- 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers during the Great War -
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9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers
9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers was raised at Wrexham on the 9th of September 1914 as part of Kitchener's Second New Army and joined 58th Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. They trained at to Tidworth, spending the winter in billets in Basingstoke, they returned to Tidworth in March 1915 for final training and proceeded to France, landing at Boulogne on the 19th of July 1915. Their first action was at Pietre, in a diversionary action supporting the Battle of Loos. In 1916 They were in action during the Battle of the Somme, capturing La Boisselle and being involved in The attacks on High Wood, The Battles of Pozieres Ridge, the Ancre Heights and the Ancre. In 1917 they were in action in The Battle of Messines and the Third Battles of Ypres. In 1918 They fought on The Somme during The Battle of St Quentin and The Battle of Bapaume and in the Battles of the Lys at Messines, Bailleul and The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge. They fought in The Battle of the Aisne and during the Final Advance in Picardly they were in action in The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre and the passage of the Grand Honelle. At the Armitice were were in billets near Bavay. Demobilisation began in December 1918 and the final cadres returned to England on the 27th of June 1919.
19th Jul 1915 9th Welsh Fuiliers arrive in France
25th Sep 1915 9th RWF in Action
25th Sep 1915 In Acion
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There are:6934 pages and articles tagged 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers available in our Library
Those known to have served with
9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers
during the Great War 1914-1918.
- Adams Percy Harold. L/Sgt.
- Cadwallader Charles Henry. Pte. (d.20th September 1917)
- Connors Patrick. Pte
- Davies MM.. Edward. L/Cpl
- Davies J.. Pte. (d.7th Jun 1917)
- Davies John. Pte. (d.7th June 1917)
- Davies Joseph. Pte. (d.15th November 1918)
- Davies Richard Llewellyn. Cpl.
- Ellis John. L/Cpl. (d.20th Sep 1917)
- Forshaw DCM.. William Henry. Pte.
- Griffiths Rhys. Pte. (d.24th Jul 1918)
- Gunter Frederick Somerton. Pte. (d.25th Sep 1915)
- Hall Samuel Joseph. Pte
- Harwood Hubert. L/Cpl. (d.22nd Jun 1917)
- Hughes John Thomas. L/Sgt. (d.25th September 1915)
- Hughes John Thomas. L/Sgt. (d.25th Sep 1915)
- Jenkins MM.. Frank Mason. L/Sjt. (d.8th May 1918)
- Jones Benjamin. L/Cpl. (d.23rd March 1918)
- Jones Daniel. Pte (d.28th Jun 1918)
- Jones W.. Pte. (d.25th Oct 1917)
- Martin DCM.. William Charles. A/CQMS.
- Mason (John Davies) Thomas Milton. Pte. (d.7th Jun 1917)
- Monnelly Francis. Pte. (d.21st Sep 1917)
- Nicholls DCM.. John Thomas. Sergeant
- O'Brien Peter. Cpl. (d.12th Apr 1918)
- Shore Thomas John. Pte.
- Talbot Henry Waletr. 2nd Lt.
- Tatum George. Pte
- Wilkins Thomas. Pte. (d.25th September 1915)
- Williams H. Lloyd.
- Wolffsohn Arthur William. Capt.
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Pte. William Henry Forshaw DCM. 9th Btn. Royal Welsh FusiliersWilliam Forshaw served with 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers and was awarded the DCM for his actions on Messines Ridge on the 7th of June 1917 where he captured an enemy strong point.James Forshaw
Pte. John Davies 9th Btn. Welch Fusiliers (d.7th June 1917)I am not a relative of John Davies but am researching all the men who died in the war. Our history group have erected a memorial stone in the village and now want to compile a book with the info so that we can donate it to the local school.Sue Lloyd
L/Sgt. Percy Harold Adams 19th Battalion Royal Welch FusliersPercy Adams served with the 9th and 19th Battalions, Royal Welch Fusiliers and as a Platelayer with the 298th Railway Construction Company, Royal EngineersD Adams
Pte. Charles Henry Cadwallader 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers (d.20th September 1917)Charles Cadwallader died in Passchendaele. He is remembered with honour at Tyne Cot MemorialOzzy
Pte. Joseph Davies 9th Btn. Royal Welch Fusilisers (d.15th November 1918)Joseph Davies was my paternal great uncle, and served with the 9th Btn. Royal Welch Fusiliers. I am currently trying to piece his war history together, with some difficulty.
Joseph was apparently transferred to the Labour Corps 258063 at some stage later in the war. He contracted pneumonia whilst serving in Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Sadly he died on 15th November 1918 in Clonmel and is buried there in a war grave.Janet Lowe
2nd Lt. Henry Waletr Talbot 9th Battalion Royal Welsh FusiliersHenry Walter Talbot served with the 9th and 11th Battalion Royal Fusiliers during the Great War. Previous to that he was with the Army Service Corps. He was a Sergeant with the 11th Battalion Royal Fusiliers serving in Macedonia and on strong recommendation of his commanding officer he returned to England and trained at Gidea Hall, Romford. He passed out on the 31st of July 1917 as a commissioned officer with honour and re-joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers as 2nd Lieutenant. When Armistice came he was serving as acting Captain on the Somme with the 9th Battalion.Paul Mason
Cpl. Richard Llewellyn Davies 9th Btn. Welsh FusiliersRichard Davies left his native village of Hollybush in the Sirhowy Valley Monmouthshire on the morning of the 5th of August 1914. Three times wounded and twice gassed he survived the whole of the main battles of the Western Front and returned home in January 1919. Of the nine volunteers that left the village with him, he was the only one to return home in 1919.
Dick Davies served firstly in the Monmouthshire Regiment and transferred to 9th Royal Welsh Fusiliers in Sept 1916 on the Ancre. He fought in all future major battles with 9th Btn, see his book 'Never so Innocent Again' Published again last year, with much detail of times, places and personalities regarding this fine fighting battalion. This was the chosen title after the diarist Richard Llewellyn Davies often used the expression to relate to his service. "I was never so innocent again after that bloody lot" He often said that.H Davies
Pte Daniel Jones 9th Battalion, C Coy. Royal Welsh Fusiliers (d.28th Jun 1918)Daniel Jones died through starvation in a Prisoner of War Camp in Parchim, Germany. He was my uncle.Gwenan O'Connor
Pte. Frederick Somerton Gunter 9th Btn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers (d.25th Sep 1915)Frederick Gunter was one of three of my fathers older brothers who fought with the Royal Welsh Fusliers, the other two being John Rees Gunter and Gilbert Alexander Gunter. They survived the conflict, though Gilbert died quite young and suffered the effects of gas. The death of Frederick killed their mother as she died shortly after hearing of his death at Loos.Gwen Cantwell
L/Cpl Edward Davies MM. 9th Btn. Welsh FusiliersEdward Davies was my Grandfather who I knew very little of as he was very brusque and private person. I was ten when he died. All I can remember is that he had lost half of a little finger through frostbite whilst serving. After the War, he was employed in the Liverpool Corporation Water Department for 54 meritous years, according to a citation that my late father had.David Davies
Pte Samuel Joseph Hall 3rd Btn Monmouthshire Regiment.I knew very little of my father, Joe Hall's war record until after his death in 1969. I started my research in 2005 using the internet and the National Archive. His army record was destroyed during WW2 but I managed to obtain his Medal Card . This told me that he was in the Monmouthshire Regt.at the start of WW1. His service number was 61055 but the medal record indicated a second number 94439 Royal Welch Fusiliers. The sorry plight of the Monmouthshire Regt. is well documented and the book With Rifle and Pick indicates that 200 or so of the 3rd battalion were transferred to the RWF in August 1916 when the battalion was disbanded.Hence the second service number.
My research led me to discover that he was born in Gloucester in 1891 but had moved to Six Bells in Gwent and was a coal hewer at the Six Bells Colliery until The start of WW1. He survived the War and although he spoke about being in Ireland for a while I can find no record of his service there. He was in the 9th battalion Royal Welch Fusiliers until demobilised.Peter Hall
Pte. W. Jones 9th Btn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers (d.25th Oct 1917)Private W Jones served with the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiiers during WW1. He was executed for desertion on the 25th October 1917 and is buried in Locre Hospice Cemetery in BelgiumS Flynn
Pte. Francis Monnelly 9th Btn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers (d.21st Sep 1917)Francis Monnelly served with the 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers and died on the 21st September 1917. His home was in Breaffy , Killala, County Mayo, IrelandPat Connolly
L/Cpl. John Ellis 9th Btn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers (d.20th Sep 1917)John Ellis enlisted at Barrow in Furness, served in the 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers (formerly 3008 RLR). He was killed in action on the 20th September 1917, aged 20. John is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial. Panel 63 to 65. His medal card shows the award of the 1914-15 Star, War and Victory Medals, it also refers to service in the Army Cyclist Corps Service No. 6503.
He was born in Jarrow, the son of Christopher Huntley and Mary Gunn Ellis (nee Webster). The 1911 Census shows his family is living at 43 Kent Street, Barrow in Furness. Christopher Ellis age 44 Machinist in Naval Construction (Driller) born North Shields, (married 23 years, children born 12, children still living 11, children died 1). Mary Gunn Ellis wife age 42 born South Shields, Elizabeth Ellis daughter age 15 born North Shields, John Ellis son age 15 at School born Jarrow, Frederick Ellis son age 11 at School born Jarrow, Christopher Ellis son age 10 at School born Jarrow, Catherine Ellis daughter age 9 born born Jarrow and Amelia Ellis daughter age 3 born born Jarrow.VM
L/Cpl. Hubert Harwood 9th Btn. Welsh Fusiliers (d.22nd Jun 1917)Hubert Harwood was born on 30 October 1896 at Long Hey Gate, Pickup Bank,Darwen, the son of Charles and Alice Harwood (nee Wood). Before the war he was a cotton weaver.Mike Harwood
Capt. Arthur William Wolffsohn 9th Btn. Royal Welsh FusiliersOne of the most effective war posters put out by Lord Kitchener in August 1914 was one showing some children asking their father "Daddy what did you do in the Great War?" later to be replaced by "Your Country Needs You" As military conscription was not enforced until years later, this poster shamed some thousands of unwilling volunteers to join up. As soon as conscription started, patriotism went by the board. You just waited to be called up or found the best means of avoiding it. No one was going to ask you what you did in the Great War. You just did what you were told, and that was your answer.
As one who joined up as a volunteer in 1914 and thus completely ruined my studies and future career I always wanted to be an engineer. I am still bitter at those that by not joining up were able to get five years head start on any youngster of business age who, after having fought for his country, found on his return that the best jobs were already taken and were in fact looked down upon as totally inexperienced for his age. These are the same men who always come forward first when there was any loyalty about to show the patriotism they so surely threw away when there was a chance to give their lives for King and Country.
I have started out some five or six times to try to give a concise answer to my son or his family as to what the War was like and what part I took in it, not that one, in so many millions who took up the colours, can claim to have played more than an infinitesimal part in winning that struggle. In fact, I have heard that the Americans did it.
It is now 54 years since the War commenced , so that anyone under 65 cannot have much idea of the sufferings of the troops living day and night in heavy thigh gum boots in trenches, sometimes over their knees in liquid mud, having to e relieved every 48 hours, with the consequent march over miles of shell holes, quagmires of mus, snow and slush in pitch darkness under shell fire to reach slightly better dug-outs. The weeks of nervous tension seeing your best friends riddled, blown up and mutilated by rifle or shell fire and knowing that the same thing might happen to you at any moment. The hopelessness of it all when neither side from 1914 to 1916 were able to advance an inch. Or from August 18th 1916 when the Allies advances were thrown back practically to the original line by the Germans after both sides had lost a million men.
A short history of our 9th Division was published in 1919 and our Battalion Major, subsequently A/Lt. Col. T/Major H. Lloyd-Williams published his personal experiences, giving full details of the participation of the 9th RWF in that war.
I therefore propose to condense onto one page my own war service movements in England, Belgium and France and then concentrate, not so much on the unpleasantness of the War, but on the highlights of some of the fighting I was in and the occasional amusing, at least to me, incidents that took place.
My first experience of going up the line consisted of being driven up in an old London motor bus with solid tyres, still marked "Piccadilly" with all the advertisements intact. En route we stopped in a wood opposite some roofless houses. There was an enormous explosion and half the bus load of raw troops, including myself, tumbled out and got under the bus as best we could to avoid the second shell. Nothing happened and when we emerged we had quite an audience of grinning old-stagers. The explosion had been a salvo of our own light field guns hidden in the shelled houses.
After sunset we left the bus and conducted a working party of men with spades to do some water drawing in the second line. As we proceeded, rifle shots burst out every few seconds, some going thump and others ricocheting over our heads with a frightening squeal. The men, now made up of veterans, did not seem at least worried over this fire, but I was convinced that unless I did some bobbing down I would surely be hit. I there chose to oversee the work being done at the lowest possible point of the ditches, and in some cases I stood in the water itself to be a foot or two lower.
Being pitch dark I hoped the men would not notice my antics. I afterwards leant that due to the water level being about one foot below earth, the second line (that is trench) had been converted into a six foot breastwork of sandbags filled with earth. The bullets being fired at us either hit the breastworks or ricocheted overhead, so that we had been in comparative safety.
The signs of previous battles were everywhere. Out in No-Man's-Land were strewn the corpses, which from the fragments of kit remaining could not be recognised as Scottish troops. It may sound gruesome at this moment, but one used those days to crawl and fall over such remains and take cover behind them when patrolling about in No-Man's-Land with as little concern as one would regard any other obstacle. There was much snow about and on moonlight nights the whiteness and the silence were ghost like in their effective and, when more intense than usual, the calling of some wounded or starving cat in some ruin behind the line intensified the eeriness.
As Battalion Machine Gun Officer I had placed four guns in strategic positions so that each gun's sweep of bullets would intersect the next, thus allowing no part of No-Man's-Land to be free from machine gun fire.
I was returning to my dug out in the second line, from which point I could visit the guns by the shortest routes, when I saw a flash-light being waved indiscriminately along communication trenches which was of course, strictly forbidden. I immediately yelled "Put out that ruddy light". A few minutes passed and the light went out. Suddenly I saw a figure shuffling past me. I thought his steel helmet seemed unusual and then "Hello Winston, I didn't expect to see you here". I realized that I was perhaps the only British Officer who has ever given such an order to Churchill. I is right about the tin hat. Winston would never wear the hat in vogue; it was a French blue steel helmet he had picked up somewhere.
A day before Christmas in these same lines, the Germans gave us a barrage of tear gas shells which affected our eyes in spite of our crude masks. That evening they put Christmas candles on their parapets and sang suitable songs calling on us to have an armistice the next day. This had occurred on another front the previous year and had been strictly forbidden since then. At dawn on Christmas day the Germans stood on their parapet waving and cheering and we noticed they looked like boys of 16. Our 14lb battery Observation Officer was standing beside me and I saw him pick up the phone. A few seconds later four shells spread shrapnel fairly close to the Germans, who dived into their earthworks and were not seen again. Our guns were limited to firing one round per gun per day due to the intense shortage of ammunition, afterwards solved by Lloyd-George as Minister of Defence.
The Germans holding these lines were mostly Bavarians of a friendly type. When the Prussians were to relieve them they yelled to us the previous night Royal Welch, they had found out somehow, "Be careful tomorrow, the Prussians are coming". The first man who showed his head the next morning was instantly sniped at. They also had a sense of humour. One day I saw the tops of ladders being carried along their lines. Thinking I might get a head popping up carelessly, I trained a rifle I had attached to a periscope (so I could shoot without lifting my head) on the ladders and had several shots at them. Within a few minutes, a stick with a round disk painted red was displayed above the German trench; this was waved from one side to the other the exact signal used by us when practising on our own rifle ranges to indicate a miss.
In March 1916, by which time I had been promoted to 1st Lieut. We were in a portion of the front line where the distance between the opposing trenches varied from 800 to only 40 yards. Where the two trenches converged to the 40 yards separation was called the Ducks Bill, due to its similarity of the trench design.
To prevent hand-bombs falling into out trenches, these later were covered with chicken wire, and there were all sorts of trap dugouts and inner defences. Actually this position became too hot for either side and we withdrew all but a few sentries.
My dug-out was some 300 yards from this point and one night I thought I heard curious tapings. I mentioned this to some officer passing through and he must have alerted Headquarters at St.Omer who, to my astonishment sent up two mining experts with listening gear to interview me.
Ordering everyone not to move, they listened at various points for something like two hours and reported that they could not discover anything unusual. My ears proved correct, at dawn a few days later I heard a tremendous explosion, my dug-out shook like an earthquake and, although I got out quickly I could still see sandbags, men, earth and debris some two hundred feet in the sky. The Ducks Bill had blown, causing many casualties amongst the North Staffordshire Regiment and many men were shell-shocked or completely unfit for action. Being out of my area, I could only alert my guns against a possible attack and bring one gun to bear slightly in the direction of the gap thus caused in the line. However the South Wales Borderers rushed up from reserve and held the line against a few hostile attempts to dislodge them.
On 7th September 1916 our Battalion was in the trenches at Plug Street (Polegstreet) the home of Bairsfather's cartoons, who does not remember If you know a better hole, go to it and visited Armentieres the various Mademoiselles seemed to be employed in an open laundry within shelling distance of the Huns. Here I was nearly hit by a new German mortar shell shaped like a pineapple which buzzed like a hornet.
As time wore on and the men saw that I never seemed to be wounded in action (out of four hundred officers passing through the ranks of the RWF during the war, the Major H.Lloyd Williams and myself were the only two left in 1918, the others being killed or wounded, missing or transferred; they seemed to classify me as a Human Tank. When one goes over the top the drill is to be single line spaced outwards, the men being at least five yards apart. On the Somme, on the first attack when I was halfway between the hostile trenches, I found no men for a considerable distance on either side of me. Looking back, they were strung out in a line behind me they explained that as no bullet would hit me, the safest place was exactly behind me.
Aviation was very primitive in 1914/15 and planes were only used for observation, until one day an officer took out his revolver and fired at a German in mid air. It did not take long for them to take up Lewis Machine Guns with them and then came the invention of firing through the propeller.
One day sitting in billets in Belgium we heard a hum of planes, on rushing out we saw a German crash diving into a ploughed field, his wheels hit a deep rut, the plane overturned and the Observer and his Officer fell clear leaving the Pilot, a sergeant, with a bullet through his calf hanging upside down caught by his belt. The amazing thing is that the three British planes either thought the German crew would escape or were making sure that they were their particular prize. They therefore dived down onto the ploughed field and promptly nosed into the ground or turned over. A stiff price to pay for two Germans. Our men soon turned out and watched as the German officer took out a suitcase, removed his flying helmet, windjammer etc. and replaced them with a smart drill helmet and uniform coat of a German aviator. Then, pulling out his greatcoat he held it out for one of our men to act as valet, and was surprised when he was left standing with it. I, as a machine gun officer, was given the German machine gun to take to pieces. It had jammed which probably caused their downfall, and try as we might we never managed to unjam it.
Another day, as I was taking a long line of mule limbers up the line; I saw a German plane diving like a falling leaf. Thinking he was bluffing, I ordered the mule train off the road and, sure enough, the German straightened up and came down the road. Just as I thought he would start firing, he swerved off and crashed in a field nearby. We found him upside down in his cockpit dead as a doornail, with no passengers. As these men never flew alone, we thought the Observer must have fallen off. They must have died at considerable height and the falling leaf manoeuvre widely used later as a bluff must have been the planes natural way of crashing. Our men who had taken cover under the limbers looked sheepish when they realised that the plane could have done them no harm.
The Germans extended their raids with their Zeppelins as proves this extract for Lloyd Williams. On the evening of Friday November 18th 1917, I found a telegram from Ian Baxter, and catching the 6 p.m. train met him and Wolffsohn at the Criterion Theatre where we witnessed A Little B it of Fluff. Later we had supper at the Trocadero, in the course of which the alarms were sounded that an air raid was in progress. We went outside to observe the kind of barrage that was said to be fired by anti-aircraft guns, but quickly hurried back to cover when we heard the whistle of bombs which fell in Piccadilly near Swan & Edgar's corner.
Another curious affair occurred at Rocquingy in an aerodrome in the back lines near where we were camped. One night a large plane circled our field a few times and then shot off, green and red Verey lights circling off again. On the next pass the ground staff shot off similar lights and the plane glided in. A German Gotha straight into our laps. Apparently it had lost its way and the lights were the code for answering signals from German aerodromes. The bright RFC officer had brought off a scoop. The Germans had made the reply lights the same as the planes, presumably on the theory that no one would be so foolish as to devise so simple a code, and hence the British would reply in different colours.
Pte. Rhys Griffiths 9th Btn Royal Welsh Fusiliers (d.24th Jul 1918)Rhys Griffiths is buried in Niederzwehren CemeteryD.M. Griffiths
L/Sjt. Frank Mason Jenkins MM. 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers (d.8th May 1918)Frank was the Son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Jenkins, of 4, Nevill's Terrace, Dafen, and he enlisted at Llanelli into the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which were part of 58 Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. The Division crossed to France during July 1915, and moved to positions near Loos. The Division fought during the opening attack of the Battle of Loos, and then moved to the Somme, where they took part in the second wave of the attack on Ovillers-La Boiselle on the 1st of July 1916, capturing the village at heavy cost, and fought through the Somme Battles of Pozieres and the Ancre in 1916. They then moved North to Ypres, taking part in the Battle of Messines, and fought on the Menin Road and at Polygon Wood, before moving up to Broodseinde, Poelcappelle and Passchendaele Village itself. In 1918 they were caught up in the German Spring Offensive near St. Quentin, where they suffered terrible casualties. They moved to Ypres, but were caught up in the German attack at Messines. Frank was wounded here, and died on the 8th of May 1918. He was 27 years old, and is buried at Poperinghe New Military Cemetery, Belgium. Sadly Frank is not commemorated on the Dafem Memorial.Martin Jenkins
Sergeant John Thomas Nicholls DCM. 9th Btn. Welsh FusiliersSgt Nicholls was my great-grandfather, a coal miner from St Helens, Lancashire. He volunteered for service in 1914 and sailed for France on 19/7/15.
On 28th August, 1917, the following appeared in the London Gazette: "13621 Sjt. J. T. Nicholls, R. W. Fus. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He reached the enemy's lines some distance ahead of his assaulting platoon, whereupon he attacked twenty of the enemy single-handed, bayoneted three of them and kept the rest prisoners until the arrival of his platoon. He later showed marked ability and coolness in assisting his company commander under heavy shell fire."
I am not certain of where this action took place, but as it usually took around 3 months for medal awards to appear in the Gazette, there is a good chance it was at Messines. Later in the war, John was posted as missing on 13/05/18, but there is no record of him having been a POW, so it is possible he managed to return to his unit- this being in the midst of the German Spring Offensives. He ws discharged on 25/3/19 and returned to St Helens and mining. He died in 1945, aged 59, leaving behind his wife Sarah and six daughters, including my grandmother, Ada.Chris Fyles
Available at discounted prices.
Never so Innocent Again
Richard Llewellyn Davie
A narrative written from the notes and diary of Corporal Richard Llewellyn Davies of the 3rd Battalion of the Monmouthshire Regiment and the 9th Battalion The Royal Welch Fusiliers.He left his native village of Hollybush in the Sirhowy Valley Monmouthshire on the morning of the 5th of August 1914. Three times wounded and twice gassed he survived the whole of the main battles of the Western Front and returned home in January 1919. Of the nine volunteers that left the village with him, he was the only one to return home in 1919.More information on:
Never so Innocent Again
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