As the hundredth anniversary of World War 1 is commemorated, local Plaid Cymru AM for Ceredigion, Elin Jones has pieced together her own family’s history in the conflict.
The local AM knew she had a great, great uncle, Watkin Jones Davies of Coedparc, Silian, who died in 1918, and has unearthed correspondence and photographs which shed light on the history of Watkin, who is commemorated on plaques in Bethel Chapel, Silian and on the war memorial in Lampeter.
Watkin Jones Davies, a young farmer’s son, served in the Pembroke Yeomanry. He was stationed in Egypt for much of the war, and took part in fighting in Palestine. In 1918 he was posted to the western front, and died three days after Armistice Day (14 November, 1918) of injuries sustained at the Battle of Epehy that September.
Elin Jones will be joining the reenactment of the march out of Lampeter by the Yeomanry on Sunday August 10 - the regiment in which Watkin served.
Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru AM for Ceredigion said,
“This year’s commemoration has given me all the more reason to find out about Watkin Jones Davies, or ‘Wat’, my great grandmother’s brother. His is one more story of a young man killed in the First World War, but is also one that is remembered by his family in the Lampter area.
“Wat’s story is tragic in many ways. He didn’t have to sign up, as he was the only young man left on the family farm. But according to the family story, his father believed him to be pampered by his sisters, and decided the army would toughen him for farming life. He offered horses to the army to take him.
“Wat was a prolific letter-writer to his sisters back at home, and it is through these letters and other family memorabilia such as photos that I have pieced together more of the history.
“It’s very poignant to read Wat’s account of serving in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East, given the suffering that the area’s people are again enduring in 2014.”