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.
Rifleman, 13th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps (Service Number: R/37992)
Idris Mathias was born in Llantood, Pembrokeshire in 1881 to David Mathias, a carpenter, and Lydia Mathias nee Thomas, both originally from Bridell, Pembs. By 1901 he had moved to Cardiff and was working at James Howell’s Ltd as a drapers assistant and living with other employees in the accommodation the company provided on the top floor of the department store. He married Hannah Howell, originally from Carmarthen, in Cardiff in 1904. They lived in Evansfield Road, Llandaff in 1911. They had three children together, the third Eira dying a few hours after being born and Hannah tragically dying a few weeks later in Feb 1913. Idris remarried a year later to Anna Petrecia Johnstone, originally from Scotland. They lived at 52 Merches Gardens in Grangetown. Idris signed up in Cardiff and served with the 13th battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps. His division went to France in the summer of 1915 and fought at the Battles of the Somme and the Battle of Arras before moving onto Flanders and being part of the Passchendaele offensive. He was killed on 29 Jul 1917 aged 36. He has no know grave. His name appears on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres, Belgium. He is remembered on the Eglwysgwrw war memorial not far from the village where he was born. His name is also on the Woodville Road Baptist church WWI memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. (The fact that Idris’s name appears on the Woodville Road memorial plaque indicates he probably lived in the Cathays/Roath area at some stage, though as yet I have not found an address. In 1911 a David Mathias, a joiner, originally from St Dogmaels, close to Llantood, was living at 55 Inverness Place with his family. He may possibly have been a relation).
ALFRED JOHN MORRIS
Private, 183rd Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), (Service Number: 89978)
Alfred ‘Fred’ John Morris was born in Cardiff on 22 Apr 1898 to Alfred Joseph Morris, a marine engine fitter, and Annie Morris nee Jones, both originally from Cardiff. The Morris family lived at 45 Manor Street Cardiff. Fred attended Allensbank Elementary school before going on to attend Howard Gardens school in 1909 and leaving in 1914 to work as a clerk. He enlisted in Cardiff and served initially with the Royal Army Service Corps before moving to the 183rd Company of the Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). He was killed in action on 6 Sep 1917 aged 19 at Ypres, Belgium. He has no known burial place. He is remembered on the Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium. He is also remembered on the Howard Gardens school memorial plaque and the Woodville Road Baptist church plaque. He was remembered on the headstone of his grandparent’s grave at Cathays Cemetery (Plot V237/238) (now removed). The inscription on the headstone read ‘Faithful in life, fearless in death’. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
WILLIAM EDGAR ALLIN
Private, 2nd Battalion, Honourable Artillery Company (Service Number 10624)
William Edgar Allin was born in Cardiff in 1883 to William Allin, originally from Hackney, London and a commission agent for a grocery and Annie Allin née Dutson, originally from Reading, Berkshire. In 1911 the Allin family are living at 40 Richmond Road. William Edgar Allin marries Florence Winifred Jenkins of 28 Lochaber Street, Roath Park, on 29th Jan 1914 at Woodville Road Baptist Chapel. He serves as a Private in the Honourable Artillery Company on the Western Front but is killed in Reutal in Belgium on 9th October 1917 aged 34. He is remembered on the Tyne Cot memorial in Belgium (panel 7). His war service records and probate record his address as 28 Lochaber Street. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record lists his widow Florence Winifred Jenkins living at 24 Ilton Road, Penylan. In 1939 she is living in Barry with her brother. She dies in Brighton in 1980 aged 93.
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.
THOMAS ONSLOW FEARBY
Gunner, 176th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Thomas ‘Tom’ Onslow Fearby was born on 8 Oct 1888 in Moerton, Shropshire to Angelo Fearby, a fancy-goods shop-owner originally from Bethnal Green, London, and Annie Fearby nee Harries, originally from Moerton, Shropshire. By 1891 the Fearby family had moved to Cardiff and were living in Canton. By 1900 they had moved to Tewkesbury Street, Cathays and Tom was attending Gladstone school. After leaving school Tom worked in his father’s jewellery shop in the Royal Arcade. He married Lillian Harries, originally from Pembroke Dock, in Oct 1908 and they live at 59 Florentia Street, Cathays. They go on to have two children together, Irene in 1910 and Eric in 1912. Tom enlists with the Royal Regiment of Artillery in Dec 1915 in Gosport, Hampshire. He was killed in action in northern Italy on 15 Jun 1918 aged 30. He is buried at the Magnaboschi British Cemetery (Plot 2. Row A. Grave 6.). He was remembered on the Woodville Road Baptist Church war memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
DAVID RUNDLE EVANS
Private, 2nd/15th Battalion, London Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own Civil Service Rifles) (Service Number: 534492).
David Rundle Evans was born on 30 Jun 1898 in Cardiff to Arthur Evans, an assistant schoolmaster, originally from Lowestoft, Suffolk, and Jane Emma Evans nee Harris originally from Polruan, Cornwall. The Evans family lived at 67 Arran Street (1901 & 1911) and then later at 73 Inverness Place. David attended Albany Road school from 1905 having already attended the infants school there. He served as a Private with the London Regiment (Prince of Wales’ Own Civil Service Rifles). He died of wounds on 25 Aug 1918 in France aged 20. He is buried at the Arneke British Cemetery (grave III. E. 20.) 50km southeast of Calais. The inscription on his headstone reads ‘Death divides but memory clings’. He was remembered on the Woodville Road Baptist church memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
IVOR WILLIAM DAVIES
2nd Steward, S.S.Mattawa
Ivor William Davies died in the Colonial Hospital, Gibraltar, on 14 Mar 1919 aged 28. He died of Bright’s disease, a historical classification of kidney diseases that would be described in modern medicine as acute or chronic nephritis. He had been serving as 2nd Steward aboard the S.S.Mattawa, a Liverpool based cargo ship that was lost in WWII after being hit by a torpedo. He is remembered on the Woodville Road Baptist church war memorial plaque. Finding his family background with absolute certainty has not yet been possible. It does however appear quite likely that he was Ivor William Davies, born 14 Jan 1894 in Cardiff, to John Daniel Davies, a print compositor, originally from Cardiff and Mary Davies nee Jones originally from Newport. He attended Albany Road primary school. In 1911 the Davies family were living at 30 Glenroy Street and Ivor was working as a clerk in a bonded store. He does not appear to have a Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
NANCY REES MORGAN
Nancy Rees Morgan was born in Cardiff on 20 Oct 1922 to Cuthbert Robert Morgan, a print compositor, originally from Pontypool, and Gwendoline Rees, a tailoress, originally from Splott, Cardiff. In 1922 the Morgan family were living at 133 Penarth Road, Grangetown. By 1937 they have moved to 147 Mynachdy Road, Gabalfa. Her mother died in 1937 and the following year her father married her aunt. In 1939 Nancy is working as a dressmaker. During the war she worked at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Llanishen on the corner of Ty Glas Road and Caerphilly Road which made shells.. She was one of 12 people who died on 27 March 1944 when a misdirected anti-aircraft shell, fired from a gun based in Gabalfa, landed on the factory. She was just 21 when she died. She is buried at Cathays Cemetery in her parent’s family grave (plot Y1564). Commonwealth War Graves Commission record. She is also remembered on the WWII memorial plaque that was at Woodville Road Baptist church.
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 nee James, originally from St Mellons, Monmouthshire. In his youth he was a member of the 8th Cardiff North Scout troop. 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.
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 nee 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.
WILLIAM KENNETH LLEWELLYN COLLARD
Leading Supply Assistant, H.M.S. Hecla, Royal Navy (Service Number: D/MX 80195)
William Kenneth Llewellyn Collard was born on 15 Oct 1910 in Newport to William Samuel Collard, a company secretary to a Provisions company, originally from Bassaleg and Annie Collard nee Evans originally from Llanfrecha, Monmouthshire. He was educated at Croesyceiliog Council School and later at West Monmouth Grammar School. He worked in the grocery trade, initially in Newport and then as a representative in West Wales basing himself in Swansea and attending Argyle Street Baptist church. In the summer of 1939 he married Violet Doreen Waters in Swansea and they lived in Pienwood Road, Uplands. They then relocated to Cardiff and lived at 66 Monthermer Road, Cathays. He joined the Royal Navy in Nov 1940. He served on board HMS Hecla as a leading supply assistant. On 15 May 1942, the destroyer HMS Hecla (F 20) struck a mine laid by a German minelayer off Capetown, South Africa. The explosion hit amidships, put the steering gear out of action and caused a big leak. The ship was towed to Simonstown, where she was repaired. 24 crew members were lost including Kenneth Collard aged 31. He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial (Panel 71, Column 3). He is also remembered on the Woodville Road Baptist church WWII memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
CLIFFORD EVAN COX
Chief Engineer Officer, S.S. King Gruffydd, Merchant Navy
Clifford Evan Cox was born on 6 Dec 1901 in Cardiff to Thomas Cox, an interstocking fitter on the railways, originally from Cardiff, and Cecilia Annie Cox nee Salisbury, originally from Paddington, London. He was baptised at St John the Baptist church in Feb 1902. The Cox family lived at 57 Cathays Terrace and Clifford attended Gladstone Elementary School before going on to Howard Gardens Municipal Secondary School. After leaving school he worked in an office. He married Olive Edwina Roberts in Cardiff in 1931. They lived at 23 Heathwood Grove and it appears they had at least one child together. Clifford served in the merchant navy and was chief engineer officer aboard steamship King Gruffydd. The King Gruffydd was part of a trans-Atlantic convey which was attacked by a U-boat on 17 Mar 1943 and sunk mid-Atlantic. Of the 49 crew, 24 were killed and 25 rescued. Clifford Evan Cox was drowned aged 42. He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. He is also remembered on the Howardian School memorial board and the Woodville Road Baptist church memorial plaque. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.
WILLIAM GEORGE GREGORY
Writer, M.V. Conus, Merchant Navy (Service number: 162645)
William George Gregory was born on 12 Sep 1912 in Cardiff to William Garnett Gregory, an electrical engineer, and Edith Maud Gregory nee Hurley, both form Cardiff. We don’t pick up William again until the 1939 Register when he is living at 107 Monthermer Road with his sister Edith and mother Edith who has by that time remarried to William J Davies, a retired police constable. William Gregory is working as a warehouseman. Later he joined the merchant navy. He served on board M V Conus, a tanker, as a ship’s writer. He died on 4 Apr 1942, presumed drowned, aged 28. The Conus was part of a trans-Atlantic convoy which was attacked by torpedoes fired from U-boat 97. All 59 crew were lost. He is remembered on the Tower Hill memorial in London as well as the WWII memorial plaque in Woodville Road Baptist Church. Commonwealth War Graves Commission record.