VICTOR THOMAS BARNARD
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.
JOHN THOMAS BARTER
Private, 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Service Number 9791)
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.
HENRY FRANK BASELOW
Second Lieutenant, 220th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) (Service Number PS/7607)
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.
LEON ASHER BASSMAN
Sergeant (Flight Engineer), 550 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service Number 1423298).
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.
WALTER RONALD BEECHEY
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.
JOHN WILLIAM BEER
Private, 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers (Service Number 39530)
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.
EDITH MAY BEESTON
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 1917 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.
VICTOR STANLEY JAMES BELT
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.
HERBERT SIDNEY BENNETT
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.
HERBERT SIDNEY BENNETT
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.
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.
Corporal, 16th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (Service Number 40297)
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 ‘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.
THOMAS WALTER MANNING BILLINGHAM
Driver, 98th Sanitary Section, Royal Army Medical Corps (Service Number: T2/9733)
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.
FREDERICK GEORGE BILLOT
Master, S.S. “Euterpe” (Cardiff), Merchant Navy
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.
ARTHUR WILLIAM THOMAS BLACKMORE
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.
ELI ROBERT BOND
Sapper, Royal Engineers, No.7 Works Company. Inland Waterways and Docks (Service Number: 235081)
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.
WILLIAM HENRY BONFIELD
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.
REGINALD WILLIAM BONFIELD
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).
ARTHUR HENRY BOWDEN
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.
FREDERICK GEORGE BOWDEN
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.
DAVID BENJAMIN BOWEN
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.
HELEN ROSS BRAND
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.
CHARLES PHILLIP BRIAN
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.
WILLIAM EDWIN ARCHIBALD BROOKS
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).
CECIL HENRY BROWN
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.
Second Lieutenant, 8th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment (Service Number 16119).
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).
HAROLD JACKSON BROWN
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.
HAROLD JAMES BROWN
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).
JOYCE ALETHEA BROWN
Assistant Section Officer, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (Service Number: 3570)
Joyce 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 ‘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.
WILLIAM PETER BRUCE
William 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.
ALBERT EDWARD PERCY BRUCE
Private, 5th Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (Service Number: 15944)
Albert 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.