ALFRED HENRY WARDEN
Air Mechanic 2nd Class, No.12 Training Depot Station, Royal Air Force (Service Number 125427)
Alfred Henry Warden was born in Cardiff in late 1898/early 1899 to Alfred James Warden, a carpenter, originally from Devonport, Devon, and Emily Elizabeth Warden nee Ellis, originally from Bristol. He was baptised in St Andrew’s parish church on 28 Jan 1899. The family lived at 45 Donald Street, Roath. After leaving school he followed his father into the carpentry trade and joined the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters & Joiners when he was 16. He joined the RAF on 2 Jul 1917 and was promoted to Air Mechanic 2nd Class on 26 Jan 1918. His job in the RAF was an aero rigger. He died on 25 Sep 1918 at Andover, Hampshire aged 19. He is buried at Cathays Cemetery (grave EA. 2163). His brother John fell in France and is remembered at the foot of Alfred’s headstone at Cathays. Alfred was also listed on the Roath Road Wesleyan Methodist church memorial which has since been lost. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
JOHN WILLIAM WARDEN
Private, D Company, 16th Battalion, Welsh Regiment (Service Number 23873)
John ‘Jack’ William Warden was born in Bedminster, Somerset, on 24 Mar 1897 to Alfred James Warden, a carpenter, originally from Devonport, Devon, and Emily Elizabeth Warden née Ellis, originally from Bristol. He was baptised on 15 Apr at St Francis church, Ashton Gate. By 1901 the Warden family had moved to Donald Street, Roath. In 1911 John Warden was living at 45 Donald Street and attending Albany Road school. By 1913, aged 16, he had left school and followed his father into the carpentry trade and was a member of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners trade union. He joined the army and was a Private in the 16th Battalion (Cardiff City), Welsh Regiment. Judging by his number was an original 16th Battalion recruit. He survived Mametz Wood which took so many in his regiment only to be killed in action days later near Courcelles. He lost his life on the 18 July 1916 when his trench raiding party became engaged with Germans in no-mans land. The only other casualty was L/Cpl Christopher Nelson, who was from North Clive St in Grangetown. They were both laid to rest in Serre Rd Number 1 Cemetery. Jack Warden was nineteen years old. He is remembered on the war memorial plaque in St Martin’s Church on Albany Road. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. His brother Alfred Henry Warden was a mechanic in the RAF and died in 1918, buried at Cathays Cemetery. John is mentioned at the bottom of his brother’s headstone.
EDGAR JOHN WATKINS
Chief Engineer, Merchant Navy, S.S. “Emlyndene” (Cardiff)
Edgar John Watkins was born in Jun 1881 in Cardiff and the eldest of nine children born to John Watkins, a builder’s merchants foreman, originally from Llangybi, Monmouthshire and Caroline Watkins nee James originally from Cardiff. He grew up at 87 Upper George Street (now called Wyeverne Road), Cathays and attended Crwys Road school. By 1901 the Watkins family had moved to 112 Diana Street Roath and Edgar was working as a machinist. In 1908 he married Bertha Maud Chamberlain, originally from Leicester. They had three children together between 1909 and 1915 and lived at 30 Alfred Street, Roath Park. Edgar joined the merchant navy and became Chief Engineer aboard the 500 tonne Cardiff based cargo steamship SS Emlyndene. He died on 11 Dec 1917 when the SS Emlyndene was torpedoed and sunk by U-boat UC 50 in the English Channel, eight miles east of Start Point, Devon, on a journey carrying coal from Cardiff to Granville, France. Edgar, aged 36, was one of fourteen lives lost when the Emlynedene sank. He is remembered on the Tower Hill memorial in London for merchant seamen. He was also remembered on the Woodville Road Baptist church memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
DAVID THOMAS WATSON
Private, 7th Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) (Service Number 24846)
David Thomas Watson was born in Cardiff in 1883. He was son of David Watson, a licenced victualler (pub landlord) originally from Gelligaer, and Ann Watson née Edwards, originally from Quakers Yard. In 1883 David Watson was publican at the Roath Cottage. In 1891 the family lived in Duke Street in the middle of Cardiff before moving to Stacey Road, Roath. By 1911 Ann is widowed, her husband having died in Pencoed in 1906, and the family is living at 221 Albany Road. David Thomas Watson was a carpenter by trade. He enlisted it seems at first in the Welsh Horse Yeomanry before joining the Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). He died on the Western Front on 15th Feb 1915 aged 34. He is buried at the Grandcourt Road Cemetery (Grave C 79) in the Somme region of France. The Commonwealth War Grave Commission record indicated the family address as being 160 Marlborough Rd. He was also remembered on his parent’s gravestone at Cathays Cemetery in Cardiff with the words “Also of Private David Thomas Watson, dearly beloved son of the above who was killed in action in France February 15 1917 aged 34 yrs”. That gravestone on plot W1130 is marked as having been removed. He was also remembered on the Mackintosh Institute Roll of Honour, also now sadly lost.
JOHN MICHAEL WHALEY
Leading Aircraftman, 2925 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service Number 1315638)
John Michael Whaley was born on 8 Sep 1921 in Cardiff to Patrick Whaley, a general labourer on the railways and Agnes Theresa Whaley nee Donnelly, both originally from Cardiff. The Whaley family lived at 1 Byron Street, Roath. John attended St Peter’s school and then worked as a grocer warehouseman. His father died in 1931 and his mother in 1940. He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and was serving as a Leading Aircraftman in 2925 Squadron when he was killed in an air raid by Luftwaffe on the RAF base in Lentini, Sicily on the night of 11 Aug 1943. He was 21 years old. He is buried at the Catania War Cemetery, Sicily (grave I. F. 32). Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
Stephen Whitehouse was born on 6 Jan 1922 in Cardiff to James Whitehouse, an electrical and mechanical engineer, from Cardiff and Mary Ellen Whitehouse née Mullins from Cardiff. Stephen attended St Illtyd’s school (1933-40). In September 1939 the family were living in Daisy Street, Canton. He enrolled as a student at Cardiff University on 1st October 1940 to study science. During his first year at university he became a volunteer firewatcher, looking for any fires started during enemy bombing raids. He was badly injured on firewatching duty on the night of 26 Feb 1941, at Cardiff University College. The incendiary bombs fell on the Student’s Union building, the Gymnasium and in the area outside the main University building. He was taken to the Royal Infirmary but died the following day, 27 Feb 1941, aged 19. He is buried in Western Cemetery, Cardiff (Section J, Grave number 644). He is remembered on the St Illtyd’s school war memorial at St Alban Church, Splott and on a plaque at Cardiff University’s Catholic Chaplaincy. Commonwealth War Grave Commission record. Cardiff University have posted a blog detailing the events of the night Stephen was badly injured.
GILBERT JOHN TUCKER WILLCOCKS
Corporal, 2nd Company, 9th Div Train, Army Service Corps (Service Number T2/11639)
Gilbert ‘Bert’ John Tucker Willcocks was born in Taunton, Somerset in 1891. He was one of nine children born to Elias Willcocks, a miller, originally from Crediton, Devon, and Avis Jane Willcocks, née Tucker, originally from Cannington, Somerset. In 1901 the Willcocks family were living in Swansea. After leaving school Bert worked as a clerk for the Swansea Education Office before becoming a commercial traveller for Messrs Rank and Co. Bert’s father died in 1910 leaving Bert the oldest of the children living at home. By 1911 the family had moved to 1 Claude Place, Roath and Bert was working as a grocer’s assistant. He attended Crwys Hall Methodist chapel, Monthermer Road, Cathays and played football in the Cardiff Football League. He joined the army at the outbreak of war and went to France in May 1915 as a member of the Army Service Corps. He was killed in action on 28 Nov 1915, aged 24, when manning a canteen just behind the front line trenches which was hit by a German shell. He has no known grave but is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) memorial in Belgium. (Update 2020: His grave has recently been discovered and he is buried in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium in Plot IX, Row E, Grave 25 underneath a headstone which bears ‘Unknown Corporal, Army Service Corps’. A service of rededication is planned sometime in 2022. The Ministry of Defence are currently trying to trace living members of the Willcocks family.) Corporal Bert Willcocks was a well-respected man as sometime after he died the Crwys Hall chapel received a letter from the front saying that the officers and men of 105 Company A.S.C. wished that a brass tablet in his name be erected at the church and had a collection among the soldiers to fund the making of it. When the work was commissioned, the maker in Birmingham refused to take any money for it. In the end the £6 15s was donated to Bert’s widowed mother. The memorial was unveiled on 2 April 1916 in a packed church with over 1000 present including the Lord Mayor Dr Smith and the band of the 3rd Welsh. It was the first memorial to a First World War soldier in any of Cardiff’s places of worship. The name of Corporal Willcocks also appeared on the collective WWI memorial at Crwys Hall church. Crwys Hall Methodist closed in the 1980/90s. The building fell into disrepair for a time but has since been renovated and is now Highfields Church. The memorials were removed before or during the renovation process. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
Private, 9th Battalion, Welsh Regiment (Service Number: 46452)
Glyn Williams was born in Llanelli in 1896 to David Richard Williams, a monumental sculptor originally from Llanestephan, Carmarthenshire and Catherine ‘Kate’ Williams nee John originally from Swansea. Glyn attended Llanelli Intermediate School before going onto Llandovery College from 1910 to 1912 where he played rugby for the first XV. The Williams family moved from Llanelli to Cardiff and were living at 46 Shirley Road at the time of the 1911 census. After leaving Llandovery, Glyn was articled to Messrs. Jones and Robatham, Chartered Accountants, Dumfries Place. He was a member of Clifton Street Chapel. In August 1916, Glyn Williams enlisted at Cardiff into the 9th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, which was attached to 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division, and joined the Battalion on the Somme later that year. The Division then moved North to Ypres, taking part in the Battle of Messines. They then fought during the Battle of the Menin Road. During the opening of an attack east of the Ypres-Comines Canal on 20 Sep 1917, the 9th Welsh was in Reserve at Hessian Wood. They were called up to repel a German counter-attack, and it was during the ensuing action that Glyn was killed along with 12 of his comrades, during heavy enemy shelling and machine-gun fire. He was 20 years old, and is buried at Woods Cemetery, Zillebeke, Belgium (grave II. CC. 1.). He is remembered on a number of memorials including at Llanelli Grammar School, Llandovery College and on one believed to have been at Clifton Street Chapel as well as a Roll of Honour probably associated with the Forward Movement based at Clifton Street Chapel. He is also remembered on his parents tomb in Llanelli Cemetery. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
JANSEN OSWALD DAVID WILLIAMS
Captain, 11th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps (Service Number 175669)
Jansen Oswald David Williams was born in the Bridgend area on 14 Nov 1917 to David Isaac Williams, a military contractor and caterer, and Hannah Williams, née Richards. Jansen attended Bridgend Grammar school and Cardiff High School for Boys before embarking in further education at Emmanuel College Cambridge and qualified as a surgeon by training at and St Thomas’ Hospital, London. The Williams family live at 51 Ninian Road, Roath Park. In 1941 he married Sylvia ‘Joy’ Baldwin in Amersham, Bucks. He joins the 11th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical which landed at Algiers in the November of 1942 before going through to Tunis in the May of 1943 then on to Sicily and Italy. He was killed by a shell on 4 Oct 1943, aged 25, at River Biferno, near Termoli, Italy They were with the Lancashire Fusiliers and the unit were in a barn putting a Thomas splint on a casualty with a broken thigh when they received a direct hit. Captain J.O.D.Williams and three of the others in the unit were killed. They were buried nearby and the bodies later re-interred in the Sangro River War Cemetery, Italy. He is remembered on the war memorial plaque in Roath Park Congregational church (now Tabernacle). He is also remembered at Bridgend Grammar school, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and St Thomas’ Hospital chapel. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
LAWRENCE VICTOR JAMES WILLIAMS
Serjeant, 9th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment (Service Number: 11336)
Lawrence Victor James Williams was born on 28 Jan 1897 to Sidney Williams, a foreman on the railways, and originally from Undy, Monmouthshire, and Fanny Williams nee Lawrence, originally from Llanhilleth, Monmouthshire. He was baptised on 27 Feb 1897 at St German’s church at which time the family were living 27 Prince Leopold Street, Adamsdown. By 1901 the Williams family had moved to 68 Clifton Street and were still there in 1911. Lawrence attended Splott Road elementary school before moving onto Howard Gardens school. After leaving school in 1911 he went onto become a clerk. He enlisted in Cardiff and served as a Serjeant in France with the 9th Battalion Devonshire Regiment. He was killed in action on 1 Jul 1916 in the first Battle of the Somme aged 19. He was one of 160 men from the Devonshire Regiment to die that day in the face of heavy German machine gun fire. He is buried in the Devonshire Cemetery at Mametz (grave A7). His headstone reads ‘Proud and Loving Memories of One of England’s Best. Sleep on Dear Son’. He is remembered on the Howard Gardens War Memorial plaque and also on a Roll of Honour of unknown origin. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
Private, 14th (County of London) Battalion, London Scottish Regiment (Service Number 515329)
Reginald Williams was born on 7 September 1890 in Pontypridd to William Williams, an insurance inspector from Aberdare, and Mary Adams née Adams, originally from Bristol. In 1891 the family were living in Wood Road, Treforest, Glamorgan. In 1893 the family had moved to Cardiff and lived at 83 Albany Road, Cardiff where Reginald attended Albany Road School. By 1901 however the Williams family had all moved to Headingly, Yorkshire.
In the 1911 census most of the family had moved to Merthyr Tydfil but Reginald moved back to Cardiff and was living as a boarder at 34 Strathnairn Street, Roath, and working as an insurance clerk. He married Margaret Hilda Watson in 1913. They have a son Francis Watson Williams born on 6 Jun 1916 and they lived at 17 Wellfield Place, Roath.
Reginald Williams was a Private in the London Scottish Regiment – 14th (County of London) Battalion. He enlisted in Cardiff but died on 1st Dec 1917 aged 27 in the battle of Cambrai on the Western Front that marked the first large-scale, effective use of tanks in warfare. He is buried at Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery Extension, south of Arras in north-east France (Grave Reference: II. A. 3.). Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. He is remembered on the war memorial plaque in St Andrew’s URC church on Wellfield Road, Cardiff.
Elizabeth Wing, aged 81 years, widow of John Wing, died on 18th May 1943 at 12 Penylan Road in the final bombing raid on Cardiff. Two of her daughters and two of her granddaughters died the same night as well as a neighbour. She is buried at Cathays Cemetery, plot EF 8692. Elizabeth Wing née Bailey was born in Leicester on 13th Feb 1862. She was married John Wing, a house painter from Milford, Pembrokshire, in around 1887. She had eight children and was a dressmaker. She is remembered on the Albany Road Baptist Church war memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. Her story is told here: Pen-y-lan Road blitz victims
Lilian Wing, aged 49, died on 18th May 1943 at 12 Penylan Road in the final bombing raid on Cardiff. She was born on 24th Sept 1892 in Cardiff and was daughter of Elizabeth Wing who died in the same house that evening. She is buried at Cathays Cemetery, plot EF 8692 with her mother. She was a shop assistant in a confectionery shop, presumably downstairs from where they were living and appears to have been owned by her sister Dora described in the 1939 register as a confectioner and tobacconist. Her story is told here: Pen-y-lan Road blitz victims
CARYL STEWART WITCHELL
Corporal, 9th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment (Service Number: 11337)
Caryl Stewart Witchell was born in Cardiff on 21 Nov 1897 to Joseph Witchell, a haulier, originally from Bristol and Jane Witchell nee Wales, originally from Kenfig Hill, Glamorgan. The Witchell family were living at 42 Elm Street at the time of the 1901 and 1911 census. Caryl attended Croft Street National School before moving on Albany Road School in 1905. In 1911, at the age of 13, he is both attending school and a pert-time butcher’s assistant. He enlisted in Cardiff and went to France where he served s a Corporal with the 9th Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment. He was killed on 30 Sep 1915 at the Battle of Loos aged 17. He has no known grave. He is remembered on the Loos Memorial (Panel 35 to 37). He is also remembered on the St Ann’s war memorial plaques which were originally on the pulpit at St Ann’s and are now at St Edward’s. He is also named on a Roll of Honour the origin of which is not yet known. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.