Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds War Memorials

Guest Keen and Nettlefolds Cardiff Works WWI

Guest Keen and Nettlefolds Cardiff Works WWI memorial


Guest Keen and Nettlefolds Castle Works WWII

Castle Works, Cardiff WWII war memorial

History behind some of the names on the memorials:-

WWI Memorial:


Corporal, 16th Battalion, Welsh Regiment (Service Number: 23744)

John BannisterJohn Bannister was born Joseph Bannister in Leeds in 1886 to John Bannister, a mariner boiler maker originally from Farsley near Leeds and Margaret Maria Bannister née Parker originally from Leeds. The Bannister family moved to Cardiff shortly afterwards living initially at 1 Pontypridd Street, East Moors, Cardiff before moving to 31 Eclipse Street, Adamsdown.  John worked as a stoker at the Dowlais steel works.  He married Ellen Wells, originally from Weston-super-Mare, at St German’s church, Adamsdown, on 30 Sep 1911.  John and Ellen had two boys together and a stepchild  and lived at 14 Tin Street.  He served as a Corporal in the 16th Battalion, Welsh Regiment.  John was killed in action on 7 Jul 1916 aged 30 in the attack on the Hammerhead in the Battle of Mametz Wood.  He is buried at the Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz, France (grave VI. E. I.).  He is remembered on the Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds War Memorial. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.  John’s brother George also lost his life in WWI when serving with the Royal Navy.



Private, 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment (Service Number 30649)

Fred Holbrook

Fred Holbrook was born in Splott on 5 May 1898 and baptised at St Saviour’s church on June 13th.  His mother was Ellen Holbrook née Streat, originally from Ottery St Mary, Devon and his father, Henry Thomas Holbrook, originally from Chard, Somerset and a bricklayer who died as the result of an industrial accident at the East Moors Ironworks in 1907.  In 1911 widowed Ellen and her children lived at 67 Llanelly Street, Splott.  Fred attended Moorland Road school and then worked as a bricklayer at the Dowlais works prior to joining up in February 1915.  He was posted to France on 12 May 1915 and therefore probably underage when he joined up. He was wounded on  16 July 1916 and the date suggests that his wounds were received in operations connected with the Battle of Bazentin Ridge.  Fred Holbrook died on 27 July 1916 aged 18.  He is buried in the Heilly Station Cemetery.  Three Casualty Clearing Stations (hospitals) were based around what is now the cemetery when the Battle of the Somme started, and it was linked by railway almost to the front lines.  More of Fred’s story is told in this well-researched piece. Fred Holbrook is remembered on the Splott War Memorial in front of St Saviour’s church and the Guest, Keen  & Nettlefolds memorial.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Driver, “D” Battery, 82nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (Service Number: 25783)

John McConnell headstoneJohn McConnell was born in Cardiff in 1893 to William Henry McConnell, a shipwright, originally from Cardiff and Margaret McConnell née Coughlin, originally from Cardiff. In 1901 the McConnell family lived at 20 Milton Street, Roath and by 1911 they had moved to 47 Wimborne Street, Splott.  John worked as a locomotive brakesman at the Dowlais Works. In WWI he served as a driver in the Royal Field Artillery.  He was killed in action on 21 Oct 1917 on the Western Front aged 23 along with his officers, the Major and Captain of the battery at the same time. He is buried at the  Vlamertinge New Military Cemetery, west of Ypres, Belgium (plot XII. F. 4.). John is remembered on the Guest Keen and Nettlefolds Cardiff Works WWI memorialCommonwealth War Graves Commission record.



Private, 2nd (Welsh) Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps (Service Number: 1477)

William John Thomas was born in Radyr, Cardiff in 1893 to John Thomas, a railway worker, originally from Radyr, and Ester Annie Thomas née Noote, originally from Cardiff. In 1901 the was living at 44 Harriet Street, Cathays with his parents and brother and sister. In 1911 he was living at 56 Thesiger Street, Cathays with his step-mother Mary Thomas.  Before the war he worked as a crane diver at the Dowlais-Cardiff steelworks.  He joined the 2nd Welsh Field Ambulance before war began.  He died in the Gallipoli of wounds received on 13 Aug 1915 aged 22.  He is buried at Hill 10 Cemetery, Suvla, Gallipoli, Turkey (plot I. C. 12.).  In 2021 a metal detectorist discovered an ID tag belonging to William Thomas in a field near Henley, Suffolk. The article says William Thomas served on the hospital ship HMS Sulva.  The article also puts forward possibilities as to why his tag may have ended up in Suffolk saying it may have been lost when he might have been posted to Shrubland Hall, which is quite near to where it was found and was requisitioned as a military hospital or another theory is it may have been lost when he was visiting a girlfriend in the Cambridge area. He is remembered on the Dowlais-Cardiff Guest Keen & Nettlefolds war memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.