The Greatest Sacrifice
Records of Blaenau Tywi servicemen and soldiers who gave their life for this country.
As there is no official memorial, the only official record for soldiers who died in the First and Second World War in this area are those in our Chapels and Churches.
- Cwmsarnddu Chapel – a plaque for 2 soldiers – Daniel Richards, Plasnewydd (R.R.R. 9th Batt. Kings Royal Rifles – Ypres died 25.10.1915 and was buried in Cwmsarnddu), and William John Hughes (R.F.A) Penbrynllan. (died 18.3.1918; buried Sangatte, France).
- Soar, Tynewydd Chapel – plaque on wall in Welsh – Cyril Frederick Hughes, Burma House, Cilycwm (Royal Welsh Fusiliers) “a fu farw o’i glwyfau mewn ysbyty yn Burma”. (died 20.4.1943; buried Maynamati, Bangladesh)
- Rhandir-mwyn Church – there is a plaque on the wall which was moved from Salem Chapel (after its closure) to the Church. There is also a list/certificate giving a roll of honour of the soldiers that returned from the first World War; the list is divided between those who saw overseas service (13) and those who gave service on the home front (5). The roll of honour has been very carefully decorated with calligraphy in English and incorporates most of Wales’ National emblems – daffodils, “Cymru am Byth”, a harp, the three feathers and “Ich Dien”. The plaque contains the names and regiments of the fallen – Pte. Johnny Jones, 14th Welsh Regiment; Pte. Timothy Davies, Kings Royal Rifles; Pte. David John Davies, Welsh Regiment; Driver Ifor Towy Rees, 102 Bde. R.F.A. and Pte David Lloyd, Welsh Regiment. Another source of information on Rhandir-mwyn’s efforts in the Great War can be found in David Owen’s “Random Recollections of Rhandir-mwyn”, page 31. His list of fallen heroes includes the above plus Edward Dickson (Vicarage) plus details of money raised by a community collection and distributed to families of these heroes.
- Cynghordy Church – there is a plaque (in English) on the wall listing 6 soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War (1914-1918). They were John Jones; James Jones; T.R. Jones; A.R. Lewis; J. Redding and E. Redding. (Note that there are 2 sets of brothers in this list).
- Cil-y-cwm Church – marble plaque on wall – John Ebenezar Thomas, Aberhosan (1st Welsh Guards) (died10.9.1916; buried Longueval, France)
There are many other plaque’s on the walls of Cil-y-cwm Church which record family members that have died whilst being involved with the services (families from Cefntrenfa and Bwlchtrebannau during the 19th Century with connections to the Navy i.e. Rev William Bowen, several years as chaplain aboard HMS Dreadnought and David Powell Price, Rear Admiral etc who died while in command of the English and French squadron before Petropaulovski, 1851 – note that I am not sure if these people are buried in Cil-y-cwm churchyard??).
Further information on individual soldiers may be found on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website www.cwgc.org including date of death, regiment, burial location etc.
- Other historical details – There are records of 16 archers from “The Mallaen” being paid to fight in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Also there is a record of a soldier from Cil-y-cwm (William Williams) returning from Waterloo in 1815.
Interesting monument inscriptions from the Chapels are :-
- Smyrna Chapel, Porth-y-rhyd – deaths of 3 members of a family from Caeglas, Porth-y-rhyd. On the 16th of May 1857, David Williams died after trying to save his 2 sons (Thomas 10 and David 8 ) from a fire.
- Seion Chapel, Rhandir-mwyn has an interesting inscription (in Welsh) for Jane Pritchard who died 1954 :– “Ar ddôl Troedrhiwgelynen dawnsia’r wyn, A mwyn cân yr adar gwylltion. Ond trwm yw troed y bugail trist, A Sian tan cist yn Seion.”
- Bethel Chapel, Cynghordy there is the tragic (yet probably quite common in past days) death of many children from the same family. David and Anne Price, Cwmcaebach lost 3 children in the 1860’s – Mary, aged 16; James, aged18 and Thomas aged 21. They also lost 2 children in the 1870’s – Mary Anne aged 8 and Joseph aged 20.
- Siloh Chapel – Thomas Williams of Talog died 1865 and has a very unusual inscription :-
When I am dead and in my grave, When all my bones are rotten.
In this place my name you’ll find, When I am quite forgotten.
This information is taken from files and documents collected and recorded by volunteers from the Dyfed Family History Society Blaenau Tywi Branch, Secretary Davina Price, Maes-yr-awel Siloh. Tel. No. 01550721101.