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Private William Lewis

Killed in action 31st October 1917 (brother of Thomas and Richard Lewis)


William was born in Llangynog in 1884 to Richard Lewis and his wife, Margaret. In 1891 when William was about seven years old he was living at Buarth Glas, Llangynog with his parents and four siblings – a girl and three boys. Of these four sons, three were to sadly die as a recognised consequence of the war.

     In the 1901 census, the seventeen year old William was still living with his parents, but at Pen-y-buarth, Llangynog, and was working as a farm hand. By now he had seven siblings. In 1911 at the age of 27 he was working for and living with a farmer, John Jones, at Lower Sweeney, Oswestry. By June 1915 William had met and married Catherine Ann Davies. Unfortunately they were not to have very long together.William went to Welshpool to enlist into the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry, and was posted to Egypt in March 1916. Although the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry were initially mounted, by March 1917 they were dismounted and re-roled as infantry becoming part of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. After seeing action and surviving the first and second Battles of Gaza, William found himself fighting the more successful Battle of Beersheba as part of the 20th Corps.

     The battalion met with stout resistance at one location where the Ottoman soldiers fought to the last man. Intense hand-to-hand fighting in the trenches continued until the Ottoman trenchline was captured. During this fighting the Royal Welsh Fusiliers captured three quarters of the prisoners and suffered two thirds of the casualties of the 20th Corps. Casualties were: 1,010 wounded, 5 missing and 136 killed – including, sadly, Private William Lewis. He was 33.

William is buried and commemorated at Beersheba War Cemetery, Palestine. He is also commemorated, together with his brother, Thomas, on a headstone in the churchyard at Pennant Melangell.

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