The Fallen

The Original First World War Memorial in Talgarth was a metal plaque on the wall inside the Town Hall.  It was above the fireplace.  Armistice Day services were held in the town hall.  When the new War Memorial was created outside the plaque was removed and buried in the structure by the River Ennig.  When this was dismantled and the existing memorial was created the plaque was disinterred and placed in Mr John Gwynne’s store.  It was later moved to his son’s garage and more recently to Mr Gwynne’s garage.  It is thanks to the Gwynne family that it survives.

The wording is as follows.



BAKER R PTE                      PARTON W D PTE              SKANN F

DANCE CP                            POWELL D B LIEUT          SMITH J H

DAY O SGT                           POWELL J C PTE                 THOMAS J PTE

HARGEST W PTE                PRICE H D                            WATKINS J

HOBBY SGT                         PRYDDERCH R                    WATKINS J H

JONES H J PTE                    REED A                                  WILLIAMS E J

LLOYD W                              ROBERTS R                         WILLIAMS R PTE

MORRIS D                            ROBERTS W                         WILLIAMS W E D



It measures 33” by 27”


Lance Corporal R Baker  (As on CWGC)  Private R Baker (As on brass plaque)

10th Bn  South Wales Borderers
Born                                       Died 8 November 1917
If you put R. Baker, First world War, United Kingdom, Army into the CWGC   Find a Soldier search details of 82 men come up.  Adding Private reduces the number to 50.  To my knowledge none of these says anything about Talgarth.  Reports in the B&R tell us about a man called Richard (Dick) Baker from Talgarth  and it appears he is a Lance Corporal.
On 30 August 1917 in the Talgarth column the paper reports ‘The many friends of a young farm hand known locally as “Dick” Baker, engaged with one of the Welsh regiments in France are delighted to know that he has been awarded the Military Cross for bravery in rescuing comrades when under fire in “No Man’s Land”. Our young friend is very well known in Talgarth’
Sadly in the paper dated 29 November 1917, there is a report “On Saturday news reached here that Lance Corporal “Dick” Baker had been killed in France on November 8th.The news was received with deep regret by a large number of his friends in Talgarth where he was immensely popular.  Dick Baker was beloved by all who knew him.  Last summer he was awarded the Military Medal for rescuing comrades and holding his position with a machine gun for several hours.  Seven weeks ago he was home on leave.  He was a native of Herefordshire although latterly he had lived a good deal in Talgarth.”
He was born in Presteigne and lived in Letton, Herefordshire.  He enlisted in Newport Monmouthshire.  The Military Medal was created to recognize the gallantry of junior officers in the field.  The Military Cross, also for gallantry in the field, was for Officers although not above the rank of Captain.


Private Charles Phillip Dance

107 6th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery

Born                   1898                       Died 11 August 1918.

Private Charles Phillip Dance of the 6th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery was born in Herefordshire. He went to Australia where he was employed on a farm.  In 1914, shortly after the declaration of war, he enlisted in Australia,  saw service and was wounded in both the Dardanelles and France. He was killed in action in France.  His parents, Peter and Emma Dance, received a letter from the Lieutenant of his battery for whom Private Dance acted as orderly.  The officer wrote, ‘He was killed by a bomb.  What we all admired about the lad was his cheerfulness at all times and his bravery.  He was a most reliable guide and on a number of occasions he was a runner for me when in the line.  He was one of our best lads and a favourite of all in the unit.’

CWGC Heath Cemetery Harbonnieres

His parents were in Talgarth when he died but later went to Australia.  He was the son of Peter and Emma Dance of 13 Kingston Street, Richmond, Victoria, Australia.  In 1901 the family lived at The Oaks, Old Ross Road, Callow Herefordshire.

In 1911 two of his sisters, Phoebe and Millie, were working at Felin Newydd House, Llandefalle.


Sgt Owen Samuel Day

16th Bn Cheshire Regiment


Born in Newton Abbott Devon.  Birth registered in 1882.

Killed in action 9 September 1917

Son of Henry and Henrietta Day of 28 Osborne Street N.A. 1891 census says 38 Osborne St. 1891 census has him aged 8 born 1883 in Wolborough N.A.  Owen S. Day married Edith E. Palmer in Wellington district Somerset in 1911.  In 1911 census Edith is a single female aged 30, born 1881.  Her father Henry Charles aged 60 was a Stationary Engine man. Owen enlisted in Exeter and went to France on 16/8/1915.  He had three campaign medals (1915 star, British War medal and Victory medal) He earned a Military Medal in France awarded for bravery in the field.

CWGC Thiepval Memorial

In 1919 Edith married Arthur Williams. In 1911 census Arthur Williams lived at 6 New Street, aged 22 born in Brecon 1889, he was a General Farm Labourer living with his father, a widower and Woodman, and brother, a general labourer and sister, a dressmaker.  He and Edith lived at 4 New Street.

Brecon & Radnor Express 20 September 1917

I Talgarth Postman I I FALLS IN FRANCE. I On Tuesday afternoon, the news was received by Mrs Day, residing in New Street Talgarth, of the death in France of her husband. Sergt. Owen Day. of the “Cheshir.s.” which occurred on September 9th. Whilst on duty at a bombing post he was hit by a shell and killed instantaneously. He had been sometime before awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in the field, and he was one of those who held the long service good conduct medal. In August 1914, Sergt. Day was engaged on the postal service at Talgarth. and immediately war was declared he joined his old regiment, “The Cheshire” In a few months he was severely wounded and returned home for a time. He has been back in France since the early part of this year.  In Talgarth  Sergt.  Day had made many friends, his gentle, quiet, unostentatious manner was so natural. that his early death is all the more re gretted. Sergt. Day has left a wife with 3 small children, for whom much sympathy is felt. The captain of bi, company in a letter to the widow referred to the sympathy felt by all the men at the death of one who was a reliable and soldierly com rade.  Sergt. Day was a native of Devonshire, and won his Military Medal for carrying a wounded comrade under heavy fire. He served with the Cheshire* in the South African War. where he was wounded in the arm.


Private William Hargest

3rd Bn Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry


Born      1861?            Died 15 December 1915

Born  in Talgarth.  He enlisted Ferndale Glamorgan.  He was a Regular Soldier who served on the North-West Frontier of India 1897-98. He died 15 December 1915 in England aged 54 years of heart failure.  Buried Parkhurst Military Cemetery Isle of Wight.(CWGC)

He was possibly  related to John Hargest (Partner in Trade) age 36 born 1875 living at 1 South View (1911 census) The 1881 census has William,  aged 13 scholar born 1868 father John, mother Ann and 3 sisters , Margaret, Sarah and Elizabeth.  By 1891 they are at New Road Talgarth but no W or M.  1911 census has Hargests at Llanrafon.

Talgarth in Photographs Jewel of the Black  Mountains Vol. 1   Roger Williams

Page 39  There is a photograph of Mrs Anne Hargest standing outside what was claimed to be the smallest dwelling in the town of Talgarth.  The sign on the wall of the building says Mrs Hargest Bill Poster.  She is probably William’s mother.

22 Feb 1917 B&R: The death of Mrs Ann Hargest, Talgarth loses an old and well-known resident. Her death took place on Wednesday, February 14th. aged 60 years. For years she was engaged in bill-posting, and as a result was well-known to many visiting Talgarth. The interment took place on Saturday at the Talgarth Churchyard.

Sgt John Hobby

2nd Bn South Wales Borderers


Born in Talgarth.   Enlisted in Brecon.

John Hobby had served at Tsingtao, China in A Company. In August 1914 the 2nd Bn had nearly completed 2 years of its tour at Tientsin in Northern China.  In early August the Japanese entered the war and sent a division to capture the German port of Tsingtao.  It fell on 7th November 1914.  The 2nd Bn returned to the UK from China in January 1915 and in March left for Gallipoli.  The object of the expedition was to open a passage for ships through the Straits of Helles into the Sea of Marmora and on through the Bosphorus at Constantinople into the Black Sea, thus enabling Russia to export the grain needed by the Allies and to import munitions of war. After eight months’ fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the campaign was abandoned and the 2nd Bn took part in the final evacuation of the Peninsula on the 8 January 1916 and went to Egypt. In March 1916 the 29th Division, of which the 2nd Bn SWB was part, arrived in France.  It’s first big action was 1 July 1916 the opening day of the Battle of the Somme. Later they fought most gallantly at Moncy le Preux in April and May 1917.  John Hobby  was killed in action in France/Flanders on 23rd April1917.  The 2nd Bn. Had fought at Monchy le Preux in April and May 1917?

CWGC Tilloy British Cemetery Tilloy-les-Mofflaines

Tilloy-les-Mofflaines is a village 3 kilometres south-east of Arras, on the south side of the main road to Cambrai

John Hobby is listed as a soldier in the 1911 census living with his parents John, a platelayer,  and Mary in Station Yard.   His name is crossed out indicating perhaps that he had been included by mistake and was away  from  home in the army when the census was taken.

Private Henry James Jones

2nd Bn South Wales Borderers


Born Hay  (? In or registered in Hay district?)  Enlisted Brecon

Killed in action 11 April 1918

CWGC Ploegsteert Memorial


Private W. Lloyd worked at the Brecon and Radnor Asylum and is named on the plaque commemorating the four men from the asylum who died in the War as belonging to the Brecknock Battalion SWB.  This brass plaque is now in Bronllys Hospital.  The South Wales Borderers list has William Lloyd, born Wrexham, enlisted Rhyll, (1319 formerly 840 Royal Welsh Fusiliers) died in India 4 July 1915. W. Lloyd  is also on the Roll of Honour in the Chapel in Back Lane.  There it says he was in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

There is a Private Willie Lloyd 69199 RAMC listed by the CWGC who died at sea on HS “Dunluce Castle” 24 February 1916.  He was the son of the late Mr and Mrs W Lloyd of Leeds

There is a question of where W Lloyd on the memorial died but there is no doubt there was a man of this name who worked at the Asylum and gave his life in the Great War. People came from far and wide to work at the Asylum.

Private David Morris

13th Bn Welsh Regiment


David Morris was born in Talgarth  and enlisted in Bridgend. The CWGC site tells us he was the brother of Mr W.D. Morris of Park House, Talgarth.  The 1911 census lists D.J. Morris (married farm labourer) and W. Morris (single, Mason’s labourer) as both living at Brook Cottage near Upper Lion. David Morris was killed in action in France on the 27 May 1916 aged 38.

CWGC Rue-du-Bacquerot (13th London) Graveyard Laventie

The baptism of David John Morris took place in St. Gwendolen’s church 13th April 1879 – parents William & Eliza

Morris: in 1911 he appeared to be married but was living with his parents William and Eliza and brother William at Brook Cottage, Nr Upper Lion. The record of his marriage is yet to be foun

Private William  Benjamin  Parton was in the 24th Bn Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regiment) (701258)  He was born in Talgarth the son of Henry and Elizabeth Parton of Gravog Farm Talgarth.  By 1911 his parents were living at Panteg Isaf Pengenfford  They were aged 71 and 69.  In the 1901 census there is a William Parton working as a Cattle man at Lower Genfford for William Prytherch, the Reverend Prytherch’s father.  William Parton possibly went to Canada before the war. He died in France on 9 April 1917 age 31.

The opening day of the Battle of Arras was on that day, 9 April 1917.  The four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting side by side for the first time, scored a huge tactical victory in the capture of the 60 metre high Vimy Ridge. After the war, the highest point of the ridge was chosen as the site of the great memorial to all Canadians who served their country in battle during the First World War, and particularly to the 60,000 who gave their lives in France. It also bears the names of 11,000 Canadian servicemen who died in France – many of them in the fight for Vimy Ridge – who have no known grave. William Parton’s name is on the Vimy memorial.


Second Lieutenant David Bernard Powell

12thBn South Wales Borderers

He died 4 September 1917 and is remembered by the CWGC at Rocquigney-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt.

The 12th Battalion was a Bantam battalion.    Born in Rhymney Monmouth he was the son of John and Sarah Powell of the Tower Hotel.  He died 4 September 1917.  His father died in 1914 age 63 and there was an impressive report of the funeral in the paper.  Apart from David Mrs Powell had three other sons serving in the Great War. Thomas Herbert Morgan who went to Australia before the war was in the Australian force, Hugh Rowland Stephen was in the Royal Engineers and another son was in the Navy.

When David Bernard died there was a report in the Brecon and County Times.

We regret to announce that Lieut. David Bernard Powell seventh and youngest son of Mrs Powell of the Tower Hotel Talgarth, died in France on the 4th inst of wounds received the same day.  Lieut. Powell who was formerly employed in the United Counties Bank in Newport, joined the Brecknocks about two years ago and was ordered to go with a draft to India but at the last moment was retained in Pembrokeshire and transferred to the South Wales Borderers.  He went to France about 6 months ago.  He was only 23 years of age. It is a relief to his relations to know that he did not have a lingering illness and that he did not fear death.  “You can only die once” he told them when he left home.  Three brothers are serving their country, one in the Australian force, one in the Engineers and one in the Navy.

The Lieut. Col. Of deceased’s battalion wrote to Mrs Powell on the 5th inst. Stating :-

Dear Mrs Powell, It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you of the death of your son.  He was wounded by a sniper (whilst advancing with his men) yesterday morning at 6.30.  He was taken to hospital at 11.30 and died 3pm.  I was with him when he got hit.  The wound was in his side and although I saw it was a serious one did not think it would prove fatal.  The bullet must have penetrated the stomach which one of the M.O. was rather afraid of.  His funeral is today in the English Cemetery near here (the Burial Registration Committee (War Office) will furnish the locality on application).  All his brother officers and the men of this  Battn feel his loss deeply.  He was extremely popular with all ranks, beloved by all whom he knew, and was a very keen and promising young officer.  On my own behalf, and on behalf of all ranks of this Battalion I tender you my sincerest sympathy.

The matron of the hospital in which Lieut. Powell died wrote on the day of his death to Mrs Powell as follows :-

Dear Mrs Powell, I am very sorry indeed to have to send the following sad news, that your son Lieut. Powell died today of wounds in this hospital.  He was brought in this morning about 11.30 am, badly wounded in the chest.  He was conscious and the sister who was looking after him asked for your address and if he had any message to send and he could just say “slightly wounded” and “my love” but he very soon became rapidly worse.  It was beyond all human power and skill to save his life. He passed away very quietly but he did not speak again after saying “and my love”. He died at 3 pm.  It may comfort you a little that he was in hospital for the last few hours of his life where he had every care and attention.  He will be buried tomorrow in a military cemetery just outside the village of   —- .  A cross will be erected on which will be a small metal plate with his name and regiment and date of his death.  I send with this my deepest sympathy. I feel so sorry for the many sad mothers in England today.  I am quite sure they suffer as much if not more than our brave men out here and hope our prayers for peace will be answered.

A Rhayader friend serving Mr J. Gordon Lewis was at the burial.

David Bernard Powell – In St. Gwendolen’s church  there is a small lectern in his memory – Lt. D B Powell   To the Glory of God in memory 1893 – 1917.

Brecon county times 27 September 1917

THE LATE LIEUT. D. B. POWELL, TALGARTH.  Mrs Powell, of the Tower Hotel,            Talgarth, has received a very sympathetic letter from a brother officer of her youngest son,    Second Lieut. David Bernard Powell, S.W.B., who died in France on the 4th instant from     wounds received the same day. The writer states

Dear Mrs Powell,- From my heart I sympathise with you in your very sad bereavement by the loss of your dear  son, who was a brother officer in the same company as myself. I was away from the battalion, on a course at the time when .D.B. (as we called him) was wounded, and words cannot         express my feelings when I heard the sad news, and especially the saddest of all news, that he had passed away. Having been together from the time D.B. joined the battalion we were very good friends at all times and I feel today that I have lost one more friend through this terrible war. Yes, I have lost a brother and very many friends, and in D.B. I have lost a\near friend    and such 1 know is the feeling of all officers in the company and battalion, as D;B. was such a fine comrade and a splendid soldier, and admii ‘d by all for his devotion and keenness. But what is our loss here compared to the loss of his dear mother, sisters, and brothers, who          remain to mourn and long for their beloved son and brother? It is so sad to think that such a   young and so promising a career should be cut so short, indeed it is difficult to understand     and we cannot but trust the hands that rule in the fair and stormy weather. Our ways are not   His ways,” and some day all will be revealed to us. My sincere hope and trust is that God     wil be near to you all, to be your comfort, strength, and light in the darkest of hours. D.B. has   gone beyond us now, but his memories will ever remain to all of those who had the privilege of knowing him and in your sorrow you have every reason to be proud of such a brave and    noble son, who has sacrificed to the utmost for the love of his country and all who were near and dear to him, his home and the homes of Britain. He lived a noble life, in character and      service; he has died a glorious death,  a worthy crown to a worthy life,” which to him             today is to be an everlasting gain.” The memories of your son’s noble career will to you, I am sure, be the glorious lining to that longing for so dear a son which will ever remain with you I had the privilege today of being present at the burial of your brave son, which event I can     assure you was a most sad and, sacred one to all present. It may comfort you to know that he  is buried in a British cemetery alongside a great number of the brave heroes of our country   who have fallen in action. The funeral was attended by another officer and myself .of the      S.W.B. and also a party  of NC.O.s and his men. The fact that the battalion is still in the line alone prevented many more officers being present. Also Mr Gordon Lewis was present. The burial service was conducted by the Church of England Chaplain of the hospital, who, I feel  sure, will have written to you. One feels so helpless to find words of comfort for such a sad    bereavement to you all, but I would like to express to you my deepest and sincerest sympathy. May God give you the strength to bear this very heavy cross.”

Two other brother officers have written toMrs Powell, speaking of her son’s sterling qualities and his great kindness to everyone whom he knew. One adds  While in Haverfordwest camp we (the officers) all liked him, and he was equally as popular with his men. I was deeply       grieved to hear the sad news.” The other, a captain., writes —”Although a stranger, I feel I must write a line of sympathy to you all in your great sorrow.   Your son and I served together in the Brecknocks at Dale last year, and I liked him very       much as a good officer and nice minded boy. He spoke to me of you (his mother), and I always like to hear boys speak of        their mo hers. It shows that while doing their duty for their country their hearts are is the right place. I know that no written words can be of any use to you, but still just a                             recalling of a thought of your boy, I know, will be precious to you.”  Writing home recently, Lieut. Powell spoke very highly of his men, stating that  he had every confidence in them, as they  were steady and brave.

Brecon County Times 20th September 1917

A memorial service for Second Lieut. David Bernard Powell son of Mrs Powell of the Tower Hotel, who died of wounds in France on Sept. 4th, will be, held at St. Gwendoline’s Church, Talgarth on Sunday next, tho 23rd inst, at 3 p.m.

.  In Oct 1913 one of the distinguished visitors at the Tower Hotel was Brigadier General Wingfield of Stratford of West Malling who stayed with friends for a month’s salmon fishing. He had retired from the Royal Engineers in 1909 but in 1914 went back and held command on the Western Front.  He was Commander of the 46th division when it broke the Hindenberg line in 1918.

Private John Charles Powell

12th Bn South Wales Borderers


Born Maesmynis Breconshire. Son of John and Jane Powell of Hay.  Husband of Mary Jeanie Powell of Red House Talgarth.

Died 8 December 1917

John Powell is remembered at CWGC Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension

For much of the First World War, Abbeville was headquarters of the Commonwealth lines of communication and No.3 BRCS, No.5 and No.2 Stationary Hospitals were stationed there variously from October 1914 to January 1920. The communal cemetery was used for burials from November 1914 to September 1916, the earliest being made among the French military graves. The extension was begun in September 1916.

Brecon County Times 13.12.1917 reports that John PowellJohn Powell is remembered J died of wounds.  He joined the colours in 1916.  He was manager of a clothes shop in Talgarth belonging to Mr Shepherd of Hay.  Sympathy was expressed for the widow and her two little girls.

Private Harry Dallow Price

Private Harry Dallow Price was in the 27th Bn Canadian Infantry, (441054)  He was christened in St Gwendoline’s Church on the 9 June 1896.  As a child he lived with his father Thomas who was a Talgarth butcher, mother Fanny Ester (nee Dallow) and sisters at 1 Castle View, Bronllys Road.  His mother died and his father married Isabella.  They sailed for Canada on the Tunisian on 7 September 1905 together with Harry and two younger sisters.  Harry’s older sisters stayed in Talgarth with their paternal Grandparents and lived in Castle Terrace.

Private Harry Dallow Price died on the 15 September 1916 aged 20.  One of the most notable battles of the Somme the 27th Battalion participated in was the Battle of Courcelette on September 15, 1916, the day of Harry’s death.  This battle marked the first time in history tanks were used in warfare.  All six tanks used that day were knocked out; they were incredibly unreliable.  The Canadians suffered around 7000 casualties during the battle that lasted until the 22nd of September.  Harry is named on the Vimy Memorial by the CWGC.


Private Rhys Thomas Prydderch

13th Labour Coy. The King’s (Liverpool Regiment)


Son of William Prydderch, of Froudeg, Crynant, Neath.

Died 23 March 1917 age 34

Private Rhys Thomas Prydderch  13th Labour Coy. The King’s (Liverpool Regiment) (Service number 70532) preached in the Town Square. He was born in Llandeilo’r-fan, the only son of William and Sarah Prydderch formerly of Lower Genfford Farm.  According to a report in the Brecon and Radnor (29 March 1917),  he was one of the first batch of pupils for the Brecon County School.  He was an ordained Minister of the Calvanistic Methodist denomination, having passed his Welsh B.A. with Honours.  He worked at a mission hall in Swansea and then took up the pastorate of Hay and Clifford C. M. Churches.  He became ill while on active service and died in a military hospital on Easter Monday 23 March 1917 aged 34 years.  The report in the paper tells us that to many he was the ‘man of Galilee’ impersonated.  He was a man of great spiritual force and one who thoroughly lived in every detail the Christian life.  He held open air services on the Market Square, Talgarth.  His name was a household word in Talgarth and Bronllys where he did a great deal of work visiting the sick and aged’. Rhys volunteered in 1914 but was refused due to a bad hip.  He was urged to offer his services as an army chaplain but he said perhaps he could be of some service in another capacity. According to the paper, he never sought prominence preferring to do his duty unobtrusively. His father lived at The Blaina Farm. He is also commemorated at Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery.

CWGC Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery

St. Omer was the General Headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force from October 1914 to March 1916. Lord Roberts died there in November 1914. The town was a considerable hospital centre with the 4th, 10th, 7th Canadian, 9th Canadian and New Zealand Stationary Hospitals, the 7th, 58th (Scottish) and 59th (Northern) General Hospitals, and the 17th, 18th and 1st and 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Stations all stationed there at some time during the war. St. Omer suffered air raids in November 1917 and May 1918, with serious loss of life.

Lance Corporal A G Reed

3rd Bn Grenadier Guards


Born  Nettleton, Wiltshire 1895        Date of death 31/07/1917

Commemorated at Artillery Wood Cemetry, Boesinghe

Brecon County Times      23 August 1917

Killed in Action.  News was received in Talgarth on Saturday of the death in action on July 31st of Corpl A. Reed, Grenadier Guards, who previous to the war was employed as an attendant at the Brecon and Radnor Asylum, Talgarth.  He joined up as a reservist at the commencement of hostilities and has seen much fighting having previously been wounded in the head.  He was promoted for good work in the field to the rank of King’s Corporal.  He leaves a widow and one child for whom much sympathy is expressed.

Brecon County Times     30 August 1917

The late Corporal A. Reed, whose death we reported last week, was the son of Mr and Mrs George Reed, The Elms  Farm, Nettleton, Chippenham, Wilts and married Nurse Doris Pewtner, daughter of a well- known  Brecon recruiting sergeant.  He was 27 years of age.  The cheerful disposition which made him very popular at the Asylum and in the Talgarth district went with him to the trenches and his letters home were always written in good spirits.  Before he became an attendant at the Asylum he was in the police force in Abergavenny.  A brother is serving at the front.

Doris is in 1901 census age 7 in Aldershot with father John, mother Mary and brother William  Father is a bandsman.

The minutes of the Asylum Visiting Committee record that Alfred George Reed, an ordinary attendant, was killed in action on 31 July 1917 and that money due to him should go to the person to whom it is legally due.  He was Lance Corporal A. G. Reed 3rd Battalion the Grenadier Guards, (14577) He died during the fighting at Boesinghe, north of Ypres in Belgium.  In recent years when the land at Boesinghe was about to be developed it was excavated by amateur archaeologists who found an enormous amount of evidence of the trenches.  The German and British trenches were only 30 yards apart.  The battle that undoubtedly took place there is not recorded in the usual histories of the First World War and is known as the forgotten battle but it was where Alfred Reed an ordinary attendant at the Asylum met his end.  He is commemorated by the CWGC at Artillery Wood Cemetery, Boesinghe.

Brecon County Times reports:

Killed in Action.  News was received in Talgarth on Saturday of the death in action on July 31st of Corpl A. Reed, Grenadier Guards, who previous to the war was employed as an attendant at the Brecon and Radnor Asylum, Talgarth.  He joined up as a reservist at the commencement of hostilities and has seen much fighting having previously been wounded in the head.  He was promoted for good work in the field to the rank of King’s Corporal.  He leaves a widow and one child for whom much sympathy is expressed. A week later the paper tells us, The late Corporal A. Reed, whose death we reported last week, was the son of Mr and Mrs George Reed, The Elms Farm, Nettleton, Chippenham, Wilts and married Nurse Doris Pewtner, daughter of a well- known Brecon recruiting sergeant.  He was 27 years of age.  The cheerful disposition which made him very popular at the Asylum and in the Talgarth district went with him to the trenches and his letters home were always written in good spirits.  Before he became an attendant at the Asylum he was in the police force in Abergavenny.  A brother is serving at the front.

The curious thing about Corporal A. Reed is that the Census, Marriage and Army records all have him under the name of Arthur yet the Asylum refers to him in the Minutes and on the Plaque as Alfred.  Arthur Reed, son of George Reed, according to the 1901 census, was born in 1895 but if he were 27 years when he died in 1917 his birth should have taken place in 1890?


Private Reginald Charles Roberts 1st/2nd Bn Monmouths (267529) and       Private William Arthur Roberts 4th Bn South Wales Borderers (27809) formerly 5133, Devonshire Regt. were the sons of David and Annie Roberts. William was born and baptized in Usk in 1882; Reginald was born and baptised in Talgarth in 1886 when the family was living in High Street.  In 1901 they were in Upper Lion Inn where David was described as an Inn keeper and Timber haulier. By 1911 Annie had died and David was married to Lizzie.  He was still a timber haulier and they were living in Swan Terrace. William and Reggie both enlisted in Talgarth and are reported in the B&R on the 5th July 1917 as missing. Willie went to India with the Brecknocks in 1914 and died in Turkey 25 March 1918.  Reginald was in France and was killed in action 22 May 1918.

Willie is commemorated a the CWGCt Baghdad north Gate cemetery

In 1914, Baghdad was the headquarters of the Turkish Army in Mesopotamia. It was the ultimate objective of the Indian Expeditionary Force ‘D’ and the goal of the force besieged and captured at Kut in 1916. The city finally fell in March 1917, but the position was not fully consolidated until the end of April. Nevertheless, it had by that time become the Expeditionary Force’s advanced base, with two stationary hospitals and three casualty clearing stations.

Sapper William Robinson

Inland Water Transport, Royal Engineers


Born 1884?                                                   Died 13 October 1917

Private W. F. Robinson or Sapper William Robinson was in the Royal Engineers, Inland Water Transport, (200861). He was born in Talgarth and was the husband of Mary Hannah Robinson of 6 Trefecca Road. In 1891 he was living at Blainffynant Farm with his mother Margaret and grandfather Thomas Thomas. In 1901 he is at the same farm with his uncle David Thomas. He enlisted in Cefn-Coed, Glamorgan. William was working with the Royal Engineers on the railway line in present day Iraq where he suffered sunstroke, was sent by boat to a hospital in Bombay; he suffered a fatal fall and died aged 33 on 13 October 1917 in India. He is buried in Bolarum Cavalry Barracks Cemetery and remembered with honour on Madras 1914-1918 War Memorial, Chennai.

‘Mr Jennings informs me William was in the Royal Engineers working on the railway line in present day Iraq. He suffered sunstroke, was sent by boat to a hospital in Bombay, where a suffered a fatal fall. He does not have a photograph of him.’

Private Frank Ronald Skann

Brecknockshire Bn. South Wales Borderers


Born  Worcester 1896                                Died 4 July 1915

He was killed in action in Mesopotamia.  Enlisted in Brecon.  Recorded on the CWGC sheet as resident in Broad Street Worcester.  Remembered at Heliopolis (Aden) Memorial

Private Frank Ronald Skann  was one of the Territorials from F company, the Brecknockshire Bn of the SWB., (200697 formerly service number 2334)  He was killed in action 4 July 1915. The CWGC commemorates him on the Heliopolis (Aden) Memorial. The South Wales Borderers Volunteer Battalions, first known as the Brecknockshire Rifle Volunteers, formed at Talgarth in 1861.  From 1885  the 1st Volunteer Battalion, South Wales Borderers was given company identification.  Talgarth was ‘F’ Company.  On 1 April 1908  1st (Brecknock) Battalion South Wales Borderers was formed out of the 1st Volunteers.  In 1914 Lt D. Jones was Officer Commanding ‘F’ Company Talgarth. Llais  Liafur  (a  weekly Welsh language newspaper which was supportive of socialist politics)  31 July 1915  reports  on the work of the Brecknock Territorials in their fight with the Turks around Aden.  A letter received from an officer in the D Company says they went out to meet a force of Turks and marched 25 miles over the sand under a blazing sun.  It was about 6.30 on Sunday evening July 4 when the Brecknocks had their baptism of fire and they were in the thick of the fighting until three o’clock on Monday morning when they retired being outnumbered.  F. R. Skann, F Company Talgarth was reported missing.

Corporal Joseph Herbert Smith

Brecknockshire Bn. South Wales Borderers.


Born Yardley Worcs. Enlisted Talgarth.  He was one of the Territorials.  Lived in Abergavenny.  Son of William and Emily Smith 63 Coldbath Rd King’s Heath Birmingham. Husband of Mary Ann Smith

Died 4 July 1915 of apoplexy (sunstroke. Died age 36years. Born Yardley Worcs. Enlisted Talgarth.  He was one of the Territorials.  Died 4 July 1915 of apoplexy (sunstroke)  Report in paper 17 July 1915 13 men from 1st Breconshire Territorial Bn Aden died this way.

He was a gardener at the Asylum for 7 years. Joined the Territorials, member of St Gwendolen’s church, member of Oddfellows.  He was a general favourite and a gloom was cast over Talgarth when the news of his death came. Report in paper from D.H. Morgan (Trip) who found him dying by the side  of the road when Talgarth and Brecon Companies were mixed and trying to get to Labej before the Turks got there.  When Trip found him he had bad heat stroke.  Trip fetched water and put a rug from an abandoned cart over a bush to give shade.  The only word Joe said was ‘Trip’.  There was a memorial service in St Gwendolen’s .  Reverend Williams preached from St Paul ‘Whom I am and whom I serve’.  It was eloquent and touching.  Muffled peal. Dead March in Saul.

Private John Thomas

2nd Bn Welsh Regiment


Born Llanspyddid, Brecon. Lodged in New Road, Talgarth.  Enlisted Cardiff

Died of woundsWestern European Theatre 24 November 1915

CWGC Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery Souchez

Private John Watkins

Born 1888                                Died  26 March 1916

9th Bn  Royal Welsh Fusiliers

Service no.15944

There is a record in the Brecon County Times 13 April 1916 of the death of Private John Watkins, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, son of Walter Watkins who was a shepherd at the Brecon and Radnor Asylum, for whom great sympathy is felt.  On Sunday evening the Talgarth Bell-ringers rang a muffled peal in honour of the deceased he being the first Talgarth man to be killed in action in the present war.

Details on the CWGC have Pte J Watkins (15944) died of wounds 26 March 1916 and he is commemorated at CWGC Merville Communal Cemetery

Private J H Watkins

There is a record of John Henry Watkins, age 28 years, marrying Ellen Full in St Gwendoline;s Chutch, Talgarth  on 5 July 1913.  He was living at 2 Regent Street

The CWGC  records J H Watkins 88870 9th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers died 26 November 1918

Lance Corporal Edgar J. Williams

“B” Squadron 1st/1st Royal Gloucestershire Hussars


Born 1894         Died 9 Jan 1917

Born Llandefalle.  Son of Rees Williams Neuadd Febn Talgarth died age 22.

In 1911 Edgar Josiah Williams, born 1894 was living with his parents Rees and Jane Williams at the New Inn, Talgarth.

The Brecon County Times  14. Oct. 1915 reports,
TALGARTH CANADIAN’S LOYALTY. Pte T. J. Williams, a Talgarth boy, and now one of the well-known “Princess Pat’s” Regt., is home on sick leave, after spending three months in hospital at Sborncliffe and Ramsgate. Pte Williams left Talgarth some seven years ago for the Canadian North West, going right through to the City of Saskatoon, situated in Central Saskatchewan, where be was employed by the Government’s Official Administrator for the last six years. When the call came from the Motherland to take up arms he was among the first to join the colours with the Canadians, and came across to do his bit” for the old I Homeland. He, like others, gave up a good position and left home, wife and child behind. Me rightly thinks that Canada is a country to be proud of there is no need of conscription there. When War was declared England asked if Canada could send 60,000 troops, and what has she done ? She has at the front or in preparation over 300,000 troops, and after all that drain on a comparatively small population, only some two weeks ago in Edmonton she raised a full Battalion in eleven days, in Toronto a Battalion in two weeks, and in Saskatoon tbe 65th Battalion is at full strength after the thousands that have already left there. Pte Williams has been glad to meet old friends on this side once again, and to find that so large a number of his old friends and other Talgartbians bad heard the call to arms and stepped forward to protect the honour of their country, and to retain the liberty and justice which our forefathers fought and died for. Pte Williams re turns to the Base on the 15th inst.

 Private Reuben Williams

1st/2nd Bn Monmouthshire Regiment


Born 1895                                        Died 29 June 1917

Reuben was the son of Thomas and Annie Williams of Bailiau Bach. In both the 1901 and 1911 census Thomas and Annie are at Ffosrhys.  The CWGC gives their address as Baileau Bach Farm, Talgarth. Possibly by 1917 Thomas and Mary had moved into Baileau Bach as the two properties are close to each other and were presumably both part of the Williams’ farm.

Reuben was born in Talgarth.  The 1901 census lists Benj Rurline born 1895 as one of Thomas and Annie’s sons.  The CWGC tells us that Reuben was 22 when he died of wounds in Flanders so Benj Rurline is probably Reuben.  There was an account in the Brecon County Times 9 August 1917 of his memorial service.  It was conducted by the Pastor Rev Tudor Jones Trevecca College who spoke of a promising young man who had given his life fighting for his country.  Several of deceased’s favourite hymns were sung. Mrs Katie Morgan presided at the organ and played the Dead March in Saul (Handel) at the end of the service.

The Brecon County Times 12 July 1917  reports,

Killed in Action.  The parents of Reuben Williams, Ffosrhys farm, near Talgartb, have been informed that he has been killed in France. Before joining up be was at Great Porthamel and was a very steady boy, much respected. Great sympathy is felt for his parents.

Thomas and Annie have a strong connection with the former Presbyterian chapel in Talgarth.  There is a hymn number board in memory of Reuben who is on the list in the chapel of Bethlehem Calvanistic Methodists from Talgarth who served.

Reuben is commemorated at CWGC Llissenthoek Military Cemetery which is the second largest cemetery in Belgium

During the First World War, the village of Lijssenthoek was situated on the main communication line between the Allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields. Close to the Front, but out of the extreme range of most German field artillery, it became a natural place to establish casualty clearing stations.  Reuben most probably died in one of these.

Private William Francis David Williams

22nd Bn. Royal Fusiliers


Known as Willie he was born in Talgarth and lived in Abergavenny.   Son of late Evan and Mary Williams of High Street Talgarth.  Mary  Williams was a grocer at Westbrook House, formerly the Horse and Jockey.  William in Abergavenny and he  joined the Bankers Battalion and was transferred to the Royal Fusiliers. He went to France October 1916.   William died of chest wounds in a casualty clearing station 19 February 1917 age 22.  His grandfather William Price was an Innkeeper and Wheelwright who ran the Horse and Jockey. Memorials in the now redundant Bethania United Reform Church

The CWGC commemorates him at Varennes Military cemetery.