Roath Virtual War Memorial: B


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, 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.


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, 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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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).


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).