Sunday, 16 November 2014

Life before the War

The 5th Battalion, The Royal Welch Fusiliers receiving or parading their Colours at Hawarden before the First World War. A fascinating window on Edwardian Britain.

We would love to know more about this occasion. Can you help?

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


Armistice at the end of the First World War, 1918
The armistice in France came into effect at 11 a.m. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. At that time the Regiment had eleven battalions serving in France. During the War around 10,000 Royal Welchmen gave their lives for their country, and tens of thousands more were wounded. The youngest to be killed was Pte W Chadwick, 2 RWF, aged 15. The oldest in the Regiment and the second oldest in the Army, was Pte W Speight, 13 RWF, aged 62. 
Posted below are just a few photographs of unknown Royal Welchmen who served and perhaps gave their lives in the service of their country. We Will Remember Them.
Today in Caernarfon, residents braved the rain to observe the silence on the Castle Square at 11am, before a moving version of the Last Post Ceremony took place at the Queen’s Gate of Caernarfon Castle.
Year five and six pupils of Ysgol Maesincla school, dressed up in World War I uniforms, also paid their respects, marching on to the Maes.
John Hughes, a teacher at Ysgol Maesincla, said: “We are currently doing work on the wars in the current term.
“So we decided to dress the children up in helmets and a uniform. It’s an honour to be a part of such an event.”
Mike Thomas, from the Llanrug Silver band, who played the cornet at the ceremony, said: “I do it every year. It’s always a very moving occasion.
The Last Post ceremony was performed on behalf of the RWF Museum to remember more than 10,500 men of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers who fell in World War I.

Sunday, 9 November 2014


Styled Prince of Wales’s own Royal Regiment of Welsh Fuzeliers, 1714
The title first appeared in the London Gazette of 9-13 November, which stated that ‘His Majesty [George I] has been pleased to appoint Major General Joseph Sabine to be Colonel of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’s own Royal Regiment of Welsh Fuzeliers.’ This was the first time the Regiment was connected intimately with the heir-apparent.

Thursday, 6 November 2014


Battle of the Sambre, France, 1918
The 38th (Welsh) Division participated in what marked the final stage of the British 1918 offensive. Early morning mist worked to the advantage of the attackers. Casualties were sustained by all battalions in some hard fighting but the final objective was taken before dark. The war ended a week later.

Portrait shows unknown RWF soldier of the 38th (Welsh) Division who also has been awarded the Military Medal.

Group photo is of Stretcher Bears from D company of the 16th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 38th (Welsh) Division. William is shown bottom left, the other three being: (top left) Pte D. Evans, (top right) Pte H Winter, (bottom right) Pte Glyn Roberts.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Help us find the RWF Great War Fallen photographs.

We are searching for photos of all the RWF photos. Can you help us? We have over 10,500 to find over the next 4 years. So far we have managed to find around 2000 but with your help we could find a great deal more. Please circulate our plea and help us reunite the lost members of this proud regiment. One they are back together again - they will stay together forever.

Gwyl Amgueddfeydd Cymeu - Welsh Museums Festival

Today we had invited members of Age Cymru - Gwynedd a Mon to come for a visit and talk about WW1. 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Private Oswell LLoyd 2667 & 290495 Royal Welsh Fusiliers

From Penhelig, Aberdyfi. Pre War Territorial (enl around Dec 1913/Jan 1914). Overseas service with 7th Bn after 31 12 1915 (probably due to age?). Wounded at least twice. In Nov 1917, the list has many of the 3rd Battle of Gazza wounded on it and in March 1918. See article column 3 towards bottom under Aberdovey in this link. Cornelius Jones was 290416 and from Brynhyfryd, Aberdyfi (is also on same casualty list). J Edward Jones is probably 291800 John Edward Jones of 21 Church Street, Aberdyfi. Although not on a casualty list for that action it's likely that the Cpl Ellis referred to is 291501 Hugh Pugh Ellis of Ty Cornel,Aberdyfi.

20th September 1854 – ON THIS DAY IN RWF HISTORY

Battle of the Alma, 1854
The progress of the Allied advance on Sevastopol in the Russian Crimea, was halted by the Russian forces drawn up on hills across the river Alma. In the attack on the Great Redoubt the ensign carrying the Regimental Colour was killed, followed by Lieut-Col Chester, the CO, who had seized it. Eventually the Great Redoubt was taken but a counter-attack forced a withdrawal. Reinforced, it was again taken, but at great cost, the Regiment suffering over 200 casualties.

Sgt Luke O’Connor won VC at The Alma, Crimea, 1854
Sgt Luke O’Connor, although badly wounded, took up the Regimental Colour and, dashing forward planted it on the Redoubt above the Alma River. Sgt O’Connor received VCs, and the latter was commissioned in the field.

Capt EWD Bell awarded VC at The Alma, Crimea, 1854
When the Russians left the Alma Redoubt Captain Bell, seeing that one of the guns was being withdrawn more slowly than the rest, captured it single-handed and galloped to the rear. Later, he led the 23rd out of the battle. Captain Bell received VC for this action.

Thursday, 14 August 2014


2nd Battalion at relief of Peking [Beijing], China
A secret society known as ‘Boxers’ was dedicated to the extirpation of all foreigners from the Chinese empire. Missionaries were murdered and foreign legations in Peking besieged. An international force was dispatched, including 2 RWF from Hong Kong. The force was opposed on its journey by rail and foot to Peking which it reached on 13 August, nearly 2 months after it set off from the coast. The next day the RWF and US Marines entered via the sewers. The battle honour PEKIN 1900 was granted and the link with United States Marine Corps was forged.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

WW1 Commemoration event at the Museum inside Caernarfon Castle 9th and 10th August, 2014

Day 1 - sunny and lots of lovely visitors.
Day 2 - rain off and one - but still a lot of lovely visitors!

Sulva Bay 10th August 1915

Two Llandudno soldiers died on August 10th 1915; both were serving with the 1/6th battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. They sailed from Devonport on 19 July 1915 for Gallipoli, going via Imbros and disembarking Suvla Bay on 9 August 1915. This landing on the Aegean coast of the Gallipoli peninsula was part of the August Offensive - the final British attempt to break the deadlock of the Battle of Gallipoli.
Second Lieutenant Philip Walter Jowett Bagnall was the son of Captain Walter Bagnall of Hawthorpe Hall near Oldham and also of Ucheldre in Llandudno. Philip enlisted as a private and within three months was commissioned as an officer. After landing at Suvla Bay he was wounded in the vicinity of Chocolate Hill today 1915 while trying to capture it. An orderly recalled seeing a Turkish officer lift Bagnall’s head and tried to give him a drink. This raised the hope that he was alive and taken as a Prisoner of War however this was not the case. His body was never found and he is remembered on the memorial at Helles.
On the same day and in the same area Private George Burton of St Beuno’s Road on the Great Orme, Llandudno was also killed. The 20 year old also has no known grave and is commemorated on Helles memorial.
Image: Second Lieutenant Philip Bagnall.


53rd (Welsh) Division landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, Turkey
The 53rd (Welsh) Division, with 5, 6, 7 RWF and 1 Herefords in 158 Brigade, landed unopposed at Suvla Bay. On the 11th they moved into the trenches. There they remained until shortly before evacuation. Along with the others they suffered from the heat, the flies and disease, so that numbers dwindled steadily. At the end of November the temperature plummeted and snow set in. On 11 December the division started to embark for Egypt.

Friday, 25 July 2014


Robert Graves was born in 1895
He joined up in 1914 and was sent, as an officer, to the 2nd Battalion. His war memoirs, Goodbye to All That, like much of his war poetry, has never been out of print. He served with Siegfried Sassoon, Dr Dunn and Frank Richards. He became a renowned author and poet and died in 1985. His son David was killed in action serving with the 1st Battalion in Burma in 1943 having been recommended for a VC.

Monday, 23 June 2014


Lt Col Henry Walton Ellis mortally wounded at The Battle of Waterloo succumbed to his wounds.

He was born on 29 November 1782, the son of Lieutenant-Colonel John Joyner Ellis, RWF (q.v.), and his wife Sarah (née Walton), and was christened in St Nicholas’ Church, Worcester almost a year later, on 6 October 1783. There is still uncertainty as to where he was born, which may be connected with the long period between his birth and baptism. The often-quoted Cambray could be near Cheltenham, or possibly Cambrai, in what is now north-eastern France.
His father purchased a commission for him as ensign in 89th Foot, when he was only a few weeks old on 26 March 1783. When 89th Foot was disbanded later the same year the baby was placed on half pay, but on 21 September 1789 he was brought onto full pay as ensign in 41st Foot (aged 5); lieutenant 31 March 1792 and captain-lieutenant 15 December 1794.
He transferred to RWF as captain-lieutenant on 3 September 1795 and was promoted captain RWF on 20 January 1796; major on 23 October 1804; Lieutenant Colonel in command on 23 April 1807 and colonel on 14 June 1814. He was nominated KCB on 2 January 1815.
During his service he was wounded no less than eight times, including the expedition to the Helder in 1799, at Alexandria in 1801, at Albuera being ‘shot badly through the right hand’, at the storming and capture of Badajoz, at Salamanca and in the Pyrenees.
On 26 December 1814 the county and city of Worcester presented Sir Henry with a splendid silver-gilt vase, which had been funded by public subscription, “in testimony of the high sense they entertain of your meritorious services, so repeatedly displayed in the defence of your country . . . .”. At the same ceremony he was presented with the honorary freedom of the City of Worcester. Detailed accounts of the ceremonies were printed in Berrow’s Worcester Journal of 29 December, and the Worcester Herald of 31 December.
At the battle of Waterloo he was severely wounded in the chest by a musket ball. “Feeling himself faint from loss of blood, he calmly desired an opening to be made in the square and rode to the rear. At a short distance from the field he was thrown from his horse while in the act of leaping a ditch; here he was found soon afterwards, much exhausted, and conveyed to a nearby out-house where his wound was dressed. In the course of the night of 19 June the hovel in which he was lodged unfortunately caught fire and he was with difficulty rescued from the flames by Assistant Surgeon Monroe of the RWF, but was exhausted by so many shocks and on 20 June expired”. He was aged 32.
He was buried on the battlefield of Waterloo, but there is doubt as to exactly where. The Wellington museum at Waterloo, an authoritative source on the battle, consider that ‘Sir Henry Ellis was buried in the cemetery next to the church of Waterloo, which is confirmed by Tarlier and Wauters (1869) [Historians, who wrote about the French Empire]. This cemetery (700 feet from the church) was to the west of the church and is then not on the museum side. The former cemetery was closed between 1955 and 1975. We suppose that Sir H. Ellis’ body was not found 150 years after his burying and the monument which was on his grave was moved to the Wellington museum. That’s how it arrived here. . . . It's possible that he was first buried in the yard of the house where he died, but probably not in Braine-l’Alleud, or then he would have been moved to Braine-l’Alleud cemetery instead of Waterloo. He was surely buried in Waterloo and maybe close to the windmill of Waterloo, situated close to the place where the road from Nivelles is meeting the one Charleroi-Brussels.’

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

18TH JUNE 1815 – ON THIS DAY IN ROYAL WELCH HISTORY - Battle of Waterloo, Belgium

During the battle the RWF in Mitchell’s Brigade was moved into the first line which they anchored on its right flank and covered Hougoumont. This was to the immediate right of the main line of attack of the French cavalry. It was during one of these attacks that the commanding officer, Colonel Sir Henry Ellis, was fatally wounded. The Regiment suffered much from the French guns and suffered 100 casualties. WATERLOO was granted as a battle
Dragon Rampant by Canadian Military Historian gives an excellent account of exploits of The 23rd Foot, The Royal Welch Fusiliers in the battle.

Monday, 2 June 2014


Regimental Museum opened at Caernarfon Castle.

With the closure of the Regimental Depot at Wrexham in March 1960 the museum was moved to the Queen’s Tower at Caernarfon Castle. The museum was opened by the Colonel of the Regiment, General Sir Hugh Stockwell. The first Curator of the Museum was Major Peter Kirby MC TD FMA DL who build the oak staircases and original display cabinets himself. The staircases are still in excellent working order today!

Sunday, 25 May 2014


1 RWF at St Venant, France, 1940
The battalion was ordered to capture four bridges. St Venant was taken on the 25th and because of the enemy strength this was where the battalion was forced to concentrate, without adequate anti-tank weapons. On the 27th it was attacked by German tanks and the bridge captured. Engineers had left it unattended. The Commanding Officer was killed as he crossed the bridge. Only five officers and 263 men returned to the UK.

The remarkable sequence of the attached photos show the SS Germania Regiment (Part of the infamous Totenkopf Division) attacked at St Floris and the following day at Robecq against the 3rd Panzer Division. The Germans advanced on the town with their armor, their transport crossing the canal close to the present RWF Memorial, a Panzer MkII in the town Square at the end of the battle, RWF and DCLI PoWs and Casualties most of them would spend the war in a PoW Camp. The final colour photo of the RWF Memorial.

Friday, 23 May 2014


New Colours presented to 1 RWF by HM The Queen, 1996
The Queen presented new Colours to the 1st Battalion at Beachley Barracks, Chepstow. The parade included detachments from 3 RWF, the Cadet battalions and the Comrades. The Queen was received in the Sergeants’ Mess and later had lunch with the officers and their guests.

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Friday, 16 May 2014

16th MAY1915 – ON THIS DAY IN ROYAL WELCH HISTORY CSM F Barter won VC, 1915 At Festubert, France

CSM F Barter won VC, 1915
At Festubert, France, CSM Barter, with eight men, seized and held 500 yards of trench and captured over 100 prisoners. ‘He acted with the utmost speed and with confident leadership, the men following him, catching some of his reckless enthusiasm as he bombed his way along the trench ... He forced 3 officers and 102 men to surrender to his swift and fearless attack, and also found and cut no less than eleven mine leads ...’. He was awarded a VC.
CSM (later Capt.) Frederick Barter, V.C., M.C.
Frederick Barter was born at 60 Daniel Street in Cathays, Cardiff, on17 January, 1891, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Barter. Educated at the Crwys Road Board School, Cardiff he joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 4 December, 1908, as No. 3908 and later transferred to the Special Reserve of the RWF. Some of the occupations held by Frederick were with the Cardiff Wagon works as a Collier and as a Porter with the Great Western Railway. Prior to the outbreak of World War One he was working as a stove repairer for the Cardiff Gaslight and Coke Company, and when war was declared he soon found himself once more with the colours, this time as a Special Reservist with the first Battalion RWF.
Barter's military service record in the Great War and after ran as follows:
He was a Company Sergeant Major in 1914 and served in France 1914-15. He became a 2nd Lieutenant on 26th August 1915. between 10 May 1916 and 29 December 1916 he was at the Western Command Bombing School as a Temporary Lieutenant. and after this was in France between December 1916 and February 1917. He was then transferred to the Indian Army in March 1917 and served with the Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles, North-West Frontier Province, at Kohat as a Brigade Bombing Officer. He was then in Palestine with the 2/3rd QAOGR wth the rank of acting Captain. On 16 May 1918 he relinquished his current commission in favour of a permanent Captaincy with the Indian Army but was invalided back to Britain with fever in 1919 and subsequently retired with the rank of Captain in 1922. During the Second World War Barter served as a Major in command of the 4/7th Company of the 4th Middlesex Home Guard.
His Victoria Cross was awarded after, on 16 May, 1915, for an act of bravery at Festubert, in France. His VC citation in the London Gazette read as follows: "For most conspicuous bravery and marked ability at Festubert on 16th May, 1915. When in the first line of German trenches, company sergeant Major Barter called for volunteers to enable him to extend our line and with eight men who responded he attacked the German position with bombs, capturing 3 German officers and 102 men along with 500 yards of their trenches. He subsequently found and and cut eleven of the enemy's mine leads, situated about 20 yards apart."
Capt. Barter was decorated at Buckingham Palace by King George V on 12 July, 1915.
For his Military Cross, the citation in the London Gazette of 26 July 1918 reads:
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when ordered to make a flank attack.He led his two platoons up a precipitous hill, and turned the enemy's flank. Then, placing one platoon with two Lewis guns to command the enemy's line of retreat, he gallantly led an attack with the other platoon from the rear and flank, killing or capturing practically the whole garrison."
Curiously, at El Kefr, Palestine, for a herioc act of gallantry on 10 April, 1918, Rifleman Karanbahadur Rana was awarded the Victoria Cross for saving Barter's life.
He was married on 13 May1925 to a divorcee, Catherine Mary Theresa Mclaren (nee Wright) of the Heathfield Hotel, Waldron, who died in 1944. They had no children. In 1928 he joined the AEC as a labour manager located at Southall, Middlesex, after trying several business ventures. Barter died at St. Annes Nursing Home, Canford Cliffe, Poole, Dorset, on 15 May 1953 and was cremated at Bournemouth Crematorium.
In his honour, two places at Wrexham bear his name. One is known as Barter Road and the other at Hightown, Wrexham, is called Barter Court.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Amphibious landings in Norway, 1940

In April 1940 Independent Companies were formed from TA volunteers. No 2 Company was formed from men of 53rd (Welsh) Division, including 72 from the RWF in 158 Brigade. Volunteers from 8th, 9th and 10th Bns raised a platoon for No 9 Company. On 14 May they landed south of Narvik and engaged in heavy skirmishing with the Germans until the end of the month when they returned to Scotland. Many of those involved were incorporated into No 1 Commando. For full details of this expedition see - The Life and Campaigns of General Hughie Stockwell: From Norway, Through Burma, to Suez. 

By Lt Gen Jonathon Riley.

Thursday, 8 May 2014


VE Day, 1945

The official date for victory in Europe although the unconditional surrender had been signed by the Germans four days earlier. The 4th and 6th Battalions were in the Hamburg area and the 7th in the Netherlands. The route taken by the 53rd (Welsh) Division units is shown on the attached map. 6 RWF received the honour of marching in the Victory Parade in Paris. The war against Japan in the Far East would continue until August. 

The war worldwide cost the lives of 1,201 Royal Welchmen.