North Wales Western Front Association

Have a look under "Branch Meetings" to see our list of branch meetings and "Newsletters" for the latest newsletter items.  

We also have a Facebook page where items are often posted -

WFA North Wales Facebook Page

New article on local history

We have a new article by Jerry Rendell on his great uncle, Lawrence Oakley, who was the silhouette artist of Llandudno pier - here.

New Book Reviews

There are two new book reviews on this site.  The first is on Mike O'Brien's book "Twilight of the Special Relationship", about Americans in the British forces in WWI, which is here.  The second review is on Norman Stone's book "The Eastern Front, 1914-1917" which is still arguably the best work on the Eastern Front, and that review is here.

Steve and Nancy

The latest instalment in their blog of the project to visit all the British and Commonwealth graves and memorials on the Western Front is here.

RMS Leinster centenary (updated 1st February 2018)

The Irish National Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire has a programme to commemorate the sinking by a U-Boat of the RMS Leinster on 10th October 1918.  She was a mail boat (ferry) on the Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire route and was sunk 6 miles off Dun Laoghaire with the loss of at least 501* lives, including a number from North Wales.  Mrs Mary Ann Johnson is buried on the Great Orme, Llandudno.  Corporal John Williams is commemorated on the Old Colwyn war memorial and Pte Ezekiel Thomas is commemorated in the Glan Conwy cemetery.  Both soldiers are buried in Grangegorman military cemetery in Dublin. The merchant navy memorial at Tower Hill in London has 25 names of missing seamen, a lot of whom were from Anglesey.  There are 6 merchant marine casualties buried in Maeshyfryd Cemetery in Holyhead.  We will put a list of known Welsh-connection casualties on this website as the year progresses toward the centenary.

We will keep you informed of developments.

(*The latest figure for fatalities is 567).

Further update from the commemorative committee, December 2017:

Casualties

It is estimated that the bodies of only half of the casualties were recovered, with most of these bodies being interred in Ireland. A total of 149 bodies were interred in the Military cemetery at Grangegorman in Dublin, with almost 100 casualties being buried elsewhere in Ireland.

Many of the relatives visiting Ireland next October will understandably wish to visit the grave of their relative(s) lost in the sinking. In most cases, the commemorative  committee will be able to supply burial locations and details.

Did you have a female relative or a child relative on the RMS Leinster? 

Philip Lecane, director of the Irish Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire, is working on a project focusing on the women and children casualties and survivors of the sinking. (For the purpose of the project, he is using the United Nations definition of childhood i.e. anyone younger than 18). If you haven’t previously been in contact, he would very much like to hear from relatives of female and child passengers.  He would be particularly grateful for photographs of female and child passengers. You can email Philip at Philip's email

 

NB North Wales 2018 branch meetings - 2018 programme and new venue

The programme for branch meetings for 2018 is now on this site - see here

There is a new venue at Broughton - see here

 

Medals of Private George William Shaw

We were contacted recently through the website by Mark Shaw who is searching for information about his great uncle, Private George William Shaw, 12364 of 9th battalion Cheshire Regiment.  Mark's email reads as follows:

Hi

I hope you may be able to help me, as I am currently researching my Family Tree. I have identified George William Shaw as my Great Uncle. He served in A Company 9th Battalion Cheshire Regiment, from 01/09/1914 until his death 22/06/1917. His service number was 12364.

I have found that his medals (with the exception of his BWM), death plaque and associated certificates were sold on Ebay in 2014. I am unable to identify the seller or the purchaser.

I would like to find who it was that bought the items, if only to ask for copies of the documentation and, maybe provide a little background information in regard of my Uncle. Ideally, I would love to buy the items.

I know it is a long shot but I thought that it may be possible that one of your members may be the purchaser. I would be obliged if you could see your way clear to circulating the details to your membership.

Mark Shaw

If anyone does perchance know anything about Private Shaw could you please contact Mark at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.?

Battle of Cambrai centenary

There is an article on the BBC website about the use of tanks at the Battle of Cambrai - see the link here.

"Bloody April" film being made

From Leslie Lord: ASA Productions Ltd are currently making two one-hour documentaries for "Yesterday" channel based on the book "Bloody April" by Peter Hart. On their website there is a trailer for a film on building a Bristol Scout aircraft - Scout trailer.

Book reviews

We now have a specific book reviews section on the website - see Book Review Section.

Tribute to Hedd Wynn

There is a video on the BBC website which is a tribute to Hedd Wynn.  It is in English and includes footage of around his home farm in North Wales - Hedd Wynn video

The poets

The 31st July 2017 was the centenary of the deaths of the Welsh poet Hedd Wynn and the Irish poet Francis Ledwidge.  They are both buried in Artillery Wood CWGC cemetery.  There are articles on this site on both of them - Francis Ledwidge and Hedd Wynn.

There was a commemoration event for the two soldiers at Artillery Wood CWGC cemetery on 31st July 2017.  The Welsh National Eistedfodd has also commemorated Hedd Wynn last August in Angelsey.

Hedd Wynn's house now open

Hedd Wynn's house has now had the interior restored and the new museum there is open - see Yr Ysgwrn

 Easter Rising and WWI

We now have a write-up of the talk given to the branch, and elsewhere, by Trevor and Denis - see here.

Welsh women in WWI

I have just come across a website on Welsh women in WWI - click here

Local memorials and graves

We have some new articles on WWI soldiers from North Wales who are buried or commemorated locally - see Welsh memorials and graves 

Book on local soldiers in  the Conwy valley

Retired doctor Bridget Osborne has, with others, written a book on the local men from the villages of Eglwysbach and Llansanffraid (Glan Conwy) who served in WWI. Bridget has managed to trace family details of many of the men as well as the circumstances of their death in the case of fatalities.  The book was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and copies have been distributed to homes in those two villages.

Bridget's book

The Lost Tommies of Vignacourt

A collection of photos of Tommies billeted in the village of Vignacourt has recently come to light and is on the BBC One Show website - One Show site  Can you identify any of them?

 Welsh WWI casualties

There is an article on the BBC website on a book recording all Welsh WWI casualties and which will be on display at Bodelwyddan castle - see BBC website article

 Nurses killed in WWI.

The "Nursing Times" reports on a project to gather information on those nurses who were killed in WWI. See "Nursing Times" article