2nd Lt Vivian Llewellyn, Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Killed in action 4th November 1918, Poix de Nord, France
Commemorated with a memorial at Highfields Church, Monthermer Road (originally in Crwys Hall Presbyterian Church)
Born in 1898 Vivian was the 2nd of 10 children for Lemuel & Isabella of Cathays Terrace, Cardiff. He went to Gladstone Primary, won a scholarship to Cardiff Municipal Secondary School at Howard Gardens, and then went on to gain certificates in French and Spanish at Cardiff Technical College. Vivian joined his father at Messrs John Cory & Sons on Cardiff docks as a coal trimmer.
In 1916 he enlisted with the Artists’ Rifles Officer Training Corps in Cardiff, gaining his commission in 1917. Probably because of his language skills, Vivian was assigned to the 14th Service Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (RWF) as an Intelligence Officer responsible for initial translation of enemy documents and interrogations of prisoners at the front line in case there was immediate information that the officers needed.
RWF’s campaign diary says: “Nov 4 At Poix du Nord, at 5a.m., two Headquarters Officers were killed and the Commanding Officer was wounded” and the official RWF Record (pg 492) describes the attack to clear a forest going into action at 5.30am and, although, assisted by a mist, there were many casualties noting that “the 14th, Lieutenant WBC Hunkin and Lieutenant V Llewellyn killed”.
Vivian was buried in Forest Communal Cemetery, France and a memorial tablet funded by the Cory shipping company was dedicated on 4th May 1919 at Crwys Hall Presbyterian Church, on Monthermer Road (in what was believed to have been in those days in the old parish boundary of Roath).
The RWF Regimental Band played and tributes were given by his Commanding Officer, Major WP Wheldon DSO, and John Cory who said that had Vivian “been spared he would … have attained a very high position in the business world at Cardiff Docks” and was “a son worthy of his father”.
This memorial tablet was lost in the mid-1980s but was rediscovered and restored by the Llewellyn family descendants. It was rededicated on 5th May 2018 at Highfields Church, Monthermer Road, Cathays, not far from its original position in Crwys Hall.
The above article was kindly provided by Jeremy Sparkes, a great-nephew of 2nd Lt Vivian Llewellyn.
The following information regarding other memorials at this church is taken from “War memorials in the city of Cardiff” compiled by David V Hughes (1995):-
The Calvanistic Methodist
Church In Wales
Monthermer Road Cathays Cardiff
In affectionate and ever grateful memory of the following members and adherents of this Church who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War.
Being Dead they yet speak.
L/Cpl Ainsley Sloman S.W.B Pte Elwyn Edwards G.S.R
Pte L P Peterson Welsh Regt Cpl WC Smith Welsh Regt
Sgt E J Davies M.M K.S.L.I L/Cpl G Senior R.D.G
Cpl G T Willcocks A.S.C Rfmn Percy John L.I.R
Lieut Raymond Jones R.A.M.C Gnr Ivor Stickler R.F.A
Pte G Herbert Welsh Regt Rfmn AC Parfitt Rifle Brgd
Pte E J Bennett Welsh Regt L/Cpl AS Meyrick R.I.F
L/Cpl Percy Purnell Welsh Regt 2nd/Lt V Llewellyn R.W.F
Pte A J Tackley Glos Regt Gnr Leonard Williams R.F.A
Their name shall live for ever and ever.
Erected July 1919
(Note: Whether the above memorial still exists is not known. I made an enquiry at Highfields chuch and they were not aware of the memorial. Ted Richards. Jan 2019)
GILBERT JOHN TUCKER WILLCOCKS
Corporal, 2nd Company, 9th Div Train, Army Service Corps (Service Number T2/11639)
Gilbert ‘Bert’ John Tucker Willcocks was born in Taunton, Somerset in 1891. He was one of nine children born to Elias Willcocks, a miller, originally from Crediton, Devon, and Avis Jane Willcocks, née Tucker, originally from Cannington, Somerset. In 1901 the Willcocks family were living in Swansea. After leaving school Bert worked as a clerk for the Swansea Education Office before becoming a commercial traveller for Messrs Rank and Co. Bert’s father died in 1910 leaving Bert the oldest of the children living at home. By 1911 the family had moved to 1 Claude Place, Roath and Bert was working as a grocer’s assistant. He attended Crwys Hall Methodist chapel, Monthermer Road, Cathays and played football in the Cardiff Football League. He joined the army at the outbreak of war and went to France in May 1915 as a member of the Army Service Corps. He was killed in action on 28 Nov 1915, aged 24, when manning a canteen just behind the front line trenches which was hit by a German shell. He has no known grave but is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial in Belgium (Update 2022: His grave has recently been discovered and he is buried in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium in Plot IX, Row E, Grave 25 underneath a headstone which was inscribed ‘Unknown Corporal, Army Service Corps’. A service of rededication took place in October 2022.) Corporal Bert Willcocks was a well-respected man as sometime after he died the Crwys Hall chapel received a letter from the front saying that the officers and men of 105 Company A.S.C. wished that a brass tablet in his name be erected at the church and had a collection among the soldiers to fund the making of it. When the work was commissioned, the maker in Birmingham refused to take any money for it. In the end the £6 15s was donated to Bert’s widowed mother. The memorial was unveiled on 2 April 1916 in a packed church with over 1000 present including the Lord Mayor Dr Smith and the band of the 3rd Welsh. It was the first memorial to a First World War soldier in any of Cardiff’s places of worship. The name of Corporal Willcocks also appeared on the collective WWI memorial at Crwys Hall church. Crwys Hall Methodist closed in the 1980/90s. The building fell into disrepair for a time but has since been renovated and is now Highfields Church. The memorials were removed before or during the renovation process. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
Crwys Hall WWII Roll of Honour
The names of those who died:
Verdun Chorley R.A.F.
Raymond Jenkins R.A.M.C.
C Gordon Llewellyn R.A.F.
Raymond Mumford R.A.F.
Ceredig Thomas R.A.F.:-
RICHARD CEREDIG THOMAS
Pilot Officer, 235 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service Number: 82731)
Richard Ceredig Thomas was born in early 1911 in Ton Pentre, Rhondda, to Rev John James Thomas, a church minister, originally from Eisteddfa Gurig, Ponterwyd, Cardiganshire, and Annie Thomas née Morgan originally from Rhyader, Radnorshire. Ceredig grew up in Cardiff where his father became minister at Crwys Hall in Cathays. He attended Cardiff High School. His father was a prominent member of the Forward Movement of churches and Secretary to SASWIN (South Wales Association of Presbyterian churches). In 1935 the Western Mail reported that SASWIN appealed to the Pope to summon a Conference of all Christian communities to renounce war. In Dec 1935 Ceredig became engaged to Mary Nansi Williams of Lady Mary Road, daughter of the late R.Trefor Williams OBE, Chief Inspector to the Minister of Health. Ceredig and Mary married in Cardiff in 1939. He joined the RAFVR about May 1939 as an Airman/Observer. He was called up on 1 Sep 1939, completed his training, was commissioned and joined 235 Squadron on 16 Aug 1940. He was one of the crew of Blenheim N3530 which failed to return from combat with enemy fighters over the English Channel on 9 Oct 1940 having taken off from RAF Thorney Island, West Sussex earlier. Richard Ceredig Thomas, aged 28, and Sgt. GE Keel were killed and the pilot, P/O JC Kirkpatrick, was reported missing. The body of Ceredig Thomas was later recovered and returned to Cardiff for burial at Cathays Cemetery (grave P1094). He was remembered on the Crwys Hall Roll of Honour (whereabouts unknown). Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. His CWGC record and his probate give his address as Llanover, Abergavenny, where his father was by then working as a minister. Ceredig’s widow Nansi later remarried and moved to Australia.
The following memorial is also listed at being at Crwys Hall, now Highfields church Monthermer Road, Cathays Cardiff, in “War memorials in the city of Cardiff” compiled by David V Hughes (1995). The memorial however probably originated from Clifton Street Calvinistic Methodist Church and was brought to Crwys Hall when Clifton Street closed. The research into the names that appear on the memorial id on the Clifton Street church memorial page:-
In the memory of the men of this church who gave
their lives in the Great War
Charles P Brian A J CLifford John J Edwards
William Brown Ivor Ll Dadds Ivor V E Hathaway
F Austin Callard Chris S Eastment (Can’t make out last name on 3rd row)
Eric M Rees Gilbert Scrivens Stanley Silby Glyn Williams
L V J Williams