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Private William Jones

Died of his wounds 19th October 1917

Richard William   Back to War Memorial      Richard Lewis 


William Jones was born in Llangynog in 1893 to Isaac and Margaret. His father at this time worked for the council as a steam roller driver. In the census of 1901, the seven year old William was living with his mother and five siblings at Moel-y-gwelltyn, Llangynog. On the day the census was taken his father is recorded as residing in his steam roller van in Machynlleth. In 1911, the 17 year William was working and living with farmer Thomas Jones, at Tynffynonau, Llangynog, as a farm hand. In this census his father is shown as ‘in a caravan on the roadside with his steamroller’, in Llanidloes.

William enlisted in Llanfyllin, into the Montgomery Yeomanry and was later transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. In September 1917 they were at Ypres and close enough to the enemy to suffer their first mustard gas-shell casualties. The brigade was to assist two other divisions which were heavily engaged against the enemy in Polygon Wood and the adjacent area. As they strove to gain ground they suffered casualties from artillery fire. Repeated shelling had left the ground ahead bare of all vegetation except for a few trees and pieces of hedge.

     It was difficult to keep in touch and have effective communications, and often, any movement even by individuals brought down accurate enemy fire in response. Nobody at Battalion HQ knew of their difficulties, or even exactly where they were, and few supplies of food or ammunition were reaching them. Short of ammunition and believing the enemy massing in Polygon Wood, they fell back. The next day, however, on receiving a report that the enemy itself had pulled back, they started to move forward again. It was soon after that William’s Battalion, was relieved.

After Polygon Wood we are unsure of the Battalion’s movements, but we imagine they did not move far and were certainly in trenches in the Ypres area. Some three weeks after the battle, on 18th October, William was hit by shrapnel from an exploding shell and died the following day without regaining consciousness in a Canadian field hospital aged just 24. Private William Jones is buried and commemorated at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium.

     Sometime after, a Memorial Service was held locally. Those who attended would have been given this memorial card to remember him by.

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