ALFRED HAROLD PARFITT
Armourer’s Crew, Royal Navy, H.M.S. Natal. (Service Number: M/13756)
Alfred Harold Parfitt was born on 31 Jun 1896 in Pontypridd to George Alfred Parfitt, an inn keeper and later colliery yardsman, from Pentre and Elizabeth Ellen Parfitt nee Davies from Pontypridd. After leaving school he was employed as an electrician. He joined the Royal Navy in Jun 1915 and served on HMS Natal from Jul to Dec 1915. He was lost when the Natal sunk in Cromarty Firth, northeast Scotland on 30 Dec 1915 due to an internal ammunition explosion. Over 390 people were killed. Alfred was remembered on a marble plaque that is in the old Unitarian chapel in West Grove, Cardiff. It is not known if Alfred, aged 19 when he was killed, had any connection with the Cardiff area. A number of the tablets mention a Pontypridd connection. Once possibility is that they were moved to the Cardiff chapel when a Pontypridd Unitarian chapel closed. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
ALEXANDER THOMAS PATERSON
Private, 1st Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) (Service Number S/9446, 442019)
Alexander Thomas Paterson was born on 12 Aug 1893 in Cardiff to Thomas Paterson, a tailor, originally from Glasgow and Selina Paterson nee Peters originally from Pembrokeshire. He attended Adamsdown and later Crwys Road school. He also attended Tredegaville Baptist church. In 1901 the Paterson family lived at 13 St Peter Street and in 1904 they had moved to Crwys Road. His father died in 1906 aged 54. In 1911 the Paterson family had moved again to 69 Shakespeare Street, Roath and Alex was working as a general assistant at a wall paper merchant. By 1913 he was a fitters mate and a member of the National Union of Railwaymen. When he enlisted in Perth in June 1915 in the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) he gave his profession as a brakesman. He was posted to the Western Front and shot and wounded in the right shoulder in Feb 1916 at the Battle of Loos. On recovering he was transferred to the Labour Corps in Nov 1917. By June 1, 1918 Alexander and the Labour Corps were serving at the line of the Hohenzoller Sector when Etaples Military Hospital, 15 miles south of Boulogne was bombed by the German forces. Alex died aged 24 as a result of being wounded in the bombing. He is buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery (grave LXVII. E. 18). He is remembered on the war memorial plaque at Tredegaville Baptist Church and the Cardiff Railway employees Roll of Honour at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay. Commonwealth War Grave Commission record.
JOHN STUART PHELPS
Rifleman, 1st/5th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment (Service Number 34067)
John Stuart Phelps was born on 18 Jun 1887 in Roch, Pembrokeshire to Moses Phelps, a coalminer, originally from Freystrop, Pembs and Frances Phelps nee Childs, a dressmaker, originally from Nolton, Pembs. He started attending school in Nolton in Apr 1893. By 1911, then aged 22, he had moved to Cardiff and was working as a draper’s salesman for the department store James Howell’s in St Mary’s Street and living on the premises along with many other people in the drapery trade. In 1915 he had moved to 5 Piercefield Place, Roath, still working as a draper’s assistant and attended Star Street church where he was a faithful member of the choir. He enlisted in Cardiff in December 1915 into the 7th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, a Territorial Cyclist Battalion. On 26 July 1916 he landed in France, and was posted to the 1/5th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment. He probably fought in a number of battles at the Somme including the battles of Guillemont, Ginchy and Morval. The division moved to the Ypres salient in October 1916. Stuart was killed in action here on 18 November 1916 aged 29. He has no known grave but is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial in Belgium and also the Roch War memorial in Pembrokeshire. He was also remembered on an individual plaque that was in Star Street church, Cardiff and now believed to be at Parkminster URC church. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
THOMAS JOHN PHILLIPS
Private, 3rd Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Service Number: 404424)
Thomas John Phillips was born on 30 Jul 1890 in Pontllanfraith, Monmouthshire to Samuel Phillips, a railway signalman originally from Gelligroes, Monmouthshire and Hannah Phillips nee Walters originally from Ynysddu, Monmouthshire. By 1900 the Phillips family had moved to 49 Florentia Street, Cathays and Thomas started attending Gladstone primary school. After leaving school he worked as a clerk before deciding to emigrate to Canada in 1913 aboard the SS Fanconia that left from Liverpool. He settled in Toronto and worked as a labourer for the Imperial Oil Company. When war broke out he enlisted with the 3rd battalion, Canadian Infantry in Apr 1915. From his enlistment papers we see that he was 5ft 8in, had grey eyes and auburn hair and was a Baptist. He was killed in action on 18 Dec 1915 aged 24 in Belgium between Lille and Ypres. He is buried at the Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery in Belgium (grave I.E.10.). He is remembered on the Woodville Road Baptist church war memorial plaque and also the Virtual Canadian War Memorial. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. His medals went to his friend Birtha Knee in Toronto and his scroll to his father in Brithdir Street, Cathays.
HARRY LAWSON PICKARD
Second Lieutenant, 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Harry Lawson Pickard was born in 1886 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire and the eldest of seven children born to John Lawson Pickard, a gardener, originally from Boston Spa, Yorkshire and Jeanettie Pickard nee Bell, originally from Lutton, Lincolnshire. In 1891 the Pickard family were living in Bingley, Yorkshire and later moved Aberystwyth where his father took up a position as a lecturer of horticulture at Aberystwyth University. In 1901 Harry was working as a chemist’s errand boy in Aberystwyth before he moved into journalism. In 1911 he is boarding in Dublin, Ireland and working as a sub-editor. He then moved to Cardiff and started work for the Western Mail. When he married Phoebe Crosier, a nursing Sister from Stretford, Manchester at St Andrew’s church in Cardiff on 15 Jun 1912 he was living at 31 Crwys Road, Cathays. They had two children together, George Lawson Pickard (b.1913) and Margaret Myfanwy Pickard (b.1916). The 1914 Cardiff Directory shows H.L.Pickard, journalist, living in Fidlas Road, Llanishen. After enlisting in the army he served with the Welsh Guards on the Somme before being attached to the 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers where he served as a 2nd lieutenant. He was killed in the attack to capture the high ground east of Selle on 20 Oct 1918 aged 32. He is buried St Aubert British Cemetery, France (grave I. B. 20.). He was posthumously awarded the Military Cross on 10 Nov 1918, the citation of which reads as follows: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and leadership and devotion to duty during an operation near Bois du Biez on Sept 30 1918. During the attack he led his platoon with great dash, and though early wounded he continued at duty and remained in charge of the outpost line until his company was relieved 18 hours later. His fine conduct had an inspiring effect on his men’. He is remembered on the Llanelli War Memorial, the war memorial plaque at St Isan’s church Llanishen, and the Western Mail Roll of Honour. His address on his death notice in the newspaper is given as 32 Soberton Avenue, Heath. A piece in the Western Mail from 26 Nov 1918 records how he had written to a friend requesting to be considered for membership of the Carmarthen Antiquarian Society the day before he died. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. Harry’s son, George Lawson Pickard, studied Physics at Oxford on a scholarship for the sons of WW1 casualties, graduating in 1937 with a D.Phil. During WW2 George served as a Scientific Officer with the British Air Ministry. His work on infra-red detection and bombsight design contributed to anti-submarine attack techniques and the Dam-Busters attacks on the Ruhr Dam. In 1946 he was awarded an MBE for his contributions to the war effort. He later emigrated to Canada where he became a Professor at the University of British Columbia and pioneer in the development of physical oceanography. He passed away in 2007 aged 93. In recent years, Harry’s granddaughter, Dr Ann McAfee, has donated his Military Cross to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum.
SIDNEY GEORGE PITMAN
Private, 14th Battalion, Welsh Regiment (Service Number: 73077)
Sidney George Pitman was born on 20 Aug 1899 in Highleadon, Gloucestershire to George Thomas Pitman, a waggoner on a farm and later a cemetery labourer, originally from Upleadon, Gloucestershire, and Annie Elizabeth Pitman nee Batchford, originally from Gloucester. By 1911 the Pitman family were living at Ty’n-y-brwyn, Coedkernew near Castleton, Monmouthshire. Sometime in the next few years they moved to 8 Bertram Street, Roath and Sidney worked in the flour mill. Sidney enlisted in Cardiff on 16 Oct 1916 aged 17 and served in the 14th battalion Welsh Regiment. He departed for France in Apr 1918 and was killed in action on 30 Aug 1918 aged 18. He has no known burial site. He is remembered on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial (panel 7) near Arras, France. He is also remembered on the St Mellon’s war memorial. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
GWYNNE GRIFFITHS PROSSER
Private, 11th Battalion, Welsh Regiment.
Gwynne Griffiths Prosser was born to John Prosser, a docks labourer, and Hannah Prosser née Angove. In 1911 the family were living at 127 Donald Street and Gwynne working as a butcher’s assistant. He married Marie E Chester-Woods in Hastings in 1915. He joined the 11th Battalion Welsh Regiment and died on 19th January 1916 in Salonika aged 25. He is buried at Lambert Road cemetery just outside Thessaloniki city in Greece. He is remembered on the Albany Road Baptist Church war memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
HERBERT THOMAS LEWIS PROSSER
Corporal, 11th Battalion, Welsh Regiment.
Lewis Prosser, (brother of Gwynne above) was born to John Prosser, a docks labourer, and Hannah Prosser née Angove. In 1911 Lewis was a grocer’s assistant. He married Mary Marie Booy from Cardiff in 1915 and they had a son Edward Lewis Colston Prosser. Like his brother he also joined the 11th Battalion Welsh Regiment but died of his wounds on 20 Nov 1916 aged 22 in Salonika, Greece. He is buried at Karasouli Military Cemetery in Greece. He is remembered on the Albany Road Baptist Church war memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.