Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence

Lest We Forget
British Legion
The Royal British Legion


World War 1 & 2 - Detailed information
Compiled and Copyright © Martin Harvey 2005
additional information George Lancett (biographies)

The memorial is to be found outside John Beddoes Campus in Hereford Street, Presteigne. It takes the form of a red, sandstone cenotaph situated in a small garden in front of John Beddoes School, Presteigne. All four faces of the memorial are inscribed. Two faces with inscription, two with the lists of names of the fallen. The memorial was unveiled on 24 October 1920. The names here have been sorted into alphabetical order for ease of reading. [Note: Most spellings on SDGW CD are as Presteign]
Photographs Copyright © Martin Harvey 2005
Unveiling from an old postcard

In memory of the men of Presteigne and District who fell in the Great War
To our Glorious Dead


Edward [John]
Private 46232, Labour Corps formerly 70628, Liverpool Regiment. Died of wounds 11th September 1917. Born and enlisted Presteign.

Note from George Lancett for the Edward John Adlington below:

Edward John Adlington born Presteigne, Radnor 1879 died Belgium 11th September 1918

Edward Adlington was born in 1879 into a large Victorian Presteigne family. Edward has five older siblings; Jane born 1870, Joseph E. born 1871, Ezekiel born 1873,Ellen born 1875 and Thomas born 1876. After Edward’s birth in 1879 a further two sisters followed; Florence born 1882 and Alice K. born 1885, making eight children born to Jane Adlington, Edward’s mother who was born in Knighton in 1840. Edward’s father, Joseph Adlington born Knighton in 1838, was a boot and shoe-maker and dealer. The family are recorded living in Broad Street, Presteigne on the 1881 Census, but by the time of the 1891 Census they had moved to Pear Tree Cottage, Harper Street, Presteigne. The 1901 Census shows that Edward, aged 21 has started work as a domestic gardener and is still living with his, now widowed, father. The family are back in Broad Street, but only Edward’s sisters Jane and Alice are still at home. The 1911 Census finds Edward still single and living in Broad Street with his father . However, when Edward signed a Form of Attestation for Military Service on 28th February 1916, he gives his address as Radnor Buildings, Hereford Street, Presteigne and his occupation is Gardener and Smallholder.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 16th March 1916 reports that the local Military Service Tribunal considered the case of E.J. Adlington, gardener and smallholder, who had applied for exemption on the grounds that serious hardship would ensue, and of exceptional financial and business obligations. Postponement for a month was allowed. At about this time Edward married Mildred Legge of Kington, Herefordshire.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 15th February 1917 reports that ’We regret to record the death of an old inhabitant in the person of Mr Joseph Adlington of Radnor Buildings, at the age of 78. The deceased was well known and highly respected in the town, where he had been in business for many years.’

Edward enlisted on 27th February, 1917 so perhaps he had been granted a further exemption to care for his father.

Private Edward John Adlington aged 39 no. 46232 the Kings [Liverpool Regiment] 78th Labour Corps. Previously no. 70618 of the Reserve Battalion, 13th Labour Company was killed in action near Elverdinghe, Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium in the Third Battle of Ypres, better known as Passchendaele. He is buried in Bleuet Farm Cemetery, Elverdinghe near Ypres. Grave Ref. I.A.8.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Commonwealth War Grave Commission and Welsh Newspapers Online.


James [Albert] aka Jim
[Listed as Sergeant on memorial] Corporal 7751, 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment). Killed in action 12th october 1916. Born and resident Presteign, enlisted Neath. Buried in GUARDS' CEMETERY, LESBOEUFS, Pas de Calais, France. Plot II. Row AA. Grave 6.

Note from George Lancett for the James Albert [Jim] Booth below:

Corporal James Albert [Jim] Booth born Presteigne 1885
Killed in Action Le Tresilon, France 12th October 1916

Jim Booth grew up in the West Wall and Church Street area of Presteigne where, until recent times, the working class families of the town made their homes in two up two down private rental terraced houses.

The 1901 Census records Jim living in West Wall with his parents; Charles Booth a fifty years old Presteigne born Foreman Timber Feller and his mother Eliza, forty-nine born in Brierley Hill, Staffordshire. Jim is recorded as General Labourer aged sixteen, whilst his brothers and sisters; Charles eleven, Thomas eight, Frederick seven, Alice five and Mary three are all recorded as Scholars.

By the time of the 1911 Census Jim is recorded as a boarder at 28, Old Park Terrace, Treforest, Glamorgan. Then, just as young people are forced to move from Presteigne to find work today, there was very little employment in Presteigne and the South Wales Coal Industry offered well-paid jobs and newly-built houses. Jim lodged in Treforest with the Preece family who had recently moved from Presteigne en masse to find work. Head of the household was William Preece a Timber Man born in Presteigne in 1873 and also recorded is Harry Preece, William’s son born in Presteigne in 1894. Both Harry Preece and Jim Booth are recorded as ‘Coal Miner Hewer Below’. Sadly, my research has found that Harry Preece did not survive the war either. He is recorded on the Presteigne War Memorial as ‘Preece, H. Private, Devonshire Regiment.’ he was killed in action on Saturday 1st July 1916 aged just twenty three, his body was never found and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Jim Booth enlisted in Neath, South Wales on 5th August 1914, just a day after Britain entered the war. Jim’s parents now living in Church street, Presteigne received regular letters from Jim and his brother Tom during the war and the Brecon & Radnor Express’s Presteigne correspondent was able to report on Jim’s exploits as a result of the letters and Jim’s visits to Presteigne on home leave.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 10th December, 1914 reported: Presteign soldier [they never used the final ‘e’] home from the trenches. The first wounded British soldier to return to Presteign from the front arrived on the 30th ult. Private James Booth of the West Riding, Yorkshire Regiment left England for the front on the 25th August, 1914. He appears to have had his full share of the fighting, having been, ‘till he was wounded on 11th November, continuously in the fighting line. The first engagement he took part in was the battle of the Aisne, where he was for about a month. Then he took part in the battle at La Basse , where he remained for about three weeks. In these two battles he was most of the time in the trenches and seems to have experienced a very rough time. From La Basse the regiment was relieved by Indian troops, with the idea that the Yorkshires should enjoy a well-earned rest. But they were at once sent to Ypres, and it was in this battle that, on the 11th November, Booth met with his injury. He received a wound from a fragment of shrapnel, which struck him in his left shoulder. Private Booth expressed his admiration of the artillery fire of the Germans. It is interesting to note that Private Booth was one of our heroes who met the attack of the Prussian Guards. He says that the Prussian Guards came for them in a very determined way, and part of the section where he was fighting was only reinforced just in the nick of time, and were repulsed by a bayonet attack in which he took part. He also expressed his admiration of the arrangements made for feeding the troops at the front, and said they were well supplied with tobacco and cigarettes, which proved to be a very great comfort to them. Private Booth comes of a soldier family, and is one of six brothers who have served their country with the British Army.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 17th December 1914 read: Presteign soldier honoured by townsmen. On Saturday evening Private James Booth, who recently returned from the front wounded, was entertained to dinner at the Radnorshire Arms, Presteign. There was a large number present; Mr Stanley Morris, Chairman of the Urban District Council, presided and amongst those present were the Rev. HL Kewley, Mr G S Tovey, Mr F L Green, Councillors W Davies, W Bird, H J Sparey, Philip Davies, G W Preece, Messrs A M Thomas, J Mackintosh, W T Williams, J T Price, W Shepherd, A Graham, C Millichamp etc. A full toast list was gone through. The Chairman proposed ‘ the health of Private James Booth’ the toast being received with enthusiasm. Private Booth had been at the front almost since our forces went out there, and had seen some of the worst of the fighting. Nobody but Private Booth himself could say what he had been through in company with other brave fellows at the front, and in him they had a man of whom the whole of Presteign ought to be proud [Applause]. He was sure that by the attendance tonight they showed they were proud of him, and they were glad to see him home again after his grave experiences. The toast was received with cheers and musical honours. Private Booth was cheered on rising to reply, said he very much appreciated the honour they had done him, and although he could not express himself as he should like, he was very grateful to them all for the welcome. He had only done his duty as a soldier, and he was glad to have had the opportunity of doing it [cheers]. Some people in the country districts, especially, did not realise that the war was in progress, and many of the agricultural workmen were fitter than a good many who had enlisted [applause]. They could hardly realise what the men had to go through, and the sights some of the men saw were appalling. The men who returned from the front deserved all the credit they got, and he could assure them that out at the front it was ‘hell upon earth’. he was very grateful to them, and he wished also to express his thanks to Mr J M Sparey for his kindness to him whilst at the front [applause]. Other toasts followed and a number of songs were sung, an enjoyable evening being passed.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 24th December 1914 reported that on Tuesday night, seven Belgian wounded soldiers arrived at Presteign for treatment at Corton House by the Red Cross Association.

Departure of Private Booth - Private James Booth left Presteign on Monday afternoon, to rejoin his regiment at Halifax. There was a large crowd at the railway station to see him off, and he was cheered enthusiastically as the train moved out.

Presteign men for the front - On Tuesday afternoon, Privates E Culley and W Jordan left Presteign, where they had been staying for a few days after training at Aldershot, and, it is stated, that they are shortly leaving for France.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 20th May 1915 reports; Lance Corporal Booth has again been wounded [no details].

The Border Counties Cinema is still doing good business which is no doubt due to the excellency of the pictures and low prices charged.

Private Frank Lewis [son of Mr and Mrs William Lewis] and A Morris [a relative of Mr Harry Crowe] were here on furlough last week. Mr Tom Strangward who joined the Royal Garrison Artillery, has been home on leave and Fred Swancott has now joined the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry.

News from the front: Mrs Swancott [Fred’s Mum or wife?] has just received an interesting letter from her brother, Driver A Preece, Royal Field Artillery. Driver Preece went to France at the outbreak of war and has passed through the whole campaign unscathed. His brother, Jack, however was not so fortunate, and was wounded a few days after arrival out there!

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 26th August 1915 reports; Presteign brothers meet on battlefield. Corporal James Booth son of Mr & Mrs C Booth of Church Street, Presteign, in a letter from the front, says: ‘I am very glad to tell you that I have met Tom [his brother] at last. It was quite accidental. I was at the dug-outs near the trenches with a party of my company for rations, and he was there with rations for some of his regiment. He asked some of the fellows with me if they knew of a chap called Jim Booth? As soon as I heard his voice, I knew that it was him. I did not know his face at all, for, he has grown a moustache, but he looks alright, better than I do. He told me that he was close to me very often, but could not get to see me. He was very excited at seeing me, and wants me to transfer to what they call the ‘sappers’. Writing home to Presteign, Private Tom Booth, 1st Devon Mining Section, attached to the Royal Engineers, writes thus of his meeting with his brother, Corporal Jim Booth ‘I had the pleasure of first meeting Jim today, and it was a most happy meeting. I see him twice a day now. I hope this war will soon come to an end. I have been out here six months’.

The final entry in the Brecon & Radnor Express comes on 2nd November, 1916. The report reads; Presteign soldiers killed. News has just reached Presteign that two Presteign men have fallen in active service in France. They are Corporal James Booth of the West Riding Regiment and Private Henry Butcher of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. Corporal Booth was on the Army Reserve List when he was called up and has seen a good deal of service. He was in the fighting at Mons and has been twice wounded. Private Butcher was a time expired man who had seen service in the South African war and volunteered for service in this campaign.

I found a copy of Jim Booth’s Informal Will in the National Archives and like many single men he left his belongings to his mother. He is buried in the Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs, Somme, France. Grave Ref. II AA.6

Sources: Presteigne Cenotaph, National Roll of Honour, Census Records, Brecon & Radnor Express courtesy of Welsh Newspapers Online and the National Archives.


Osborne Aaron
Private 201460, 1st/4th Battalion, King's (Shropshire Light infantry). Killed in action 26th March 1918. Born Port, Glamorgan, enlisted Prssteign.

Osborne Bounds was born at Porth, a village in the Rhondda Valley, Glamorgan in 1895. His parents; father Aaron born Gore, Old Radnor in 1868 and mother Matilda nee Lewis born Raglan, Monmouth also in 1868, had recently moved to Port from Matilda’s home village of Raglan where Osborne’s brother Reginald Arthur Bounds had been born in 1894.

Aaron’s occupation of carpenter led to the family moving at regular intervals to find work and when Annie Matilda, Osborne’s sister was born in 1897 the family were resident in Sandhurst, Gloucester. Lewis William Bounds born in 1899 arrived in Almeley, Herefordshire and sister Eveline May born 1901 and another brother; Ernest Bryan born 1905 were both born in Eardisley, Herefordshire.

The 1911 Census found the family of two adults and six children resident at Willersley, Winforton near Eardisley, Herefordshire. Osborne, aged fifteen, is described, like his father, as ‘Estate Carpenter’ whilst brother Reginald aged seventeen is a ‘ Gardener-Domestic’ , so it is quite likely that Aaron and his two oldest sons were all employed at a large country house.

Osborne enlisted in the 1st/4th Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry on 30th January, 1916 in Presteigne, Radnorshire. Whether Osborne had moved to Presteigne for work or was visiting relatives is not known. However, his address is given as Green End, Presteign and there is a Bounds family recorded as resident in Green End, Presteigne on the 1911 Census and there had been members of the Bounds family in Presteigne since before the 1881 Census.

The 1st/4th Battalion of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry was originally formed from the County Rifle Volunteers, designated as the 4th [Territorial] Battalion in 1908 on the creation of the Territorial Force. The Battalion was mobilised at Shrewsbury on 4th August 1914 and embarked for India in October 1914. It’s prime function, as with many of the Territorial battalions at this stage, was to take over routine imperial garrison duty, to free Regular soldiers for active campaigning.

The battalion served in the Far East, in Hong Kong, the Andaman Islands, Singapore and Rangoon, Burma during 1914-17. It was then summoned back to Europe and en route spent time training in both Ceylon and South Africa. From there, without the men being able to visit their families, after, in some cases, three years’ absence, 1st/4th Battalion KSLI went straight to the Western Front in July 1917 and took up a position near Arras. Later that year it moved to the Ypres Salient to take part in the great Passchendaele Offensive [3rd battle of Ypres] and suffered 130 casualties on it’s first real day in action.

The battalion fought around Messines during the great German Spring Offensive of 1918 when, for a time, it appeared that the Allies might lose the war. It was during this period that on Tuesday 26th March 1918, during fighting near Cambrai, that twenty-three years old Private Osborne Aaron Bounds no. 201460 1st/4th Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry was killed in action. He is buried in Grevillers British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, some 3 kilometres west of Bapaume, France. Grave Ref XII. F. 21.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Commonwealth War Graves Commission & Shropshire Light Infantry Museum.


Pryce Thomas
Private, Herefordshire Regiment

Pryce Bowen’s parents were Thomas Bowen born 1853 in Clun, Shropshire and Jane born 1851 in Llanbister, Radnorshire. The Census of 1881 shows the family resident at Dolley Green, Presteigne, Radnorshire. Thomas’ occupation was recorded as a ‘Waggoner-Ag Lab’ and ‘Waggoner’ is what Pryce Bowen entered as his trade when he enlisted in the 1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment at Presteigne on 24th May 1915.

The family do not appear in the 1891 Census and this may explain why British Army Service Records show that Private 3796 Pryce Thomas Bowen of the Herefordshire Regiment was born in 1895 in Denmark! I have been unable to confirm this information or provide an answer to the question of why the family was resident in Denmark.

When Pryce Bowen enlisted in 1915 he was sent for basic training to Oswestry Camp in Shropshire. At first things went well and he grew an inch in height from 5ft 5ins to 5ft 6ins. However, in January 1916 he was taken ill with a high temperature, pains and swelling in his shoulders, hands and feet. One attack succeeded another for some months. Rheumatic Fever was diagnosed. On 17th October 1916, aged just 21 he was discharged as Medically Unfit and returned home to Presteigne to be cared for by his parents.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 3rd January 1918 reports; We regret to record the death of Mr Pryce Bowen, son of Mr Bowen, Warden Terrace, Presteign. The deceased had been in the Army, but was discharged and died on Thursday, 20th December, 1917 aged 22. The funeral took place on Monday at Presteigne Cemetery.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, British Army Service Records and Welsh Newspapers Online.


Colwyn Frank
Private 235272, 1st/1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment. Killed in action 23rd July 1918. Born and enlisted Presteign.

Colwyn Briggs was the third son born to Charles and his wife Sarah Briggs of High Street, Presteigne. Charles’ father John Briggs had traded in Presteigne High Street as a Sadler since the 1860s and, after working for the Post Office as a Job Master [horse hirer], Ludlow born Charles had , by the time of the 1911 Census, taken over the Saddlery business with his wife Sarah who was born in Cheddar, Somerset in 1863.

The Briggs family had been struck by tragedy in July 1902 when their daughter, Nellie, aged fourteen, was accidentally shot and killed near the town’s Rifle Range. The Volunteer Force of Herefordshire Territorials used a field [known to this day as ‘the Targets’] near Caen Wood for shooting practise and Nellie, whilst returning from picking Whimberries in the wood with two friends, had been shot through the right breast .

After lengthy deliberation, the jury at Presteigne Shire Hall exonerated the Instructor, Sergeant Over, from all blame, but they considered the range dangerous and that better precautions should be taken for the safety of the public. Before the end of the month, in the House of Commons, Radnorshire’s M.P. Frank Edwards asked the Secretary for War whether he would give instructions to have the range closed.

Private Colwyn Frank Briggs No. 235272 of the 1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment was killed in action on Tuesday, 23rd July 1918 during the victorious advance that led to the German Government’s decision to sign the Armistice that ended the war. He is buried in Grave Ref. IV. A.3, Raperie British Cemetery, Villemontoire, Aisne, France. His brother Willie, who survived the war, served as a Corporal in the Herefordshire Regiment and saw action in Gallipoli, Egypt and France.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Welsh Newspaper Online.


[Francis] William
[Listed as Kings Shropshire Light Infantry on memorial] Private 10373, 7th Battalion, Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment). Killed in action at gallipoli 8th August 1915. Born Ludlow, Salop, enlisted Lichfield, Staffordshire, resident Presteign.

Francis Bursnell was born on 28th October 1880 in Ludlow, Shropshire. His parents John and Mary Anne Bursnell were both Ludlow born and the name Francis appears to have been a popular choice to several generations of the Bursnell family.

In the Censuses of 1881 and 1891 Francis’ family was resident at 76, Upper Gaolford, Ludlow. His father John , who was blind in one eye was a Chimney Sweep so Francis’ early life must have been difficult.

In 1899, when Francis was 19 years old he enlisted in the 3rd battalion of the Shropshire Light Infantry at Ludlow. On entry to the battalion he was just 5ft 3ins tall, his weight was 106lbs [under 8 stones]. He had light brown hair and grey eyes. He gave his occupation a ‘labourer’.

His period of service was from 199 to 1904 and during this time the 3rd battalion was stationed in South Africa and saw action in the Boer war of 1899-1902.

I have found no evidence of what Francis did during the period 1905 to 1914, but when he enlisted in the 7th battalion Prince of Wales North Staffordshire Regiment at Litchfield, Staffordshire, he gave his place of residence as Presteign, Radnor. Perhaps he had been Presteigne’s Chimney sweep?

The 7th battalion was formed at Litchfield on 29th August 1914. By January 1915 it was billeted in Basingstoke, before moving to Aldershot in February 1915 and it sailed from Avonmouth in June 1915, landing in Gallipoli, Turkey in July 1915.

Private Francis William Bursnell, Prince of Wales’ North Staffordshire Regiment, Number 10373 was killed in action on the 8th August 1915. He is believed to be buried in the 7th Field Ambulance Cemetery, Turkey. Grave Ref. Sp.Mem.B.11.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives Naval & Military Press Ltd-Soldiers Died in the Great War CD.


Henry [Richard]
Private, Kings Shropshire Light infantry

Henry Butcher was born in Linton near Ross-on Wye, Herefordshire in 1880, the fifth child of William and Eliza Butcher. William was the village Blacksmith and when, on 7th May 1898 aged 18, Henry enlisted at Ross on Wye in the Shropshire Light Infantry he gave his next of kin as his mother, Eliza Butcher the Postmistress Perrystone Hill Post Office, near Ross on Wye. Henry was 5ft 5ins tall his weight was 135lbs, he had brown hair, grey eyes and had a fresh complexion. His occupation was Blacksmith, like his father.

Henry served in South Africa and received both the Queen’s South African War Medal with four clasps and the King’s South African Medal with two clasps. He was discharged after twelve years on 6th October 1910. Previously, in 1908 at Knighton, Radnorshire, Henry Butcher had married twenty-five years old Rosina Ellen Collins who was born in Lambeth, London. At the time of the 1911 Census Henry, now a Rural Postman and Rosina Butcher were resident at Bell Cottage, Scottleton Street, Presteigne, Radnorshire together with their sons; William born 1910 and Frederick born 1911. Also resident is Beatrice Collins, Rosina’s sister visiting from London and in 1913 Henry and Rosina’s daughter Beatrice was born.

When war was declared in 1914 Henry was resident in Hennington Road, South East London and travelled back to Leominster, Herefordshire to volunteer for service in the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 2nd November 1916 reported that; ‘News has just reached Presteign that two Presteign men have fallen on active service in France. They are Corpl. James Booth of the West Yorkshire Regt. And Private Henry Butcher of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. Private Butcher was a time-expired man who had seen service in the South African War and volunteered for service in this campaign.

Private Henry Richard Butcher No. 19567 of the 1st Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry died on Thursday 19th October 1916 during the Battle of the Somme in France. The battle took place between 1st July and 18th November 1916 on both sides of the River Somme. The battle was one of the bloodiest battles in human history and more than 1,000,000 men were killed or wounded.

Henry Richard Butcher has no known grave. His death is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 12A and 12D.

His wife Rosina never remarried and died in Croydon, Surrey in 1975.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Census Records, National Archives and Welsh Newspapers Online.


Private, Kings Shropshire Light infantry

Lewis Davies was born in Byton, just over the Herefordshire border from Presteigne in 1889. His parents were James Davies an Agricultural Labourer born in 1856, also in Byton and Ellen Pinches born in 1855 in Bettws-Y-Crwyn on the south Shropshire border with Montgomeryshire.

Lewis was the couple’s fifth child. His older brother, Walter was born in Bettws in 1877 followed by sisters; Eva born 1880, Elizabeth 1883 and Martha Ann 1886 who were born in Byton. Lewis and his brother and sisters will have attended the local school long enough to learn to read and write but they will all have left school and been earning a living by the time they were fourteen years old.

The Census of 1911 finds twenty-two years old Lewis resident at New House Farm, Upton Cressett, Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Lewis is described as a ‘Waggoner on Farm’ in the employ of John Howells. At the outbreak of war in 1914 Lewis travelled to Hereford to enlist in the 7th battalion of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. The 7t battalion suffered more casualties during World War One than any other KSLI battalion, with 1048 men killed during the war. They also earned more battle honours than any other KSLI battalion, during the period from 28th September 1915, when they landed at Boulogne, to the end of the war in November 1918.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 9th November 1916 reported; Brecon & Radnor names in last week’s Casualty List were: Died of Wounds, Pte. E Thomas, Llanwrtyd Wells [Welsh Regiment]. Missing, Pte. J M Davies, Llandrindod [Royal Welsh Fusiliers] and wounded, Pte. T. Harris, Brecon [South Wales Borderers], Sergt. T. Bartlett, Brecon [Somerset Light Infantry] and Pte. L. Davies, Presteigne [Shropshire Light Infantry]. Whether this was the wound that led to Lewis Davies’ death on Saturday 19th January, 1918 is not known. Perhaps he recovered and returned to the front before being wounded again. Unfortunately, many of the records relating to First World War soldiers were destroyed by German bombing during the Second World War and those of Lewis Davies appear to be among the lost.

Private Lewis Davies, No. 16162 Kings Shropshire Light Infantry was buried in Byton Church Cemetery. His grave was marked with a five feet high memorial stone that read: In loving memory of Private Lewis Davies, second son of James and Ellen Davies [Coombes Moor] who died January 19th 1918. Aged 29 years. As time passed, the Davies family moved on and by January 2007 the Hereford Times featured a story that told how an inspector from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission had visited Byton churchyard and found that the memorial stone had fallen and was broken. The Commission decided that they would replace it with a new stone if the Davies family was in agreement. However, there were no longer any family members in the Byton area and the paper asked for help in tracing them. By March 2007 the Hereford Times was able to announce that a lady named Fran Cooper from the Welshpool area had seen the story and come forward. Fran is Lewis’ first cousin, three times removed. The Hereford Times put Fran in touch with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Fran and other family members from Worcestershire were consulted before the Commission erected a new memorial stone.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Welsh Newspapers Online, Census Records, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Hereford Times & National Archives.


Horace [Daniel]
Lance Corporal, Herefordshire Regiment

Horace Evans was born in 1897, the fourth child of Walter Evans born in Cardiganshire in 1853 and his wife Louisa born in Cardiff in 1858. Horace had three bothers; Jenkin George born 1883, Walter H. born 1886 and John Sidney born 1892. When Horace was born the family were resident at the Red Lion Inn, Whitton, a couple of miles west from Presteigne on the road to Rhayader. Horace Daniel Evans was baptised on 7th November 1897 at Whitton Church. The 1891 Census records that Walter Evans is the Licensed Victualler at the Red Lion and his wife Louisa is an Assistant School Teacher at the nearby Whitton School.

The 1901 Census shows the family having moved to the Lion Inn, High Street, Presteigne and by the time of the 1911 Census they have moved again to the adjoining premises, the Castle Hotel, High Street, Presteigne and a thirteen years old Horace is recorded as being at school.

At some point between 1911 and 1915 the family vacated the Castle Hotel and Horace’s mother Louisa died. Shortly after the outbreak of war in 1914 at least two of the Evans boys enlisted in the army and the Brecon & Radnor Express of 1st July 1915 has the headline; Presteign War Prisoners-A Meeting in Hospital. A communication has been received from a friend of Acting Corporal John Sidney Evans of the Rifle Brigade, third son of Walter Evans, late of the Castle Hotel, Presteign, who was officially reported as “missing” from his regiment on 9th May 1915, and was previously unofficially reported as having been killed. It appears the young corporal has had his right arm broken and unfortunately been taken prisoner. He was at first placed in hospital at Brussels but was subsequently removed to a hospital in Cologne, Germany, where he is progressing very favourably. It is also all the more interesting to inhabitants of Presteign and district, owing to the fact that in the letter it states that the corporal was agreeably surprised to find that he was not entirely among strangers, for among the patients, who should he find but one of the Crowe brothers [late of Willey, near Presteign] who has also had the misfortune of having been taken prisoner. Both prisoners would doubtless be pleased to hear from any of their old friends. The paper goes on to give a full postal address for corporal Evans in Germany.

Sadly, the Brecon & Radnor Express of 12th April 1917 reports; Presteign Man Dies in France. News has been received by Mr & Mrs Garrod of the Dukes Arms Hotel, Broad Street, Presteign that a Presteign soldier, Private Horace Evans, youngest son of Mr Walter Evans and the late Mrs Evans, formerly of Presteign, has just died at the Base Hospital at Rouen, France. Private Evans came of a family well known in Presteign. His parents having for a number of years been proprietors of the Castle Hotel. He had seen considerable service.

Military records show that Private Horace Daniel Evans no. 32085, 14th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, enlisted in London. The battalion landed at Le Havre on 30th January 1916 and saw action during the battle of the Somme. In 1917 they were in action during the Pursuit to the Hindenburg Line, at the Houthulst Forest and the Second Battle of Passchendaele. During World War One camps, hospitals and stores were stationed on the outskirts of Rouen in North Normandy and Horace Evans is buried, together with over eight thousand other casualties, in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, Grave Ref. 0.VIII.G.6.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Welsh Newspaper Online, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Census Records and the National Archives.


William Thomas
Private T.F.204658, 20th Battalion, Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment). Died 30th July 1918. Aged 31. Enlisted Presteign, resident Lyeseven Norton. Son of George and Ann Evans, of Cascob, Presteign, husband of Charlotte Perkins (formerly Evans), of Hollands Lawn, Norton, Radnorshire. Buried in LILLE SOUTHERN CEMETERY, Nord, France. Plot III. Row C. Grave 24. See also Norton.

William Thomas Evans was born in 1887 at Tinker’s Gate, Green Lane, Cascob, Presteigne. His parents were George and Anne Evans who had married in 1881. Some time shortly before the 1891 Census George died leaving his widow Anne born 1859 and five children; Emily born 1883, Alfred born 1885, William Thomas born 1887, Margaret born 1889 and Herbert born 1891. Anne Evans, widow, was described as a Farmer and her mother, Anne Price aged 81, was also resident, perhaps looking after the children.

The 1901 Census records Anne Evans, widow, now resident at Whitcott Cottage, Willey, Presteigne. Anne is described as a Charwoman, a domestic cleaner, with only daughter, Margaret aged 12 still with her. William Evans now aged 14 is living nearby at Willey Cottage with James Griffiths, farmer. William is working as a Cowman on the farm.

The 1911 Census shows William Evans aged 24, he is now a Waggoner at Paradise Farm, Slough Road, Presteigne working for Stanley Morris. Just a mile or so over the hill Charlotte Francis aged 25 from Scottleton Street, Presteigne was living at Upper House, Evenjobb where she worked as a servant. William and Charlotte married on 29th June 1911 at Evenjobb Baptist Chapel. The couple’s first home was Old Turnpike Cottage, Coombes Moor, Presteigne. They moved to Lyeseven, Norton, Presteigne where they had two children; Margaret Elizabeth born 17th April 1913 and Hilda Anne born 25th September 1916.

William enlisted at Presteigne on February 9th 1917 and his address was given as Boultibrooke Cottage, Presteigne. His occupation was still Waggoner. After training, William embarked for Boulogne, France from Folkestone on 13th September 1917. He was drafted into the 20th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment and joined the battalion in the field on 22nd September, 1917. After four months at the front William Evans was admitted to hospital on 14th February, 1918 suffering the painful effects of Impetigo, contagious skin eruptions that many troops in the trenches were afflicted with. After only four days treatment he was returned to the front. On 11th April 1918 he was reported missing in action. He had been captured by the Germans and sadly he died as a result of being infected with Dysentery at the Prisoner of War Camp that he was held in at Limburg, Germany on 30th July 1918 aged 31.

William Thomas Evans, Private no. 204658 20th Battalion Middlesex Regiment is buried at Grave Ref III. C.24. Lille Southern Cemetery, Nord, France close to the border with Belgium. Charlotte and her daughters moved to Corner Cottage, Norton, Presteigne in 1919 and in 1920 Charlotte married Frederick Perkins of Holland’s Lawn, Norton, Presteigne and it was to that address that the British War Medal and the Victory Medal were sent in 1921.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, National Roll of Honour, Census Records, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the National Archives


Thomas Frederick
Private 48823, 10th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers. Killed in action 1st September 1918. Enlisted Leominster, Herefordshire, resident Presteign. Formerly 204664, Middlesex Regiment.

There is little evidence of Thomas George’s early life or origins. What is definite is that on the 18th February 1914 at Byton Parish Church the Rector Mr Newberry carried out a marriage. The Groom was Thomas Frederick George, a Labourer aged 32, he was a bachelor who gave his address as Kinsham Farm, Presteigne. He gave his father’s name as John George also a Labourer. The bride was Alice Stevens, a Spinster aged 19 of Byton, just over the Herefordshire border from Presteigne. Alice had been raised by her grandparents; Richard and Elizabeth Stevens of Crossway Cottage, Byton. In the 1911 Census Alice is shown living at Pipetrow, Byton where she was employed as a General Servant.

Thomas enlisted in Leominster, Herefordshire and was originally posted as Private No. 204664 of the Middlesex Regiment. He was transferred and served as Private No. 48823, 10th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers.

Only two months before the end of World War One, with the Allies at last pushing the Germans back, Private Thomas Frederick George was killed in action, 1st September1918, during the Second Battle of Bapaume in northern France. He is buried at Grave Ref. III. B I., Bancourt British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

His widow Alice was left to bring up two children; Ruth E. born 1916 and Leonard T. born early in 1919. In 1920 she married Thomas J Williams of Brick Cottage, Byton.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Census Records and the National Archives.


Richmond Edward Ormond Lyttleton
Second Lieutenant, 6th (Service Battalion). Kings Shropshire Light infantry. Killed in action 19 February 1916. Buried in ESSEX FARM CEMETERY, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Plot I. Row C. Grave 5.

Extract from De Ruvigny's Roll Of Honour Vol 3:

GREEN, RICHMOND EDWARD ORMOND LYTTLETON, 2nd Lieut., 6th (Service) Battn. The King's (Shropshire Light Infantry), only s. of Frederick Lyttleton Green, of Broad Street, Presteign, co. Radnor, Solicitor; b. Llanfairwaterdine, co. Salop, 22 Nov. 1895; educ. Shrewsbury and Rossall; was subsequently articled as a Solicitor to Messrs. F. L. Green & Nixon; volunteered for foreign service on the outbreak of war, and was gazetted 2nd Lieut. King's (Shropshire Light Infantry) 14 Sept. 1914; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders, and was killed in action near Ypres 19 Feb. 1916, being shot through the head while out with a working party at night. Buried in Essex Farm Cemetery, near Ypres. His Colonel wrote: "Always cheerful and never happier than when on specially dangerous work in ' No Man's Land.' He was brave beyond words, and the life and soul of his comrades. We were all most proud of him." Unm.


Private, County of London Regiment.

Edward Holl was born in 1898 in Aston-on-Clun, South Shropshire, his unmarried mother Annie Holl aged 19 was a Parlour Maid, a Domestic Servant and she handed over responsibility for the care of her son to her parents; Robert Holl a Master Carpenter and Wheelwright born in Old Radnor and Hannah born in 1850 in Presteigne, Radnorshire.

The Census of 1901 shows Edward living with his grandparents in Yarpole near Leominster, Herefordshire and his mother Annie at Nordan Hall, Luston near Leominster, working as a Parlour Maid together with her 26 years old sister Agnes who is employed as a Cook by the Price family.

The Census of 1911 records that Hannah Holl has lost her husband and is a widow aged 62 living in Scottleton Street in her native Presteigne together with 13 years old schoolboy Edward.

In October 1914 Edward enlisted at Wimbledon, Southwest London, the records show that he was now a resident of Clapham, Southwest London and he gave his age as 19 and his birth place as “Yorkoll, Herd.” which I think may have been how Yarpole, Hereford might have been mis-recorded. Edward Holl, Rifleman No. 6768 of the 21st Battalion, London Regiment [also known as the First Surrey Rifles] landed at Le Havre, France on 16th March 1915. His Battalion saw action that year in the Battle Festubert, the Battle of Aubers Ridge, the Battle of Loos and Hohenzollern Redoubt. In 1916 they fought during the German attack on Vimy Ridge and on the Somme in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, the Battle of Transloy Ridge and the attacks on Butte de Warlencourt.

Edward Holl was killed in action on Sunday 8th October 1916. He is buried in Warlencourt British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France, Grave Ref III.H.2. His age is given as 21, but, if the Census and Birth records are correct, he was in fact only 18 years old.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Wartime Memories Project.


Norman [Menzies]
Private 56569, 14th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers formerly 32960, King's (Shropshire Light infantry). Born St Mary's, Shrewsbury, enlisted Presteign.

Norman Hughes was born on 26th February 1898 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. His parents were Ernest Charles Hughes an Insurance Clerk born 1874 in Shrewsbury and Edith McMath Hughes born Wednesbury, Staffs in 1n 1878. Norman Menzies Hughes was baptised on 24th March 1898 at St. Michaels Anglican Church, Shrewsbury.

The Census of 1911 shows Norman is a Schoolboy of 13 years together with his parents resident at Hillcrest, Belle Vue Gardens in the Parish of St Julian, Atcham, Shrewsbury. They have a live-in Domestic Servant, Annie Roberts aged 26. So life must have been relatively comfortable for the Hughes family.

Like several other entries on the Presteigne War Memorial Norman Hughes entry must have been the work of friends that he made whilst working in the little border town. At some point between Norman leaving school and his enlistment at Presteigne in the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry as Private no. 32960, Norman worked as a Clerk in the Presteigne branch of Barclays Bank. I have not been able to find out exactly when Norman enlisted, but what is known is that he was transferred from the K.S.L.I. To the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and served as Private no. 56569, “D” Company, 14th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

The Hereford Times of Saturday, January 26th 1918 under the heading; Roll of Honour, reports; Killed: Private Norman Hughes, Presteigne. Presteigne people will hear with regret of the death in action in France of Mr Norman Hughes, formerly a Clerk at Barclays Bank, Presteigne. He was, we understand, sent out to France just before the end of the year and was killed a very short time afterwards.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 31st January, 1918 has a very similar report except for telling us: Private Hughes was the only child of Mr & Mrs E.C. Hughes of 21 High Street, Shrewsbury and joined the K.S.L.I about twelve months ago.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry tells us that Norman Menzies Hughes was killed in action on 29th December 1917, aged 19 and is buried at Grave Ref I. C. 6, Crox-du-Bac British Cemetery, Steenwerck, Northern France. Steenwerck is a village five kilometres south west of Armentieres [this is the same Armentieres made famous in the song that was so popular with Allied troops; “Mademoiselle from Armentieres”].

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, Welsh Newspapers Online, Hereford Times, National Archives and Commonwealth War Graves Commission

JOHNSON William Herbert
William Johnson was born in 1897 in Presteigne, the fourth child of ten born to Sarah Ann Johnson and her husband Tom Johnson. Like many Presteigne couples then and now one of them [Tom] was born in Presteigne Radnorshire and the other [Sarah] originated in Herefordshire, Sarah was born in Ewyas Harold.

The 1901 Census records the family living in St David’s Street, Presteigne. Head of the household Tom Johnson is a 33 years old Carrier for the Great Western Railway Company together with his 31 years old wife Sarah Ann and their five children; Horace T. born 1891, Edith K. born 1892, Dora I. Born 1895, William Herbert born 1897 and Doris K. born 1900.

By the time the Census of 1911 is taken tragedy has struck the Johnson family now living at 54 Hereford Street, Presteigne. Sarah Ann is now a widow and in addition to now being mother to ten children, she has now taken on her late husband’s job and her occupation is Railway Company Carter. William Herbert Johnson aged 14 years is her Assistant in the work and together with his sister Edith aged 19 years who is described as a Lady’s Companion they are no doubt helping to support this large young family.

On 27th June 1913 William travelled to Hereford to enlist in the 1st Herefordshire Regiment’s Territorial Force. He was aged 17 years and 6 months, 5ft 8inches tall, he weighed 10 stone 6lbs. He had good eyesight and was described as being of good physical development. William provided information that his residence was still 54 Hereford Street, Presteigne and that his occupation prior to enlistment was as a Gardener in the service of Presteigne Surgeon Dr Wyman Lower of St David’s Street. William signed on for four years military service.

Sadly, William was never to cross the English Channel. After his training and the outbreak of war against Germany and it’s allies he found himself in camp at Woodbridge, Suffolk. The Royal Chelsea Hospital in deciding that William should be awarded a pension in October 1915 reported that “on 3rd December 1914 this man was engaged digging trenches in very wet weather. He had he states only one uniform and was unable to get a change. He had to wear his wet clothes until they dried on him. He had carried out all his military duties until December 1914. Since January 1915 he has been an inpatient of a TB Sanatorium for four months and left at his own request about two months ago. There is no family history of Tuberculosis . He now has Pulmonary Tuberculosis and marked signs are present in his left lung. He is much emaciated, anaemic and quite unable to carry out work of any kind. His present condition must be described as very serious if not a critical one. His weight on mobilisation was 146lbs-his present weight is 110lbs.”

William was finally discharged as permanently unfit for any service at Brecon Barracks on 29th September 1915. He returned to be nursed by his mother, now resident in Church Street, Presteigne where on 6th December 1915 he died. Private 1345 1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment William Herbert Johnson is buried at Grave Ref. F.N.C.29. Presteigne Cemetery.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Census records & National Archives.


John Stanley
Private, Kings Shropshire Light infantry

Note from George Lancett for the James Albert [Jim] Booth below:

John Stanley Joseph was born at the Leasest Farm, Beguildy, Radnorshire in 1897. He was the first child of John Joseph born 1873 also at Beguildy and his wife Annie nee Jones born 1875 at Cleobury Mortimer near Ludlow, Shropshire.

In about 1900 the Joseph family moved to Lower House Farm, Willey, just over the Herefordshire border from Presteigne, Radnorshire. The 1901 Census shows the Lower House Farm household of John Joseph [senior] Aged 28, his wife Annie aged 27 together with John Stanley Joseph aged 3, his new brother Gilbert Aaron Joseph who was born on the 4th of August 1900 at Lower House and a domestic servant, Annie Deakins aged 14 from nearby Presteigne.

By the time of the 1911 Census the Joseph family, still resident at Lower House, Willey had been joined by a daughter, Edith Mary born 1902 and two further sons; Frank Wallace Joseph born17th January 1905 and William Price Joseph born 1908. A further daughter, Eva M. Joseph was born in 1911after the Census was taken.

At some time between 1912 and 1917 disaster struck the Joseph family when John Joseph [senior] was kicked in the stomach by a horse. The injury was so severe that he was unable to work and John Stanley Joseph, as the oldest son, took over responsibility for the farm work together with his brother Gilbert. John [jnr.] reached the age of eighteen in 1916 and when compulsory conscription was introduced in March of that year he would have been expected to enlist. It seems probable that John [jnr.] was granted a temporary exemption from military duty until the time when his brothers were old enough to manage.

His nephew Trevor Joseph of Cadwell, Lingen near Presteigne has told me that, according to family tradition, John Stanley was taken ill whilst training with the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and was sent home to Willey where he died. Mr Trevor Joseph’s family have contacted their relatives regarding John [jnr.] They have as a result now been provided with John Stanley Joseph’s bible, presented to him on 14th July 1918 with a message inside from ‘Lord Roberts to the troops’, a Confirmation Certificate stating that John Stanley Joseph was confirmed on 14th July 1918 by the Bishop of St Davids at St Albans Church, Bush Camp, Pembroke Dock where the 4th Reserve Battalion of the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry were stationed, two photographs of an earnest young man that would no doubt have been cherished by his mother and a brass plaque that was issued to the families of all the soldiers who perished. Trevor’s daughter has found an entry online regarding Memorial Panels on the north side of the Lady Chapel of St John’s Church at Pembroke Dock, South Wales that are engraved ‘To the Glory of God and in Memory of their Comrades, especially those who were confirmed by the Bishop of this Diocese, this screen is dedicated by the Officers and men of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry who went from Bush Camp in this Parish to the Great War 1914-1918.‘ The names are carved on eight oak panels and the second to last name on the 1918 panel is; John S Josephs. The extra ‘s’ also appears on John’s brass plaque! John Stanley Joseph, 4th Battalion Kings Shropshire Light Infantry died on 19th November 1918. His Death Certificate records that he succumbed to the effects of both Influenza and Meningitis at Lower House where he had been nursed by his mother Annie. Presteigne Doctor Nynian Lower of St David’s Street certified his death as he had done so for John[snr.]

John Stanley Joseph is buried in the family plot in Lingen Churchyard and is also named on Presteigne War Memorial.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives and Mr & Mrs T. Joseph


Private, Kings Shropshire Light infantry

David Lewis was born in Presteigne in 1885. His parents were George Lewis born 1843 in Presteigne, Radnorshire and Hannah born Wrexham, Denbighshire in 1849. The family to have moved back and forth between Wrexham and Presteigne with some children born in both places.

The 1901 Census records the family appear resident at 10, Market Street, Wrexham where David’s father is carrying out his occupation of Licensed Hawker. David aged 16 years is employed as a General Labourer.

By the time the 1911 Census is taken, David is resident in another Market Street! His occupation is still General Labourer, but now he is a lodger aged 26 years at Old Oak House, 23, Market Street, Knighton, Radnorshire.

When he signed a form of Attestation for Enlistment in the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry at Knighton on 18th May 1915 his age was recorded as 34 years 3 months which would give a date of birth in 1881 rather than 1885 as was recorded on both the 1901 and 1911 Censuses. David Lewis may have chosen to increase his age for some reason or it may have been an error by a Military clerk. David’s height was recorded as 6ft 2 ins. He had brown hair and eyes. He confirmed that he had received military training in the Radnor Yeomanry and that his next of kin was his father George Lewis now resident at West Wall, Presteigne.

David Lewis was originally posted to the 3rd Battalion of the K.S.L.I for further training but he was quickly transferred to the 5th Battalion and joined them in France on 4th October 1915 where they were engaged in some of the worst fighting of the war in the Ypres Salient in 1915 around Bellewaerde and Hooge.

On the 30th August 1916 the Military Hospital at Shrewsbury reported that Private 17971David Lewis of the 5th Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry when coming out of the trenches at Arras on 29th April 1916 complained of feeling faint and was moved to the base hospital and had been very ill ever since. The doctors reported a loud high-pitched systolic murmur and constricted arteries. Acute Rheumatic Fever was diagnosed. He was transferred home to England on 6th May 1916.

It was the opinion of the Medical Board that David Lewis was permanently unfit for all duties and he was discharged from the army on 13th September 1916. His Military character was described as “Very good, sober, steady and reliable”.

He died as a result of Kidney Failure on 4th August 1917 and is buried at Grave Ref. D.C.E.72 Presteigne Cemetery.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, National Archives and Census Records.


John aka Jack
Private, Machine Gun Corps

John Lewis was born in 1897 in Clunbury, Shropshire. His parents were John Lewis born 1866 in Llanbadarn Fynydd, Radnorshire an Mary Olivia nee Pearce born 1877 in Kinnerton near Presteigne, Radnorshire. They married at Bleddfa Parish Church in 1895.

On the Census of 1911 John Lewis senior was recorded as ‘Cowman on Farm’ living at New Turnpike Cottage, Nash in the parish of Rodd, Nash and Little Brampton a mile outside Presteigne and just over the Herefordshire border. His oldest child John Lewis junior aged 14 years had four brothers; Richard born Clunbury 1899, William born 1902 in Bucknell, Shropshire, Charles born 1903 also in Bucknell and George Robert born 1907 in Nash. They were joined by two sisters; Jane born 1901 in Bucknell and Olivia born in 1909 at Nash.

John Lewis enlisted on 6th June 1916, he probably joined the same regiment as many other Presteigne men at that time, the Herefordshire Regiment who saw action in Galipoli, Palestine and France during the 1914-1918 War. Sadly, I have been unable to find any records in the National Archives that relate to John’s military service. However, the Hereford Times of Saturday 7th December, 1918 carried this report; News has been received of the death from pneumonia at Alexandria of Private John Lewis son of Mr and Mrs J. Lewis of Broad Street, Presteign. Private Lewis went through the recent Palestine campaign without a scratch, being attached to the Machine Gun Corps and his death is much regretted especially as both his parents are at present lying seriously ill.

The Commonwealth war Graves Commission records tell us that Private John Lewis no. 54440 18th Sqdn., Machine Gun Corps [Cav.] who died on Tuesday 26th November, 1918 is buried at Grave Ref, E.227, Alexandria [Hadra] War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt. During the 1914-1918 War Alexandria became a large Anglo- French camp and hospital centre.


John Ernest
Private 22381, 6th Battalion, King's (Shropshire Light infantry). Died of wounds in United Kingdom 16th October 1917. Born Tansalisamal, enlsited Presteign, resident Ackill, Presteign.

John Meredith was born at Tansamaliah, Beguildy, Radnorshire in 1889. His parents were William Ernest Meredith a farm worker born 1862 in Beguildy and his wife Elizabeth born at Llanbadarn Fynydd, Radnorshire in 1864. John had an older sister, Frances E. born 1885 and three younger sisters; Mary J. born 1892, Annie L. born 1894 and Martha H. born 1897. At the time of the 1891 Census the family employed a female domestic servant named Flora Davies aged fifteen.

By the time the 1901 Census was taken the Meredith family had moved to Ffoesllapery, Llanbister, Radnorshire and although William still gave his occupation there were no longer any servants.

The Census of 1911 records that William now described as a Farm Labourer, his wife Elizabeth and daughters Annie and Martha are resident at the Manse, Ackhill, Presteigne together with a boarder, the Baptist Minister, Alex Leitch of Linwood, Renfrewshire aged 26. Just why the Minister was a boarder in a Manse is a mystery?

John Ernest Meredith who must have grown up with expectations is living at Yew Tree Farm, Discoyd, Presteigne, half a mile across the river Lugg from Ackhill. John, aged 22, was employed as a Shepherd by Thomas and Martha Price.

In 1916 at Presteigne John Meredith enlisted in the 6th Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. After training he joined the regiment on the Western Front in France where the battalion spent the entire war. During 1916 they were involved in fighting around Ypres and in August and September 1917 they took part in battles at Langermarck in the 3rd battle of Ypres and on the Menin Road. In one of these actions John Meredith was wounded so badly that he was evacuated back to one of the many hospitals in Britain that treated the Allied wounded. In John’s case it was Worcester Hospital and it was here that on Tuesday 16th October, 1917, aged 28 years, John died of his wounds.

John Ernest Meredith, Private No.22381, of the 6th Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry was brought back to Presteigne to be buried and he was laid to rest at Ackhill Baptist Chapel Cemetery adjacent to the Manse where his parents were living.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives & Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Alfred Harbridge aka Harby
Company Sergeant Major 6475, 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers. Killed in action at Gallipoli 8th May 1915. Aged 33. Born Presteign, enlisted Brecon. Son of Charles Millichamp, of High St., Presteign, Radnorshire; husband of Ada Maud Millichamp, of River St., Pewsey, Wilts. No known grave. Commemorated on HELLES MEMORIAl, Turkey (including Gallipoli) .

Note from George Lancett for the Alfred Harbridge Millichamp below:

Alfred Harbridge Millichamp 1881-1915

I attended Presteigne Grammar School from 1965 to 1971. My favourite subjects were Geography, English and History. I was lucky to be taught history by Keith Parker who has spent his ‘retirement’ writing many local history books and pamphlets. Years one to three were spent studying British history from the Romans to Nelson and Wellington. The period covered for my ‘o level’ examination was 1919 to 1969, the treaty of Versailles to the U.S.A.’s war with North Vietnam.

I wasn’t particularly interested in WW1, 1914-18. I, mistakenly , believed it was four years of madness when various European nations fought a pointless war in which millions of young men were sent to their deaths by aristocratic Generals who cared little for their men or tactics. I knew from films like Lawrence of Arabia and the African Queen that the war had also been fought in the Middle East and Africa but I had no idea that British troops had been involved in a battle against German soldiers and sailors some five thousand miles from Britain in the port city of Tsingtao, as the Germans knew it and Qingdao as it is now known by the Peoples’ Republic of China!

So it was with a mixture of amazement and disbelief that I read the Brecon & Radnor Express headline of 7th January 1915; PRESTEIGN SOLDIER’S EXPERIENCES IN CHINA. ASSISTS IN THE CAPTURE OF TSINGTAO. The report went on; Mr Charles Millichamp of Presteign has received news of his son, Sergt. Harby Millichamp who was at the siege of Tsingtao. Writing home he says ‘the last few nights we have been digging trenches only 1,450 yards from the Germans, under their very noses and in spite of 8 searchlights. We have been exposed to all sorts of fire, but up to now have had only very few surrendered and no one killed. Well last night we came out under cover of the darkness and occupied the trench in which I am now writing. This morning the official bombardment commenced about 6:30am and at present the din is terrific. The Japs [our allies] dirigibles and aeroplanes are being heavily shelled by the Germans, but up to know [about 10am] are safe. I cannot tell you much of what is happening in front of us and we have to keep well down, lest they should discover us, but huge columns of black smoke are ascending. The Japs are on both flanks with us and the Sikhs [Indians] in the centre. Writing under the date November 1st 1914 Millichamp says: ‘the bombardment was on all night and is still proceeding. We went out last night and partly constructed shrapnel proof head cover four hundred yards nearer the enemy and tonight we go again and finish the work and occupy those trenches’.

Alfred Harbridge Millichamp was born in Presteigne, Radnorshire in 1881. Harby, as he was known by his family was a professional soldier. He enlisted aged 18 in 1899 at the Brecon barracks of the Second Battalion, South Wales Borderers. He had fought in the Boer War in South Africa before returning to Britain, where in 1908 he married Ada Maud Howse a 27 years old Post Office assistant, the daughter of a Grocer and Baker of River Street, Pewsey, Wiltshire. Harby’s son George Charles Millichamp was born on 25th October, 1909 in Chatham, Kent where the South Wales Borderers had barracks. By the time the 1911 Census was held Harby is to be found resident at the 2nd Battalion’s Artillery Barracks in Pretoria, South Africa. Strangely his occupation is recorded as ‘Printer’.

The siege of Tsingtao was a result of the Japanese government decision to remove the German garrison of four thousand men and take over the port and city. 23,ooo Japanese troops backed by 142 artillery guns, balloons and planes attacked on 2nd September 1914. Britain wary of Japanese intentions in the region sent 1500 troops to assist the Japanese [and to keep a watchful eye upon proceedings]. The German garrison, despite being outnumbered by some six to one, held out for over two months before finally surrendering on 7th November 1914 [six days after Harby’s letter was written]. With the port’s capture Harby and the rest of the British force were withdrawn and reallocated elsewhere.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 17th June 1915 under the headline: SOLDIER’S RECORD tells us that Company Sergt. Harby Millichamp, who was killed in action in the Dardanelle’s [Gallipoli] on Saturday 8th May 1915, had a fine record to his credit. Although, only 34 years of age he had completed 16 years of active service with the colours. He took part in the Boer War and afterwards returned again to South Africa, where he spent five years . Later he was sent to China, returning to England after the fall of Tsingtao. His stay lasted only days before being sent to the Dardanelle’s, where he was killed in action.

Alfred Harbridge Millichamp, Company Sergeant Major No. 6475, 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers has no known grave. His name is recorded on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.

Sourced: Presteigne War Memorial, Brecon & Radnor Express, Census Records, National Archives and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


[Henry / Harry] Farmer
Private, Canadian Regiment

Henry Farmer Millichamp was born on 14th May 1888 at 11 High Street, Presteigne Radnorshire. Henry or Harry as he was known to the family, was the ninth child of Charles Millichamp a Watchmaker and Gunsmith born about 1847 in Lingen, Herefordshire and his wife Sarah Hannah born 1850 in Presteigne. Harry’s oldest sister was Mary Carolina born 1874, followed by Matilda Jane born 1875, Charles William born 1877, Sarah Ellen born 1878, Francis James born 1880, Alfred Harbridge born 1881, Louise Margaret born 1883, and Elizabeth Hannah born 1887, who all preceded Harry. There were a further two younger brothers, Richard Edward born 1890 and Hubert Arthur who was born and died in 1891.

Harry’s mother died in 1892 and the following year, 1893, his father married again, to another Sarah, Sarah Ann Hopton born 1857 in Titley, Herefordshire.

On leaving school Harry trained as a Printer, probably at the Beddoes Printing Works in Hereford Street, just a hundred yards from the family home. In his leisure time he played football for Presteigne St Andrews F.C. and joined the Herefordshire Territorial Force to learn to march and fire a rifle.

Like many young British men and women in the early years of the twentieth century Harry decided to emigrate to what was still called the British Empire. Harry chose Canada and he started a new life working as a Printer in a small town called Minnedosa, Manitoba. It was there on 28th February 1916 that he enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. Henry Farmer Millichamp, aged 27 years 9 months and standing 5ft 10ins tall with brown hair and blue eyes, a Church of England member, he took an oath of Allegiance to his majesty King George the fifth etc. to serve for the term of one year or for the duration of the war between Great Britain and Germany should that war last longer than one year. The regiment that he joined was the 226th Battalion [Men of the North], they sailed to England in December 1916 but was absorbed into the 14th Reserve Battalion on 7th April 1917.

Harry’s father was proud of his family’s contribution to the war effort and the Brecon & Radnor Express of 23rd August 1917 under the headline; Presteign Family Record of Way Service, reported: ‘Mr Charles Millichamp has nine sons, one daughter, one son-in-law and one grandson serving his Majesty’ no. 4 in the list was ‘Henry Farmer Millichamp serving with the 226th Canadians in France.’

During the summer of 1918 the Canadian Corps supported British and French troops while they held the Germans last advance of the war. Between 8th and 11th August 1918 the corps spearheaded the offensive during the Battle of Amiens. Here a significant defeat was inflicted on the Germans, causing the German Commander-in-Chief, General Erich Ludendorff, to call the 8th of August, 1918 ‘the blackest day of the German Army’.

Private no. 1000827, Henry Farmer Millichamp was reported ‘killed in action’ on Sunday 11th August 1918. He has no known grave and he is remembered on the Vimy Memorial, Pas de Calais, France. One of over 11,000 Canadian soldiers who were posted as ‘missing presumed dead’ in France. He is also remembered on the War Memorials of both Presteigne, Radnorshire and Minnedosa, Manitoba, Canada.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, Welsh Newspapers Online, UK National Archives, Canadian Archives and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


William George
Corporal 236594, 7th Battalion (King's Shropshire Light Infantry), Herefordshire Regiment (listed as seving at the time of death with theabove battalion). Killed in action 2nd September 1918. Born Presteign, enlisted Hereford, resiodent Islington.

William George Millichamp was born in 1895 in Presteigne, Radnorshire. He had ten older half-brothers and sisters, but he was the first son born to Charles Millichamp, Watchmaker and Gunsmith born Lingen, Herefordshire about 1847 and his second wife Sarah Ann nee Hopton born Titley, Herefordshire in 1857.

The 1901 Census provides us with the information that William aged 5 was resident at the home of retired schoolmistress, Miss Elizabeth Hayes, aged 72. William a ‘scholar’ is described as a ‘visitor’ at the address in Hereford Street, Presteigne. Whatever arrangement had resulted in him not living with the rest of his family is not known, but ten years later when the Census of 1911 was held, nothing had changed! William now aged 15 was still living with Miss Hayes, ‘Old Aged Pensioner and Retired Teacher’ now aged 82. For William to be still at school at 15 would suggest that he was attending the Presteigne Grammar School. William’s mother, Sarah Ann and two of his brothers; Frederick aged 14 and Sidney aged 10 are living at the Millfields Hotel, Hereford Street. Mrs Millichamp is the hotel Proprietor. Her husband Charles a 64 years old Clockmaker is living in High Street, Presteigne with a son and daughter from his first marriage, May Caroline single and aged 37 and Richard aged 21, assisting him in his clock making. Also resident was Sarah Ann’s remaining son, Bertram Harley Millichamp aged 12.

When he left school later in the year 1911 William passed the entrance examination to join the Civil Service and he moved to Islington, north London to start his career.

However, three years later when Britain entered the First World War on 4th August 1914, William left his job and travelled to Hereford to enlist in the Herefordshire Regiment on 15th September 1914. The Army recognised William’s potential and after training he was promoted to the rank of Corporal at the Signals Training School at Park Hall, Oswestry, Shropshire. During the Herefordshire Regiment’s involvement in the campaigns against the Turks in Gallipoli in 1915 and Palestine in 1917 William remained in Britain. His task was to train men to use flags, lamps and other methods of battlefield communication. First based at Park Hall Camp, Oswestry then at Penally Camp, Tenby, Pembrokeshire. In his leisure time William travelled around the district visiting Chirk, Prestatyn, and Chester. He also wrote poetry, writing about life in the camp, his comrades and his home town of Presteigne. At some point during this period it appears that William fell in love. A poem dated 1st January, 1918, entitled: ‘A letter from you’ has the line; ‘Though ills annoy I can smile with joy, if there’s only a letter from you.’

Whether William requested a transfer to active service or the very heavy casualties on the Western front in early 1918 necessitated his move to France is not known, but Corporal William G. Millichamp,No.236594, 7th Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry found himself on the front line. The Hereford Times of Saturday 7th September, 1918 under the heading of ‘A Soldier Poet’ reported: Corporal William Millichamp a son of Mr and Mrs Charles Millichamp, Presteign has been successful in taking the First Prize for poetry at one of the Y.M.C.A. competitions in France. The title of the poem was ‘Blighty’ and the adjudicator said the rhythm was absolutely correct and the words consisted of thoughts which came to most of them, but which they found it hard to describe.

Sadly, just twelve days later the Brecon & Radnor Express of 19th September, 1918 reported: We regret to announce that Corporal W.G. Millichamp, a son of Mr and Mrs Charles Millichamp of Millfields, Presteign, has been killed in action in France. The sad news was received by Mrs Millichamp in a letter from the Officer Commanding the Company, on Wednesday morning, which stated that Corporal Millichamp was killed on the 2nd inst. He had been gassed a short time previously and must have only just returned to the line when he was killed. Corporal Millichamp was well known locally. He was educated at the County School, Presteign, under Mr H Smith, M.A. and entered the Civil Service, giving up his position to join the Army. He was the composer of several poems and possessed considerable talent in this direction, having recently won the First Prize at one of the Y.M.C.A. competitions at the Front for his poem entitled ‘Blighty’. This makes the third son Mr Millichamp has lost in the present war and much sympathy is felt with Mr and Mrs Millichamp in their bereavements.

The village of Vaulx-Vraucourt in the Department of Pas-de-Calais, 6 kilometres north-east of Bapaume was heavily fought over during 1917-18. It was finally retaken by the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry in September 1918. A cemetery was created nearby at Vaulx Hill, commencing with just 17 graves in September 1918. At Grave Ref. I.A.7 lie the remains of Corporal William George Millichamp No.236594, 7th Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. After his death his friends collected together some of his poems and thirty-seven of them were published in a book entitled ‘Poems in Khaki’.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Welsh Newspapers Online, Hereford Times, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Poems in Khaki by W.G. Millichamp, Printed by Beddoes, County Printing Works, Presteigne.


Allen Clarke
Lance Corporal, Machine Gun Corps - see below for details


James Ambrose
Private, Monmouthshire Regt. - see below for details
James Ambrose Morgan 1884-1917 & Allen Clarke Morgan 1891-1918

The Morgan brothers were born at Old Turnpike Road Cottage, Byton, just a mile or so over the Herefordshire border from Presteigne, Radnorshire. James Ambrose was born in 1884 and Allen Clarke in 1891. Their parents were Thomas Morgan who had been born in Byton in 1849 and his wife Ann[ie] Maria who was also born in 1849 at nearby Presteigne. The 1881 Census shows them at Byton and both husband and wife give their occupation as ‘Boot Maker’. They already have five children; Ellen aged 8, Thomas aged 7, Mary aged 5, William aged 2 and Walter born in 1881.

The 1891 Census records for Byton tell us that the three eldest children have left home and William and Walter have two new siblings; Annie aged 8 and James Ambrose aged 6. Their father Thomas is now described as a ‘Master Shoemaker’.

Allen Clarke Morgan’s first appearance in the Census records is in 1901 when we see him as a nine years old scholar attending Byton School and sharing the cottage’s four rooms with his parents now aged 52 and his sister Annie aged 19 and brother James Ambrose 16.

The Census of 1911 records tell us that all the Morgan children had left their Byton home and at least five of them had found their way to booming South Wales where thousands of new jobs in coalmining and iron and steel foundries were drawing in immigrants from rural Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland and further away. Number 44 Ackland Road, Bridgend, Glamorgan was home for three Morgan siblings; the eldest, Ellen now aged 38 was there with husband William John Harris aged 35 from Pontesbury, Shropshire. He was manager of a Trading Stamps Company and the couple had two sons; William Thomas aged 5 and Elwyn aged 1. Also resident were Walter Morgan aged 30, his son Benjamin aged 6 and daughter Rosa aged 5. Walter was working in a Mineral Water Factory. His youngest brother Allen Clarke Morgan aged 20 was the final resident at number 44 and his occupation was recorded as ‘Railway Permanent Way’ [track laying and maintenance].

James Ambrose Morgan a ‘Colliery Labourer Below Ground’ aged 26, was resident at Yniswen, Penycae, Ystradgynlais Higher, Glamorgan. He was lodging with his brother William a ‘Coal Miner Hewer’ aged 32 and Williams’ family; his wife Catherine Gwen aged 28, daughters Annie 7, Laura 6 and son William David 1.

James Ambrose had returned to Presteigne by 1913, because it was at Byton Parish Church in that year that he married Margaret Hill McKenzie, a Parlour Maid who had been born in Coupar, Fife, Scotland in 1884. She appears at 80, Henwick Road, Worcester on the 1911 Census so just how and where she and James met is a mystery. Their first child, Allen, no doubt named after James brother, was born at Byton on 29th June 1915 followed in 1917 by a daughter, Margaret Hill Morgan. James enlisted in the army on the 9th December 1915 at Leominster, Herefordshire. He was 31 years old, just over 5ft 6inches tall, weighed 123lbs and was in need of dental treatment. James was enlisted into in to the 2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment. His training lasted a year and it was Christmas Day, the 25th December 1916 when he embarked for France. Just two months later, on Wednesday 28th February 1917 Private 266772 Monmouthshire Regiment, James Ambrose Morgan lost his life. He is buried at Grave Ref. X.C.10.Assevillers New British Cemetery, Somme, France. He is one of over 800 1914-18 war casualties commemorated at this site. When a Widows Pension of £1 2s 11d was granted to Margaret Morgan in September 1917 she and her children were resident at 6, Strathmore Street, Bridgend, Perth, Scotland. The military records also tell us that James’ father had died and his mother Ann Maria remained in Byton near Presteigne.

Allen Clarke Morgan enlisted at Newcastle-on-Tyne, perhaps his work on the railways had taken him north from Glamorgan? He joined the Northumberland Fusiliers but , at some point, he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps [Infantry]. Sadly, his Military records appear to have been destroyed by German bombing during World War 2. So we have no further information other than that he was killed in action on Friday 11th October 1918, a month before the war ended. Lance Corporal No 136275 Machine Gun Corps [Inf.] Allen Clarke Morgan is buried at Grave Ref. A.38 Iwuy Communal Cemetery, Nord, France.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives & Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Brian [Percy]
Private, Australian Imp. forces

Brian Percy Morris was born in Hereford Street, Presteigne, Radnorshire in 1898. His parents were Henry Frederick Morris a Baker and Grocer born in 1863 in Presteigne and Annie Mary Morris born in 1864 in nearby Brampton Brian just over the Herefordshire border.

At the time of the 1901 Census the Morris family were resident in Hereford Street, Presteigne in the premises that are now occupied by Artisan Print. Head of the Household was Brian’s grandfather Samuel Morris a 75 years old farmer who gave Kington, Herefordshire as his birth place. In addition to Brian’s parents aged 38 and 37 were Brian himself aged 3, his older brother and sister Harold Geoffrey aged 6 and May Gwendolen aged 4. Brian’s younger brothers; Donald Charles aged 2 and Colin Frederick born in 1901 were also recorded. Making up the household were Samuel Morris’ 91 years old sister Ann Rumsey a widow born in Kington, Fanny Evans aged 16 a domestic servant from Llangunllo, Radnorshire and Baker’s assistant George Evans also 16 from Cascob near Presteigne.

The Census of 1911 taken on 2nd April of that year shows the Morris family still resident in their Hereford Street shop. Brian now aged 12 has four new siblings; Roland Jasper aged 8, Kenneth Jocelyn aged 6, Phyllis Hilda aged 4 and Godfrey Eustace aged 2.

Just eleven weeks later, on 20th June 1911 the Morris family consisting of two parents and their eight children aged between two and fifteen departed, together with 453 other passengers from the Port of London on board the P & O ship S.S. Commonwealth bound for Melbourne, Australia. Henry Morris gave his occupation as ‘Farmer’ .

When war was declared in August 1914 young men from all parts of the British Empire rushed to enlist to defend Great Britain, which most of them still considered to be ‘home’. Brian’s older brother, Harold Geoffrey Morris, a dairy farmer aged 19 enlisted on 10th October 1914. Harold was known to his friends in Presteigne as ‘Laddie’ and the Brecon & Radnor Express of 2nd December 1915 reported; PRESTEIGN-With the Australian Contingent. We understand that Laddie Morris, son of Mr H F Morris, formerly of this town , who with his family emigrated to Australia some years ago, has joined the Australian contingent and is now at Gallipoli. He has been promoted to the rank of Corporal. The 16th December 1915 edition of the paper reported; Cooking in Gallipoli-Presteign soldier’s letter, writing to his parents from the Dardanelles, Corporal Laddie Morris, who is serving with the Australian Expeditionary Force, gives some interesting particulars of life at the front. Corporal Morris is the son of Mr and Mrs H F Morris formerly of Presteign. Writing to his parents at Yarram, Victoria, Australia, he says I have been at Gallipoli for about eight weeks. Our cooking is improving very much. Of course each man has to cook his own food, and as there is only bully beef, bacon and perhaps an onion or potato, the dishes concocted are sometimes both weird and wonderful. The chap next to me made his tea last night of a mixture of haricot beans, cheese and treacle, fried! One day myself and a chum got a piece of steak, but had no fat to fry it in. However, the joint effect of our mighty brains soon settled the question, and we proceeded to the tin of Dubbin [used for greasing our boots] and procured the necessary ‘fat’ from there. Unhappily, we used too much and the steak tasted like a bit of old cowhide.

Harold [Laddie] survived the Gallipoli Campaign and was transferred to fight in France where he was promoted to Sergeant on 18th August 1916. He was reported ‘Missing in Action’ on the 11th of April 1917 and it was later confirmed that he was being held as a Prisoner of War in Germany. He was finally repatriated to England on 26th December 1918. In 1967 the Australian and New Zealand governments decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign by issuing the ANZAC Medal to their soldiers who had served in that ill-fated invasion. Harold Geoffrey Morris aged 72 of 13, Fourth Street, Black Rock, Melbourne formerly No. 1565, 14th Battalion Australian Imperial Force was one of the many recipients.

Brian Percy Morris enlisted in Melbourne on 20th June, 1916. He was eighteen years old, a farm labourer from Yarram, Victoria. He was 5ft 8ins tall, weighed 134lbs he had black hair and grey eyes and a tattoo on his right arm. His next of kin was his father Henry Frederick Morris also of Yarram. His religion was recorded as Methodist. He embarked from Melbourne on the 18th of August 1916 and disembarked at Plymouth, England on 2nd October 1916. He then trained at Belton Park House, Grantham, Lincolnshire until 17th March 1917 when he was transferred to France for active service with the 21st Company of the Australian Machine Gun Corps.

The records show that he was appointed as a Acting Driver on 29th August 1917. He had to spend a few days in a field hospital in January 1918 suffering with Diarrhoea. He rejoined his unit on 20th January 1918 before being wounded in action by a gas attack on 24th February 1918. He died as a result of Gas Poisoning in Wimereux General Hospital on Tuesday 19th March 1918 aged 19. Private no.344, Brian Percy Morris, 21st Company, Australian Machine Gun Corps was buried at Grave Ref. VIII.D.9. Wimereux Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Wimereux is a small town situated about 5 kilometres north of Boulogne. Brian’s personal effects, which consisted of his identification disc, letters, photos, his wallet, 12 stamps, a two Franc coin on a chain, cards, handkerchief and his unit colours were parcelled up for return to his father at Highfield Farm, Yarram, Victoria, Australia on 21st June 1918. However, they were lost when the ship carrying them, the S.S. Barunga, was torpedoed by a German submarine in the English Channel on 16th July 1918. The Australian Army sent Brian’s family a photograph of his grave on 5th January, 1920 and on 27th March, 1923 the Victory Medal was dispatched to his father.

Brian is commemorated on the War Memorials at both Presteigne, Radnorshire and Yarram, Victoria, Australia.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, UK & Australian Archives, Brecon & Radnor Express and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Private, Herefordshire Regiment

Ivor Owens and his identical twin brother Howard were born at Llanevan Farm in the Parish of Llanfihangel Nant Melan near Llandegley, Penybont, Radnorshire on the 7th of May 1898. Their parents were John Whittal Owens born 1852 at Llanevan and Margaret nee Rogers born at the Rhewy, Llanfihangel Nant Melan in 1860.

The 1911 Census records show Ivor and Howard aged 12, together with their parents and seven brothers and sisters aged between ten and twenty-three at Llanevan. Perhaps it was the need to provide additional accommodation, perhaps the Radnorshire Farmers’ desire for better land, but in 1878 John W. Owens had purchased what is today known as The Moor Farm, Presteigne. The farm is actually situated to the east of the river Lugg in the Herefordshire parish of Stapleton. This was one of four farms purchased by the Owens family during the agricultural depression of the late nineteenth century. Ivor and Howard moved to Presteigne and attended John Beddoes Grammar School.

The twins reached the age of eighteen on 7th May 1916 and were therefore subject to conscription. Within a year of Britain declaring war on Germany in August 1914 it was obvious that it would not be possible to rely on voluntary recruits, Lord Kitchener’s campaign that produced the famous poster with ‘Your Country Needs You!’ resulted in over one million new recruits by January 1915, but even that was not enough to keep pace with mounting casualties. In March 1916 the Military Service Act was passed. This introduced conscription to the whole of Great Britain with the exception of Ireland. All single men between the ages of 18 and 41 were subject to Military Service with the exception of the medically unfit, clergymen, teachers and certain classes of industrial worker. Conscientious objectors were also exempted but in most cases they were given jobs that would involve helping the war effort.

In May 1916 the Act was extended to married men and in 1918 a second Act was passed to raise the age limit to 51. In total 2.5 million men were conscripted. The right of appeal saw each district form it’s own local tribunals and those not happy with the result could appeal to the County Appeal Tribunal. Men appealed on the grounds that they were doing work of local or national importance, business or domestic hardship, medical unfitness and conscientious objection. A large number of men applied and by the end of June 1916 some 748,587 men had asked for either a temporary or full exemption. The local tribunals often granted temporary exemptions; farmers would be given time to get in the harvest and skilled men would be allowed time to train a replacement but only very rarely was a full exemption granted.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 7th December 1916 reported on the Radnorshire Appeal Tribunal as follows: Long Sitting at Llandrindod Wells. Another long batch of military appeals was heard at the County Buildings, Llandrindod Wells on Tuesday. A farmer who has 1,600 acres. Ivor Owens [18], Llanevan, Llandegley was represented by his father Mr J.W. Owens J.P. who stated in reply to Mr Bevan that he had three sons at home and two on a farm at Presteign. He had no son who had yet gone [to serve] , but one went and was rejected. He was willing for his son to go, but he wanted temporary exemptions he had 1,6oo acres to farm. He had four farms altogether. In reply to Mr. Bevan, Ivor Owens said he had no wish to go to the war. He was more use to his father where he was. No exemption was granted.

So it was then, that Ivor Owens and his twin Howard aged 18 enlisted in the 1st Reserve Battalion of the Herefordshire Regiment. During training, Howard contracted influenza and fell dangerously ill. Ivor supplemented Howard’s rations with his own and helped nurse his twin back to health. However, Ivor then contracted ’flu’ himself before Howard was strong enough to nurse him and sadly, just two months later, at the military hospital attached to the training camp at Oswestry, Shropshire, on 25th February 1917 Private No. 239043 Ivor Owens died. He was one of the early victims of an epidemic that swept Europe during the period 1917-1922 and killed millions.

Ivor Owens’ body was returned to his parents for burial and he was laid to rest in a service conducted by the Rev. Walter Jones, Baptist Minister of Presteigne in the family plot at St Tegla’s churchyard, Llandegley, Radnorshire.

Howard Owens Private No. 238887 was transferred to the South Wales Borderers after training and became Private No. 63196. Howard’s grandson Trevor Owens has told me that his grandfather told him that after travelling to France he found himself in a trench at the frontline. Howard’s Company was given the order to advance and in his first action he was shot through the elbow. The wound was severe enough that he was returned to England for treatment at Nottingham Hospital after recovery he was sent to work on a farm near Carlisle before being honourably discharged, before his eventual return to The Moor, Presteigne.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Brecon & Radnor Express Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Mr T. Owens. Mrs C Beale [Howard’s grandchildren].


Charles Leonard
Private, Durham Light Infantry

Charles Leonard Powell was born about three miles from Presteigne at Quarry Field Cottage, Staunton on Arrow, Herefordshire in 1897. His parents were George Powell a gamekeeper employed at Staunton Court who was born at Shobdon Herefordshire in 1862 and Mary Ann born in 1859 at Staunton on Arrow.

The 1901 Census records shoe Charles aged 3, the youngest of George and Mary’s five children residing at Quarry Field. Gertrude Mary aged 13 was the eldest, followed by George Joseph aged 11, Olive Michaela 10 and William Richard 5.

The family were still at Quarry Field at the time of the 1911 Census that showed Charles was still at school. Four years later at Whitchurch [it does not state which Whitchurch] Charles Leonard Powell a bell ringer at Staunton Church, aged 18, who was 5ft 7ins tall and weighed 159lbs enlisted as Sapper No.215530 the Royal Engineers, Inland Waterways Transport Company. The role of a Sapper could be described as a Combat Engineer. His duties might include building, laying or clearing landmines, construction of battlefield defences or the maintenance of canals. Charles Powell trade of Electrician must have made him a valuable member of his unit. His period of training was from 11th December, 1915 to 10th December, 1916. He served in England until 21st January 1917 when he joined the 1st/8th battalion Durham Light Infantry. He then served in France until his death from Colitis in a field hospital near the village of Liart in the Ardennes department of Northern France on the 19th October 1918 aged 19. He was at first buried in the German cemetery at Liart before being moved to his final resting place at grave ref. XX 753 in Sedan-Torcy French National Cemetery, Ardennes, France.

Notification of his death came via the Red Cross in Geneva, so it would appear that Private Powell No.85502, Durham Light Infantry was a prisoner of the Germans at the time of his death. The British Army sent their letter to Charles’ father c/o Staunton Court but, by the time his Memorial Scroll and medals were issued in 1920, his parents were living at 15 High Street, Presteigne, Radnorshire.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Central Council of Church Bell Ringers and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Private, Lancashire Fusiliers

James Powell was born in Presteigne, Radnorshire in 1882. Information regarding James’ family and early life has, so far, proved impossible to find.

The Roll of the Men of the County of Radnor who fell in the Great War, a record that was compiled in the first part of the 1920s, records: Powell, James, Broad Street, Presteigne, Aged 33 Lancashire Fusiliers, Private. Enlisted 1914, Date of Death: August 8th, 1915. Place of Death: Gallipoli, Killed in Action.

The 1901 Census records show James Powell aged 19, resident as a boarder with the Donnelly family in Watling Street, Leintwardine, Herefordshire [near Ludlow, Shropshire]. James’ occupation is recorded as ‘ Navvy on the Water Works’ James was, no doubt, employed on the massive construction scheme to pipe, using gravity alone, fresh water from Elan Valley near Rhayader in Mid-Wales to Birmingham in the West Midlands. The pipeline ran through Brampton Bryan, a hamlet just a mile from Leintwardine and James and the three fellow residents of the Donnelly family home who were also employed on the construction of the pipeline would have been able to travel to their place of work in minutes.

Nothing is known of James’ life until his enlistment in 1914 in the 1/7th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers at Salford near Manchester. He had probably moved to the industrial north for work opportunities.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 16th September 1915 carried the following report: ‘Presteigne Man Killed’. Private James Powell of the Lancashire Fusiliers, son of Mr Henry Powell, Presteigne, has died for his King and Country in the Dardanelles. His father received official intimation of this on Sunday.

Private No. 2518 James Powell has no known grave, his death on Sunday 8th August, 1915 is one of 20,000 men commemorated on the Helles Memorial that stands on the tip of the Gallipoli, Peninsular, Turkey.

Sources: Roll of the Men of the County of Radnor who fell in the Great War, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Census Records and Brecon & Radnor Express.


James George
Private, Labour Corps

James Powell was born in a terraced two up two down cottage at West Wall, Presteigne, Radnorshire in 1892. His parents were Thomas Powell, a mason’s labourer, born in 1861 in Presteigne and Mary born in 1860 at Ashford near Ludlow, Shropshire.

The 1911 Census records show the Powell family resident at West Wall, Presteigne. James, aged 19 has become a mason’s labourer like his father. Also resident are his sister, Agnes Powell aged 21, a general servant and James’ younger brothers; George Henry Powell aged 17, a farm servant and David Powell aged 4. James had two older siblings, William born 1885 and Mary A born 1886 who had left the family home.

In 1913 James, aged 21 married Emily Brunt, a farm servant employed at Hill Farm, Slough Road, Presteigne, aged 19 she had been born at The Cross, Letchmoor, Coles Hill, Lower Kinsham, Herefordshire. Their marriage produced two sons; Thomas James Powell born 30th September, 1913 and George Oliver Powell born 28th June, 1916. This new family set up home at Warden Terrace, Knighton Road, Presteigne.

The First World War broke out in August 1914 and the Brecon & Radnor Express of 29th July, 1915 carried this report; ‘PRESTEIGN RECRUITS: Among recent recruits to the Herefordshire Territorials are Messrs Caleb Burgess and George Henry Powell both of West Wall, Presteign.’

James Powell did not enlist until 7th June 1916. He was examined at Shrewsbury and although not considered fit enough for active service, he was passed fit in Class ‘c’ [two]. He was posted to the 1st Works Battalion, the Kings [Liverpool Regiment] until 20th March 1917 when he was transferred to the 420th Agricultural Company Labour Corps. Private J.G. Powell No.131408 was employed on miscellaneous agricultural jobs in the Wrexham area.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 23rd August 1917 reported; ‘On Saturday morning last, [at Presteigne Magistrates Court] before Mr J.H.Wale and the Hon.F.Clegg-Hill, Private James Powell was brought up in custody by Sgt. Higgins, charged with being an absentee without leave from the Liverpool Labour Battalion since the 8th inst. Defendant admitted being absent, but said that his absence was caused through illness, and he was very weak and unfit to go back. He stated that he had been working at agricultural work at Cornish Hall, Holt near Wrexham and left there on 4th August being given four days leave by the Army authorities. He did not re-join for the reason stated. The Chairman informed the defendant that he would be remanded to be examined by Doctor Debenham, and if he were found fit, he would be handed over to the military authorities.

Whether the doctor found him fit and whether he was punished for his absence is not known, but James certainly returned to his company. He continued to suffer ill-health until his honourable discharge from the army on 19th June 1918. Following an examination at Brecon he was found to be no longer physically fit. He was 5ft 10 ins tall and weighed just 9 stones 5lbs. He was diagnosed with Tuberculosis of the Lungs . Private Powell was described as having brown hair and eyes. His Military Character was ‘Good, Honest and Sober.’ James returned to Warden Terrace, Presteigne to his wife and sons. Sadly, on Monday 22nd July, 1918 Private No. 131408 James George Powell, aged 25 died. He was buried at Grave Ref. D.C.E.73, Presteigne Cemetery.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Brecon & Radnor Express and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


John Thomas
Lance Corporal 27808, 11th Battalion, Border Regiment formerly 4272, Herefordshire Regiment. Killed in action 2nd December 1917. Born and enlisted Presteign.

John Powell was born in 1896 at 51, High Street, Presteigne, Radnorshire. His parents were James Powell a Haulier born in Presteigne in 1857 and Harriet born in 1856 in Old Radnor.

The Census of 1901 records the family resident at 51 High Street, Presteigne. In addition to John aged 4 and his parents, John’s older siblings are recorded; William Powell, aged 17, like his father described as a Haulier [the 1901 version of a delivery driver] born at Stanner, Old Radnor, Sarah Powell, aged 14, a General Servant, born in Presteigne, Annie Powell, aged 9, a Scholar born in Presteigne and Ellen Powell, aged 7, a Scholar born in Presteigne.

The 1911 Census records John Powell still at 51 High Street, now aged 14 John had left school and was employed as a Grocer’s Errand Boy. His sister Sarah, aged 24 was working as a Hotel Waitress and brother William, aged 26 was described as Assisting with Haulage Business, Driver. Sisters Annie and Ellen were no longer resident, having left the family home either to marry or find work.

On the 8th February 1916, at Presteigne, John Thomas Powell enlisted in the Herefordshire Regiment and was assigned the Service Number of 4272. In September 1916 John and over two hundred men from the Herefordshire Regiment were transferred to the Lonsdale’s, the 11th Battalion of the Border Regiment. The Lonsdale’s had suffered huge casualties in the summer of 1916 at the Battle of the Somme and the Herefords were needed to bring the regiment back up to full strength. John survived the Lonsdale’s remaining actions of 1916, including the final Somme battle on Redan Ridge. He also made it through the first eleven months of 1917. However, on Sunday 2nd December 1917, aged 20, John took part in what has since become known as the ‘Moonlight Massacre’. this was a night attack on the Passchendaele Ridge near Cambrai Northern France. Men from several British regiments were supposed to advance towards German troops in their trenches on the Hindenburg Line, under cover of darkness. Sadly, it had snowed and the advancing British provided good targets. On that night alone, 1689 British soldiers were killed or wounded and, as a result of subsequent bombardments, many were never found. Lance Corporal John Thomas Powell, No. 27808 11th Battalion, Border Regiment has no known grave. He is commemorated on Panel 85 to 86 of the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and ‘Redan Ridge, The Last Stand’ by Peter Weston.


Private 285271, 10th Battalion, Welsh Regiment formrly 238992, 1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment. Died of wounds 31st july 1917. Born Titley, herefordshire, enlisted Presteign.

Walter Powell was born in 1887 at 2, Church Row, Titley Near Kington, Herefordshire. His parents were William Powell, a Gardener born in 1855 at Whitney-on-Wye, Herefordshire and his wife Priscilla born in 1855 at Titley. Walter was the fifth of eight children born between 1877 and 1895.

The Census of 1901 records that, aged just 13, Walter had left school and the family home and was living with his employer’s family at Rhulas Farm, Titley where he worked as a Carter for James Edwards.

The 1911 Census finds Walter now aged 23, working as a Butcher’s Assistant for Albert Powell, who may have been a relative, in the Presteigne High Street. Walter was a boarder at Lilac Cottage, Scottleton Street, Presteigne, Radnorshire. Also resident were Elizabeth Davies a 74 years old widow and her niece, Helena Jane Abel aged 31.

A year later in 1912 Walter and Helena were married. Their first child Walter was born the same year followed by George in 1913 and Gilbert in 1915.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 1st June 1916 carried this report; Presteign Local Tribunal was held on Tuesday evening. Mr Whitmore Green-Price presiding. Albert Powell, butcher, High Street, Presteign asked for exemption for his slaughter-man, Walter Powell, 28, married with three children. Applicant stated that his man was the only slaughter-man in the town and it would be impossible to carry on the business without him. He could not get another slaughter-man. He did not like to apply for exemption, as he [the applicant] had one son in France, fighting in the trenches and another, only just 17, had offered himself. His man also had two brothers in the Army. Exemption granted until 1st September 1916.

A further exemption must have been granted because it was not until 21st January 1917 that Walter Powell enlisted as Private No. 238992 the 1st Battalion the Herefordshire Regiment. After training Walter was transferred to the 10th Battalion of the Welsh Regiment with the Service No. 285271. The Brecon & Radnor Express of 23rd August 1917 reported; Presteign Soldiers Killed in Action. The little town of Presteign has had it’s share of fatalities in the present war and these have been added to this week by the news of still further casualties amongst residents of the town who had joined the colours. Private W. Turner of the R.F.A., a son of Mrs Turner of Warden Terrace has been reported killed in France….The greatest sympathy is also felt with Mrs Walter Powell of Scottleton Street, in the death of her husband Private Walter Powell, whose death in action in France on 31st July has been reported. Private Powell leaves a widow and three young children. He was home on his draft leave a short time ago and the news came as a great shock to all who knew him.

Private No. 285271 10th Battalion Welsh Regiment is buried at Grave Ref. I.M.8 Bard Cottage Cemetery, Boezinge, Ieper [Ypres], West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Brecon & Radnor Express.


[Charles] Henry (Harry)
Private 20170, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment. Killed in action 1st July 1916. Born presteign, enlisted Pontypridd, resident Treforest, Glamorganshire.

Charles Henry Preece, or Harry Preece as he was known, was born at West Wall, Presteigne, Radnorshire in 1893. His parents were William Preece a Timber man born in Presteigne in 1873 and Elizabeth nee Booth also born in Presteigne in 1873.

The 1901 Census records show that William and Lizzie [as Elizabeth was known] and seven years old Harry had moved to South Wales where William, aged 28 was employed as a Colliery Labourer Below Ground. The family home was 1, Park Terrace, Pontypridd, Glamorganshire. Their daughter Annie was born in Presteigne in 1909 so the family had either returned to Presteigne, or perhaps Lizzie had travelled to Presteigne for help from her family in the birth of her second child, fifteen years after the first!

However, when the 1911 Census was taken, the Preece family were living at 28, Old Park Terrace, Treforest, Pontypridd, Glamorgan. William, aged 38 was now described again as a Timber man. His son Harry, aged 17 was a Miner Hewer Below Ground and his cousin Jim Booth from Presteigne, aged 25, who was lodging with the Preece family was also working as a Coal Miner. Sadly, Jim Booth also lost his life in the war and his name also appears on Presteigne War Memorial.

When war was declared in August 1914, the Devonshire Regiment began recruiting in South Wales where many Devonians had migrated to work in the mines and it was in Pontypridd in September 1914 that Harry Preece, aged 21 signed a Short Service Agreement for 3 years with the colours. At his medical examination in Pontypridd on the 10th of September 1914 Harry was recorded as being 5ft 7ins tall, his weight was 148lbs, his complexion was fresh, he had hazel eyes and brown hair. He gave his religion as Church of England. Like many other new recruits, he was not allowed to commence training until his teeth had received attention. The 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment was part of the British Army’s 8th Division, 23rd Brigade. They landed at Le Havre, France on 6th November, 1914. On the 18th of December 1914 they suffered 121 casualties in an attack on ‘a moated grange’ in the Neuve Chapelle area. In 1915 the 2nd Devonshire’s took part in the Battles of Neuve Chapelle and Aubers Ridge where they suffered a further 243 casualties. In 1916 British and Allied forces were massed for a huge attack that, it was believed, would crush German resistance and end the war. On 1st July, 1916 the 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment took part in what was the first day of the Somme offensive. The 2nd Battalion was all but destroyed by machine gun fire and artillery barrage, suffering 416 casualties. Harry, aged 23 was reported missing, presumed killed in action. He has no known grave. Private No. 20170 Charles Henry Preece, 2nd Battalion, Devonshire Regiment is commemorated on Pier and Face 1.C. of the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Albert Edward
Private 552, 17th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Died of wounds 20th June 1918. Enlisted New Radnor, resident Presteigne. Formerly 2819, Montgomeryshire Yeomanry.

Albert Probert was born at Elsdon Green, Elsdon Lane, Lyonshall, near Kington, Herefordshire in 1890. Albert was the seventh child of nine born to George Probert an Agricultural Labourer and Shepherd born at Pembridge, Herefordshire in 1854 and his wife Frances born at Broad heath, Presteigne, Radnorshire in about 1851. The couple had started married life at the Woodhouse, Shobdon, Herefordshire before moving to Old Turnpike Cottage, Pembridge. They already had six children before their move to Lyonshall in about 1890. Albert’s father George died aged just 45 in 1898. Albert had two younger siblings; Elizabeth Ellen Probert born in 1893 and Henry James Probert born in 1896 by the time the 1901 Census was taken. The family home was a cottage at Nash Lime Works, just a mile over the Herefordshire border from Presteigne. Head of the family was Albert’s widowed mother, Frances Probert, now aged 50. Also in residence were William Thomas Probert, aged 20, an Agricultural Labourer who had already served briefly in the South Wales Borderers in 1899, John George Probert, aged 15, an Apprentice Tailor born in Shobdon who later moved to Oldham, Lancashire where he married Mary Ann Hughes in 1913. He was only 4ft 10ins tall but this did not prevent him serving in the war as a member of the 174th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers. Also recorded on the 1901 Census was James Probert, aged 13, an Assistant Ironmonger who had also been born at Shobdon. Albert’s two older sisters had left home to find work; Harriet Probert, aged 23, was working as a Domestic Cook at Hillcroft, Telegraph Road, Heswall cum Oldfield, Wirral, Cheshire and Frances Hannah Probert, aged 17, was a Domestic Servant working for and living with the Owens family at Upper Heath, Presteigne.

The Census of 1911 records show that Frances Probert was still at Nash Cottage, but she was now Housekeeper for Mr James Bevan, a pensioner and retired Waggoner. The only Probert children living with her were John George, a Tailor aged 25, and Henry James the youngest member of the family, aged 15 and working as a Domestic Gardener. I have not found the 20 year old Albert Edward Probert. He may have been working and lodging in the Nash/Presteigne area or he may have travelled further from home to find work. Two of his older brothers had found their way to South Wales; Charles James Probert, aged 23, was working as a Coalminer and William Thomas Probert, aged 30, a Chauffeur were lodging with the family of Frank and Mary East at 15, Lanylay Road, Llantrisant, Glamorgan.

When war was declared in August 1914 Albert Probert enlisted at New Radnor in the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry as Private No. 2819. He was then transferred to the 17th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers. The regiment landed in France in December, 1915. In July 1916 they took part in the Somme offensive at Mametz Wood, where they suffered severe casualties. For over a year they took part in no actions, but in late 1917 they were involved in the third Battle of Ypres. In 1918 they were again on the Somme and were in action in the attacks on the Hindenburg Line. It was here, in a Casualty Clearing Station, on Thursday, 20th June, 1918, aged 27, that Albert Edward Probert, Private No. 55502, 17th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers died of his wounds. He is buried at Grave Ref. III.E.9. Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt, Somme, France.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census records, National Archives and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Private, Royal Army Service Corps

Richard Pugh was born in 1886 at Presteigne, Radnorshire. His parents were Richard Pugh senior. Born in 1851 also at Presteigne and his wife Annie born at Old Radnor also in 1851. Richard Pugh snr. Was described as a General Labourer and during the early years of their marriage the family appear to have moved around the Presteigne area, with children born at Kinsham and Stapleton before settling in a cottage in Slough Lane, Presteigne.

Richard junior’s mother Annie died in 1890. The Census of 1891 showed Richard Pugh senior, aged 41, living at Slough Lane, Presteigne with his children; William, aged 18, working like his father as a General Labourer, Eliza, aged 10, a scholar, Emma, aged 7, also a scholar, Richard, aged 5, a scholar and Alice, aged 3. Jessie Pugh, Richard’s oldest sibling, who had been born in 1869 had left home to get married in 1882, aged just 13!

By the time the 1901 Census was held the family had dispersed. Only Alice Pugh, aged 13, was still resident with her father Richard snr. Emma, 17, was working as a live-in Domestic Servant in Broad Street, Presteigne, Eliza, 20, was working as a Cook for Aaron Rogers and his family at Rodd Farm, Presteigne and Richard Pugh jnr., 15, was working as a Cattleman for the Lewis family at Ashley Farm, Roddhurst, near Presteigne.

When the Census of 1911 was taken, Richard had moved to Upper Hall Farm, Heyope, Knighton, Radnorshire where he was employed as the Cowman by the James family.

Richard enlisted at Knighton on 27th April1915. He gave his address as Cann Wood House, Slough Lane, Presteigne. He was aged 28, 5ft 1in tall, weighed 116lbs, his gave his occupation as Wagoner and stated that he was a Baptist. His next of kin was his father, Richard Pugh now resident in Harper Street, Presteigne.

Richard was drafted into the 2nd Base Remounts, Royal Army Service Corps as Private No.R4/106690. The Remounts Service was responsible for the provisioning of horses and mules to all other army units. Animals were obtained during the war by compulsory purchase in the United Kingdom and by purchasing from North and South America, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, India and China. A Remount Squadron consisted of approximately 200 soldiers, who obtained and trained batches of 500 horses. They were generally older, experienced soldiers. A view of the immense scale of these operations can be judged from the statistics for the UK Collection Centre as published in the ‘Times’ in April 1919. Up to 1st April 1919 the Centre had received 342,020 horses and mules.

Richard served in England from May 1915 to 27th September 1916 when he travelled from Southampton to Le Havre, France where he remained until the war ended in November 1918. Sadly, Richard was one of a great many men who, having survived the conflict, fell victim to ill-health whilst awaiting discharge from the army. He was admitted to the 40th Stationary Hospital at Harfleur, Northern France on 18th February, 1919, where he died from Bronchial Pneumonia on Monday 24th February, 1919. Richard Pugh, Private No.R4/106690, 2nd Base Remounts, Royal Army Service Corps was buried at Grave Ref. Div.64.VI 0.3. Ste. Marie Cemetery, Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France. Richard snr. Died in 1916 so Richard jnr’s Personal effects, his British War Medal and Victory Medal and his Memorial Scroll and letter from the King were divided between his sisters; Miss Emma Pugh in Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, Gwent, Mrs Eliza Arthur in Llanbradach, Cardiff and Mrs Alice Brown in Broad Street, Presteigne.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


William [Arthur]
[Spelt REESE on memorial and elsewhere REECE and REES] Private, Cheshire Regiment

William Arthur Reese [aka Reece & Rees] was born at Lea Hall Cottage, Llangunllo, near Knighton, Radnorshire. He was baptised at Llangunllo Church on 19th July 1896. His parents were William Reese, a Shepherd born in 1857 at Old Radnor and Eliza born in 1858 at Llandewi, Radnorshire. They started married life at Penilan, Whitton, Knighton, Radnorshire in 1880 and it was here that their first child, Eliza Ann Reese was born in 1880. The couple moved to Llanfair Waterdine, Shropshire, just over the border from Heyope, Knighton, before their next move to Llangunllo in 1891.The Census of 1901recorded William Reese senior working as a Shepherd and still resident at Lea Hall Cottage, Llangunllo with his wife Eliza and four children including his son William Arthur.

By the time the 1911 Census was taken, the family had moved to Herefordshire. William senior, aged 54, his wife Eliza, aged 53, their youngest child, Edwin born at Llangunllo in 1902 together with Gladys May Reese their Grandchild, aged 2 months, were resident at Old Turnpike Cottage, Shobdon, Herefordshire. William Arthur Reese, aged just 14 was resident at nearby Strangworth Farm, Pembridge, Herefordshire where he was employed as a Cowboy by Samuel Bounds, Farmer.

William Arthur Reese enlisted in the Shropshire Yeomanry as Private No. 2666 on the 9th of May 1915. He was 19 years old, 5ft 4ins tall and his religion was Church of England. After training his regiment embarked at Southampton on 11th August 1916 and they disembarked at Rouen, France two days later. On 13th September 1916 William was transferred to the 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. This may have been because the Yeomanry were a cavalry regiment and by 1916 it had been realised that there would not be many opportunities to use mounted troops in a trench war. The 13th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment were involved in many actions and on 7th June 1917 they took part in the Battle of Messines, a village in Belgian West Flanders. The attack commenced with the explosion of 19 massive mines, that destroyed much of the German front line. This was followed by a creeping artillery barrage in front of the advancing British soldiers who were supported by tanks. In the period between the 7th and 14th June 1917 the British suffered 24,562 casualties, amongst the wounded was William Reese who suffered a wound to his left leg on 7th June 1917, the first day of the battle. He was taken to a Field Hospital for treatment, but was found to be suffering from Gas Gangrene infection. It was caused, like tetanus, by a group of germs, the best known of which is Welch Bacillus. A favourite habitat of the bacillus is soil heavily fertilised with animal manure, exactly the kind of soil on which the fighting in France took place. Once started, the infection spreads so rapidly up the muscle bundles that death from Gas Gangrene of an entire limb has been known to occur within 16 hours from the time of injury. The treatment was to flay the tissue exposing the anaerobic bacteria to oxygen which kills it. However, the treatment rarely worked and Gas Gangrene killed thousands of our men. William’s leg was operated on in France and he had four further operations at the Italian Hospital in London before his transfer to Prees Heath Military Hospital in Shropshire where his leg was amputated. Whilst undergoing treatment William was asked to supply details of his next of kin and his brothers and sisters; His parents were resident at Roddhurst, Presteigne. His oldest sister Mrs Eliza Lloyd was aged 39, and living in Bargoed, Glamorgan. His brother John, born in 1892, was in New Zealand. His sister Ellen Richards born in 1894 was also in Bargoed. Another sister, Annie Smith born 1882 was a resident of Builth Wells, Breconshire. Sister Hannah born in 1885 was in Kington, Herefordshire and his youngest sibling Edwin, aged 17 was at the Pentre, Cascob near Presteigne.

Sadly, William died on the 8th of January 1919. Private William Arthur Reese No. 52860 13th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment was transported to his parents home for burial at Grave Ref. H.N.C.52 Presteigne Cemetery. His personal effects, Victory and British War Medals were sent to his mother, Mrs Eliza Reese at the Orles, Roddhurst, Presteigne.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Arthur [W]
Private 10385, 5th Battalion, King's (Shropshire Light Infantry). Killed in action 25th September 1915. Born and resident Presteign, enlisted Hereford.

Arthur W. Saunders was born in 1897 in St. Johns, Worcester. On the Censuses of both 1901 and 1911 he is recorded as being the son of Arthur Richard Saunders born in 1848 at Orleton, Leominster, Herefordshire and his wife Anne born in 1843 in Pembridge, Herefordshire. Anne’s maiden name was Bassett but she had been married previously to a Mr Cooke, who presumably died sometime before Anne married Arthur at Pembridge in 1869. The 1881 Census shows that they had a daughter named Ada born in 1873. When the Census of 1891 was taken Arthur and Anne Saunders were resident at the Greyhound Inn, East Street, Pembridge, Herefordshire. Arthur, aged 48, was a Shoemaker and Publican. There is no mention of their daughter Ada who would have been aged 18 at that date. However, a female named Dolley B. Burne, aged 11, and described as ‘Sister’ is living with the couple.

The Census of 1901 shows the couple, aged 53 and 58, resident as Hotel Proprietors at the Castle Inn, High Street, Presteigne. Also recorded at the Castle Inn was Ada Maund, aged 23, a Domestic Servant born at Brimfield, Herefordshire who was described as a ‘Niece’ and Ella R. Saunders, aged 18, from Bucknell, Shropshire. She was also a ‘Servant’ and with the same surname may have been a relative. Arthur W. Saunders, aged 4, and described as ‘Son’ is recorded with a St Johns, Worcester birthplace. Anne Saunders would have been 54 when she gave birth if she is the four years old Arthur’s mother! Things get even stranger on the 1911 Census. The Saunders family are now resident in Church Street, Presteigne and Arthur Richard Saunders has returned to his former trade and is described as a 64 years old Boot-maker. His wife Anne who would have been 68, if the previous Censuses were correct, is recorded as being 71. Three children are recorded; Arthur W. Saunders, son aged 14, Annie Elizabeth Saunders, daughter aged 3, born in Leominster, Herefordshire and William Saunders, son aged 2, born in Southampton, Hampshire. Whether these were the illegitimate sons and daughter of Ada Saunders, some other relative, or perhaps they were unrelated children who Arthur and Anne adopted?

Arthur W. Saunders travelled from Presteigne to Hereford to enlist in the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry aged just 18 on the 7th of January 1915. He gave his birthplace as Presteigne. He was drafted into the 5th Battalion of the K.S.L.I. After training he was shipped to France. The French were desperate to regain territory that had been lost in the German advances of 1914. Together with their British allies they began to launch attacks on the German front line. In the Artois area of North Eastern France eleven French and five British divisions were massed together in what became known as the Battle of Loos. The attack commenced on 25th September 1915 and ended on the 8th of October 1915. The German lines remained unbroken, despite the British use of gas and smoke. The British lost over 8000 men in this disastrous defeat and it helped end the career of the British Expeditionary Forces Commander, Sir John French.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 2nd September, 1915 carried several Presteign Reports; The promotion of H. Millichamp to the rank of Sergeant-Major in the South Wales Borderers was announced. Local Government News, three members of the Urban District Council; Messrs Stanley Morris, William Bird and the Rev. H.L. Kewley were re-elected unopposed for a further three years. The final of the Conservative Club Billiard Handicap was played on Tuesday evening and resulted in Dr. N. Y. Lower defeating Mr C. J. Newell by one point. Mr J Foster, son of Mrs Boyds, has enlisted as a bugler in the K.S.L.I. The Lord Bishop of Hereford confirmed 52 candidates at Presteign St Andrews Church recently, 34 from Presteign, 13 from Norton and 5 from Byton. WOUNDED: Private A. Saunders [son of Mr. A. R. Saunders] has just returned from the front with a bullet-wound in his foot.

The wound must have healed quickly and Arthur returned to his regiment, just in time for the battle.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 21st October ,1915 reported; Mr. A.R. Saunders of Broad Street, Presteign has received news that his adopted son, Private A. Saunders, KSLI has been missing since the 25th Ult. Private Saunders took part in the charge of the British advance on Loos and was practically fighting shoulder to shoulder with Private Ernest Culley also of Presteign [he was the son of Elementary School teacher, Walter Culley of Broad Street, Presteigne]. The latter fell wounded and is reported to have said that Private Saunders went on with the rest of the men. It is, however, feared that he has been killed.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records show that Arthur Saunders, Private No. 10385, 5th Battalion, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry died on Saturday 25th September, 1915. He has no known grave. His memory is commemorated on the Ypres [Menin Gate] Memorial, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, Panel 47 & 49.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Brecon & Radnor Express and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Note from George Lancett for the SMALLMAN brothers below:

Thomas James Smallman 29.07.1895-05.06.1916 & William Smallman 20.05.1892-05.01.1917

When I started researching the names on Presteigne War Memorial I was intrigued by the fact that three of the men were listed under ‘Canadian Regiments’. Two shared the same surname; Smallman, TJ & W.

Back in 1999 ,when I first started, there were not that many places I could look to find out more information, but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website offered me the chance to find out where the men had died. I found T. J. Smallman Private 81812 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles [Saskatchewan Regt.] who died on Monday, 5th June 1916. Aged 20. Son of James J. and Martha Emma Smallman of Glencairn, Manitoba. Volunteered for service, November 1914. No Presteigne connection there. However, when I clicked on W. Smallman Private 71955 27th Battalion, Canadian Infantry [Manitoba Regt.] who died on Friday 5th January 1917. Aged 24. This time the same parents were listed as for T.J. Smallman but ‘Native of Presteigne, Radnorshire’ was added to confirm they were brothers and had lived in Presteigne.

When I got the chance to look the family up on the 1901 Census I found them at Green End Smithy, Presteigne[ there is still a property called The Old Smithy in Green End]. James John Smallman aged 34, Blacksmith Master, born Foy, Herefordshire, his wife Martha Emma nee Evans aged 33 born Presteigne, Radnorshire and their children; William born 1892, Ethel E. born 1894, Thomas James born 1895 and Edith M born 1897.

The hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One has prompted me to make further enquiries and the Canadian Government have also begun digitising records of the Canadian Over-seas Expeditionary Force. I have been able to consult the Attestation Papers for both men and what excellent documents they are! William presented himself before a Magistrate at Brandon, Manitoba on 28th October 1914. He wad 5ft 6ins tall with brown eyes and hair. He was passed fit by the Medical Officer. He was able to testify that he had previously served with the Herefordshire Territorials in 1909 and 1910 and after taking an Oath to bear true allegiance to King George the Fifth, he was enlisted into the 27th Battalion of the Canadian Infantry.

Thomas James Smallman appeared before a Magistrate in Winnipeg on 29th December, 1914. Thomas was 5ft 9ins with blue eyes and brown hair. Both men gave James Smallman, their father, of Souris, Manitoba as next of kin.

I was interested to know how long the family had been resident in Canada and thanks to my findmypast subscription I was able to find that the family had emigrated aboard the Canadian Pacific Line SS Lake Champlain. Port of Departure is given as Liverpool and Destination Port Saint John NB. Departure Date was 29th March 1911. I also managed to find that outside Souris Legion Building, Manitoba is a War Memorial that has the names of the Smallman brothers engraved on it.

I checked the Brecon & Radnor Express newspaper for any mention of the Smallmans and found an entry in the 15th April 1915 edition that reads; Mr J Smallman formerly a local blacksmith, is with the Canadian contingent. So, Martha Smallman and her daughters Ethel and Edith were left alone in Canada. I found James Smallman’s Attestation Paper dated 13th January 1915. James was 5ft 6ins with brown eyes and slightly grey hair! He was born in 1867 and was 44 years old when the family emigrated in 1911, but he lied on his Enlistment Form, claiming that he was born on 15th July 1870 and that he was still aged 44 in 1915!

James appears to have survived the war, perhaps his skill as a blacksmith kept him back behind the lines?

However, the loss of both of his sons must have been a tremendous blow.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 1901 Census, Canadian Government Archives, Welsh Newspapers Online & Passenger Lists Leaving Uk 1890-1960.


Thomas James
[Listed as Corporal on memorial] Private 81812, 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles Battalion, Canadian Regiment. Died 5 June 1916. Aged 20. Son of James J. and Martha Emma Smallman, of Glencairn, Manitoba. Volunteered for service, November, 1914. No known grave. Commemorfated on YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL, West-Vlaanderen, Nelgium. Panel 30, 32.


Private 71955, 27th Battalion, Canadian Infantry. Died 5 January 1917. Aged 24. Son of James J. and Martha Emma Smallman, of Glencairn, Manitoba. Enlisted Oct., 1914. Native of Presteigne, Radnorshire. Buried in BOIS-DE-NOULETTE BRITISH CEMETERY, AIX-NOULETTE, Pas de Calais, France. Plot II. Row D. Grave 7.


Private 5393, 2nd Battalion, King's (Shropshire Light Infantry). Killed in action 2nd March 1915. Born Titley, Kington, Herefordshire, enlisted Hereford, resident Presteign.

Henry Taylor was born at Old Shildon, Durham in 1874. His mother Ellen was born in 1841 at Aycliffe, Durham.

The Census of 1891 shows Henry, aged 16, resident in Hereford Street, Presteigne, Radnorshire with his mother Ellen, aged 50 and his stepfather John T. Williams, aged 44, a Lodging House Keeper from Bewdley, Worcestershire. Also resident in the Hereford Street boarding House were Henry’s sister Jane Ann Taylor, aged 15, also born in Durham and thirteen lodgers! Both Henry and his sister are described as Hawkers [travelling vendors of goods] as are several of their fellow lodgers, together with a couple of Tinkers, a Gardener and a Skinner. The lodgers were from all parts of the country. With Presteigne now connected to the rest of the country by the Great Western Railway, it had become a base for itinerant salesmen and women who were able to have consumer goods delivered to Presteigne Station from the West Midlands and North of England.

The 1901 Census records Henry Taylor lodging with the Probert family in Church Street, Presteigne, aged 26, and working as a Timber Feller. In the 3rd quarter of 1901 Henry married Jane Vaughan who was also 26, born in Presteigne and living with her mother in Broad Street, Presteigne. Her occupation was Charwoman.

They had two sons, Thomas Henry Taylor born in 1901 and William Taylor born in 1905.

The 1911 Census finds Henry Taylor, aged 37, and resident once again with his mother and stepfather in Hereford Street, Presteigne. The lodgers have gone and John Williams was described as a Hawking Peddler, a travelling vendor of goods. Henry, now a General Labourer is described as married although his wife and sons were living in Church Street, Presteigne with Jane’s mother. It appears that at some point between 1911 and 1915 Henry, his wife and sons moved to Kington, Herefordshire

Henry enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry at Hereford on 9th August, 1914. The 2nd Battalion were based in Secunderabad near Hyderabad, India when war was declared and they left Bombay for Plymouth on 13th October 1914. After re-equipping and training at Winchester the battalion was sent to France, landing at Le Havre on 21st December 1914. British forces were rushed into action in the Ypres Salient to prevent a German breakthrough and the 2nd Battalion saw action in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. In this action Lt. George Davies was killed; he was the stepson of the author Sir James Barrie and the model for Barrie’s Peter Pan. During fighting near the village of St Eloi on the 2nd and 3rd of March, 1915 the 2nd Battalion War Diary recorded the loss of five soldiers, killed in action..

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 6th May, 1915 reported; Private E. Williams of the K.S.L.I., a brother-in-law of Mr. George Rawlings of the Farmers Arms Hotel, Presteigne, returned from the front last week. Private Williams was wounded at St. Eloi by a bullet in the knee just as he had got out of the trenches to walk about to keep himself warm. Private Williams says that Private Harry Taylor of Presteign was shot dead at his side at St Eloi.

Private No. 5393 Henry Taylor was killed on 2nd March, 1915, aged 40. He was the son of Mr & Mrs J. Williams of Presteigne, husband of Jane Taylor of 5, Bridge Street, Kington, Herefordshire. Private Taylor has no known grave. His name is recorded on the Ypres Memorial [Menin Gate], Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium, Panel 47 & 49.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Brecon & Radnor Express, K.S.L.I. War Diary Records and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


[John] Thomas
Private 2315, 1st/1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment. Died of wounds at Gallipoli 3rd September 1915. Born and resident Presteign, enlisted Hereford.

John Thomas Taylor was born at the Cricketer’s Arms, Broadheath, Presteigne, Radnorshire in 1896. His parents were Edwin Taylor, a farmer and innkeeper born at Titley near Kington, Herefordshire in 1863 and Mary nee Rees born in 1866. Mary died in 1898 leaving a daughter, Margaret A. born 1895 and John Thomas. Edwin remarried in 1900 and it was his second wife, Alice Sarah nee Page born 1876 at Brierley Hill between Willey and Lingen just over the Herefordshire border from Presteigne that brought up John Thomas and his sister. Edwin and Alice had a further five children; Edwin M. born 1901, Agnes F. born 1902, Beatrice M. born 1903, Alice V. born 1905 and Alfred E. born 1907.

Edwin and Alice Taylor started married life at the Cricketer’s Arms a Public House that had been refurbished on the instructions of Mr F. Evelyn in 1851 for use by the newly formed Presteigne Cricket Club and at least four members of the Taylor family acted as Landlord between 1880 and 1929 when it closed as an inn. Edwin and Alice and their family moved to Lower House Farm, Coombe between Broadheath and Byton and it was there that they were recorded on the 1911 Census. At that time their son John Thomas Taylor aged 14 was described as a ‘Farmers son working on farm’. By 1914 John Thomas was almost certainly a member of the Herefordshire and Radnorshire Territorials, because, shortly after war broke out, he travelled on 2nd October 1914 to Hereford to enlist in ‘D’ Company of the 1st/1st Battalion of the Herefordshire Regiment. He was sent to join the battalion at Wellingborough, Northamptonshire and spent the remainder of 1914 in that area. Billets were good, and the men popular with the locals. There were many letters to the Hereford Times praising their behaviour. One told how men, when about to start rifle practice, noticed a farmer getting in the hay at the end of the range. They immediately went and helped him. For many farmers’ boys, like John Thomas Taylor, this was to be their last harvest.

In December 1914 they were moved to Bury St Edmunds and then on to Bedford in May 1915. After a frustrating wait they were told that they were about to embark for foreign service and assumed they were off to France, indeed their artillery and vehicles were transported to France. However, on 1st July 1915 twenty-nine officers and 969 other ranks, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel George Drage of Rodd Court, Presteigne, boarded the SS Euripides at Devonport. They were bound for Port Said, Egypt.

On 9th August, 1915 the Battalion landed at ‘C’ beach, Suvla Bay, Gallipoli as part of the 53rd Welsh Division. The Division faced difficulties. It had no artillery, little transport and no plan of action. In fact, on landing the division was broken up and dispersed to wherever help seemed needed. The commander of the Herefordshire Regiment, Colonel Drage, described by one military historian as unusually perceptive, went to get instructions from Allied H.Q. He left as unclear as he entered. The Senior Commander of British forces at Suvla Bay was Sir Frederick Stopford, Governor of the Tower of London, brought out of retirement to lead the enterprise. However, he had little drive, in contrast to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk the Turkish commander and his German advisor Liman Von Sanders.

At about 4:30pm the Herefordshire Regiment moved forward from their landing beach. As they advanced through scrub woodland, they came under artillery fire and long-range, accurate, sniper fire from the Turks. There were many British casualties, including Colonel Drage who was wounded by a shell splinter. He was just one of over two hundred and fifty men of the Herefordshire Regiment to be wounded or killed on the day they landed on Turkish soil. The survivors remained until 12th December 1915 when they were evacuated to Port Said. Wounded and sick troops were transported on hospital ships 850 miles across the Mediterranean Sea to the island of Malta. The journey took a week and many soldiers did not survive.

The Brecon & Radnorshire Express of Thursday 16th September 1915 reported: PRESTEIGN MAN DIES AT MALTA. News has reached Presteign of the death from wounds, at Malta, of Private John Thomas Taylor, 1st Herefords [son of Mr Edwin Taylor of Lower House, Coombe]. The same edition of the paper also gave news that another two Presteigne men had been killed in Gallipoli; Private Francis William Bursnell of the Prince of Wales [North Staffordshire Regiment] was killed in action on 8th August 1915 and on the same day Private James Powell, Lancashire Fusiliers was also killed in action.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records show that Private no. 2315, John Thomas Taylor of ‘D’ Company, 1st/1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment who died on Thursday 2nd September, 1915 aged 19 is buried at Grave Ref. B.VII.I., Pieta Military Cemetery, Valletta, Malta.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives,Brecon & Radnor Express & Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Private 27824, 11th Battalion, Border Regiment. Died 22nd November 1918, 41 days after the armistice. Aged 29. Born Coom Cascob, Radnor, enlisted Hereford, resident Norton, Radnor. Son of John and Ann Turner, of Scottleton St., Presteign, Radnorshire; brother of William (below). Formerly 4455, Herefordshire Regiment. Buried in LES BARAQUES MILITARY CEMETERY, SANGATTE, Pas de Calais, France. Plot VII. Row D. Grave 2.

He was born in Cascob, Radnorshire, on the 4th July 1890 to John and Ann Turner. He was one of fourteen children; they lived at Cwm Cascob, Brick Yard Cottages in Byton and The Old Toll Bar Norton around 1911. Henry was no longer at home, he was employed as a Waggoner by a farmer called William Thomas, of Stocken Norton. In April 1916 Henry volunteered for duty at Hereford recruiting office he joined 1/1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment as a Private and his service number was 4498. He also served in the 3rd battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, service number 20559, then in October 1916 he was transferred to the 11th Battalion, Border Regiment, the Lonsdales, service number 27824 when the battalion arrived in France they would have undergone refresher training at an infantry base depot possibly the notorious bull ring at Etaples south of Boulogne in 1917 they went on to participate in actions on the Ancre Jan-March and the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. On the 10th of July the battalion were stationed in the Lombardsijde sector near Nieuport in West Flanders, Belgium. At some point during this day Henry was captured by the German army he was taken to Dulmen in North West Germany he was given the serial number 75 the camp was run by the V11 Army Corps Munster his location before capture was a Belgian city and municipality in East Flanders called Dendermonde after Dulmen he was transferred south to Lechfeld P.O.W. Camp in Bavaria serial number 611 and then 769 it was ran by the Royal Bavarian Army Corps (Munich) Henry was returned ill in November / December 1918 and was hospitalized at no 35 General Hospital Calais where he died on the 22nd December 1918, 41 days after the armistice. His last known address was Bank Cottages, Scottleton Street, Presteigne.


Gunner W/3428, "B" Battery, 119th Army Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Killed in action 7 August 1917. Aged 19. Enlisted Aberystwyth, resident Norton, Radnor. Son of Ann Turner, of Bank Cottages, Scottleton St., Presteign, Radnorshire, and the late John Turner; brother of Henry (above). Buried in OAK DUMP CEMETERY, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Plot/Row/Section C. Grave 2.
Henry [Harry] Turner 1890-1918 & William Turner 1898-1917 (above)

The Turner bothers were two of fourteen children born to John Turner an Agricultural Labourer who started life in 1854 at Stansbatch near Staunton-on-Arrow, Herefordshire a couple of miles from Presteigne and his wife Ann nee Lloyd born at Llangullo, Radnorshire in 1860.

The Census of 1881 shows the newly married couple resident at St Mary’s Mill, Rockbridge Road, Presteigne, Radnorshire. Their first child, a son, James was born at St Mary’s Mill in 1881 before the family moved to the Cwm, Green Lane, Cascob near Presteigne where another son, John was born in 1884. A daughter, Sarah Ann was born in 1886 before the birth of Henry Turner in 1890. Martha Elizabeth was born in 1893 and then in about 1895, the Turner family moved again, this time to Brickyard Cottage, Byton, near Presteigne. It was at Byton that Samuel was born in 1896. There were several more house moves before the 1901 Census that recorded the birth of William [Willie] Turner at Norton near Presteigne in 1898 and Arthur in 1899 at Byton.

The 1911 Census shows the Turners resident at the Old Toll Bar, Norton, Presteigne and records the birth of Mary Ann at Byton in 1901 and her sister Agnes born at Willey just over the Herefordshire border in 1906. The 1911 Census also tells us that Willie Turner, aged 13 was attending school, probably the Norton village primary school which closed in the late 1950s. His fifteen years old brother Samuel was employed as a Cowman by the Mason family at Blackpatch farm, Norton and his brother John now aged 27 was also in Norton, working as a Labourer for Amos Mantle, Carpenter of Norton Post Office. Martha Elizabeth, aged 18 was living at Tipton Farm, Willey near Presteigne where she was employed as a servant by the Price family. In reply to a question about her marriage on the 1911 Census, Mrs Ann Turner, aged 50, stated that she had been married for 31 years and that six of the fourteen children that she had given birth to had died.

William Turner travelled from the family home in Norton to Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire on 20th April 1915 to enlist in the Royal Field Artillery. His agricultural background and a familiarity with horses and wagons may well have led to William becoming a Gunner. He served on the Western Front in Belgium and France and after two years The Brecon & Radnor Express of 23rd August 1917 reported; The little town of Presteigne has had it’s share of fatalities in the present war, and these have been added to this week by the news of still further casualties. Private William Turner of the Royal Field Artillery, a son of Mrs Turner of Warden Terrace [ her husband John had recently died] has been reported killed in France. Private Turner is one of three brothers in the forces. Private Samuel Turner lost a leg in the service of his country, a brother [Henry] is also reported missing.

The Brecon & Radnor Express edition of 20th September 1917 confirmed that Gunner Willie Turner had been killed in action at Messines Ridge in Belgium on Tuesday 7th August 1917, aged 19 years.

Henry Turner’s enlistment in the Herefordshire Regiment as Private No. 4455 on 13th March 1916 at Hereford was reported by the Brecon & Radnor Express of 30th March 1916 as follows: Joined-Mr H. Turner, Gumma Farm, Discoed has just joined the Herefordshire Territorials. After training he was transferred, along with several hundred fellow Herefordshire Regiment soldiers, to the Lonsdales, the 11th Battalion of the Border Regiment [Northumberland]. The Lonsdales had suffered very heavy casualties during the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 and the Herefordshire men were needed to reconstruct the Battalion. On the 18th of November 1916 the Lonsdales were given orders to capture German held trenches near the village of Beaumont Hamel, the Somme, Picardy, northern France. The Lonsdales achieved their objective but found themselves surrounded due to the failure of other British units and after eight days of bitter weather and heavy German counter-attack they were overwhelmed and a large number were killed or taken prisoner. Whether it was in that action or a later battle that Henry Turner was taken prisoner by the Germans is not known. However, the Brecon & Radnor Express of 27th September, 1917 reported: PRESTEIGNE: Private Hatfield [son of Mr and Mrs T Hatfield] was home from France last week. We regret to hear that Private Jesse Garrod, son of Mr and Mrs Garrod of the Dukes Arms Hotel is lying seriously ill in France. We are glad to hear that Private Harry Turner son of Mrs Turner, of Bank Cottages, Scottleton Street [now Castle Dyche] , who was previously reported missing and was thought to have been killed in action, is now a prisoner in Germany. From a communication received from him to his mother, he stated that he has been wounded in the thigh and was now a prisoner and going on all right.

Henry was to remain a prisoner for the remainder of the war, but, sadly, before he could be repatriated to Britain he fell ill and died of pneumonia at Calais, France on Sunday 22nd December, 1918 aged 29 years.

William Turner, Gunner W/3428 “B” Battery, 119th Army Brigade, Royal Field Artillery is buried at Grave Ref. C.2. Oak Dump Cemetery, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. His brother Henry Turner, Private No. 27824 11th Battalion, Border Regiment is buried at Grave Ref. VII.D.2 Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, Pas de Calais, France.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Brecon & Radnor Express and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Robert Vaughan was the third child born to single mother Elizabeth Vaughan. The Census of 1881shows the Vaughan family resident at Ford Street, Presteigne in the Herefordshire parish of Stapleton. Head of the household was Elizabeth, a 26 years old children’s nurse who had been born in Presteigne in 1855. Also resident was her sister Mary Vaughan, aged 47 and Elizabeth’s four children; Jane, aged 6, Mary, aged 5, Robert, aged 4, and John, aged 2. Lodgers, married couple Henry and Harriet Lister completed those resident.

During the next ten years Elizabeth’s Ford Street family appear to have disintegrated and she started a new relationship in Kington, Herefordshire with farm labourer, Thomas Rogers born 1844. The Census of 1891 finds Elizabeth again resident in Presteigne. She is still unmarried, but is now working as a laundress and living in West Wall on the Radnorshire side of the river Lugg. There is no sign of the four children shown in 1881. She has two children, James R. Vaughan, aged 3 and another Jane, aged 2, whose birthplace is recorded as Kington, Herefordshire. Her new partner, Thomas Rogers is recorded as a Lodger, aged 47 years.

What happened to Elizabeth’s first four children? A search of the 1891 Census records finds only Robert Vaughan, aged 15 and described as a School Boy Inmate of Herefordshire & District Working Boys Home in Bath Street, Hereford. The objects of the institution were to receive orphans and other voluntary cases of boys from 9 to 14 years of age in a state of destitution, or growing up uncared for, under evil influences. They were clothed, fed, taught and employment was afterwards found for them. In addition to receiving an education the boys engaged in farming, gardening, shoe making, cutting firewood, basket making and cane working. The home was certified in 1896 for 115 boys to be resident.

Robert’s mother Elizabeth Vaughan started another family when she married William Parton of Knighton, Radnorshire in 1895. The Census of 1901 shows Elizabeth, aged 48, still working as a Laundress and now living in Hereford Street, Presteigne with William a Farm Waggoner, aged 58. There is no sign of her West Wall children, James R. and Jane E. who would only have been 13 and 12, but Elizabeth does have another two children, Thomas aged 9 and Mary Ann, aged 4.

On 29th November 1899, aged 22, Robert Vaughan who was still resident at the Hereford Working Boys Home, enlisted at Hereford in the 4th Battalion of the Shropshire Light Infantry. His Service Number was 2915, his occupation was Labourer, he was 5ft 4inches tall and weighed 116lbs. He had dark brown hair and eyes, a scar on the back of his neck and his religion was Baptist. Robert probably signed up for a seven year engagement in the army that may have involved service in India and South Africa. He was most likely still on the Army Reserve List when war broke out and would have been mobilised at Shrewsbury on 5th August 1914. After a period of retraining he disembarked in France on the 8th of April, 1915 and was assigned to the 1st Battalion Kings Shropshire Light Infantry as Private No. 6250. The Battalion was involved in almost continuous action and on 6th May 1915, whilst in trenches covering Chapelle d’Armentieres a day that was described in the Battalion War Diary as “quiet” Robert Vaughan was one of two men killed by either German sniper or machine gun fire. He was buried at Grave Ref D.29, Y Farm Military Cemetery, Bois-Grenier, Nord district of Northern France. Robert Vaughan appears not to have lost touch with his mother, as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission sent details of his burial to Mrs Elizabeth Parton of 19 Russell Street, Knighton, Radnorshire.

Robert Vaughan’s name was not engraved on Presteigne War Memorial in the 1920s and it was not until 2011 that his great-niece, Mrs Deborah Last began to research her family history that it was realised that Private Vaughan’s name was not on any war memorial in the U.K. Mrs Last contacted the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry Museum and they got in touch with Presteigne Town Council who arranged for Robert Vaughan’s name to be added to the Presteigne War Memorial.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Commonwealth War Graves Commission & King’s Shropshire Light Infantry Museum.


[George] Hebert
[Also listed as George Heber WATKINS] Private 24987, 12th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers formalery 4301, Herefordshire Regiment. Killed in action in Salonika (Greece) 13th January 1918. Born Discard, enlisted Knighton, resident Presteign.

George Hebert Watkins was the second child, born in 1891 at Yew Tree, Discoyd near Presteigne, Radnorshire to George Morgan Watkins an Agricultural Labourer born in 1865 at Cascob near Presteigne and his wife Mary Anne nee Thomas born 1866 also at Discoyd. Their first child, a daughter named Edith Susannah had been born at Yew Tree in 1887.

By the time the 1901 Census was taken the Watkins family had moved to Cemetery Cottage, Stapleton, Presteigne. George Morgan Watkins was employed as a Shepherd at a nearby farm. His son George Herbert had two new sisters; Elizabeth Mary born in 1893 and Annie Ethel born in 1897. Also resident was Amy Thomas a niece of Mrs Watkins born in 1897 and boarder John Badland a 55 year old Cattleman.

The family were still resident at Stapleton when the 1911 Census was held. Edith and Elizabeth were in service at Warden Court, St David’s Street, Presteigne the home of Dr Horace Debenham. George Herbert Watkins, now aged 20, was working as a Grocer’s Assistant and we find that he was now known to the family as “Heber”.

On March 1st 1915 at Knighton, Radnorshire, George Herbert Watkins enlisted in the Herefordshire Regiment and was assigned the Service Number 4301. After he completed military training he was transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers and became Private No. 4/24987, 12th Battalion attached to the 65th Trench Mortar Battery. The Battalion landed at Boulogne, France, as part of the 22nd Division, on 5th September 1915. Their stay in France was to be very short. On 27th October, 1915 the Division, having been moved by train to Marseilles, began to embark for the Greek port of Salonika [now Thessaloniki]. The 22nd Division was to remain in what became known as the Balkan Theatre for the rest of the war. This forgotten campaign of World War One pitched British, French, Greeks, Italians, Russians and Serbians against Bulgarians, Germans and Austro-Hungarians. Fought with limited resources, over difficult terrain, in extremes of climate and with the ever present threat of Malaria, British and Allied troops were sent to provide assistance to the Serbs who had been attacked by the Bulgarians and their German led allies. The intervention came too late to save Serbia from occupation and after a brief winter campaign in severe weather conditions the Anglo-French forces found themselves back at Salonika. During 1916 Salonika was reinforced and defence was changed into attack. British troops were involved in the unsuccessful Battles of Doiran against Bulgarian forces in April and May 1917. The frontline remained more or less static until September 1918 when the British attacked again at Doiran and our Serbian allies were also in action west of the river Vardar. The Bulgarian army was forced into a general retreat and an Armistice was signed on 30th September 1918. During the campaign the 22nd Division suffered casualties of 7728 killed, wounded and missing but vastly larger numbers sick with malaria, dysentery and other diseases that were rife in the Balkan Theatre of War.

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 31st January 1918 carried the following report; We regret to announce the death in action at Salonica of Private George Heber Watkins, of the Lancashire Fusiliers. Private Watkins was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs George Watkins of Broad Street, Presteign. He enlisted in the Herefords and after training in this country was transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers and shortly afterwards sent out to Salonica, where he has been fighting since. The sad news of his death was received on Thursday morning by his parents, with the intimation that he was killed in action on the 13th of January.

Private Watkins, Number 4/24987 12th Battalion, attached 65th Trench Mortar Battery, Lancashire Fusiliers is buried at Grave Ref. E.991 Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece. He is remembered on Presteigne War Memorial as “Watkins H, Herefordshire Regiment”.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Census Records, National Archives, Brecon & Radnor Express and Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


Ernest John
Ernest Webb was born in 1889 in Heyope near Knighton, the third child of William Webb, a carpenter, born Lloyney, near Knighton, Radnorshire and his wife Naomi nee Griffiths, born Stoke St Milborough, Shropshire. The family was still resident I Heyope in 1901, but by the time of the 1911 Census, Ernest and his parents and sister Sarah, born 1886 had moved to the Colony, Stonewall Hill, Norton, Presteigne. Ernest aged twenty-one was now working as a carpenter like his father.

In November 1914 Ernest travelled to Shrewsbury to enlist as a driver in the Army Service Corps. He signed a Short Service Form of Attestation for Military Service. The form tells us that twenty-five years old Ernest was 5ft 4ins tall with light brown hair and blue eyes. His occupation is Carter, a deliverer of goods by wagon or carriage, this would have probably qualified Ernest for his army role and it appears that it was a role he excelled at!

The Brecon & Radnor Express of 13th December 1917 reports; Norton Soldier Killed. The Late Driver Webb. We regret to announce the death of Driver E. J. Webb, son of Mr & Mrs William Webb of the Colony, Norton, Presteigne who was killed in action in France by shell-fire on November 20th 1917. Driver Webb was a well known and highly respected man in the district. He was a keen sportsman and played football for the Presteign St Andrews team for some years. He volunteered for service and enlisted in November 1914 in the Army Service Corps and subsequently became attached as a driver to the Royal Army Medical Corps. Driver Webb was home last January on leave, but has been on continuous service since. It is remarkable that his devotion to duty led him to give way to others on two occasions when he could have had leave and this made him all the more esteemed by his comrades. The parents, with whom much sympathy is expressed, received a letter from His Majesty, the King, expressing his sympathy. Writing to a young lady to which Driver Webb was engaged, a comrade from the front said that Driver Webb was killed instantaneously by shell-fire on 20th November 1917. The short service at his burial was heartrending to all who loved and esteemed him. The deepest sympathy was sent by all his friends, N.C.O.s and officers and men of the unit. They all held Ernest Webb in high esteem.

Driver Ernest John Webb No. T3/028078 Army Service Corps is buried in Hersin Communal Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Grave ref I.A.6. Hersin is a village about 5 kilometres south of Bethune and about 2 kilometres west of the main road from Bethune to Arras.

Sources: Presteigne War Memorial, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Census Records, National Archives and Welsh Newspapers Online.



Godfrey Stuart
Trooper 7889720, 5th Royal Tank Regiment, Royal Armourer Corps. Died 29 May 1942. Aged 22. Son of Rodolphus Croft, and of Mary Elizabeth Goft, of Presteigne, Radnorshire. His brother, Roger Malcoln, also died on service (see below). No known grave. Commemorated on ALAMEIN MEMORIAL, Egypt. Column 22.


Major. Father of G. S & R. M. Croft. He was granted a commission for the duration of hostilities as Pilot Officer N. 82776 on 28th June 1940. He died in East Radnor [Presteigne] on 5th April 1944.


Roger Malcolm
Serjeant 4929130, 1st Wing, The Glider Pilot Regiment, Army Air Corps. Died 18 September 1944. Aged 20. Son of Rodolphus Croft, and of Mary Elizabeth Croft, of Presteigne, Radnorshire. His brother, Godfrey Stuart Croft, also died on service (see above). Buried in ARNHEM OOSTERBEEK WAR CEMETERY, Gelderland, Netherlands. Plot 3. Row A. Grave 16.


William James
[On memorial as Corporal] Private No. 4105451 1st Bn. The Herefordshire Regt., King's Shropshire Light Infantry who died on Tuesday 18th July, 1944, aged 26. Son of William and Sarah Jones of Scottleton Street, Presteigne. Husband of Ethel Lilian Jones of Presteigne, Radnorshire. William Jones is buried at grave ref. IX. A. 24 Ranville War Cemetery, Calvados, Near Caen, France.


William Wesley
Corporal No 4198970 1st Bn Royal Welch Fusiliers who died 18th March 1943, aged 24. Son of William T Jones & Eliza Anne Jones of Dolley Green, Presteigne Radnorshire. Corporal Jones is buried at Grave Ref 5.J.18, Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar (Burma).


George [William]
Driver T/231558 Royal Army Service Corps died on Tuesday, 9th March 1943 aged 35. He is buried at grave ref V. A. 11. Milan War Cemetery Italy. George Lello was employed as a 'Grocer's Van Driver' and lodged at 6 Church Street, Presteigne when the 1939 Register was compiled. His parents were William J and Rosanna Lello of Monaughty, Radnorshire.


Fusilier 14589030, 6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. Died 16 August 1944. Aged 19. Son of William and Emily Lewis, of Presteigne, Radnorshire. Buried in LES LOGES-SAULCES CHURCHYARD, Calvados, France. Grave 2.


William Thomas
Private 4040785 1st Battalion, The Herefordshire Regiment, Kings Shropshire Light Infantry who died 15th August 1944, aged 31 [Born 6th July 1913]. Son of George E. Lewis and Rebecca Lewis of Cedarwood, Church Street, Presteigne, Radnorshire. Private Lewis is buried at Grave Ref XVII. B.20, Banneville-La-Campagne War Cemtery, Calvados, Normandy, France.


Richard John Francsi
[Recorded on the memorial as R J S ONSLOW, Captain, RN] Captain HMS Hermes, Royal Navy. Died 9 April 1942. Aged 46. Son of the Revd. Matthew Richard Septimus Onslow, M.A., and Mrs. Onslow; husband of Betty V. J. Onslow, of Tenbury, Worcestershire. No known grave. Commemorated on PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL, Devon. Panel 62, Column 3.


Lance Corporal 14589081 4th Bn., Royal Welch Fusiliers died on Friday 16th February, 1945 aged 20. son of Joseph and Ada Price of 2, Lower House Cottages, Broadheath Road, Presteigne and husband of Evelyn Margaret Price of Byton, near Presteigne. Clifford Price is buried at grave ref 51. A. 8. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany.


Sergeant 923347 18th Medium Regt., Royal Artillery, died on Tuesday, 10th October 1944 aged 24. Garfield was the son of Pryce and Susannah Rees and husband of Koreen Jane Rees of Penlan, Pilleth, Whitton, Radnorshire. Garfield Rees is buried at grave ref II. F. 18. Castiglione South African Cemetery, Bologna, Italy.


Thomas [Frederick]
Sergeant 637019, Royal Air Force. Died 14 October 1942. Aged 27. Son of Percy and Anne Rumsey, of Presteigne, Radnorshire. Buried in DELHI WAR CEMETERY, India. Plot 2. Row J. Grave 1.


William Herbert
Sergeant 924105 133rd Field Regt., Royal Artillery, died on 16th December 1944 aged 24. William Taylor was a son of George and Ethel Taylor of 13 Church Street, Presteigne, Radnorshire and husband of Sylvia Charlotte Taylor of Dursley, Gloucestershire. William Taylor is buried at grave ref V. D. 93. Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp, Belgium.
On joining R. A.
On being made Corporal
October 1944 as Sergeant with gun-crew in Holland


Captain 247093, Coldstream Guards. Died 5 January 1945. Aged 33. Son of Samuel Harold and Ethel Matilda Thompson; husband of Mary Thompson, of Presteigne, Radnorshire. Q.A.L.A.S. Buried in GEEL WAR CEMETERY, Antwerpen, Belgium. Plot III. Row C. Grave 16.


John Kinnersley
Sergeant 552001 Royal Air Force died on Monday, 16th October 1944 aged 23 in a Japanese P.O.W. Camp.He was captured by the Japanese on 8th March 1942. He is buried at grave ref 32. B. 11. Ambon War Cemetery, Indonesia. He was a son of Percy B. and Elizabeth Yates of 9, High Street, Presteigne, Radnorshire.

Last updated 1 December, 2021

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