FRED STANLEY SALMONI
Lance Corporal, 15th Battalion, Australian Infantry, A.I.F.( Service Number 791)
Fred Stanley Salmoni was born on 24 Dec 1892 in Roath, Cardiff to William Salmoni, a painter and decorator, originally from Wells, Somerset, and Mary Salmoni née Hudgins originally from Pentyrch, Glamorgan. The Salmoni family lived at 8 Elm Street, Roath and Fred attended Stacey Road school and was a member of the 14th Company Cardiff Boy’s Brigade. After leaving school he became a fitters helper in a colliery above ground. He emigrated to Australia in 1912. Fred Salmoni joined his aunt and uncle in Childers in Queensland and took up a lease to farm 260 acres of timberland in the Good Night Scrub on the Burnell River in 1914. On the outbreak of war he enlisted in Brisbane in the Australian Contingent, travelled initially to Egypt then Turkey but was killed in action at Gallipoli on 28 April 1915 aged 21. On the morning of the 27th his platoon commander, Lieut. T. Robertson, with a party of thirty picked men (including Salmoni) went forward to occupy an outpost position in advance of the main line of defence. Early the following morning the enemy massed in large numbers opposite their position and demanded their surrender; this was refused, but as they were greatly outnumbered they had to retire, and only a few of the party succeeded in reaching the main line. Although killed on 28 April, his body was not found until the 24 May. He was buried in Shrapnel Valley, about one mile north-east of Gaba Tepe, Turkey. The exact whereabouts of the grave was subsequently lost. Following his death there was a successful claim for part of his war pension by Ethel Rose Baker of 82 Elm Street, Cardiff on behalf of a son Kenneth John Baker, born illegitimately in July 1912. His decision to emigrate may have been motivated by the birth of his illegitimate son. It turns out that in adulthood, Kenneth Baker also worked as a fitter. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. Australia holds a Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra each day. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. On 22 March 2017 the story of Lance Corporal Fred Salmoni was told. A video of the ceremony is available and his story starts at 5min 45sec into the recording. He is also remembered on the Gin Gin Cenotaph, and in the Isis Shire Council Chambers and Memorial Hall, and on a virtual Queensland Roll of Honour Australia. Back home he doesn’t appear to be remembered on any memorials though was mentioned in an edition of the Roath Roamer magazine of the Roath Road Wesleyan Methodist Church.
FRANCIS ROBERT SMART
Second Engineer, S.S. “Mexico City” (Hong Kong), Mercantile Marine
Francis ‘Frank’ Robert Smart was born in Sharpness, Gloucestershire in 1877 to Henry Smart, a marine pilot, and Maria Smart née Cooper both originally also from Berkeley, Glos. By the age of 23 he was a mechanical engineer working in Bristol but in 1911 he had returned home to his parents in Berkeley and was working as a marine engineer. In 1914 he married Nellie Sheard in Staincliffe, Yorkshire. The address on his marriage Banns at the time was Roath, Cardiff. In 1915 they have a son James born in Dewsbury, Yorks. They return to Cardiff living at 68 Roath Court Road and Frank joins the merchant navy. He dies on 5 Feb 1918 aged 40 when serving as Second Engineer on board S.S. Mexico City (previously named the S.S. Narrung). The S.S.Mexico City was en route from Liverpool to Alexandria with a general cargo when it was sunk in the Irish Sea, 15 miles west of Anglesey, by German submarine U.101. Twenty nine men were lost, with survivors rescued by RMS Leinster and the USS Parker and others made it by lifeboat to Douglas. The S.S.Mexico City was registered in Hong Kong and many of the crew came from that area. Frank Smart is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. He is also remembered on the Berkeley War Memorial inside the Minster church of St Mary the Virgin. James, their son, went on to be a civil engineer in the water industry. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
BERNARD WELBY SOMERFORD
Sergeant (Navigator (Bomber)), 420 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron, Royal Air Force (Service Number 658354)
Bernard Welby Somerford was born in Tenbury, Worcestershire in 1920 to George William Welby Somerford, a drapers clerk, originally from Tunbridge Wells, Kent and Lavinia Annie Somerford, nee Hillier, a drapers assistant, originally from Frome, Somerset. The Somerford family moved to Cardiff living at 52 Princes Street and Bernard’s father worked as an advertising representative for the Western Mail and Echo but Bernard’s mother died when he was just twelve. He attended Cardiff High School for Boys and on leaving school he worked for Cardiff City council on the staff of the Public Assistance Department at Cardiff City Hall. He played cricket for Cardiff High Old Boys and was a member of Charles Street Congregational Church where he worked with the Youth Group. He joined the 6th Battalion Welsh Regiment (Territorials) in 1938 and remained in the Royal Artillery (Searchlights) until his transfer to the RAF in 1941. He died on 13 Feb 1943 aged 22 when the Wellington bomber he was in crashed near Lorient, Brittany. The plane had taken off from Middleton St. George airfield, Co Durham as part of a bombing raid on the port of Lorient. All five crew members were killed when the Wellington crashed in the target area. He is buried at Guidel Communal Cemetery in Brittany (Row 6, Grave 21). He is remembered on the memorial for Cardiff Corporation employees at Cardiff City Hall. Commonwealth War Graves record.
Private, 11th Battalion, Welsh Regiment (Service Number 15514)
Herbert Spence was born in Middlesbrough in early 1881 to Marcus John Spence, a marine engineer originally from North Shields, and Faith Spence née Milburn, originally from Leeds. By 1891 the family had moved down to Newport and Herbert was in school but his mother Faith passed away in 1893. In 1901 the Spence family had moved to Cardiff living in Forrest Road, Canton. Herbert married Beatrice Mary Davies at St Mark’s Church, Gabalfa on 9 Aug 1915 when he was already serving in the Welsh Regiment. He was a well known in Canton football circles and he worked as a painter and decorator. He served with the 11th Battalion, Welsh Regiment and died of malaria on the 31 August 1917 in Salonika, Greece aged 37. He is buried in Mikra British Cemetery in Greece. The newspaper report of his death mentions his father living in Planet Street, Roath and his wife living at 71 Manor Street. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
BETTY MARY STANNARD
Leading Aircraftwoman, 953 Balloon Squadron, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (Service Number 2068971)
Betty Mary Stannard was born in Kent in 1922 to Albert James Stannard, an Estate worker from Monkton, Kent, and Mary Eleanor Stannard née Williams. (Her father Albert worked on the estate belonging to Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram, ornithologist and plant collector and son of Sir William Ingram, owner of London Illustrated News). Betty was a Leading Aircraftwoman with 953 Balloon Squadron, Women’s Auxiliary Air Force which was based at Cardiff Castle in WWII. She died on 18th May 1943, aged 21 when the barrage balloon site at which she was stationed at Colchester Avenue, Penylan took a direct hit during a bombing raid on Cardiff. Three WAAF balloon operators were killed and a further four injured. She is buried at St George’s in Benenden, Kent (grave reference : Row 13. Grave 59). Betty Mary Stannard is commemorated on the Benenden War Memorial in Kent. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
THOMAS HENRY CUTHBERT STEPHENS
Signaller, 96th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (Service Number 348208)
Thomas Henry Cuthbert Stephens was born on 6 May 1895 in Cardiff to Henry Stephens, a hydraulic crane operator and coal trimmer, and Hannah Maud Stephens nee Cooper both originally from Cardiff. He was baptised on 2 Aug 1895 that year at St Margaret’s church, Roath. In 1901 the family lived Talworth Street. He attended Marlborough Road School and later Albany Road School where he won the 100yds hurdle at the Cardiff Schools Sports Day in 1908 before moving on to Howard Gardens school later that year. In 1911 the Stephens family lived in 83 Keppoch Street and Cuthbert was working as a junior clerk. The Stephens family then moved again to lived at 26 Roath Court Road. He enlisted 3 September 1914. He survived the war and was discharged 8 Mar 1919 having been previously injured or due to illness but died on 18 Mar 1920 in Cardiff aged 24. He is buried at Cathays Cemetery, Cardiff (grave VL. CE. 32.). He is included on the memorial at St Edward’s Church, Roath. The Processional Cross used at St Edward’s church was dedicated in his memory. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
WILLIAM HARRY STRACHAN
Private, 1st Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Service Number 56643)
William Harry Strachan was born in Cardiff in 1886 to John Stachan, originally from Aberdeen, Scotland and Catherine Cecilia Strachan née Lewis from Cardiff. He was baptised in Llanishen on October 21st that year where his mother Catherine had been born. His father John Strachan was a very successful civil engineer working on railway projects and the building of Roath dock. The family lived in Craigisla, a large mansion house on Ty-Gwyn Road in Pen-y-lan, Cardiff. William Stachan was one of at least ten children that Catherine and John Strachan had. Some of the children became engineers like their father. In 1901 William, aged 14, is living with his parents in Craigisla, Pen-y-lan. He attended Cardiff High School for Boys. He doesn’t appear on the 1911 census and is probably working aboard because in January 1916 he arrives in Liverpool aboard the ship Orita having boarded in Rio de Janeiro. He is named as a secretary working for the Brazilian Traction Light & Power Company. Presumably he returned home in order to sign up for the army. William Strachan was a Private in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He died on 27th August 1916 aged 30. He was killed in the Battle of the Somme in France and his name appears on the Thiepval Memorial which is a memorial to those who died in that battle but with no known grave. He is also remembered on the War Memorial plaque in St Andrew’s URC church, Wellfield Rd, Roath, Cardiff (not middle name misspelt as Henry on plaque). He is also remembered on the Cardiff High School memorial. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
VINCENT GERALD SULLIVAN
Sergeant, 77 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service Number 969335)
Vincent Gerald Sullivan was born on 13 Jan 1915 in Cardiff to William Sullivan, a bricklayer at the steel works, originally from Blaenavon, Monmouthshire, and Josephine Sullivan née Steel, originally from South Shields, Durham, and a teacher. Vincent attended St Illtyd’s school 1926-29. The family at 148 Habershon Street, Splott. In 1937 Vincent was best man at his sister Josephine’s wedding when she married Richard Tecwyn Williams at St Alban church (R T Williams went on to become a famous toxicologist). In 1939 Vincent was working as an bus conductor when he got his Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificate at Cardiff Aeroplane Club in a Gypsy Moth aircraft. In WWII he was a Sergeant with 77 Squadron of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He lost his life in an air crash on 24 Nov 1940 aged 29. He was one of five crew aboard a Whitley V bomber which took off at 17.30 from Topcliffe airfield in Yorkshire on a mission in Italy. It is believed it ran out of fuel on its return and ditched in the Strait of Dover. Vincent’s body was not recovered. He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Surrey and also the St Illtyd’s School war memorial plaque now at St Alban church, Splott. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.