Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Faces of WW1 update

ITV, Western Front Association and NWM - North Wales newspapers are going to be publicising our Faces of WW1 project. Looking forward to receiving many more photographs!

This is Harry Dudley 10th Battalion who fell on 30th April 1916.


Murder of Major GL Compton-Smith by the IRA, 1921
He was serving in Ireland with 2 RWF. During the Great War he had commanded 10 RWF and been awarded a DSO and French Croix de Guerre. On 16 April 1921 he was kidnapped by the IRA as a hostage for the lives of IRA men under sentence of death. When they were hanged he was shot by the IRA. He left his cigarette case to his brother officers and it was found later in the house of a member of Sinn Fein.

Friday, 18 April 2014


Action at Lexington in the War of American Independence, 1775

The RWF were part of a small force sent from Boston to Concord to secure a large store of
arms. Marching through hostile countryside they reached Lexington where the local militia
awaited them and shots were exchanged. These were the first shots fired in the American
War of Independence. On the return journey more serious fighting occurred at Lexington,
before the exhausted force reached Boston.

Our new poster

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


2nd Battle of Gaza, Palestine, 1917
Following the failure of the first battle in March a second was lost with even larger forces. This resulted in the 24th and 25th Battalions joined the Territorial battalions in the line-up. After preliminary actions the main battle began on the 19th. It proved to be yet another costly failure. Following major changes in the high command any further attack was delayed until
later in the year.

During the 2nd Battle of Gaza 8 tanks were used to support the attacks. The 53rd (Welsh) Division attacked along the coast while the 24th and 25th Battalions were involved in fighting in the centre of the line.


1 & 2 RWF met at Gibraltar, 1932
A not very common event which occurred when the 1st Battalion, which was en route home from the Sudan, called at Gibraltar where the 2nd Battalion had been part of the garrison since the previous October.

The attached photo provide a snapshot of life for the soldiers of the 2 RWF on Gibraltar in 1932. 
Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum's photo.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Special Visitor at the Museum today

Wales' First Minister, Carwyn Jones, came to see us at the Museum today. He was interested to see and hear what we had planned for the WW1 commemorations. He was impressed by our WW1 Faces project which is huge, enjoyed hearing about our plans for a Christmas Truce Exhibition which is going to tour in Europe and kindly tried on one of our new WW1 replica helmets that we have bought especially for school visits.

Monday, 14 April 2014


RWF embarked for America, 1773
With the situation deteriorating in the American colonies the Regiment sailed for New York which was reached on 11 June. It remained in America until 1783 and shared in the British defeat. The 23rd performed with distinction. It was present at the final surrender at Yorktown in October 1781 but those who could stand were allowed to march out with the honours of war. The Colours were saved by officers who ‘wore’
them under their tunics.

The attached sketches and text are from the notebook of Sergeant Roger Lamb originally of the 9th of Foot and later joined the 23rd of Foot (The Royal Welch Fusiliers.

Sergeant Roger Lamb, an educated Irishman, who was captured with Burgoyne at Saratoga, later wrote a work entitled Journal of the American War, which was published in Dublin in 1809. He served in a regiment of Welsh Fusileers and after his capture accompanied the British prisoners to Boston and Virginia. He escaped, and joined the troops of Major Andre. In October 1781 he was captured, with the British troops at Yorktown, but he escaped and fled to Frederick, Maryland.
Unfortunately for him, Sergeant Lamb was again captured at Frederick and placed in the prison barracks there for two weeks, before being sent to Winchester, Virginia. "Part of the British troops remained in Winchester until January 1782," wrote Lamb:
...When Congress ordered us to be marched to York, in Pennsylvania. I received information that as soon as I fell into ranks to march off, I should be taken and confined in the Winchester jail, as the Americans were apprehensive that when I got near to York I should again attempt my escape. I was advised by my officers to conceal myself until the troops had marched. I took the hint and hid myself in the hospital among the sick, where I remained until the American guards had been two days on their march with the British prisoners. I then prepared to follow them, but at a safe distance.
The troops arrived at York and were confined in a prison similar to the one at Rutland, Massachusetts, here Burgoyne's prisoners were held in 1778. A great number of trees were ordered to be cut down in the woods; these were sharpened at each end and driven firmly into the earth very close together, enclosing a space of about two to three acres. American sentinels were planted on the outside of the fence, at convenient distances, in order to prevent our getting out. At one angle, a gate was erected and on the outside thereof, stood a guard house, two sentinels were posted at this gate, and no one could get out unless he had a pass from the officers of the guard; but that was a privilege in which very few were indulged.
About two hundred yards from this pen, a small village had been built by prisoners of General Burgoyne's army, who were allowed very great privileges with respect to liberty in the country. When some of my former comrades of the Ninth Regiment were informed that I was a prisoner with Lord Cornwallis' army, and that I was shortly expected at York, they immediately applied to the commanding officer of the Americans for a pass in my name, claiming me as one of their regiment. This was immediately granted, and some off them kindly and attentively placed themselves on the watch for my arrival, lest I should be confined with the rest of Cornwallis' army. When I reached York I was most agreeably surprised at meeting my former companions; and more so when a pass was put in my hands, giving me the privilege of then miles of the country road while I behaved well and orderly.
I was then conducted to a hut, which my poor loving companions had built for me in their village before my arrival. Here I remained some time, visiting my former companions from hut to hut; but I was astonished at the spirit of industry, which prevailed among them. Men, women and children were employed making lace, buckles, spoons, and exercising other mechanical trades, which they had learned during their captivity. They had a very great liberty from the Americans and were allowed to go round the country and sell their goods, while the soldiers of Cornwallis' army were closely confined.
I perceived that they had lost the animation, which ought to possess the breast of the soldier. I strove by every argument to rouse them to their lethargy. I offered to head any number of them, and make a noble effort to escape into New York and join our comrades in arms; but all my efforts proved ineffectual. As for my part, I was determined to make an attempt. I well knew from experience, that a few companions would be highly necessary. Accordingly I sent word of my intention to seven men of the Twenty-third regiment who were confined in the pen. That I was willing to take them with me. I believe in all the British army that these men, three sergeants and four privates, could not have excelled for courage and intrepidity. They rejoined the idea; and by the aid of some of Burgoyne's army, they were enabled under cover of a dark night, to scale their fence and assemble in my hut. I sent word of my intention to my commanding officer, Captain Saumarez, of the Twenty-Third, and likewise the names of the men who I purposed to take with me. As my money was almost expended, I begged of him to advance me as much as convenient. He immediately sent me a supply. It was the first of March 1782 that I set off with my party.
After Sergeant Lamb escaped with his seven companions, he went to New York City, and joined the troops commanded by Sir Guy Charlton. Lamb was able to return to Dublin, where he became a teacher and an author, and died in 1830.

A face from our WW1 project

Vyvyan W.G. Capt.

William Geoffrey Vyvyan, born 21 Jan 1876, the sixth. son of the Rev Herbert Francis Vyvyan, rector of Withiel, Cornwall, and his wife Augusta Clara, and husband to Mary Vyvyan, of St. Margaret’s, West Runton, Cromer, Norfolk. He was a Lt (26/5/97) Falmouth Div. Submarine Miners, RE (Militia) until granted a regular commission and was gazetted 2/Lt (24/6/99) to the RWF. He served with the 2nd Bn in the China and was present at the Relief of Pekin in 1900. Was promoted Lt (28/5/02) and Capt (1/4/09), then appointed Adjt of the 5th (TF) Bn Oct 1910. At the outbreak of war, he was serving with the 1st Bn and embarked for France in early Oct 1914. Was at the battle of Langemarck and reported missing 21 Oct 1914, then later reported wounded and taken prisoner. Died in enemy hands 24 Oct 1914 age 38. He left a young widow and four small children. Buried Bedford House Cemy Enclosure No.4 Ypres (Droogenbroodhoek Cem) Belgium. His medal group, consisting of China 1900 RoP 1914 Star Bar BWM VM are held in the Regimental Museum.

With thanks to Mr John Tyler

Thursday, 10 April 2014


6 RWF received Freedom of Caernarfon, 1946
The battalion had been formed in 1908 with the re-designation of the 2nd Volunteer battalion whose links with Caernarfon went back to 1884. 6 RWF finished the war in Germany where it was placed in suspended animation. Before disbandment it had been granted the freedom 
of the Borough of Caernarfon, which had been the location of battalion headquarters since 1884.

The Other Christmas Truce - 1915

Fusilier Bertie Felstead, (28 October 1894 – 22 July 2001). At the time of his death (aged 106) was believed to be the last survivor of the First World War 1915 Christmas Day truce when British and German troops played football together.

Mr Felstead, the second oldest person in Britain at the time of his death, was by his own account an average man who experienced an extraordinary event. His whole life was dominated by that moment in history" in 1915 when the guns went silent and British and German troops emerged from the trenches to play football in the snow.

He was even included in the book Centurians, a list of the most culturally influential people of the 20th century.

Born in High gate, north London, on Oct 28, 1894, Mr Felstead joined the 15th (1st London Welsh) Battalion, The Royal Welch Fusilier at Grays Inn, London. He trained in North Wales before being sent to France with his Battalion in 113th Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. The Christmas 1915 Truce was not as widespread as the 1914.

However, men who had been sniping at each other for months stopped the killing for a few hours.

He was spending his first Christmas Eve in northern France when he and his colleagues, shivering in their trench near the village of Laventie, heard the carol Silent Night wafting over from the German lines 100 yards or so away.
"It wasn't long before we were singing as well. Good King Wenceslas, I think it was," he said in an interview some years ago. "You couldn't hear each other sing like that without it affecting your feelings for the other side.

"The next morning, Christmas Day, there was some shouting between the trenches. 'Hello Tommy, Hello Fritz,' that sort of thing and that broke a lot more ice. As far as I can remember, a few of the Germans came out first and started walking over. I do remember a whole mass of us just getting up and going out to meet them. Nothing was planned. It was spontaneous.

"There was a bit of football; if you can call it that. Someone suggested it and somehow a ball was produced. I don't know were from. It wasn't a game as such - more of a kick-around and a; free- for all. There could have been 50 on each side for all I know. "I played because I really liked, football. I don't know how long it lasted, probably half an hour and no one was keeping score."

The truce came to an end with the appearance of an angry British major, barking out orders to return to the trenches and terse reminders that they were there to "kill the Hun not make friends with him". A British artillery salvo finally shattered the mood. "The Germans were all right," said Mr Felstead, who was wounded on the Somme in 1916 and shipped back to England.

After recovering from injury, Mr Felstead volunteered for overseas service and fought in Salonika in 1917 until being evacuated home with acute malaria.

Discharged in 1919, Mr Felstead worked as a store man at an RAF base in Uxbridge, London. Mr Felstead married on Mar 16, 1918. His wife, Alice, died in 1983. He died on Sunday, at a Gloucester nursing home. He is survived by two of his three daughters, five grandchildren, II great-grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.
 (4 photos)

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


Battle of Toulouse, France, 1814.

The Regiment played a small part in this, the last battle of the Peninsular War. On the following day they learnt that Napoleon had forfeited the French throne and eight days later hostilities with France were suspended. TOULOUSE was awarded as a battle honour.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

On this day - 9th April 1916

April 9th - 1916 - Many RWF lost on this day in WW1!

Just finished typing up April 1916 for our WW1 Faces project. Still working hard to try and find the photos. Could you pass it on that we are looking. 

This is Lieutenant Colonel RCB Throckmorton lost on 9th April 1916.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Our search for WW1 RWF photos goes from strength to strength

A big boost today when the Home Front Museum, Llandudno sent us 37 photos of RWF men who died in WW1. We are very grateful. Another step closer to our 10,000+ we are looking for.
Thank you.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Scott POWELL KIA 5 4 16

Scott POWELL 8th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Date of birth: 10 April 1885
Date of death: 5 April 1916
Died of wounds received in action aged 30
No known grave

Scott joined the Inns of Court a few days before war was declared and shortly afterwards
received a commission in the 8th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, the same regiment in which his
grandfather had served. 

He was promoted temporary Captain 15 January 1915, left for Gallipoli on 15 June and took part in the Anzac withdrawal and afterwards in that at Cape Helles. He also served in Egypt and Palestine, and in 1916 in Mesopotamia was Mentioned in Dispatches.
He died of wounds received at Umm el Hannah in Mesopotamia. 

He is commemorated on Panel 15 on the Basra Memorial.

6165 Arthur Davies KIA 11 5 15

Sgt 6165 Arthur Davies 4th RWF, born in Chirk a collier at Chirk pit. He enlisted in 1908 at Conwy. Died of shrapnel wounds to both arms and legs 11/5/1915

James Clutton KIA 13 11 16

James Clutton, Pte 57076, 10th RWF. Born Wrexham. Killed in action 13/11/1916

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum seek WW1 photos

We at the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum in Caernarfon are starting the mammoth task of looking for photos of individual soldiers from the RWF who were killed in the Great War.
We are trying to put each man’s name on display on a screen on the centenary of his death and would dearly love to be able to add a photograph of each man to go with his name.  It is a huge undertaking as there were over 10,400 men from the RWF that were killed.  But even if we only get a fraction of the photographs we believe it is worth doing.  Many of the RWF were from all over so we are asking please could you help?
You can help us by circulating our plea to anybody who is interested.  Many families have photographs tucked away so this might prompt them to seek them out.  We accept scans or copies and any that appeared in newspapers, which often carried obituaries including photographs.
We need as much information as possible to go with the photo to make sure we fit the right photo to the right man – but sometimes a name and date of death might be all we need.
Email us on for more details or to send us a photo. You can also follow our progress on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Blogger, Flickr  and Facebook


Flank Companies at capture of Morne Fortuné, St Lucia, 1794.
A force, including the 23rd, landed on the West Indian island of St Lucia on 1 April. Morne Fortuné (Hill of Good Luck) was a French Fort positioned over looking the port of Castries and was stormed successfully on the 2nd. A garrison was left behind and the force departed on 4 April. The Regiment served in the West Indies from November 1793 to early 1796 and paid a heavy price for its service in this most deadly of tropics. The Regiment lost 12 Officers and 600 men primarily to disease and to lead poisoning from drinking large quantities of rum, made in pewter containers.
The attached photos show what remains of the French fort (some of the walls and the Ammunition Magazine which were also used as cells). The memorial is to the 27th of Foot (The Inniskillin Fusiliers) who had the task of assaulting the fort on a number of occasions during their service in the West Indies. Finally the graveyard contains both British and French burials a testament to the appalling risks of disease, such as yellow fever that earned the West Indies a reputation of “the open grave of the British Army”.