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Thomas Morris Back to War Memorial William Jones
Richard was born in Llangynog in 1882, to Evan and Mary Williams. Evan, Richard’s father, was a slate miner. In 1891, when Richard was 8 years old, he is recorded as living at Powis Cottage, Llangynog, with his mother and four siblings. His father and his eldest brother, who was just 16, were both boarding in Llantrisant, Glamorgan, and working as coal miners.
In 1901 Richard himself was away from home, living and working as a coal miner in Merthyr Tydfil. Ten years on, at the age of 30, he was boarding in Neath, Glamorgan, but now he stated his occupation as mason’s labourer. It was in Neath that Richard enlisted into the army and joined the East Yorkshire Regiment.
We don’t know what year Richard joined the army, but we do know that his battalion spent a brief period in Egypt before leaving for France in March 1916. Then, in July the battalion saw action at the First Battle of the Somme. They were also engaged in fighting in the November of the same year. The following year saw Richard’s battalion involved in numerous engagements, and a raid in November 1917, saw some 200 Germans killed.
On the 23rd March 1918, still in the Somme area, they were sent into the trenches in front of Ervillers. Three days later, on the 26th, Richard Williams was killed in action. The war diary entry reads “At dawn the battalion took up a line behind Courcelles there to await further overtures from the enemy. The day was very quiet until about 4pm when a hostile attack was launched.” Although this attack was successfully repulsed, sadly, Private Richard Williams lost his life during the engagement.
He is commemorated at the Arras Memorial, France, but has no known grave. He is also commemorated on the Seven Sisters (Onllwyn) war memorial, South Wales.