St Illtyd’s College war memorial plaque

St Illtyd's War memorial plaque

The WWII war memorial plaque that used to be in St Illtyd’s College in Splott until it closed, was then relocated to St Illtyd’s in Rumney. It has recently been restored and will be housed in St Alban on the Moors church.

early picture of the St Illtyd's memorial plaque

Early picture of the St Illtyd’s memorial plaque. Note how more names have been added since this picture was taken.

The names on the memorial plaque and their college years are listed below together with any information found about them:

Michael O’Neill              1923-28


Driver, Royal Army Service Corps (Service Number T/231570)

Michael O’Neill was born on 28 Nov 1909 to Edward O’Neill, a wharf labourer, from Cardiff and Catherine ‘Kate’ O’Neill née Connolly originally from Skibbereen, Co Cork, Ireland. In 1911 the O’Neill family were living in 25 Planet Street, Adamsdown and in 1939 at 30 Glenroy Street, Roath.  Michael attended St Illtyd’s College between 1923 and 1928. In 1939 he is working as an insurance agent and marries Dorothy Eleanor Balmer, a company secretary, in Cardiff and they live at 10 Four Elms Road, Roath . He joins the Royal Army Service Corps as a driver but is dies in what is now Israel on 8 Nov 1941 aged 31. He is buried at the Ramleh War Cemetery in Israel (plot S20).  He is remembered on the St Illtyd’s War Memorial plaque now restored and in St Alban’s church.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Gerard Donovan           1923-28


Failed to find him so far.

School years given as 1923-28, so he was probably born around 1910 and around 30 when killed in WWII.  There seems to be no Gerard Donovan or similar names recorded as having been killed in WWII in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. There was a Gerard Donovan born in Cardiff in 1910 and living in Sandon Place in 1911.  There was also a Gerard Donovan who died in Cardiff in the second quarter of 1939, aged 29, prior to the war. There was also a Gerard Patrick Collins who died in 1941 in Farnham, Surrey following an operation but not seemingly related to the war.  Piecing together newspaper reports he was said to be son of E U Donovan and the late P W Collins of The Walk, Cardiff and had a step-father James Donovan from Cardiff.

Cornelius Cronin           1924-28


Pilot Officer, 157 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service Number 60358)

Cornelius Patrick Finbarr Cronin was born on 9 Jun 1912 in Killarney, Co Kerry, Ireland to Daniel Cronin, a police sergeant in the Royal Irish Constabulary, and Teresa Cronin nee O’Shea.  He attended St Illtyd’s College between 1924 and 1928.  His sister Eleanor was head girl at Heathfield House high school.  Cornelius went on to get a B.A. at London University and then became assistant master at St Illtyd’s College and part-time lecturer at Cardiff Technical College. He played rugby for Old Illtydians and Cardiff Rugby Clubs.  The Cronin family lived at 32 Lake Road North.  His father died in Jul 1940 and the funeral held at St Peter’s church.  Cornelius joined the RAF in 1940 and became a pilot officer, 157 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He lost his life aged 30 on 20 Jan 1943 when navigating a Mosquito II aircraft which crashed into the North Sea 30 miles east of Clacton-on-Sea, after it is believed an attack by enemy aircraft. The plane had taken off from RAF Hunsdon, Essex.  Australian Keith Walter Paul was piloting the plane and also died.  Cornelius Cronin is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial in Surry.  He is also remembered on the St Illtyd’s College memorial in St Alban on the Moors church.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Daniel O’Keeffe              1928-28

Failed to find him so far.

Vincent Sullivan            1926-29


Sergeant, 77 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service Number 969335)

Vincent Gerald Sullvan

Vincent Gerard 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 College 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.

William Kelleher            1926-30:-


Sergeant (Wireless Op./Air Gunner), 97 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Service Number 1006928)

William Henry Paul Kelleher picture

William Henry Paul Kelleher was born on 13 Oct 1916 to William Henry Kelleher, a dairyman and Mary Kelleher née Kingston, a shopkeeper, both from Cardiff.  The family lived at 45a Swansea Street, Splott. William attended St Illtyd’s College (1926-30) and afterwards became a milkman working for his father’s business.  He joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve and was part of 97 squadron.  He died on 17 Dec 1942 aged 26. He was the radio operator and gunner on board Lancaster bomber ED333 which took off at 17:22 from Woodhall Spa airfield, Lincolnshire for a mission to Neustadt, Germany.  It was shot down by a night-fighter and crashed some 5 km east of Urk killing all seven crew.   He is buried at the Amsterdam  New Eastern Cemetery ( Plot 69. Row D. Joint grave 3). He is remembered on the St Illtyd’s College memorial at St Alban on the Moors church in Splott.  Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.

Diarmud Mahoney        1927-28

Frank Williams              1927-32

Raymond Shellard         1928-32

Kenneth Edwards          1929-36

Ormond Tanner             1929-38

Leslie James                   1930-32

Mostyn Lewis                1930-36

Gerard Francis               1931-35

Joseph Doncich               1931-36

Patrick Gallivan             1931-36

Kevin Moore                  1931-36

William Rixon                1932-35

Raymond Chivers          1932-36

Leslie Hopkin                 1935-39

Edmund Patten              1935-39

Stanley Shaw                 1935-39

Gwyn Griffiths               1932-38

George Nevison             1932-36

Ivor McDonald               1933-37

Geoffrey Thomas          1933-37

John Garland                 1933-38

David Matthews            1933-38

Derek Martin                 1934-37

Douglas Davies               1934-39

James Cavanagh            1935-40

Kenneth Sparkes           1935-40

John Lynch                     1946-40

Leon Bassman               1934-39:-


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 nee 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 College (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.

John Lane                      1934-39

Anthony Ball                 1935-40

Stanley Cattle                1935-40

Sidney Viggers              1936-39

Daniel Coopey               1936-40

Roderick Hurley             1936-40

Bernard Tamlin              1936-41

Peter Barnard                1937-41

Peter Hurley                  1939-41

Stephen Whitehouse    1933-40:-


Civilian Casualty

Stephen Whitehouse was born on 6 Jan 1922 in Cardiff to James Whitehouse, an electrical and mechanical engineer, from Cardiff and Mary Ellen Whitehouse nee Mullins from Cardiff.  Stephen attended St Illtyd’s College (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.