Roath Virtual War Memorial: B



Private, 23rd Company, Royal Defence Corps (Service Number: 7353)

Herbert Ivan Babbage was born in Adelaide, Australia on 18 Aug 1875 to Charles Whitmore Babbage, a bank clerk and sketch artist, originally from Somerset, England and Amelia Babbage née Barton, originally from  Frimley, Surrey. In 1876 his father was convicted of forgery and embezzlement and whilst he was still serving his sentence, Ivan and his mother and brothers moved to Wanganui, New Zealand. Ivan studied to become an artist, initially in New Zealand and then at the London School of Art and later at the Académie Julian in Paris, France. He returned to New Zealand where he had a number of exhibitions before moving back to England again in 1911 and setting up a studio at St Ives, Cornwall.   At the outbreak of WWI Herbert Ivan Babbage enlisted at St. Austell and was posted to Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry with a service number of 3308 and then transferred to Royal Defence Corps. In a letter home to New Zealand Babbage writes of guarding a viaduct in harsh wintery conditions, presumed to be the Goitre Coed Viaduct, Quakers Yard. Ivan Babbage suffered from bowel cancer and received treatment at 3rd Western General Hospital (Howard Gardens), Cardiff where he died on 14 Oct 1916 aged 41.  He is buried at Cathays Cemetery.  He is remembered on the St Ives War Memorial and the St. Ives Arts Club Memorial for the Great War. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. Herbert Ivan Babbage was great-grandson of Charles Babbage, ‘father of the modern computer’.

Herbert Ivan Babbage picture and headstone


Rifleman, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (Service Number: 11050)

Allan Edward Baker was born in Cardiff in 1899 to William Baker, originally from Southampton and an orchestral musician who worked for Moss Empires Co, the music hall company and Margaret Baker née Dodd originally from Liscard, Cheshire.  Allan was baptised at St John the Baptist church on 13 Jul 1899.  In 1899 the Baker family were living at 99 Bedford St but by 1911 had moved to 7 Bedford St, close to St Peter’s church where Allan attended the Catholic Young Men’s Society.  Allan served as a rifleman in the 2nd battalion Royal Irish Rifles in WWI.  He was killed in action, aged 18, on 23 Oct 1918 on the Western Front.  He is buried at the Harlebeke New British Cemetery, Belgium (grave X. A. 5). He is remembered on the St Peter’s Roll of Honour.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Civilian Casualty

Roath Tram DepotFrederick Charles Baker was born in Merthyr in 1908, to James Baker, a licensed victualler originally from Cardiff and Annie Elizabeth Baker née Loxton, originally from Penarth.  In 1911 the Baker family were living in Nantygwenith Street, Merthyr but by 1921 they had moved to Cardiff.  In 1936 he married Doreen May MacNamara, originally from Treorchy.  The 1939 Register shows Fred and Doreen living at 88 Wyndham Road, Riverside and Fred working ad a General Labourer at the Roath Electric Power Section. Their daughter Pamela Jean Baker was born in 1936.  Fred was killed on 20 Aug 1942 aged 34 when a bomb fell on Roath Power Station / tram depot.  His Commonwealth War Graves Commission record states he was a firewatcher and at the time lived at 78 Ethel Street, Canton and he died at Roath Tram Depot which was adjacent to Roath Power Station.  News of the bombing was reported in the Western Mail the following day but the location was not named.



Sergeant, 106 Squadron, Royal Air Force (Service Number: 570635)

George William Frederick Baker headstoneGeorge William Frederick Baker was born in Cardiff in 1921 to David John Baker, a blast furnace man working at Currans Foundry, and originally from Cardiff and Catherine Baker née Beedell, originally from Bristol.  In the 1921 Census the Baker family were living at 8 Victoria Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff. His two siblings died in infancy leaving George as the only child.  He attended Howard Gardens School and passed his entrance exams into the RAF in 1936.  In Sept 1940 he married Joan Mary Wright of in Chesham, Buckinghamshire.  His address at the time was given as 6 Coveny St, Splott. They went on to have a son, Ian, together. He was killed in action on 30 Mar 1943 aged 22. He was Flight Engineer aboard Avro Lancaster ED596 when it was shot down. They had taken off from RAF Syerston, Nottinghamshire and were heading for Berlin on a bombing raid.  He is buried at Lichtenvoorde General Cemetery, Netherlands (grave 25).  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. He is remembered on the Howard Gardens High School war memorial plaque and the Chesham War Memorial.



Private, 2nd/4th Battalion, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry (Service Number: 202589)

James Alfred Valentine Baker was born in Cardiff in 1893 to Edwin Baker, a flour miller and Harriet Maker nee Charles, both originally from Cardiff.  He was baptised at St John the Baptist church on 30 Apr 1893 when the family were living at 44 Coburn Street.   His mother died in summer 1898 when he was just 5 years old.  In 1901 the Baker family were living at 44 Coburn Street, Cathays. His father died in 1910.  In the 1911 census James is living and working at the Park Hotel in central Cardiff.  In WWI he served with the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry.   He was killed in action 22 Aug 1917 aged 24.  He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium (Panel 96-98).  Commonwealth  War Graves Commission record.


Aircraftman 2nd Class, 211 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service Number: 927430)

S J Baker Singapore MemorialStanley James Baker was born in Cardiff on 28 Dec 1912 at 40 Habershon Street, Splott to Charles Baker, a stevedore labourer at Spillers Flour Mill, originally from Ilminstrer, Somerset, and Bessie Cozens Baker née Salter, originally from Wellington, Somerset. Stanley was baptised at St Saviour’s Church on 23 Jan 1913. In the 1921 census the Baker family were living at 62 Greenhill Street, East Moors. He went on to attend Howard Gardens High School. In 1936 he married Ellen Agatha MacCarthy who had grown up in the Vulcan public house on Adam Street where her father was licensee. Stanley and Ellen lived at 39 Stacey Road and went on to have two daughters and a son together. Stanley worked on the editorial staff of the Western Mail and Echo as a journalist. On 4 May 1940 he arrived in Liverpool on board the steamship Corrales, with his profession listed as a fireman. He enlisted with the RAF Volunteer Reserve the following month in Uxbridge and served as an Aircraftman 2nd Class with 211 Squadron. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Java. He was killed at sea on 8 Nov 1944 on Board Transport 125 as a result of an air raid, aged 31.  He is remembered on the Singapore Memorial at Kranji War Cemetery. He is also remembered on the Howard Gardens High School memorial plaque and listed on the Western Mail Roll of Honour. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.   



Civilian Casualty

Marcella Ellen Baldwin was born Marcella Ellen Mullins in Cardiff on 14 Feb 1895, to James Mullins, a labourer, originally from Pontypool, and Marcella Ellen Baldwin née Brady originally from Cardiff. She was known as Nellie.  She spent her early years at 59 Nora Street, Adamsdown but after her mother died in 1901 and her father’s whereabouts unknown, she and her brother and sister went to Ely workhouse. She left Ely in 1909 and in 1911, then 16 years old, she was working as a servant in the Holman household at 33 Richmond Road.  On 27 Jul 1912 she married Patrick John Baldwin, originally from Ballycanavan, County Waterford, Ireland,  employed as a lorry driver for a provisions merchants.   Marcella went on to have twelve children, seven boys and five girls. In 1922 the Baldwin family were living at 52 Longcross Street and by 1939 they were living at 433 Newport Road. She died on 3 Mar 1941, aged 46, in Llandough Hospitl  as a result of injuries sustained earlier that day at their house in Newport Road in a bombing raid.  A family tree records that she sustained injuries when she left the air raid shelter to get water for an elderly lady in the shelter.  She is buried at Cathays Cemetery (plot EM272).  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. Her husband died in 1945 in Stretford, Manchester.

Marcella Ellen Baldwin


Sergeant, 576 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service Number: 1531807)

Leonard Balich was born in Cardiff on 18 Dec 1920 to John Ivan Balich, a mariner and cafe keeper originally from Sebernice, Dalmatia (modern-day Croatia), and Elizabeth Jane Balich née Tustin, a cafe keeper, originally from Cardiff. The Balich family lived at 27 Caroline Street where their cafe was situated.  Leonard attended Howard Gardens High School and then went on to be plumber’s labourer. In 1942 he married Pauline Hilda Douglas in Cardiff. In WWII he served as a Sergeant with 576 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. He was killed on 20 Dec 1943 aged 23.  He is buried at Heverlee War Cemetery, Belgium (grave 5.B.4).  The Avro Lancaster he was flying in took off from Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire heading for a bombing mission over Frankfurt. It is was shot down northeast of Liege, Belgium resulting in the loss of all seven crewmen.  He is remembered on the Howard Gardens war memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Leonard Balich photo and headstone



Corporal,  38th Division, Signal Company, Royal Engineers  (Service Number: 62902)

Arthur Sydney Banbury, was born on 29 May 1883 in Cardiff to John Banbury, a coal merchant, originally from Boscastle, Cornwall and Mary Ann Banbury née Symons, also from Boscastle, Cornwall.  He grew up in the Splott area attending Metal Street Infants School and then Splotlands Board School before moving on to Howard Gardens School for two years.  In the 1891 census the Banbury family lived at 8 Coveny Street.  They also lived at 73 Broadway and 96 Splott Road before moving to 52 Partridge Road, Roath where they were at the time of both the 1901 and 1911 census.  When Sydney left school in 1898 he worked initially at the Western Mail newspaper then as a telegraphist at Cardiff GPO.  He was a Methodist as indicated by his name appearing on two local church memorial plaques. In 1912 he married Florence Mary Jennings, a telephonist, originally from St Ives, Cornwall.  They lived at 10 Grenville Road and went on to have a son, Philip Sydney Banbury, born in Feb 1916.  Sydney enlisted in Porthcawl and served as a telephone linesman on the Western Front from Dec 1915. He was killed in action in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge on 31 Jul 1917 aged 34.  He is buried at Dragoon Camp Cemetery, Boesinghe, Belgium (plot A5).  He is remembered on the Broadway Methodist Church War Memorial Plaque and the Cyfarthfa Street Mission memorial plaque, both now housed at the Trinity Centre, and on the Cardiff Post Office’s Roll of Honour.  He is also remembered on his parent’s headstone in Boscastle.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.  His brother Alfred  was a Corporal with the Honourable Artillery Company who enlisted in 1915 and was discharged on 10 Sep 1917 due to gunshot wounds to his right arm and eye. Sydney’s son joined the military and rose to be Major Philip Sydney Banbury with the Royal Signals during WWII.  He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his work in defending the important port of Antwerp from Nov 1944 to Mar 1945. He helped deploy and run an efficient communication system covering large parts of Holland and Belgium that acted as an early warning system of V1 and V2 flying bombs heading towards Antwerp.

Arthur Sydney Banbury portrait and headstone


Lieutenant,  2nd Regiment,  South African Infantry (Service Number: 25466)

Thomas BancroftThomas Bancroft was born in Cardiff on 16 Jan 1883 to Joseph Wright Bancroft, originally from Glossop, Derbyshire and an agent for Prudential Assurance,  and Hannah Bancroft née Lewis, originally from Cowbridge.  In 1891 the Bancroft family lived at 12 Violet Row by which time Thomas was attending Crwys Road School for Boys.  The family later moved to 5 Darren Street.  Thomas served as a trooper in the Yeomanry in the South African War when aged 17.  He later joined the South African Police in Bloemfontein and rose to be head constable. He enlisted in late 1915 and was commissioned in the field on the Western Front in Aug 1916.  He was dangerously wounded in 1916 and ordered back to South Africa but asked to remain in the U.K. and eventually returned to duty.  Thomas was last seen with his platoon surrounded by the enemy.  He was reported missing, killed in action 21 Mar 1918, aged 35.  He is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Sergeant, 34th Battalion, 169th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery

Albert Edward Banks was born in Swansea in 1885 to John Finney Banks, originally from Bristol and a foreman at a beer bottling stores, and Alice Banks née Dickinson, originally from Manchester.  In 1891 the Banks family lived in Madoc Street, Swansea and by 1901 they had moved to 62 Treharris Street, Roath.  Albert was the third oldest of nine children.  On 26 Dec 1908 he married Edith Evelyn Payne from Cardiff at St Margaret’s church.  Albert worked as a bottler at the S.A. Brain and Co, Old Brewery, 44 St. Mary Street, Cardiff.  In 1914 they were living at 71 Upper Kincraig Street and later at 127 Glenroy Street. They went on to have three children, one of whom died in infancy.  He enlisted with the Dragon Guards in 1902, aged 18. Albert served in South Africa and for a long period as a rough riding instructor at Bettisfield.  He later served ten months on the Western Front.  He died of wounds in hospital 11 Aug 1918 aged 33.  He is buried at Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, France (grave III. E. 30.)  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Albert Edward Banks headstone and portrait


Stoker 1st Class, H.M.S.Indefatigable, Royal Navy (Service Number: SS/109558)

George Bannister pictureGeorge Bannister was born at on 9 Jan 1893 in Cardiff, to John Bannister, a mariner boiler maker originally from Farsley near Leeds and Margaret Maria Bannister nee Parker originally from Leeds. The Bannister family at the time were living at 1 Pontypridd Street, East Moors, Cardiff.  They later moved to 31 Eclipse Street, Adamsdown.  George joined the Royal Navy on 11 Jan 1910.  He originally served on HMS Carnarvon.  He was killed on 31 May 1916 aged 23 when working as a stoker aboard the battlecruiser H.M.S.Indefatigable which was sunk during the Battle of Jutland off the coast of Denmark after being shelled.  Only three of the crew of 1,019 survived.  He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.   His brother Joseph was killed a few month later at Mametz Wood.


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.



Civilian Casualty

Victor Thomas Barnard was born on 5 Oct 1897 in Bridgwater, Somerset to Joseph Chudley Barnard a marine engineer and Louisa Barnard née Phillips, both originally from Bridgwater. In 1913, Victor aged 13 was living at home with his parents in Bridgwater and working as a draper’s errand boy. In 1922 he married Elsie May Routley at Roath Parish church when they were both living at 72 Cottrell Road.  At that time he was working as a smithie’s striker.  In 1939 Elsie and Victor were living in 23 Upper Kincraig Street, Roath and Victor was working as a Steel Worker stripper.  He was a member of the Home Guards and was killed on 18 May 1943, aged 46, when a bomb fell on the Dowlais Steel Works, East Moors.  He is buried in an unmarked grave at Cathays Cemetery (plot EL 200). Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Private,  A Company, 4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment (Service Number: 238024)

Cyril Jevon Barnsley was born in Wednesbury, Staffordshire on 18 Aug 1892 to William Thomas Barnsley, a chemist, originally from Wednesbury and Ada Mary Barnsley née Jevon originally from Wednesbury.  Cyril’s father died in 1899. In the 1901 census he was living at the Royal Orphanage in Wolverhampton.  In the 1911 census he was working as a draper’s assistant and living as a border in 12 Holtshill Lane, Walsall. He enlisted in Ipswich on 11 Feb 1916 into the 4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment and served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 5 Jan 1917.  He was killed in action at the Battle of Arras on 23 Apr 1917 aged 24. He has no known grave but is remembered on the Arras Memorial in France. His death was announced in the Malvern News and he is commemorated in the County War Memorial Books in Worcester Cathedral for Malvern.  His Commonwealth War Graves Commission record states he was son of Ada Mary Barnsley of 68, Cecil St., Roath.


Private, 1st/7th Battalion, Manchester Regiment (Service Number: 74420)

Richard James BarryRichard James Barry was born in Cardiff in 1899, one of eight children born to Patrick Barry, a bricklayer and Elizabeth Barry née O’Brien, both originally from Cardiff. He grew up at 31 Rose Street where the family were living at the time of the 1901 and 1911 census.  The family later moved to 2, Penlline Street.  After leaving school Richard worked for Mr.A.Stone, undertaker.  He enlisted in Cardiff and joined the 1st/7th Battalion, Manchester Regiment. He was killed in action in France on 21 Aug 1918 aged 19.  He has no known grave but is remembered on the Vis-en-Artois memorial in France.  He was also remembered on the St. Peters Roman Catholic Church, Roath, Roll of Honour. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.



Private, 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Service Number 9791)

John Thomas Barter

John Thomas Barter was born on 4 Dec 1889 in Cathays, Cardiff to Samuel Barter, a labourer and gravedigger, originally from Chard, Somerset, and Emily Ann Barter née Sage originally from Wells, Somerset.  In 1891 the family are living in Minny Street, Cathays.  John attended Crwys Road school but his mother sadly died when he was just eight years old.  In 1901 the Barter family were living in Woodville Road, together with John’s grandparents. He was a well known local sprinter.  He enlisted in Pontypridd and had completed almost seven years service in the Army when war broke out and was a member of the regiment’s cross-country team.  He was part of the 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers that suffered huge losses at the first Battle of Ypres, Belgium. He was presumed killed on 30 Oct 1914, aged 26.  He has no known grave.  He had been servant to Captain William Miles Kington who had been killed ten days previously.  John Barter is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. His brother Frederick went on to win the Victoria Cross in 1915.


Private, 4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers (Service Number: 12764)

John Henry Barwell was born in Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire in 1881 to John Barwell, a coal miner, originally from Nailsea, Somerset, and Temperance Barwell née Locke, originally from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.  He was baptised in Mountain Ash in 1887 along with two of his sisters.  In the 1891 census John is living in the family home in Mountain Ash.  He signed up for the Cardigan RGA militia in 1903 aged 21 yrs 11 mths.  He had returned to the family home in Mountain Ash by the time of the 1911 census and was working as a coal miner.  In 1912 he married Sarah Ann Allan in Cardiff.  They lived at 117 Bedford Street, Roath and went on to have two children, Lillian Maud in 1913 and John in 1915.  He enlisted in Newport and served with the 4th Battalion of the South Wales Borderers.  He was wounded on the Western Front, recuperated in Cardiff and returned 28 Apr 1915 aged 33.  He embarked for Gallipoli 30 Jun 1915 and was killed in action on 9 Aug 1915.  He is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Turkey.  Commonweath War Graves Commission Record.






Second Lieutenant, 220th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) (Service Number PS/7607)

Henry Frank Baselow - from works photo montage

Henry Frank Baselow was born in 1897 in Harlesden, Middlesex to Henry David Frederick Baselow, a cigar manufacturer, originally from Rostock, Germany, and Alice Emma Bielski, originally from Cardiff. The family lived in both Middlesex and Mexico, where his father’s cigar factory was based. His father fought for Germany in the Franco-Prussian war but died in 1913 after which the family moved to Cardiff and lived at 55 Westville Road, Penylan.  Henry Frank Baselow was employed in the accounts department of Morgan Wakely and Co, coal exporters, Mount Stuart Square, Docks, Cardiff.  He joined a Public Schools Battalion, Royal Fusiliers in April 1915 and went to the Western Front the following November. He underwent Officer Cadet training at Oxford in May 1916 and was commissioned in the Hampshire Regiment in September 1916 and later transferred to Machine Gun Corps. He returned to France in February 1917 but was killed in action on 5 Oct 1917 aged 20.  He is buried at the Buttes New British Cemetery, Belgium (grave XII. AA. 14).  He was remembered on the Roath Park Wesleyan church memorial, currently in storage at Thornhill crematorium. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Sergeant (Flight Engineer), 550 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service Number 1423298).

Leon Bassman portrait

Leon ‘Lawrence’ Asher Bassman was born in Cardiff in 1922 to Henry Bassman, a cabinet maker and sales agent, originally from Russia and Lucy Maud Bassman née Willett from Newport.  Leon’s father had served in the British Army in WWI in the 9th Russian Labour Corps (1917-19).  Leon attended St Illtyd’s school (1934-39) and the family lived at 31 Glynrhondda Street, Cathays.  He had served in the RAF for three years and was a Sergeant (Flight Engineer) in 550 Squadron when he died on 4 Oct 1944 aged 22.  He was one of seven crew on a training flight on Lancaster NF963 when it lost control, went into a steep dive and crashed  in North Yorkshire.  The pilot managed to parachute to safety but was badly injured.  The other six crew members were killed including Leon Bassman.  He is buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Windsor Place, Cardiff (Grave A2/20).  Leon Bassman is remembered on a plaque at Cardiff United Synagogue at Cyncoed Gardens and on the St Illtyd’s school memorial plaque at St Alban on the Moor church.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Private, 11th Battalion, Welsh Regiment (Service Number: 14576)

Bernard Bastable headstoneBernard Bastable was born in Radstock, Somerset in 1879 to Francis James Bastable, a traveller for a hay and corn merchant, originally from Radstock, and Fanny Bastable née Lambert, originally from Benter, Somerset.  The family moved to Cardiff when Bernard was young and they lived at 25 Treharris Street.  Bernard worked as a wheelwright and coach builder. Both he and his brother Percy served in the 11th Battalion, Welsh Regiment. He served in France from Sept 1915. He died from blood poisoning at King Edward VII Hospital, Cardiff on 14 May 1916 aged 36.  He is buried at Cathays Cemetery (grave EH 2162). Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Private, 2nd/7th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers (Service Number: 282386)

William Govier Batchelor was born in Cardiff in 1888 to William Batchelor, an engine driver, originally from Tunbridge Well, Kent and Janet Batchelor née Rees, a laundress, originally from Cardiff.  In 1891 and 1901, William lived at 111 Upper George Street, Cathays (later renamed Wyverne Road). He attended Woodville Road School.  By 1911 the family had moved to 28 Planet Street, Adamsdown.  He married Olive Trenchard in Pontyprydd area in 1914.  They had two children, Muriel Olive Batchelor (b.1914) and Harry Govier Batchelor (b.1916), but Olive, his wife, died in 1916, possibly during childbirth.  William became manager of Lipton’s at Ferndale and Head Assistant at Tonyrefail.  He enlisted in Tonyrefail in 1916 under the Derby Scheme.  He served on the Western Front from February 1917 and was killed in action 29 Aug 1917 aged 29.  He is buried at Ramscapelle Military Cemetery, Belgium (grave II.C.19).  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.  His son Harry Govier Batchelor was bought up by his uncle’s family in Barry. Harry died, aged 26, in WWII, when serving in the merchant navy as Second Officer on board S.S. Empire Hawksbill (Commonwealth War Graves Commission record).

William Govier Batchelor portrait and headstone


Private, 469th Home Service Employment Company,  Labour Corps (Service Number: 362904)

R3461Daniel John Bateman was born in 1894 in Cardiff to Walter Bateman, originally from Clonakilty, County Cork, Ireland who worked as a labourer with Cardiff Railway Company, and Catherine Bateman née Donovan, originally from Cardiff.  In the 1901 census the family were living at 6 Bedford Place.  In 1911 they had moved to 2 Bedford Street, Roath and Daniel, aged 17, was working as a messenger for a badminton club.  He attended St Peter’s church.  In WWI he served with the Signals, Royal Engineers and then with the 469th Home Service Employment Company, Labour Corps.  He died on 16 Jul 1918 aged 24 in Edinburgh Military Hospital of phthisis (TB).  He is buried at Cathays Cemetery (Plot R. RC. 3461).  He is remembered on the St Peter’s Roll of Honour.   Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Private, 17th Battalion, Welsh Regiment (Service Number: 8138)

William Alfred Bater was born in 1885 in Cardiff to William Alfred Bater, a house painter, originally from Cardiff and Elizabeth Bennett Tucker, originally from Somerset.  By 1891 his father had remarried and the Bater family were living at 10 St Peter’s Street, Roath. In the 1901 census William, aged 16, was living as a border in Ystrad, Rhonda and working as a collier underground.  In the 1911 census William Bater, aged 25, was serving with the 1st Battalion Welsh Regiment in Cairo, Egypt.  His father, step-mother and siblings by this time had moved to Walthamstow, London.   On 7 Aug 1916 William married Edith Louisa Rocke, a sick nurse, aged 41, in St Matthew’s church, Newport.  At the time he was living at the Buttrills Military Camp, Barry and serving with the 3rd Welsh Regiment. William died on 10 July 1917 at the 21 Casualty Clearing Station on the Western Front, aged 32, of wounds received the previous day.  He is buried at the Rocquigny-Equancourt British Cemetery in France (grave I.D.1).  His widow Edith lived at 53, Morden Rd, Newport. They do not appear to have had children.  She died in 1965 aged 90. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.bater_wa


Flying Officer, 640 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service Number: 176445)

Walter Ronald Beechey was born on 12 Apr 1919 in Cardiff to William John Beechey, a hoist driver at a blast furnace, originally from Llanvedw, Glamorgan and Emma Beechey née James, originally from St Mellons, Monmouthshire.  In his youth he was a member of the 8th Cardiff North Scout troop and became a member of Woodville Baptist church in 1936. In 1939 he was living with his parents at 16 Monthermer Road and working as a Police Constable (16 Monthermer Road was one of two houses between Crwys Hall chapel and hall, which have now been removed and made part of Highfields church).  In 1941 he married Beryl Rosaline Gronow, an office clerk in Cardiff and they lived at 20 Seven-Oaks Road in Ely. He joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve and flew as a pilot in 640 Squadron.  He died on 4 Nov 1944 aged 25  when the Halifax lll MZ409 he was flying, which had taken off at 17.38 from Leconfield, Yorkshire, crashed in German killing all seven crew. He is buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery in Germany (grave 17. F. 2. ). He is remembered on the Woodville Road Baptist church WWII war memorial plaque. He is also remembered on the Cardiff City Police and Fire Brigade memorial.   Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Walter Ronald Beechey childhood home, medals and headstone



Private, 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers (Service Number 39530)

John WIlliam Beer picture a

John William ‘Willie’ Beer was born on 14 May 1898 in Cardiff to John Wesley Beer, a fruit merchant, originally from Appledore, Devon, and Elizabeth Beer née Taylor, originally from Cardiff.  In 1901 the Beer family were living in Railway Street, Splott and in 1911 in Somerset Street, Grangetown before they moved to 97 Cyfarthfa Street, Roath.  The 1911 census sadly records how Elizabeth had lost five of her seven children and only two survived, Willie and his sister Winnie.  Before joining the army Willie had worked briefly for Great Western at Cardiff station and later at Spillers and Bakers.  He enlisted in Cardiff Dec 1915 when only 17, originally joining the Monmouthshire Regiment (service number 4646) before transferring to the South Wales Borderers.  He was on active service for twelve months, serving in a Lewis gun section before he was reported missing, presumed killed in action on 21 Nov 1917 aged 19.  John William Beer is remembered at the Marcoing British Cemetery, France.  He is also remembered on the WWI Memorial plaque at St Edward’s church.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Sister, Red Cross Hospital, Cardiff

Edith May Beeston was born in Lower Machen in 1893 to George Beeston, a stonemason, and Emma Sarah Beeston née Burges, both originally from Machen. We know little about Edith other than she joined the Red Cross hospital in Cardiff on 10 Sep 1917 and died on 1 Jul 1918 aged 25. A family notice in the Western Mail refers to her having died at Lower Machen.  She is remembered on the Red Cross memorial in St Edward church, Pen-y-lan, Cardiff.  On the plaque she is referred to as Sister Edith Beeston.  It is likely she was working at the Clyne House hospital or the St Pierre hospital, Newport Road, Cardiff, as those are the hospitals mentioned on the memorial.  She is buried at St Michael parish church in Lower Machen in the same plot as her brother Frederick who died in 1912.

Sister Edith Beeston


Sergeant, 40th Squadron, Royal Air Force (Service Number 547685)

Victor Stanley James Belt was born in 1919 in Cardiff to James William Belt, a builder’s labourer, and Ellen Louisa Belt née Blackmore, originally from Abergavenny.  He attended Adamsdown School and joined the RAF in 1938.  In 1939 his parents were living at 119 Cyfarthfa Street, Roath. Victor Belt lost his life in Italy on 7th September 1944. He was flying in a Wellington bomber that took off from Foggia Main Landing ground at 19.19 hours on the night of 6/7th September 1944 to bomb Bologna marshalling yards, Italy. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take-off and it failed to return to base.  Other crews returning from the mission reported seeing yellow lights in the sea in position 42.55N 14.39E, and a ship was observed steaming towards the scene. Victor and the other crew members are buried together in a grave at Bologna War Cemetery, Italy.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Victor Belt photos

Victor Belt, his grave in Bologna War Cemetery and where his plane is believed to have come down.



Lieutenant, 1st & 9th Battalion, South Wales Borderers

Herbert Sidney Bennett was born on 25 Nov 1891 in Beresford Road, Roath to Walter William Bennett, a joiner, originally from East Pennard, Somerset and Evangeline Bennett née Selvey originally from Portishead, Somerset.  He started attending Stacey Rd primary school in 1896.  In 1901 the family were living at 41 Richards Terrace.  He went on to attend Cardiff Municipal Secondary School, Howard Gardens (1903-5).  The Bennett family later moved to 94 Claude Road.  On leaving school became a clerk in a typewriter company. He enlisted in Cardiff Pals in September 1914 and was commissioned in May 1915. In Dec 1915 he married Gertrude-Lyons Davis, daughter of Alderman Frederick Lyons-Davis from Cardiff.  The paper reported that they got married in Crosby, Liverpool  where Herbert was probably stationed.  Had went on to see a great deal of fighting and only returned to the Western Front for a few weeks after a long period of illness caused by trench fever when he died on 18 Oct 1918 aged 27 of wounds received.  He is buried at the St. Souplet British Cemetery, France (grave III. E. 12).  He is remembered on the Howard Gardens memorial at Howardian Primary School and the memorial at St. German’s Church, Roath.  Herbert and Gertrude lived at 154 City Road and had three children together, one dying in infancy and another, born in 1919 after his father had been killed and named after his father, Herbert Sidney Bennett, was himself killed in WWII.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Flight Sergeant, 550 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. (Service Number: 1339124)

Herbert Sidney Bennett was born on 19 May 1919 to the late Herbert Sidney Bennett and Gertrude Bennett née Lyons-Davis.  His father had been killed the previous October on the Western Front. He was probably born at 154 City Road.  Before joining the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve he was a police constable based at the Canton Police station.  On 11 Mar 1942 he married Dorothie ‘Dot’ Frances Sophie Hillborne, a shop assistant, from 29 Wordsworth Ave, Roath.  He was killed on 2 Dec 1943, aged 24, when a Lancaster bomber (LM301) he was flying in crashed in Germany during an attack on Berlin after taking off from Grimsby.  He is buried at Hanover War Cemetery (plot 5.H.15.).  He is remembered on the Cardiff police and fireman memorial at Cardiff Bay police station. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Herbery Sidney Bennett photos


Fireman, S.S.Firth Fisher, Merchant Navy

Henry William Bentley was born on 11 Dec 1908 in Cardiff to Frederick William Bentley, a french polisher, originally from east London and Beatrice Bentley née Phillips originally from Newport, Monmouthshire.  He was baptised at St German church on 21 Jan 1909 when the family were living at 9 System Street, Adamsdown. By 1911 the family had moved to 12 Shakespeare Street, Roath and in 1921 they were living at 43 Mary Ann Street in central Cardiff. Henry was one of seven children born to Frederick and Beatrice. In 1939 Henry is working as a general labourer and living with his married sister at Gloucester Street, Grangetown. Henry joined the merchant navy and served as a fireman on board the SS Firth Fisher. He died, presumed drowned, on 21 May 1940, aged 31, when the SS Firth Fisher was bombed off  Boulogne, France and sank. Six crew members lost their lives and a number were rescued.  One of those killed was Mohamed Ali, aged 45, originally from Aden, who had married Henry’s sister Edith in 1934. Both Henry and Mohamed were living at 26 Tredegar Street when they signed up for the merchant navy. They are remembered on the Tower Hill memorial. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Firth Fisher and memorial plaque



Captain, SS Euston, Merchant Navy

William Brailey Berwick was born on 18 Feb 1881 in Cardiff to Thomas Berwick, a biscuit manufacturer’s clerk, originally from London and Mary Anna Berwick née Brailey, a fancy draper, originally from Dursley, Gloucestershire. The family lived at 88 Richards Terrace, Roath.  William attended Stacey Road school and then Howard Gardens Higher Grade school.  After leaving school he joined the merchant navy in 1897 at the age of 16 and worked his way up to Captain. He married Ida May Glencross in Monmouth in 1911.  Their daughter, Ida Monica Berwick, was born in early 1917 just before William died.  He drowned in a sailing accident in Queenstown, Co Cork, Ireland on 10 Apr 1917, aged 36, whilst his ship, the coal carrier SS Euston, was in port.  He and two engineers, left Monkstown for a sailing trip but the weather turned squally and the yacht capsized.   His body was found on Apr 12th on a beach on Haulbowline Island (where the world’s first yacht club was founded in 1720).  He does not have a Commonwealth War Graves Commission record, probably because his death was not war-related, but he is remembered on the Howard Gardens War Memorial.  His ship, the SS Euston, was torpedoed and sunk later the same year in the Mediterranean.



Lance Serjeant, 22nd Division, Army Cyclist Corps (Service Number 6585)

John Bibbings was born on 24 Jun 1888 to Samuel Bibbings, a serving machine agent, from Cardiff, and Elizabeth Matilda Bibbings née Phillips originally from Blaenavon, Monmouthshire.   He attended Albany Road school (1893) when they lived in Upper Kincraig Street, Roath before the family moved to 43 Tewkesbury Street, Cathays.  After leaving school John worked as a clerk in the Finance Department of Glamorgan County Council.  He married Lauretta Alice Yorke on 2 Nov 1911 at St Catherine’s church, Canton.  They went on to have a son and two daughters and lived at Stephenson St, Canton.  He enlisted in Sept 1914 in the Welsh Regiment before transferring to the Army Cyclist Corps.  He disembarked in Greece in Nov 1915.  He had a couple of bouts of illness that  left him hospitalised before he eventually succumbed to illness (pneumonia/jaundice), on 11 Aug 1916 at the 29th General Hospital, Salonika.  He is buried at the Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery in Greece (plot 305).  He had two brothers, one of whom was killed in WWI and the other died in WWII serving with the merchant navy.  John’s son Wilfred John Bibbings also died in WWII in Feb 1943 when working as a cook on board SS Radhurst when it was torpedoed 500 miles off the coast of Newfoundland.  He is remembered on the Glamorgan County Council employees memorial plaque.     Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

John Bibbings binoculars

Someone was cleaning up a pair of their grandfather’s wartime binoculars and found the name of a two previous owners scratched inside. One was Sgt John Bibbings.



Corporal,   16th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment   (Service Number 40297)

Reginald Bibbings portrait and medal

Reginald Bibbings was born on 27 Feb 1894 to Samuel Bibbings, a serving machine agent, from Cardiff, and Elizabeth Matilda Bibbings née Phillips originally from Blaenavon, Monmouthshire.   Reginald  attended school at Albany Road, later Marlborough Road and later still Court Road School.  The Bibbings family lived at a number of Roath addresses including Upper Kincraig Street and Cottrell Road then later settled at 43 Tewkesbury Street, Cathays.  In 1911 he was working as a clerk in the finance department of the County Council.  He joined the Welch Regiment in December 1915 aged 21 years, 10 months at Kemel Park, North Wales.  He later transferred to the 16th Battalion the Cheshire Regiment and was sent to France in Sep 1917. He was killed in action on 22 Oct 1917 aged 23 during the during Third Ypres battle on a day in which 330 of the 16th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment were reported dead, missing or wounded.  He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial (Panel 61 to 63).  Reginald was the youngest of three Bibbings brothers.  His eldest brother John had already died serving in Salonika, Greece, in 1916. His other brother William was to die in WWII when he was Master of S.S. Stanleigh, sunk in Liverpool Bay.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Master, Merchant Navy, S.S. Stanleigh (London)

William Bibbings on Tower Hill Memorial

Tower Hill Memorial

William ‘Willie’ Bibbings was born on 27 Aug 1891 to Samuel Bibbings, a sewing machine agent, from Cardiff, and Elizabeth Matilda Bibbings née Phillips originally from Blaenavon, Monmouthshire.  He attended a number of schools including Marlborough Road, Albany Road and Gladstone Schools. By 1911 the family had moved to 43 Tewkesbury Street, Cathays and William was working as an apprentice shoemaker.   In WWI William served in the merchant navy.  He gained his Master Steamship certificate in 1925.  He married Mary Ewing in Cockermouth, Cumbria in 1923.  They had one son, William Reginald Bibbings, in 1924.  In the 1939 they are living in 43 Tewkesbury Street, Cathays.  Willie died on 14 Mar 1941 aged 49 when he was Master of S.S.Stanleigh.  This was a German built coastal cargo vessel that had been captured in WWI.  It was in convoy off Liverpool Bay when she was attacked at night by a German Aircraft twelve nautical miles west of the Bar Lightship .  She soon sank with the loss of seventeen crew, rolling so that she destroyed one of her boats full of men. Six men survived on a raft (oil barrels and planks) being picked up after a day afloat.  At the time of his death his address was recorded as being ‘Kelvin’, St Ambrose Road, Heath, Cardiff. He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial, London (panel 101). Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Lieutenant Commander, HM Submarine E30, Royal Navy

Geoffrey Nepean Biggs was born in Cardiff on 12 Jun 1885 to John Biggs, a brewer, originally from Cardiff and Emily Sophia Biggs née Clarke originally from Usk. He was baptised at St Andrew’s church on 16 Jul 1885 when the family were living at 37 Park Place.  Soon after the Biggs family moved to their new house they had had constructed, ‘Oldwell’ on Pen-y-lan Road.  He was educated at Bath College on a scholarship. Geoffrey enrolled in Royal Navy in 1900 and the following year, aged 15, passed out fourth at the Navel Cadet training ship HMS Britannia, Dartmouth, Devon.  In 1904 he gained a distinction when he served as midshipman on HMS Eclipse in the China despite blood poisoning in his right hand. He was a good rugby player and played for Cardiff in1906 versus Barbarians and also played for Bath, United Services, Royal Navy and Somerset. He became a Lieutenant in 1906 aged 21. He married Daisy Elizabeth Boys in Portsmouth in 1907 and they had one child. In 1907 the newspaper reports that he can’t make brother Cecil’s wedding as he is at the time otherwise engaged commanding submarine A1 escorting the German Emperor.  He died on 22 Nov 1916, aged 31, when the submarine he was commanding, E30, is thought to have stuck a mine at Orfordness, Suffolk.  He had been awarded the Crois de Chevalier by the President of the French Republic in recognition of services during the war a few months before his death.  He was also posthumously awarded the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun. He is remembered on the Portsmouth Navy Memorial and the Bath College Memorial in Bath Abbey.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Lieut Commander Geoffrey Nepean Biggs




Driver, 98th Sanitary Section, Royal Army Medical Corps   (Service Number: T2/9733)

Thomas Billingham headstone

Thomas Walter Manning Billingham was born in Machen, Monmouthshire in Summer 1890 to Edward Thomas Halton Manning Billingham, an engineer, originally from Flore, Northamptonshire and Eleanor Billingham née Thomas,  originally from Pontaddulais,  Swansea.  In 1901 the Thomas family lived in Hartshill, Warwickshire.  In 1911 with his father having passed away in 1904, Thomas was living with his elder brother Christopher and his family in Newport and working as an ironmongers mechanic.  They move to Cardiff sometime later and Thomas works as a fitter for Cardiff Railway.  We don’t know where Thomas lived in Cardiff, possibly with his brother at 13 Heath Park Avenue.  He joined up in Cardiff and served  as a driver with the 98th Sanitary Section of the Royal Army Medical Corps.  He died on 20 Nov 1917 aged 27 in Salonika, Greece and is buried at the Lembet Road Military Cemetery in Salonika (grave 1282).  He is remembered on the Cardiff Railway war memorial and on the St James the Great war memorial (now at St John’s). Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Second Engineer, S.S. Stonepool, Merchant Navy (service number 139259)

Edward Billot was born in Cardiff in Mar 1901 to Frederick John Billot, a merchant seaman and Emily Jane Billet née le Gresley, both originally from Jersey.  When Edward was born the family lived at 86 Mackintosh Place.  In the 1911 census they had moved to 184 Albany Road.   His father was Master of the S.S. “Euterpe” when he was killed in 1916 by enemy action in the North Sea.  Edward followed his father into the merchant navy and in WWII was serving as Second Engineer on board the S.S.Stonepool.  He was killed, presumed drowned, on 11 Sep 1941 aged 40 when the S.S.Stonepool was struck by a torpedo from u-boat U207 off the coast of Greenland.  It had been part of north Atlantic convoy SC-42 and had been carrying  7000 tons of grain, 528 tons of oats and 115 tons of trucks. Forty one men were lost and seven rescued.  He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial, London (panel 102).  They are both remembered on the grave of his mother at Cathays Cemetery (grave EH 2923). Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.S.S.Stonepool and Billot headstone


Master, S.S. “Euterpe” (Cardiff), Merchant Navy

Frederick George Billot and Tower Hill Memorial

Frederick George Billot was born on 3 Jun 1860 in St. Martin, Jersey to George BIllot, a farmer and Ann Elizabeth Billot née Renouf. He served in the merchant navy from 1884 and passed his master mariner qualifications in 1891 in London.  He married Emily Jane le Gresley on 12 Oct 1896 in Jersey and they moved to Cardiff shortly afterwards.  In 1901 they lived at 86 Mackintosh Place, Roath but by 1911 they had moved to 184 Albany Road, Roath. He was listed in the 1911 Census as being aboard the S.S. Crimdon as Master of the vessel in Roath Dock. In 1914 he had been a joint owner of a small shipping company known as The Channel Shipping Company (Cardiff) Limited. The existence of the company was however short-lived and was taken over by one of the bigger concerns, later known as the Emlyn Line. Frederick Billot was Master of the  S.S. “Euterpe”, a  1,522 tons vessel which was en route from Spain to Middlesbrough with a cargo of pyrities.  He died on 7 January 1916 aged 56 when the S.S. “Euterpe”, with a crew on board, 20 sunk after hitting a mine or being torpedoed in the North Sea off Hull.  He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial, London.  He is also remembered on the War Memorial tower at St Margaret’s church, Roath, the WWI war memorial plaque at St Edward’s church, Penylan and the Jersey Mercantile Marine Memorial at Jersey Maritime Museum. His son Edward Billot was killed in WWII whilst also serving in the Merchant Navy.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Second Lieutenant 1/4th (City of Bristol) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment

Raymond Bird was born on 27 Aug 1890 in Cardiff, the only son of Frederick Graham Bird, a chemical manufacturer business owner, originally from Gloucester, and Mary Bird née Dill originally from Bath, Somerset.  The family lived at 106 Newport Road, Roath and later Cranmore, Radyr. He entered Cardiff High School in 1901, when his family were living at St. Elmo, Radyr. He also went to school in Taunton. Raymond was later employed as a clerk in the family chemical manufacturing business, Bird and Sons in Cardiff.  On 20 Nov 1915, he married teacher Alice Smith of Fairoak Road and later Ambleside, Lake Road West, Roath Park. He joined the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps at Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire as an Officer Cadet on 12 Apr 1915. Raymond was then commissioned in the Gloucestershire Regiment on 2 Aug 1915 and posted to the 3/4th Battalion stationed at Weston-Super-Mare. He went out to France on 29 May 1916 and joined the 1/4th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, Territorial Force. Raymond Bird was killed in action, aged 25, by shell-fire during an entirely unsuccessful attack at the Leipzig Redoubt, near Ovilliers, during the Battle of the Somme on 16 Aug 1916. He was at first reported missing but a wounded soldier recuperating in hospital told Raymond’s wife that he had been with him when he was hit by a shell and that he had remained with him for four hours until he died.  He is buried in Pozieres British Cemetery, France (grave IV.A.52).  He is commemorated on war memorials in Trinity Methodist Church, Four Elms Road, Roath, St. John’s Church, Canton, Christ Church, Radyr and on the Cardiff High School War Memorial as well as the Radyr War Memorial. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record

Raymond Bird portrait and headstone



Engineer Lieutenant,  HMS Natal, Royal Navy.

William Black was born on 6 Jan1885 in Cardiff, the only son of William Black originally from Kinghoorn, Fife, Scotland and Alice Black née Gray originally from Hartlepool. The family originally lived at  of 80 Richards Terrace, Roath but by 1891 the family had moved to 235 Newport Road, Roath.  His father was a superintendent marine engineer.  William attended Cardiff Municipal Secondary School, Howard Gardens from 1895 to 1898 and then Cardiff High School from September 1898, when he was in the school’s first ever intake .  He left in Dec 1900 to follow his father’s profession and started work as an apprenticed engineer.  He took an extra first class engineers certificate at South Shields in 1911 and later qualified as a naval architect.  He was employed as a consulting engineer at Cardiff docks and, on the death of his father in 1912, he succeeded him in the business.  In Sep 1915, he was appointed Engineer Lieutenant RN. William Black was killed, aged 30, when HMS Natal accidentally exploded with great loss of life in Cromarty Firth on 31 Dec 1915.  Over four hundred died.  Though it was at first assumed she had been torpedoed it was later concluded that the cause was an internal ammunition explosion, possibly the result of faulty cordite.  Engineer Lieutenant William Black is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial to the Missing and also on family gravestones in Cathays Cemetery and in Kinghorn, Fife, where his family originated.  He is also commemorated on the Cardiff High School war memorial, the Howard Gardens war memorial and the war memorial that was in the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Broadway, Roath now in the Trinity CentreCommonwealth War Graves Commission record.

William Black portrait and graves

William Black (photo: Western Mail), lower left: tribute on family grave at Cathays Cemetery, grave S745, right – remembered on family grave in Kinghorn, Fife.



Private, 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment (Service Number: 50315)

Arthur William Thomas Blackmore was born in 1898 in Cardiff to Charles Batson Blackmore an undertaker and coffin maker originally from Yeovil, Somerset and Sarah Amelia Blackmore née Walters originally from Wyson, Herefordshire.  The family lived in Canton in 1901 and at Ebenezer Street in central Cardiff in 1911 and later at 5 Edward Street.  His mother died when he was 6 years old leaving his father to bring up four sons. Arthur signed up in Cardiff and served in the Prince Of Wales’s Volunteers, South Lancashire Regiment.  He died 22 Mar 1918, killed in action, aged 19 on the Western Front.  He is remembered on the Pozieres Memorial in France (panel 48 & 49).  He is also remembered on the Charles Street Wesleyan Methodist Church Memorial now in storage at Thornhill Crematorium.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Sergeant, 7th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Service Number: 16979)

Maitland Bolton Headstone BelgiumMaitland Cooper Bolton was born on 1 Nov 1890 in Cardiff to Richard Bolton, a plumber and decorator, originally from Barking, Essex, and Louisa Bolton née Cooper, originally from Maidenhead, Berkshire. The Bolton family lived at 134 Richmond Road. Maitland attended Albany Road School before moving onto Howard Gardens School in 1903.  He left school in 1907 and joined the PT Centre (Royal Army Physical Training Corps).  By the time WWI began he had emigrated to Canada.  He enlisted on 18 Sep 1914 at Varcartier, near Qubec.  On his enlistment papers he described his profession as a farmer and also stated that he had previously completed two years service with the 7th Battalion Welsh Regiment.  His father had died the previous December and his mother had moved away from Cardiff and was living in London.  His Battalion arrived in France in Feb 1915 and he received regular promotions, to Lance Corporal in Sep 1915, Corporal in Apr 1916 and Sergeant in Jun 1916. He was killed in action on 26 Jul 1916 on the Western Front aged 25.  He is buried in the Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, south of Ypres, Belgium (grave VI. C. 11). He is remembered on the Howard Gardens War Memorial plaque and on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.   Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.



Sapper, Royal Engineers, No.7 Works Company. Inland Waterways and Docks (Service Number: 235081)

Eli Bond, Cathays Cemetery, headstone

Eli Robert Bond was born in 1877 in Crowcombe, Somerset to George Bond, a labourer, and Mary Bond née Hurley.  He moved to Cardiff as a child and the family lived in Treharris Street and Arabella Street. He married  Effie Mary Bingle in Richmond Road Congregational Church, Cardiff in 1901 and they lived at 45 Florentia Street, Cathays.  They had seven children together. He worked as a painter and decorator prior to the war.  He signed up in Jul 1916.  He served with the No.7 Works Company  of the Royal Engineers in Kent.  He died of lobar pneumonia in the Military Hospital in Sandwich, Kent on 18 Jan 1918 aged 40.  He is buried at Cathays Cemetery (plot EA.1892).  Eli Bond is remembered on the war memorial plaque in Roath Park Congregational Church (now known as Tabernacle).  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Civilian Casualty

William Henry Bonfield was born in 1863 in Chard, Somerset to Eli Bonfield, a blacksmith, from Yarcombe and Elizabeth Bonfield née Broom.  His father died when he was just two years old. By 1888 he had moved to Cardiff and married Mary Anne Pike.  They lived in Merthyr Road, Whitchuch and he was working as a general labourer. They had a son together, Reginald Bonfield, but then tragedy struck again when Mary Anne died in 1891. He remarried Rosina Stickler in 1892.  They went on to have four children together.  In 1901 the Bonfield family lived in Crwys Place and in 1911 in Cyfarthfa Street, Roath with William working as a foreman platelayer. His first son, Reginald Bonfield, was killed in France in WWI. The 1939 register shows he is widowed again and living at 95 Cyfarthfa Street, living with his son Percy.  William is killed aged 78 in an air raid on 2 Jan 1941 in nearby Crofts Street.  He is buried in an unmarked grave at Cathays Cemetery (plot EJ 2219). Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. To complete the tragedy of the Bonfield family, William’s grandson Melvin Edward O’Brien was killed in Oct 1943 when HMS Cromarty sank.

Sir Winston Churchill in Croft Street Roath in 1941

Winston Churchill visiting bomb damaged Crofts Street, Roath in 1941 on a moral boosting tour. The Crofts pub is on the right, pained white.



Private, King’s Company. 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards (Service Number: 15385)

Reginald William Bonfield was born on 29 Nov 1888 in Whitchurch, Cardiff to William Henry Bonfield, a foreman platelayer, originally from Chard, Somerset, and Mary Anne Bonfield  née Pike originally from Maindy, Cardiff.  His mother died when he was just two and his father remarried Rosina Stickler. In 1901 the Bonfield family were living in Crwys Place. In 1907-9 Reginald worked as a porter in Cardiff Goods Station. By 1911 the Bonfield family had moved to 95 Cyfarthfa Street though by that time it appears Reginald was working as a Police Constable and boarding in the police station at Treherbert. He enlisted in July 1911 and served as a Private in the Grenadier Guards. He was killed on 1 Nov 1914 aged 26 near Ypres. He is remembered on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres, Belgium (Panel 9 and 11). Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. His father died in an air raid on Cardiff in 1941 (see above).


Private, 13th Battalion,  Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Service Number 267950)

Arthur Henry Bowden was born in Cardiff in early 1899 to James Rees Bowden, a haulier, from Cardiff and Mary Elizabeth Bowden née Gould also from Cardiff.  Arthur was baptised at St Saviour’s church on 9 Feb 1899 when the family were living at 31 Janet Street, Splott. In the 1911 census the family were living at 11 Walker Road.  Arthur worked as a grocer’s assistant before he initially signed up underage with the Welch Regiment on 29 Dec 1914 aged just 15 and was sent to France.  When his Uncle heard, who was already on active service, he encouraged Arthur’s mother to apply for him to be sent she which she did.  Arthur was duly found and sent back to Cardiff. He re-enlisted with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers as soon as he was able and was sent back to the Front.  He died on 22 April 1918 on the battlefields of the western front, aged 19.  He is buried at the Bouzincourt Ridge cemetery in the Somme region of France (grave ref: I. D. 10.).  He is also remembered on the Splott War Memorial at St Saviour’s church.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. The story of Arthur in WalesOnline.

Arthur Henry Bowden and mother and sister.

Left: Arthur Henry Bowden and mother and sister.



Private, 7th Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (Service Number 35382)

Frederick George Bowden was born on 27 Jan 1899 in Cardiff to William Henry Bowden, a labourer at an iron foundry, from Roath and Annie Bowden nee Jones originally from Neath. He was baptised at St Saviour’s church on 16 Feb 1899.  The family lived at 47 Habershon Street and Frederick attended Moorland Road school and then Howard Gardens school before leaving to become a clerk in the Ocean Coal company.  He enlisted in Cardiff and was killed in action on 28 Mar 1918 aged 19 at the Western Front.  He is remembered on the Arras Memorial (Bay 7) in France.  He is also remembered on the Howardian School War memorial plaque and the Splott Memorial at St Saviour’s church. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Sergeant, 15th Squadron, Royal Air Force Reserve (Service Number: 1418000)

David Benjamin Bowen was born on 2 Apr 1922 in Merthyr Tydfil to David William Bowen and Esther Matilda Bowen née Thomas, from Dowlais. In 1939 David Bowen and his sister Dilys Frances Bowen are living at 5 Ambleside Avenue off Lake Road West in Cardiff, together with his mother who has by that time remarried to Reginald Heather Farrant, who grew up in Roath.  David is working as an apprentice electrical fitter.  David joined the Royal Air Force Reserve but was killed on 27 Sep 1943 aged 21.  He had been a flight engineer and part of the seven man crew of Stirling III EE940 that had taken off at 19.44hrs from Mildenhall airfield in Suffolk.  The plane was lost over Germany, cause not established.  He is buried in Hanover War Cemetery (collective grave 3. D. 7-10). He was remembered on the Woodville Road Baptist Church WWII memorial plaque.   Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Second Lieutenant, 2nd/1st (Lancs.) Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery

mid_6659252John Antonio Sanchez Boyle was born in Montrose, Scotland on 10 Mar 1888 to Hugh Boyle, a military clerk with the Army Pay Corps, originally from Dalton, Dumfries, Scotland, and  Aurora Boyle née Sanchez originally from Roanda, Spain who ran a grocer’s shop.  In 1891 the Boyle family were living in Woolwich Army barracks in London. By 1901 they had moved to Cardiff and were living initially at 47 Llantrisant Street, Cathays and then at 4 Whitchurch Road.  He attended Crwys Road school in 1895 before going on to Cardiff Intermediate school, Howard Gardens from 1898 until 1899; and then Cardiff High School, on a scholarship, from 1899 until 1904. He went to University College Cardiff in 1906 and gained a First Class Honours degree and was awarded the Gladstone History Prize. After university he became a master at West Leeds Boys High School where he taught history for five years from 1909 to 1914. John then moved the Cape Colony, South Africa to teach. However, when the war broke out, he volunteered for service in West Africa, but was initially engaged on garrison duty until August 1915. John then served with a South African Field Ambulance in Egypt and on the Western Front until Fe 1917. Selected for a commission, he was gazetted to the Royal Garrison Artillery on 1 Aug 1917. Second Lieutenant John Boyle was killed in action, aged 29, on 30 Nov 1917 during the Battle of Cambrai. He is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial to the Missing, France. He is also commemorated on the Howardian War Memorial and the war memorial in Cardiff University. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Civilian Casualty

Gwen Bragg funeralGwendoline Rebecca Bragg was born on 24 Jul 1912 in Cardiff to Albert Thomas Bragg, a dairyman, originally from Winsham, Somerset and Alice Beatrice Bragg née Boyer, originally from Griffithstown, Monmouthshire.   The Bragg family lived at 2 Westville Road from where Albert Bragg ran the Bedford Dairy milk delivery business.  Gwen trained to be a nurse and in 1939 was living at Kent & Canterbury Hospital, Ethelbert Road, Canterbury and described as a probationary nurse.   She was one of two nurses killed in an air raid on Burgate Street, Canterbury on 11 Oct 1940.  She was 28 years old and engaged to be married to Robert Gilchrist Gentleman Drake who himself later qualified as a nurse.  Her body was returned to Cardiff and the funeral service held at Minster Road church.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.  She is remembered on Tredegarville Baptist Church war memorial plaque. (One of those killed in the same street that night was Cissie Hill, cabaret dancer, who had been engaged to Sultan of Johor).



Aircraftwoman 1st Class, 953 Balloon Squadron, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (Service Number 2116411)

Helen Ross Brand was born in 1922 in Keith, Scotland to  John Brand and Jessie Ross Brand née Lobban. Helen was a member of 953 Balloon Squadron, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force based stationed in Cardiff. She died aged 20 along with two fellow squadron members on 18 May 1943 during an air raid when their station on Colchester Avenue, Penylan took a direct hit.  On May 20th the remains of three casualties, left for their respective homes, each coffin accompanied by a WAAF Officer and NCO.  She is buried in Keith (Broomhill) cemetery (section B, grave 28). She is also remembered on the Keith War Memorial.  The newspaper article  reporting her death wrote she was due to be married in three weeks to a RAF Cadet.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Keith War Memorial Helen Ross Brand


Private, C Company, 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Service Number: 29845)

Morris Patrick Brenan was born in Stratford, Essex in 1886 to James Brennan, a Customs Official, originally from Kilcorkey, Roscommon, Ireland and Hannah Brennan nee Holland, originally from Youghal, County Cork, Ireland.  In 1891 the family lived in West Ham, London.  By 1901 that had moved to Woodland Road, Newport, Morris being the only boy of six children.  In the 1911 census the Brennan family had moved to 7 Ilton Road, Pen-y-lan but Morris was now away, boarding at 50 Leighton Road, Ealing, London and working as a teacher at the Civil Service College.  He enlisted in Ealing in Dec 1915, aged 29, giving his occupation as an accountant.  He was sent to the front in Jul 1916 and killed in action on 20 Nov 1916 aged 30.  His resting place is not identified.  He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial in France (Pier and Face 4 A).  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.  He is thought to have been remembered on the St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church Roll of Honour. His probate gives his address at 7 Ilton Road, Cardiff.



Private, 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders (Service Number: S/7914)

George Arthur Brewster was born in Paddington, London in 1893. In 1901 he was living at 82 Neville Street, Cardiff, aged 8, as the adopted son of Harriet James, aged 56, lodging house keeper.  In 1911 he was living at 34 Angus Street, Roath Park and working as an apprentice upholsterer and living with George Benjamin Pollard Williams and Harriet Ann Williams née Weller and is described as their nephew. (George and Harriet Williams were also living at the same lodging house in Neville St in 1901 as Arthur Brewster).  He enlisted in Bridgend and served with the 2nd battalion, Seaforth Highlanders.   He was shot and died of wounds on 17 Oct 1916 aged 23 on the Western Front. He is buried at the Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte, France (plot I. N. 13). He was remembered on the Roath Park Wesleyan Methodist church war memorial plaqueCommonwealth War Graves Commission record. (Notes: his place of birth, Paddington, is as described in his entry in the 1911 census and matches a birth registration of George Arthur Brewster in Q2 1893, Paddington, no mother’s maiden name recorded.  Somewhere, possibly his enlistment papers, seems to have his birthplace as Dundee, hinting that there was possibly family connection with Dundee).


Private, 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment  (Service Number: 3/8616)

Charles Phillip Brian was born in Cardiff in 1898 to Charles Brian, a stationary engine driver at a flour mill, originally from Runcorn, Cheshire and Elvira Brian nee Williams, originally from Llantwit Fardre, Glamorgan. In 1901 the Brian family were living at 26 Gwendoline Street, Splott and by 1911 they have moved to 9 Broadway, Roath. Little is known about his war service other than he served as a Private in the 1st Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment and was discharged on 7 May 1919 suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis. He died on 16 Oct 1919 in Cardiff aged 21 and is buried at Cathays Cemetery (plot EB 90). He is remembered on a memorial plaque thought to have been in Clifton Street Calvinistic Methodist chapel. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.



Sergeant, 27th Squadron, Royal Air Force, (Service Number G/70405)

William Edwin Archibald ‘Archie’ Brooks was born on 30th March 1899 to Llewellyn Books, a commercial traveller and Blanch Brooks née Moore, originally from Newport.  The in 1901 the family were living at 101 Castle Road (later renamed City Road) and in 1911 they were at 196 City Road.  Sometime afterwards the family move to 1 Axminster Road. The following summary of his military history is taken from the welldigger blog by David Pike: Listed as Serjeant, G70405 Royal Air Force, Archie originally joined the Royal Fusiliers after 1915, and was promoted to Sergeant while serving with them. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) on 21st September 1917, and was sent to No 5 Cadet Wing at Hastings for preliminary training.  Deemed unsuitable as a pilot, he trained as an observer starting with 2 weeks initial flying training at Worcester before transferring to the School of Military Aeronautics at Reading on 11th February 1918. He seems initially to have been allocated to 106th Squadron (aerial reconnaissance) as it was being formed.  This squadron was sent to Ireland in May 1918, but Archie must already have been switched to 27th Squadron which was serving on the Western Front before this happened. 27th Squadron was flying DH4 light bombers and in the spring of 1918 were engaged in low-level bombing and reconnaissance over the German lines.  Archie did not survive for very long. He died on 16th June 1918 aged 19, just ten days after the RFC became the RAF, and was buried at Hangard Communal Cemetery, on the Somme.  It seems he was originally buried, together with his pilot, Second Lieutenant Charles Henry Gannaway, a 19 year old Scot from Glasgow, in a German cemetery at Saulchoy-sur-Davenescourt, suggesting they died while flying behind the German front line on reconnaissance in DH4 number A7597.  He was remembered on the memorial in Plasnewydd Presbyterian Church (now the Gate Arts Centre) and we think the Mackintosh Institute plaque (now lost).


Flight Lieutenant, 98 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Service (Service Number: 123194)

Cecil Henry Brown was born in Cardiff in 1920 to Ivor Archibald Brown, a commercial traveller and Nettie Mavilla Brown nee Naish, both originally from the Roath area of Cardiff.  In 1922 the Brown family were living at 119 Donald Street, Roath.  In 1942 he married Betty Cannon in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire. They went on to have a son, Malcolm Brown, born in Hitchin in 1945. Cecil served with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Service and became a flight lieutenant. In 1945 he was awarded a Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross when serving with 105 Squadron.  He was killed on 23 Sep 1946 in an air accident in Germany aged 26 when a member of 98 Squadron. He was flying as navigator in a Mosquito that took off from RAF Wahn which suffered an engine failure and crashed at Wessen near Fasberg.  The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Alan Percival Mountain, DFC and Bar, DFM, was also killed. Cecil is buried at Hanover War Cemetery (grave 13.A.3). He is also remembered on a memorial plaque at All Saints Church, Sandon, Hertfordshire. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. His sister Joyce was a member of Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and died on active service in 1941.

Cecil Henry Brown Headstone and Memorial Plaque


Second Lieutenant, 8th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment (Service Number 16119).

Christopher Brown portrait and grave

Christopher Brown was born in Cardiff in 1897 to Richard Brown, a stoker on a steamship, and Margaret Brown née Kirby.  He lived at 52 Nora Street.  In 1915 Christopher married Mary Elizabeth Hayes shortly before signing up to the South Wales Border Regiment. He later transfers to the Worcestershire Regiment.  He was mortally wounded during the advance to retake Maretz (close to the Somme) and subsequently dies of wounds he had received on 24th October 1918 aged 19.  He is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France, in block S, plot V, row J, grave 1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission   (Interestingly, in the next but one grave is buried Rev Theodore Hardy VC, DSO, MC, one of the most decorated non-combatants of the First World War).


Sergeant,395th Company Mechanical Transport, Royal Army Service Corps (Service Number 300916).

Harold Jackson Brown was born on 17 Feb 1899 in Leicester, the only child of Jonathon Stirtevant Brown, a commercial traveller in the hosiery trade, originally from Leicester and Alice Brown née Emerson, originally from Belton, Leicestershire. In 1901 his father joined the Imperial Yeomanry and served in South Africa. His father was also later to serve in WWI in the Dorset Regiment. By 1911 they had moved to 1 Deri Road, Pen-y-lan.  He attended Marlborough Road Council School and then Cardiff High School from Jan 1911 until Jul 1914. After school, Harold was employed as a motor fitter and driver. He attested in Cardiff on 12 Mar 1917 and was posted two days later to the Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport Reserve Depot, Grove Park, London, as a fitter. He served on the Western Front from 27 Apr 1918 and afterward in the Army of Occupation in Germany until 19 Nov 1919. He then remained in the Army in Britain but suffered from a disability caused by illness or injury and was discharged on 8 Feb 1920. He died on 19 Feb 1921 aged 22 and his death registered in Marylebone, London. His mother applied for his medals in April 1921.  Harold Jackson Brown is one of the names recorded on the memorial tower at St. Margaret’s Church, Roath,  He is also He is commemorated on the war memorial in St. Edward’s Church, Pen-y-lan and the Cardiff High School war memorial plaque. He is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and his place of burial is currently unknown. His father died in Leicestershire in 1938 but his mother was still living in Deri Road in 1941.



Captain, 12th Battalion, South Wales Borderers

Harold James Brown was born in Mumbles, Gower on 4 Sep 1895 to James Brown, a journalist and later assistant editor at the Western Mail, and Margaret Rachel Brown née Tucker, both originally from Swansea. The family moved to Diana Street,  Roath when Harold was young and he attended both Roath Park and Marlborough Road schools.  Before enlisting in the army he worked for the Ministry of Labour in Cardiff and was an enthusiastic supporter of amateur boxing.  He enlisted with the yeomanry in 1914 and after 12 months in the ranks was commissioned to the South Wales Borderers.  In 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross for a particular act of heroism in which he went out alone to the German trenches and brought back severely wounded soldiers under heavy machine gun and rifle fire. His medal was presented to him by the King at Buckingham Palace in Aug 1917.  He was twice promoted on the battlefield and took part in the Battle of Bourlon Wood.  He was invalided home from France in Jan 1918 and afterward engaged on the Appointments Board.  He died at home in 40 Richmond Road on 10 Jan 1920 aged 23 from the effects of being gassed whilst at the front.  He is buried at Cathays Cemetery (plot Y 9).  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. He was remembered on the Ministry of Labour, Cardiff war memorial and the Roath Road Wesleyan Church Roll of Honour.  A painting of Harold James Brown in 1917 by the portrait artist George Frederick Harris is at the Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh in Brecon, donated by his sister. (A painting of George V by the same artist hangs in the Manson House on Richmond Road, close to where Harold Brown lived. The artist George Harris moved to Australia in 1920 and is the grandfather of Rolf Harris).


Assistant Section Officer, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (Service Number: 3570)

Joyce Alethea Jones headstoneJoyce Alethea Brown was born in Cardiff on 28 Oct 1918 to Ivor Archibald Brown, a commercial traveller and Nettie Mavilla Brown nee Naish, both originally from the Roath area of Cardiff.  In 1922 the Brown family were living at 119 Donald Street, Roath. By 1939 they had moved to 22 Heathwood Road and Joyce was working as a Fancy Goods Sales Assistant. She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and the London Gazette carried a notice that she became an Assistant Section Officer with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force on 20 Oct 1941.  She died just a week later on 28 Oct 1941, her 23rd birthday.  The Western Mail announcement of her death states she died suddenly at Markfield Hospital, Leicestershire. She is buried at Cathays Cemetery (grave EG 1775) with a war grave headstone. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. Her brother Cecil Henry Brown was in the RAF and was killed in 1946 in Germany.


Private, 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards (Service Number: 1661)

William Brown headstoneWilliam ‘Willie’ Brown was born on 13 Oct 1898 to Frank Anthony Brown, an engineer, and Jane Alice Brown nee Chapman, originally from Bridlington, Yorks. William’s birth was registered in Cardiff but his army records state he was born in Ilfracombe. He was baptised on 29 Nov 1898 in Roath and their address given as 38 Coedcae Street, Grangetown. By 1901 they had settled in Roath and were living at 89 Donald Street. In 1911, when William is admitted to Gladstone School, the Brown family are living at 69 Arabella Street, Roath. He left school in Jan 1913 and his father died in 1915.  William was a member of the Roath Road Wesleyan Methodist church.  He enlisted in the army in Cardiff and was a member of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.  He died of wounds on 6 Dec 1917 aged 19 and is buried at Etaples Military Cemetery in France (grave XXXI.B.19). He was remembered on the Roath Road church memorial (now lost). He is also possibly the William Brown on the Clifton Street chapel memorial. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Civilian Casualty

William Peter Bruce pictureWilliam Peter Bruce was born on 14 Oct 1892 in Seacombe, Cheshire to Thomas Bruce, a victualler and later a Sea Captain, originally from Hawarden, Flintshire, and Margarite Jane Bruce nee Partridge, originally from Liverpool.  He was baptised in St Peter’s church, Liverpool, in Feb 1895. In the 1901 census the Bruce family were living in Seaforth, Liverpool, but shortly after move to Cardiff. William was enrolled at Marlborough Road school on 19 Aug 1901 having previously attended St Thomas school Liverpool.  The Marlborough Road school records show the family lived at 90 Claude Road at the time. In 1904, at the age of 14, he enrolled in Cardiff as an apprentice with the Merchant Navy for four years.  In WWI he served in the merchant navy.  In 1918 he married Edith Augusta Griffiths in Bedwellty, Monmouthshire.  After the war William continued his career as a mariner. They set up home in Doncaster, Yorkshire but by 1927 seem to be making trips to China. The 1939 Register shows William and Edith living in Worthing, Sussex.  His profession is recorded as being Warehouse Superintendant, Shanghai (and mariner, on leave – crossed out). William and Edith have one child, John Colin Bruce who was born in china in 1931. William died on 30 Dec 1945 in Shanghai, China aged 52.  His death is recorded as being a civilian casualty of the war by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.  He died at Shanghai General Hospital of chronic bronchial asthma and myocardiac failure infarction. At the time he was working for John Swire & Sons Ltd, an international shipping company.  He is remembered on the Swire WWII War Memorial in London.   Shanghai was occupied by Japanese forces in WWII and life for any foreign workers trapped there got harder as the war progressed. In the end many were interned. It appears his wife Edith returned to living in Doncaster and died there in 1979.


Private,  5th Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (Service Number: 15944)

Albert Edward Percy Bruce portraitAlbert Edward Percy Bruce was born on 20 Apr 1896 in Liverpool to Thomas Bruce, a victualler and later a Sea Captain, originally from Hawarden, Flintshire, and Margarite Jane Bruce nee Partridge, originally from Liverpool.  In 1901 the Bruce family were living in Seaforth, Liverpool, but shortly after move to Cardiff.  In 1902 Edward started to attend Marlborough Road School and the Bruce family are living at 90 Claude Road before later moving to 86 Marlborough Road.  At the age of 14 he served a short apprenticeship in the merchant navy including on board S.S.Escrick where he was at the time of the 1911 census.   He enlisted in the army in Nov 1914 and served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders. He was wounded in May 1915 and invalided home but recovered  and rejoined his regiment in Aug 1915.  He was killed in action on 1 Sep 1916, aged 20, at Delville Wood in part of the Battle of the Somme.  At the time he had been a machine gunner with the 5th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.  His Sergeant wrote: ‘“He was a Machine Gunner belonging to the section of my platoon, and I can assure you I have lost one of my best men.  His section received the thanks of the Brigadier-General for the splendid work they did in breaking up the German attack. He has left a good name behind him, and he will never be forgotten by his pals. He would have had promotion a long time ago, but he preferred to stop as he was.” His grave has not been identified.  He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial in France.  He is also remembered on the St Margaret’s war memorial tower and the St Edward’s WWI memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.  The CWGC record shows his mother Margarite living as ‘Escrick’, 25 Axminster Road (S.S.Escrick was the name of the vessel he served an apprentice on).  His older brother William Peter Bruce is recorded as being a civilian war casualty in WWII in Shanghai, China.


Lance Corporal, 14th Battalion, Welsh Regiment (Service Number: 56771)

Thomas Arthur Bryant was born on 16 Jan 1887 in Beckenham, Kent to Thomas Arthur Bryant, a grocer, originally from Sandhurst, Kent and Ellen Louisa Bryant née Andrews, originally from Bromley, Kent. In 1901 the Bryant family were living in Penge, Kent but by 1911 Arthur had left home and was living at 16 Bangor Street, Roath, Cardiff and working as a third class clerk at the General Post Office.  He later moved to live at 115 Westville Road, Pen-y-lan.  He enlisted in Dec 1915 in Cardiff with the 7th Cyclists Battalion, Welsh Regiment before later transferring to the 14th Battalion. He was killed in action on 19 Apr 1918 aged 31 in France. He is buried at the Warloy-Baillon Communal Cemetery Extension (plot IV. F. 3.).  He was remembered on the Roath Park Wesleyan Methodist church war memorial plaque.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.


Second Lieutenant, 6th Battalion, Welsh Regiment

Harry Hill Bucknell was born on 25 Feb 1882 in Cardiff to Henry Hill Bucknell, a book keeper and house painter, originally from Camden Town, London and Eleanor Catherine Bucknell née Williams originally from Reading, Berkshire.  He was baptised at All Saints church on 23 Apr 1882 when the family was living at 23 Windsor Road. In 1891 and 1901 the Bucknell family were living at 39 Partridge Road, Roath and later moved to nearby 114 Marlborough Road. He attended Tredegarville primary school before going on to Cardiff Intermediate school (Howard Gardens) and then Cardiff Higher Grade school (Cardiff High). After leaving school he worked as a clerk for the Cardiff Gas Company before becoming a cashier at the Swansea Gas Company. When in Swansea he rented a room at 39 St George Terrace and was also a member of the Masons. He served as a member of the Glamorgan Yeomanry prior to WWI and was called up for service on 4 Aug 1914 and obtained a commission on 28 Sep 1915. He served on the Western Front with the 6th Battalion Welsh Regiment and was killed in action at Ypres on 22 Jul 1917 aged 35.  An account from the regimental history records reads, ‘One night the nose-cap of a shrapnel shell caught Lieutenant Bucknell full in the stomach.  Despite the injury, he went about his work for hours, but eventually lost his way.  He was a very dark-looking man, and on asking some questions of another regiment he was taken for a German spy.  It was quite bad enough to have been hit, but when insult was added to the injury the cup of trouble almost overflowed.  Bucknell was one of those quiet individuals who would not say a word about his injury, and he allowed himself to be walked for miles to the 6th Welsh headquarters to satisfy his zealous captors that he was not really a Bosche. His injury was a bad one. He was killed later on’.  He is buried at Essex Farm Cemetery north of Ypres in Belgium (plot II. H. 13). His Chaplain wrote of him, ‘He was always a ready volunteer for whatever was taking place – fear was an unknown quantity. We have lost a brave comrade, and King and country have lost a gallant officer whom it could ill spare’.  He is remembered on the Howard Gardens war memorial plaque now at Howardian Primary School.  Much of the original plaque was destroyed in the WWII blitz but a section containing Harry’s name survived.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Harry Hill Bucknell photo and headstone

Harry Hill Bucknell (standing top rt). (photo credits and assistance from Dave Warren)


Private, 58th Battalion, Canadian Regiment (Service Number: 453255)

Samuel Burt was born on 3 Dec 1894 to Jane Burt in Yeovil Workhouse. His baptismal record records no father but his Commonwealth War Graves Commission record records that he was the son of the late G. J. Burt, of Yeovil, Somerset, England. His mother later married Edward Gillett but she then died in 1904 leaving Samuel orphaned. He was taken in by Dr Barnardo’s charity and became one of the Barnardo’s Home Children sent to Canada in 1907, aged 12, aboard the ship Dominion from Liverpool. He is on the 1911 Canadian census, aged 16, working as a farmhand, living in Camilla Village, Mono, Ontario, north of Toronto.  Samuel Burt, 5 foot 3¾ inches, with black hair and blue eyes, now aged 20, enlisted into the Canadian Infantry in Toronto in July 1915.  When he was killed in Belgium on 26 Oct 1917 when he was 23 years old. His record records he was “Killed in Action.” He was shot in the face and killed by an explosive bullet, during the attack made by his Battalion at Bellevue Spur. Samuel Burt has no known burial place.  Instead, he is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial in Belgium.  He is also remembered on a plaque commemoration the British Home Children of Canada who fell in WWI. (He has no known connection to Roath other than his sister Annie moved to  Cardiff and lived at 120 Newport Road, working as a domestic servant to a ship broker agent and was married at St Margaret’s church.  In 2023 we were asked by the Passchendaele Memorial Museum in Belgium if we could trace any decedents of the Burt family. Another sister Mabel lived in Ely Children’s Home, Cardiff after being orphaned.)