TWINS from Cardigan who died in the First World War will be among those remembered this weekend as the nation marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.

Twins David Morgan Williams (known as Dai) and Owen John Williams (known as Jack), were born in Queen’s Terrace, Cardigan, on February 28, 1895. Their parents, Owen, a blacksmith and Catherine, had eight children in total including the twins. Their siblings were Caradog, Trevor, Wynford (my grandfather), Bessie, Eluned and Katie.

Many of the family’s descendants still live in the Cardigan area, including Dawn Stephen in Llechryd, whose grandfather will be known to many of the Tivyside’s older readership for his column ‘Reminiscences of an Octogenarian’.

The family’s history has been traced back by Dawn’s daughter Nicky.

Nicky writes: “Owen (Jack) was a member of the Territorial Unit C company 1/4th battalion Welsh Regiment. The Territorials were away on annual camp in Porthmadoc when they were recalled to Cardigan arriving by train at 10pm on the Monday night 3rd August 1914.

“As a busy shipping port, Cardigan had already sent its 60 naval reservists to Devonport that morning as storms were brewing over Europe. The Territorials, preceded by the Gwaun Cae Gurwen band, were marched to their headquarters in the Town Drill Hall in Finch Square.

“The next day they got their equipment in order and were being given medicals when war was declared. Instructions were received the following day, 5th August, the day of the local Agricultural Show, which was rushed to a close so that the town could see the men off.

“At 5pm. the men paraded at the Drill Hall and headed by the band once again, marched up to the Guildhall through the crowded streets. Mayor R W Picton Evans who had fought in the Boer War, addressed them, wishing them God Speed for their journeys. The men marched to the station and boarded the waiting train for Dale in Pembrokeshire.

“In July 1915, Owen embarked at Devonport bound for Port Said, Egypt where his regiment stayed until ordered to Mudros Harbour where they arrived on 5th August. The troops had been at sea in harsh conditions for three weeks without landing and the men were physically unfit for battle in the height of the hot weather as they found themselves at Gallipoli.

“The 4th battalion Welsh Regiment had completed disembarkation on 9th August, coming under shellfire and suffering casualties. Early on 10th August they took part in a renewed attack at Suvla Bay where they were met by murderous fire.

“Owen was wounded badly in both legs and was evacuated to Alexandria where he died on 30th August 1915. Owen is buried at Alexandria Chatby Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt (F.172).

“Private Andrew Thorn, who also served at Gallipoli and was evacuated home, later recalled that Owen had been wounded badly in both legs, but remained happy and cheerful through it all. Private Thorn remained with Owen throughout the night he had been injured and as there were no splints available, they had used rifles instead.

“Prior to the war David (Dai), Owen’s twin brother, worked at the Post Office; he enlisted in April 1915 and served as a rifleman with the 8th battalion, London regiment, Post Office rifles. After six months of training he was drafted out to France on October 20, 1915.

“In January 1916 he was sent back to England suffering from trench foot and recuperated in hospital in Exeter. He returned to France in 1917 rejoining his battalion to fight in the Battle of Messines which began on 7th June 1917.

“David died of wounds received in the battle on June 10, 1917 at 22 years old. David is buried at White House Cemetery, Ypres, West Vlaanderen,Belgium (II.C.25).”

Nicky’s son Harry visited Dai’s grave as part of a school trip to Ypres and laid a cross on the grave of his great, great uncle.

The twins are both remembered at Cardigan and District War Memorial Hospital. Owen and David are also commemorated on the memorial in Bethania Chapel, Cardigan where they were worshippers.

The parish roll of honour located on the south wall of St Mary’s Church Cardigan also remembers the boys among 94 others who lost their lives in the Great War. The twins are also remembered on Cardigan Town Cenotaph.

Story reproduced by kind permission of Nicky Stephen. To read the full story of the twins, go to: