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. 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.
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 originally came from another church, and my best guess is Diamond Street Methodist in Roath:-
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
Eric M Rees Gilbert Scrivens Sanley Silby Glyn Williams
L V J Williams
Research notes on the people named on this memorial (Ted Richards):-
IVOR VICTOR ERNEST HATHAWAY
Gunner, 4th Battery. 2nd Welsh Brigade., Royal Field Artillery (Service Number 948)
Ivor Hathaway was baptised at St John’s church Cardiff on 22nd Aug 1895. He was son of Albert Amos Hathaway, a dock laborer, and Emily Hathway née Billingham, both originally from Westbury, Gloucestershire. In 1901 the family were living in 89 Sanquhar Street, Splott. In the 1911 census the family had moved to 20 Diamond Street, Adamsdown, Cardiff. Before the war Ivor was a porter at Peacock & Sons in Clifton Street. In WWI he was a Gunner in Royal Field Artillery and died aged 19. He died in the 1st Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge of appendicitis on 2nd Feb 1915. He is buried in Cathays cemetery, Cardiff (plot EF. NC. 9332.). He was remembered on a memorial in Cardiff (location currently unknown).
CHRISTOPHER SKETT EASTMENT
Private, C Company, 3rd Battalion. Welsh Regiment (Service Number 43706)
Christopher Skett Eastment was born in 1897 to Nathaniel Eastment, a Railway Ganger, originally from Hardington Mandeville, Somerset and Annie Margaret Eastment nee Skett from Cardiff. He was christened at St John’s Church in central Cardiff on 9 Apr. The family at the time were living at 12 Mills Terrace. The Eastment family later lived at 16 Ruby Street, Roath and Christopher was employed by the Co-operative Wholesale Society. He enlisted in Apr 1916 in the Welsh Regiment and fought in Salonika. He was invalided home after 21 months service and died in the Military Hospital in Redcar, Yorkshire on 4 Oct 1918 aged 21 of double pneumonia. He is buried at Cathays Cemetery (grave B. 1735). His younger brother Albert fought in the Royal Fusiliers and was severely injured but survived the war. Christopher was remembered on a war memorial plaque that was at one time believed to been stored Highfields church but since lost. The plaque may well originally have come from Diamond Street Methodist church. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.