl.
Mar 1916 Moved to Aldershot and attached to the 69th Division 13.05.1916 – 22.06.1916 at Thetford.
13.07.1916 Embarked for Macedonia from Devonport, Plymouth arrived at Salonika and joining the 28th Division which engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including
1916
The occupation of Mazirko, The capture of Barakli Jum'a.
1917
The capture of Ferdie and Essex Trenches (near Barakli Jum'a), The capture of Barakli and Kumli.
1918
The Battle of Doiran and the pursuit to the Strumica valley.
30.09.1918 Ended the war north of Lake Doiran, Macedonia

25th Battalion
01.06.1918 Formed at North Walsham.
20.06.1918 Absorbed by the 18th Battalion.

51st (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Halesworth from the 226th Graduation Battalion (previously the 63rd Training Reserve Battalion) as part of the 203rd Brigade of the 68th Division and then moved to Yarmouth.
May 1918 Moved to Herringfleet where it remained.

52nd (Graduated) Battalion
27.10.1917 Formed at Herringfleet from the 234th Graduation Battalion (previously the 65th Training Reserve Battalion) as part of the 205th Brigade of the 68th Division and then moved to Lowestoft.
May 1918 Moved to Saxmundham and then Henham Park east of Halesworth where it remained.


Carmarthen Pals: A History of the 15th (Service) Battalion The Welsh Regiment, 1914-1919, Steven John - History

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The Carmarthenshire Battalion was one of the early units raised in 1914 as a result of Lord Kitchener's expansion of the regular army by 500,000 men for the duration of the Great War. Lloyd George, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, had a vision of a Welsh Army Group and massive efforts were made to recruit and form Welsh fighting units.

The first 200 recruits for the Carmarthen Pals came from Bolton, strangely enough, but later they were mainly drawn from the County and wider Wales. Initial training was at Rhyl.

In April 1915 the Battalion became part of 114 Brigade, 38 (Welsh) Division and after completing training and equipping it crossed to France in December 1915.

From early 1916 until the Armistice the Carmathen Pals fought with distinction. Initially at Givency, it moved to the Somme in May 1916 and attacked Mametz Wood in the early days of that most terrible July offensive. Thereafter the Battalion moved to the Ypres Salient and in July 1917 attacked Pilckem Ridge. Moves south to Armentieres district, then the Albert Sector followed.

In the closing months of the War alone the Pals suffered 40 officer and 900 other rank killed and wounded as they pushed the Germans back capturing Ancre and crossing the Canal du Nord and Selle rivers.

'This is an impressive sobering read, which stands as a memorial to the men of the 15th Welsh and the sacrifices they made during the Great War.'

History of War Website, October 2009

How the soldier in this haunting image was identified as a war hero

Lieutenant Frank Roberts, MC was awarded the Military Cross ‘for conspicuous gallantry and fine leadership in an attack’.

The face of a young Welsh soldier, whose image was used in a music video about the Great War, had remained nameless in a museum until its owner stumbled across a book last week.

The powerful image of Lieutenant Frank Roberts, who was severely wounded at Mametz Wood during the First Battle of the Somme, had been selected for the ‘Tell My Father’ video, chosen simply because of the great sadness reflected in his eyes.

But despite having his portrait for several years, among a collection donated to the Tinshed Museum in Laugharne , owner Seimon Pugh-Jones had been unable to identify him, despite his research.

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Hero in battle

That was until a chance visit to a bookshop in Carmarthen last week, when Seimon found several faces that he recognised.

Now, as this week marks 100 years since the start of one of the bloodiest battles of World War One, the Battle of the Somme, it has been revealed that the ‘soldier with sad eyes’ was a hero in battle.

“Three years ago we were donated a small collection of postcards and portraits that were bought at a car boot sale,” said TinShed co-founder Seimon. “There was no information on any of the photographs, apart from the photographers’ details embossed into the corner of the portraits, ‘Frank J Anthony Photographer, Llanelly.’”

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&aposPowerful image &apos

Simon said the photos sat in an old OXO Tin, and were displayed for a while in 2014.

But when baritone singer Mark Llewellyn Evans recorded a new solo version of the track ‘Tell My Father’ (originally a collaboration and No.1 hit with the Welsh Guards), he asked the TinShed to shoot a music video for him, drawing on Simon’s experience as a cameraman and utilising the museum’s wartime artefacts.

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“We decided to use the Llanelli boys as soldiers. But we felt we needed a powerful start to the video,” said Seimon.

“I remembered we had a photograph, one portrait in particular struck me. It was of a young officer with incredibly sad eyes. He was a handsome chap but with such regret, as if he knew he wasn’t coming back.”

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Chance encounter

It was this portrait which was used at the beginning of the music video and Seimon’s desire to find out who he was got stronger.

“We didn’t know how. We asked several historians, but found nothing.”

But a chance visit to a book store in Carmarthen last week saw Seimon stumble across the familiar faces.

“I just happened to spot a book called ‘Carmarthen in the Great War’, written by Laugharne author Steven John.

“I picked it up and it opened up on page 61. A familiar face was staring at me, identified as Lt Tom Roberts, Swansea Road. It said he was killed in action May 24 1915. I was gobsmacked. It was one of the images we had kept in the tin.

I contacted Steven John and told him what happened. I also explained about the other portrait ‘The Soldier with Sad eyes’.

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Brothers in arms

Steven thought it could be his brother, Frank.

After a few emails, it was confirmed it was indeed his brother Frank, who was severely wounded at Mametz Wood and was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery.

“It is just such a magical coincidence that on the anniversary of the ‘Battle of the Somme’ and ‘Mammetz Wood’ we now know who the ‘soldier with sad eyes’ was.”

Author and military historian Mr John, has written about the Roberts brothers in his book Carmarthen Pals: A History of the 15th (Service) Battalion, the Welsh Regiment, 1914‑.1919.

He said Lieutenant Frank Roberts, MC has been awarded the Military Cross ‘for conspicuous gallantry and fine leadership in an attack’.

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“His Citation, Gazetted on January 11, 1919 read ‘For conspicuous gallantry and fine leadership in an attack. With only sixteen men and no officer left he consolidated the position gained, and by judicious use of his Lewis guns he deceived the enemy as to his numbers and held on to his position for 24 hours without support on his flank, under heavy shell fire, inflicting considerable casualties on the enemy both with his own guns and with machine guns captured the day before. He did splendid work’.”


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The Long, Long Trail

Regimental Depot

Battalions of the Regular Army

1st Battalion
August 1914 : in Chakrata, India, part of Dehra Dun Brigade in Meerut Division.
Returned to England, landing at Plymouth on 22 December 1914. Moved to Hursley Park.
Then came under orders of and remained with 84th Brigade in 28th Division.
Landed at Le Havre 18 January 1915. Embarked at Marseilles for Egypt and eventually Salonika, 24 November 1915.

2nd Battalion
August 1914 : in Bordon. Part of 3rd Brigade in 1st Division.
Landed at Le Havre 13 August 1914.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
August 1914 : in Cardiff. A depot/training unit, it remained in UK throughout the war. Moved to Barry in August 1914, thence to Kinmel Park (June 1916) and in May 1917 to Redcar where it remained as part of Tees Garrison.

Battalions of the Territorial Force

1/4th Battalion
August 1914 : in Carmarthen. Part of South Wales Brigade, which was unallocated to a Division.
Moved to Tunbridge Wells in November 1914 and in February 1915 to the Forth and Tay defences in Scotland.
17 April 1915 : came under orders of 159th Brigade in 53rd (Welsh) Division. Moved to Bedford.
Sailed from Devonport 19 July 1915. Landed at Suvla Bay 9 August 1915.
8 October 1915 : amalgamated with 1/5th Bn, forming 4th Welsh Composite Bn. Resumed original identity 10 February 1916/
11 December 1915 : evacuated from Gallipoli and moved to Egypt.
On 3 July 1918, the two battalions merged to form the 4/5th Battalion.

1/5th Battalion
August 1914 : in Pontypridd. Record same as 1/4th Bn.


Memorial to the 5th Battalion at Coed-Pen-Maen Common in Rhondda. Image courtesy of the excellent Geograph website, with thanks. Note that the memorial used the spelling “Welch” which the regiment re-adopted in 1920.

1/6th (Glamorgan) Battalion
August 1914 : in Swansea. Part of South Wales Brigade, which was unallocated to a Division.
29 October 1914 : landed at Le Havre and moved to work on Lines of Communication.
5 July 1915 : came under orders of 84th Brigade in 28th Division.
23 October 1915 : transferred to 3rd Brigade in 1st Division.
15 May 1916 : became Pioneer Battalion to 1st Division with which it then remained.

1/7th (Cyclist) Battalion
August 1914 : in Cardiff, unallocated to a Brigade or Division.
Moved to Berwick-on-Tweed, Ayton and Eyemouth in Scotland on completing mobilisation.
March 1915: moved to Saltburn (1915). Later to Seaton Carew (early 1917) and Middlesbrough from mid 1917 where it formed part of the Tees Garrison.

2/4th Battalion
Formed at Carmarthen in October 1914 as a second line unit.
Absorbed by the 2/4th King’s Shropshire Light Infantry at Bedford in November 1915.

2/5th Battalion
Formed at Pontypridd in November 1914 as a second line unit.
Absorbed by the 2/6th Cheshire Regiment at Bedford in November 1915.

2/6th (Glamorgan) Battalion
Formed at Swansea in December 1914 as a second line unit.
Absorbed by the 2/5th Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Bedford in November 1915.

2/7th (Cyclist) Battalion
Formed at Cardiff in 1914 as a second line unit.
Remained in UK throughout the war. Was at Holt by July 1916, then moved to Fakenham (early 1917). By mid 1918 was at Melton Constable.

3/4th, 3/5th and 3/6th Battalions
Formed at home bases in March 1915 as training units.
Moved to Milford Haven. 3/4th Bn located at Hearston Camp.
8 April 1916 : became 4th, 5th and 6th Reserve Bns.
1 September 1816: 5th and 6th were absorbed into 4th Reserve Bn.

3/7th (Cyclist) Battalion
Formed at Cardiff in 1914 as a second line unit.
Moved to Milford Haven. Disbanded in March 1916.

4/5th Battalion
Formed from the merger of 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions on 30 July 1918. Remained under 159th Infantry Brigade of 53rd (Welsh) Division.

24th (Pembroke and Glamorgan Yeomanry) Battalion
Formed in Egypt on 2 February 1917 from two dismounted Yeomanry units.
2 March 1917 : came under orders of 231st Brigade in 74th (Yeomanry) Division with which it then remained.
Landed at Marseilles on 7 May 1918.

Battalions of the New Armies

8th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers)
Formed at Cardiff in August 1914 as part of K1 and came under orders of 40th Brigade in 13th (Western) Division. Moved to Salisbury Plain and was at Chisledon in October 1914. Went into billets in Bournemouth in December.
January 1915 : converted into Pioneer Battalion to same Division. Moved to Aldershot in February 1915.
Embarked at Avonmouth on 15 June 1915 and landed at ANZAC cove on 5 August 1915.
December 1915 : evacuated from Gallipoli and went to Egypt via Mudros.
February 1916 : moved to Mesopotamia.

Soldiers of the 8th (Service) Battalion, Welsh Regiment firing on a rifle range in Winton, 17 January 1915. Imperial War Museum image Q53544

9th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Cardiff on 9 September 1914 as part of K2 and moved to Salisbury Plain, came under orders of 58th Brigade in 19th (Western) Division. billets in Basingstoke in November 1914. Moved to Weston super mare in January 1915 and on to Perham Down in May 1915.
Landed at Boulogne mid July 1915.

10th (Service) Battalion (1st Rhondda)
Formed in the Rhondda Valley in late September 1914 by D. Watts Morgan, JP and Rhondda miners’ agent.
Newspapers reported its name as 10th Rhondda Battalion.
Moved to Codford St Mary, where came under orders of 76th Brigade in 25th Division.
30 September 1914 : transferred to 129th Brigade in 43rd Division at Rhyl.
On 29 April 1915, this formation was renamed as 114th Brigade in 38th (Welsh) Division.
Moved to Winchester in August 1915.
Landed at Le Havre in December 1915.
7 February 1918 : 8 officers and 150 men of “A” Company posted to 13th (Service) Battalion.
8 February 1918 : 8 officers and 150 men of “B” Company posted to 14th (Service) Battalion.
26 February 1918: 550 men form 1 Entrenching Battalion and are later redeployed to other units. This completes the disbanding of 10th (Service) Battalion.

11th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Cardiff in September 1914 as part of K3. Moved to South Downs and came under orders of 67th Brigade in 22nd Division. Moved to Hastings in December 1914 and on to Seaford in April 1915. Went to Aldershot in May.
Landed at Boulogne on 6 September 1915.
Sailed from Marseilles on 30 October 1915, eventually to Salonika.

12th (Reserve) Battalion
Formed in Cardiff on 23 October 1914 as a Service battalion, part of K4. Came under orders of 104th Brigade in original 35th Division.
10 April 1915 : became a Reserve Battalion at Kinmel Park.
1 September 1916 : converted into 58th Training Reserve Battalion of 13th Reserve Brigade and lost its connection to the regiment.

13th (Service) Battalion (2nd Rhondda)
Formed at Cardiff on 23 October 1914. Moved to Rhyl and came under orders of 129th Brigade in 43rd Division.
28 April 1915 : formation became the 114th Brigade in 38th (Welsh) Division. Moved to Winchester in August 1915.
Landed at Le Havre in December 1915.

14th (Service) Battalion (Swansea)
Formed at Swansea in October 1914 by the Mayor and Corporation and the Swansea Football and Cricket Club.
Record same as 13th Bn.

15th (Service) Battalion (Carmarthenshire)
Formed by the Carmarthenshire County Committee in October 1914.
Record same as 13th Bn.

16th (Service) Battalion (Cardiff City)
Formed at Cardiff in November 1914 by the Lord Mayor and Corporation.
November 1914 : came under orders of 130th Brigade in 43rd Division. Was at Colwyn Bay in December.
28 April 1915 : formation became the 115th Brigade in 38th (Welsh) Division. Moved to Winchester in August 1915.
Landed at Le Havre in December 1915.
7 February 1918 : disbanded in France.

17th (Service) Battalion (1st Glamorgan)
Formed at Cardiff in December 1914 as a Bantam Battalion.
December 1914 : moved to Rhyl and attached to 43rd Division. Moved to Rhos in February 1915 and in July went on to Prees Heath.
July 1915 : transferred to 119th Brigade in 40th Division. Moved to Aldershot in September.
Landed in France in June 1916.
9 February 1918 : disbanded in France.

18th (Service) Battalion (2nd Glamorgan)
Formed at Cardiff in January 1915 as a Bantam Battalion.
Moved to Porthcawl and attached to 43rd Division. In July went on to Prees Heath.
July 1915 : transferred to 119th Brigade in 40th Division. Moved to Aldershot in September.
Landed in France in June 1916.
5 May 1918 : reduced to cadre strength after suffering heavy casualties.
18 June 1918 : transferred to 47th Brigade in 16th (Irish) Division in England. Went to North Walsham.
20 June 1918 : fully reconstituted by absorbing 25th Bn. Moved to Aldershot.
Landed in France again 29 July 1918.

19th (Service) Battalion (Glamorgan Pioneers)
Formed at Colwyn Bay in February 1915 as a Pioneer Battalion
February 1915 : attached to 43rd Division.
28 April 1915 : formation became the 38th (Welsh) Division.
Landed at Le Havre in December 1915.

20th (3rd Rhondda) (Reserve), 21st (Reserve) and 22nd (Reserve) Battalions
Formed in Wales in July and September 1915 as Reserve Bns. Moved to Kinmel Park.
1 September 1916 : 20th Bn became 60th Training Reserve Battalion and the 21st the 61st Training Reserve Battalion in the 13th Reserve Brigade. The 22nd formed the 66th Training Reserve Battalion in the 14th Reserve Brigade. All three lost their connection to the regiment at this time.

23rd (Service) Battalion (Welsh Pioneers)
Formed at Porthcawl in September 1915. Moved to Aldershot in March 1916.
Between May and June 1916, attached to 69th Division at Thetford.
Embarked at Devonport on 13 July 1916 and moved to Salonika.
24 August 1916 : attached as Pioneer Battalion to 28th Division.

Other Battalions

25th Battalion
Formed at North Walsham on 1 June 1918 but absorbed by 18th Bn on 20 June 1918.

51st (Graduated) Battalion
Up to 27 October 1917, this was known as 226th Graduated Battalion and had no regimental affiliation. Before that it had been 63rd Battalion of the Training Reserve and up to September 1916 had been the 18th and 20th (Reserve) Battalions of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. A training unit based at Halesworth, it was part of 203rd Brigade in 68th Division. Moved to Yarmouth in winter 1917-18 and by May 1918 was at Herringfleet. Possibly at the North Dublin Union in Ireland in early 1920.

52nd (Graduated) Battalion
Up to 27 October 1917, this was known as 234th Graduated Battalion and had no regimental affiliation. Before that it had been 65th Battalion of the Training Reserve and up to September 1916 had been the 14th (Reserve) Battalion of the South Wales Borderers. A training unit based at herringfleet, it was part of 205th Brigade in 68th Division. Moved to Lowestoft in winter 1917-18 and by May 1918 was at Saxmundham.

53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
Up to 27 October 1917, this was known as 64th Young Soldier Battalion and had no regimental affiliation. Before that it had been 21st (Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. A basic recruit training unit based at Kinmel Park, it was part of 14th Reserve Brigade.


The Long, Long Trail

With the recent move of the Long, Long Trail to a new domain, some of the book reviews of yesteryear have been a little stranded.

The post is made simply to ensure they do not get lost and can still be found by the main search engines.

The diary of an Artillery Officer: the 1st Canadian Divisional Artillery on the Western Front
by Major Arthur Hardie Bick DSO edited by Peter Hardie Bick
published by Amberley Publishing
ISBN 978 1 4456 0270 7
cover price – £16.99
softback, 205pp plus glossary, bibliography and index.
reviewed by Chris Baker.

The diary, which covers the period from December 1917 until February 1919, has been enhanced by the addition of a running commentary explaining the context written by Bick’s son Peter, and is of especial interest in the period from late July 1918 when the Canadian Corps went into action at Amiens and played a lead role in the “hundred days” offensive thereafter. This was a time when the learning, technique, tactical and armaments developments came together as a formidable weapon of war: the diary and commentary talk of creeping barrages, counter-battery, neutralising and counter-preparation bombardments and all the panoply of field artillery methods through which the Allied armies finally overcame the foe.

With a good selection of personal and Canadian official photographs and a small number of rough but adequate maps, this is a book worth considering by anyone interested in the way the war was won and in the role of the Canadian artillery in particular.

Only available in softback, it is very nicely produced and at a sensible cover price.

The Kensington Battalion: “never lost a yard of trench”
by G. I. S Inglis
published by Pen & Sword Military, 2010
ISBN 978-1-84884-247-2
cover price – £25
hardback, 264pp plus appendices including a roll of honour and index, illustrated
reviewed by Chris Baker

This battalion benefits from having an unusually extensive archive and a good deal of published work covering its activities. This provides an excellent background for compilation of a detailed history. But “Never lost a yard of trench ” goes further, not least due to the fact that the author met several battalion veterans, as the work on the book began many years ago and was interrupted for a long spell. The personal touch, as well as the author’s evident expertise and enthusiasm, makes this one of the best of the modern pals histories – and that is going some, as there have been many fine examples of the art. The narrative is rich, detailed and the story well told, profusely illustrated with photographs and some good sketch maps.

The Kensingtons came under command of 99th Infantry Brigade, originally of 33rd Division, but transferred after arrival in France to the regular 2nd Division. It saw much action during the war, notably on the Somme, at Oppy (Arras) and Cambrai, before falling victim of reorganisation in early 1918 when the battalion was disbanded. “Never lost a yard of trench ” is an excellent example of modern scholarship and writing, and a fine epitaph to an interesting unit.

Tyneside Irish : 24th, 25th, 26th & 27th (Service) Battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers
by John Sheen
republished Pen & Sword Military, January 2010
ISBN – 1-848-84093-4
cover price – £25.00
Hardback, 207pp plus appendices (gallantry awards, nominal rolls) no index
reviewed by owner of The Long, Long Trail, Chris Baker.

Thousands of Irish people, forced into quitting their homeland in the shameful potato famine of the 1800’s, moved to the north of England and many found work in the shipyards, factories and coal mines of Northumberland and Durham. Their traditions and comradeship held firm and were major factors in the raising of no fewer than four volunteer battalions for the Northumberland Fusiliers in 1914. As Sheen notes, many of Irish descent also joined the Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment) he wonders what they would have done had it been the Orange Howards! Forming up into the 103rd Brigade of 34th Division, they were destined for disaster. More than half of the text of the book is concerned with the establishment, training, early service in France and destruction of the Tyneside Irish on 1 July 1916. This is to be expected, as that terrible advance near La Boisselle is their prime moment in the war. Name after endless name fell dead or wounded to unsuppressed German machine guns. The impact on the Irish community in the North East was appalling. John does, of course, cover the rebuilding of the battalions and their subsequent actions at Arras and Ypres. Three of the battalions were disbanded in Fabruary 1918 the 25th Battalion fought on against the 1918 German offensives before being reduced to a training cadre. The book includes interesting work on the reserve units and on the pipe band, too.

Every gallantry award made to the Tyneside Irish is covered, and there are (extensive) nominal rolls of the original 1914 volunteers, together with their fates. An excellent narrative, an excellent work of reference, a splendid collection of photographs: if I had one gripe it would be the absence of an index.

The steel of the DLI : the 2nd Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry at war 1914-1918
by John Sheen
published Pen & Sword Military, 2009
ISBN 9781848841437
cover price – £25
hardback, 276pp plus honours and awards, nominal roll of officers and roll of 1914 Star, no index
reviewed by owner of The Long, Long Trail, Chris Baker

2nd DLI was a typical pre-war infantry battalion of the British Army, although it had not seen service in the South African War and had returned home from India as long ago as 1902. It was placed under orders of 18th Infantry Brigade of 6th Division and remained in that formation throughout the war.

Sheen’s history has all of the insight and detail we have come to expect of modern scholarship, drawing deeply on official, regimental and private records. With many excellent photographs, most of which will not have been seen before, and lacing the battalion’s history with the stories of individual officers and men, he takes us through the whole war from the battalion’s first searing experiences on the Aisne, right through to the honour of advancing into Germany as part of the army of occupation. In between, the 1915 nightmares of Hooge, the latter stages of the Somme, Hill 70, Cambrai and ceaseless engagement in 1918. The story also brings out how the nature of the battalion inevitably changed, from wholly regular through mostly volunteer to conscript, yet managed to maintain an ethos and professional air throughout. The battalion also coped with the rapid and manifold developments in armaments, tactical doctrines and training – a testament to the efforts of officers, NCOs and men alike.

No labour, no battle : military labour during the First World War
by John Starling and Ivor Lee
published Spellmount, September 2009
ISBN – 9780752449753
cover price – £30
Hardback, 372pp plus bibliography and index
reviewed by owner of The Long, Long Trail, Chris Baker.

My appreciation for John Starling and Ivor Lee’s achievement is underpinned by my own knowledge of Labour Corps official records, which are patchy in existence and often uninformative when they can be found. To compile this detailed analysis of how the labour units formed, where they went and what they did is clearly a work of considerable effort. The book’s title reminds us that no war – but WW1 in particular – can be fought without a tremendous amount of unglamorous ‘behind the scenes’ work. Endless digging, road mending, carrying, construction works and so on can be guessed at it is not so easy to recall the salvage work, battlefield clearance, burial of the dead and reconstruction work in which the Labour Corps was involved.

Carmarthen Pals: a history of the 15th (Service) Battalion, the Welsh Regiment, 1914-1919
by Steven John
published by Pen & Sword Military, September 2009
ISBN 184884077-2
cover price – £25
hardback, 272pp, illustrated, no index
reviewed by owner of The Long, Long Trail, Chris Baker

We have grown used to the high standard of research behind these books, and “Carmarthen Pals” is no exception. The book mentions many individuals by name and is full of photographs, having pulled on official and regimental sources as well as the local press and the memoirs of individuals. A selection of maps helps the reader understand the battalion’s role and location when it went into action, and the book concludes with a useful roll of honour, short bibliographies of battalion officers, and list of awards and decorations. The only black mark is the absence of an index.

Regiments of the British Army: a handbook with book lists
by Victor Sutcliffe
published Mulberry Coach House Books, Volume 1 (Infantry) 2007 and Volume 2 (Cavalry and Armour) 2008
ISBN – 9780955636400
cover price – not stated
Hardback, Vol 1 472pp Vol 2 254pp plus indexex
reviewed by owner of The Long, Long Trail, Chris Baker

An extraordinary, detailed and reliable work of reference, Regiments of the British Army delivers up to date information about the history and affiliations of regiments. With the regiments of the army now being barely recognisable from those described on the Long, Long Trail due to a series of mergers and developments since 1918, such an update is most valuable. The author provides for each regiment a summary of its history all the way from original formation, through the name and structural changes of the various army reforms, to the present day. Regimental badges (no pictures), nicknames, mottoes and other useful and fascinating information is also given. Perhaps most valuable of all is a wonderful bibliography, outlining published histories of each regiment. A really tremendous piece of work. The book is beautifully produced in two volumes. I could find no way to buy it online except through the publisher (see link right), which states that Volume 1 is £24.95 and Volume 2 £18.50. A third volume, covering artillery, engineers, signals and other services is slated for publication in 2010.Copies are available from the publishers here

Kitchener’s Men: the King’s Own Royal Lancasters on the Western Front 1915-1918
by John Hutton MP
published by Pen & Sword Military, 2008
ISBN 9781844157211
cover price – £19.99
hardback, 239pp plus index
reviewed by owner of The Long, Long Trail, Chris Baker.

The author, John Hutton, is the current Member of Parliament for the area where these units were raised (Barrow and Furness) and Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. Quite how he managed to find the time to craft a regimental history I do not know.

Of the battalions on which he has focused, three were raised for Kitchener’s new armies in 1914 and one pre-existed the war in the shape of the 4th, a Territorial battalion. John narrates the history of each unit in turn, drawing, it seems, principally on the war diaries, official history and local material. I say “seems” as no references or sources are given, which is a pity. The stories are told in enough detail for the book to be a useful reference without the reader getting mired in the minutiae, although inevitably that means there is much less colour and personality than in, say, Terry Carter’s “Birmingham Pals”.

I was a little disappointed to find little of the author’s own feelings expressed in the book, other than in the preface. There is no analysis, comment or reflection on their performance, morale, capabilities or development. This is a shame, for such insight from a man of Mr Hutton’s eminence would surely be of interest to many readers. Perhaps that is another book, once he retires!

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Introduction

As a son of the ancient Township of Laugharne, I undertook to research the Laugharne War Memorial several years ago. This interest blossomed, and resulted in my self-publishing a book on the memorial ‘A Township in Mourning’. This work has since expanded to cover the memorials of some of the neighbouring memorials of St. Clears, Llanddowror and Whitland, as well as memorial websites for the county of Carmarthenshire, and the neighbouring county of Pembrokeshire.

This small part of Wales has had the privilege of being the birth place of several great British Army units over the years, most notably during the Great War of 1914-1918, as supplying the Pembroke Yeomanry, which later transformed into the 24th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment the 4th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment, which was the local Territorial Army Battalion throughout both World Wars, and also for the 15th (Service) Battalion of the Welsh Regiment, known during the time of the Great War as the ‘Carmarthen Pals’.

Although gaining a proud reputation for itself during its three years on the Western Front during the Great War, the Carmarthen Pals have no written record of their achievements. This volume aims to correct this anomaly from the history books, and also aims to commemorate the deeds of the brave men of the battalion.

The mother regiment, the Welsh Regiment, was originally raised from the merging of two of the old regiments of foot the 41st and the 69th. The 41st Regiment of Foot was raised on 1 March 1719. This first regiment was raised by Colonel Edmund Fielding, and consisted of a core nucleus of Chelsea Pensioners, which later moved to Portsmouth as Garrison Troops. This led to the early regimental nickname of the ‘Invalids’, a somewhat unfortunate name which proved hard to shake off.

On 11 December 1787 the 41st Foot became a line regiment of the British Army. It saw active service for some years throughout the Americas, and also against the French at Quebec. In 1815 the regiment moved to France, seeing service in the campaign against Napoleon under the Duke of Wellington, and through the remainder of the nineteenth century fought in wars throughout the Empire at Burma, Afghanistan, India and the Crimean Wars. In 1857 the regiment moved to Jamaica on garrison duties, and after a three year spell there returned to Britain.

The regiment was renamed in 1881 after the Cardwell Reforms, and became the Welch Regiment. Two Battalions were formed the 1st Battalion from the 41st Foot and the 2nd Battalion from the 69th Foot.

This 69th Regiment of Foot had originally been raised on 20 September 1756 as a 2nd Battalion of the 24th Foot. It spent the formulative years of its life on maritime service with the Royal Navy, and during the next 123 years of their history served throughout the British Empire, until being turned into the 2nd Battalion of the Welch Regiment under the Cardwell Reforms.

Thus the 1st Battalion of the Welch Regiment began the next stage of its life in South Africa where it saw service against the Zulus, before moving to Egypt in 1886. After seeing action at Egypt, the regiment spent time on garrison duty back in Britain before embarking again for South Africa, where it fought throughout both of the Anglo-Boer Wars. In July 1904 it returned home to Britain, but was back on the borders of the Empire at the outbreak of the Great War, stationed at Chakrata, India.

The 2nd Battalion of the Welch Regiment in the meantime had spent most of its time on garrison duty in Britain. From 1892 to 1906 it was in India, before moving to South Africa and then to Pembroke Dock.

At the outbreak of the Great War the 2nd Welsh was sent to France as part of the 1st Division of the British Expeditionary Force, and remained on the Western Front for the remainder of the war, gaining for Wales its first Victoria Cross winner of the war, Lance Corporal William Fuller of Laugharne. William was fighting alongside Captain Mark Haggard at the Battle of Chivy-sur-Aisne, when Haggard fell, mortally wounded, due to heavy German machine-gun fire. William, at great danger to himself, rescued Haggard from the battlefield, and carried him to a barn where medics tried in vain to save him.

In the meantime the British Army was rapidly expanding, and gearing up for war. Territorial Battalions were called up, and the first of the Territorial Welsh Battalions, the 1/6th Welsh, arrived on the Western Front by October 1914.

The Welsh Regiment therefore grew throughout August 1914. The 2nd Battalion was in France, the 1st Welsh was on its way back from India, and the Territorial Battalions, the 1/4th (Carmarthenshire), the 1/5th (Glamorgan), the 1/6th (Glamorgan), the 1/7th (Cyclists) and the Pembroke and Glamorgan Yeomanry Battalions (which were later to become affiliated to the Welsh Regiment) were ready for war.

As well as these regular and territorial battalions, ‘Service’, or wartime only, battalions of the Welsh Regiment were raised throughout the recruiting grounds of south and west Wales during the coming months

These battalions were the 8th (Pioneers), 9th (Service), 10th (1st Rhondda), 11th (Cardiff City), 12th (Reserve), 13th (2nd Rhondda), 14th (Swansea City), 15th (Carmarthenshire), 16th (Cardiff City), 17th (Glamorgan), 18th (2nd Glamorgan), 19th (Glamorgan Pioneers), 20th (3rd Rhondda), 21st (Reserve), 22nd (Reserve), and 23rd (Reserve) Battalions.

The territorial battalions often had reserve battalions attached for example the front-line unit of the 4th Welsh was numbered the 1st/4th Welsh. The reserve battalion was the 2nd/4th Welsh. These battalions were designed to recruit, train and keep up the flow of reinforcements to the front line units. The reserve battalion for the newly formed service battalions was the 21st Battalion, which was based at Kinmel. On 1 September 1916 the battalion was re-designated as the 61st Training Reserve Battalion, and kept up a constant supply of reinforcements to the 14th, 15th, 16th and 19th battalions during the course of the war.

This book however is concerned with just one of these magnificent battalions of the Welsh Regiment the 15th (Service) Battalion, the Welsh Regiment: The Carmarthen Pals.

A Grea War era silk of the Welsh Regiment

The medieval Towy Bridge at Carmarthen.

A general view of Carmarthen.


TEIGNMOUTH & SHALDON

Born 1885 in Canterbury, New South Wales, Australia, he was the son of Hugh Claude Edward Lucas, a major in the Indian Staff Corps, and his wife Emilie Tehlencker. He was the grandson of General Sir Alfred William Lucas, JP (1822 - 1896) of Dunmore House, Shaldon.

The 1891 census shows Clifton aged 5 living at 8 Courtenay Place, Teignmouth.

His father is shown as born in India in 1850 and his mother Emilie as born in Australia in 1857. Clifton has an older brother, Malcolm, and two sisters, Violet and Beatrice. They have a servant, a nurse, living with them, presumably for Violet who is a year old.

The 1911 census hows Clifton's mother and father (and their general servant) as living at The Hermitage in Ringmore, Shaldon, his father is at this point a retired Colonel on a pension.

Clifton was a man with a thirst for travel. He was born in Sydney, New South Wales on 13 October 1885, the son of Colonel H C E Lucas, before moving to Teignmouth in Devon.

He then served with the Punjabi Rifles before emigrating to Canada, working as a Land Surveyor. At the outbreak of war he enlisted at Valcartier, Canada, into the 7th Canadian Infantry Battalion, and then embarked for Britain.

Clifton was then commissioned Second Lieutenant into 4th South Wales Borderers and saw service at Gallipoli. On 1 April 1916 Clifton became a full Lieutenant and was attached to the 15th Welsh in France.

He was killed in action soon after, during the fighting at Mametz Wood on 10 July 1916. Clifton is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

His medals, the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory Medals, were claimed by his father, Colonel H C E Lucas at 'Eastcliffe', Shaldon, Teignmouth.'

Carmarthen Pals: A History of the 15th (Service) Battalion, the Welsh Regiment, 1914-1919
(page 2) by Steven John

Remembered on Thiepval Memorial Shaldon War Memorial and in St Michael's Church, Teignmouth, where a marble tablet was dedicated to both Clifton and his brother, Malcolm Hugh Lucas DSO, who died in 1920 on active service in Persia.

Memorial plaque


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