Our Story

The information below is a brief outline of how the idea of this web-site came about.
 

I was born in Nelson, around the time that Tawelfan, Ffos Close and Rowan Close were being built. My wife Lisa was born in New Tredegar, Gwent.

We met in 1996, while I was working in Bargoed, North of Caerphilly. Not long afterwards, we discovered a mutual interest in the First World War but, due to family related issues, the interest was put aside.

A few years later, things were more settled and in 2002, we decided to venture to the battlefields of France and arranged a trip of our own to The Somme area. We spent five days on a self-guided tour of the area. Even then, we could see that we were going to be spending a lot more time there. While we felt that we had seen quite a bit, we realised that there was a lot more for us to discover.

Around the same time, we had been carrying out family history research. After we returned from France, Lisa's family research led us back to the battlefields of The Western Front where, on The Somme, she discovered her first family loss to The War.

David John Thomas, Private 12757, 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers was her Great-Grandmother's brother. David had been killed on 7th July 1916 while his unit had been tasked with the capture of the village of Ovillers, near La Boisselle. His story now forms the Example Page in this site.

[Bizarrely, on our first trip, we came across Ovillers Cemetery, perfectly maintained and peaceful, and spent quite a bit of time there.]

This initial discovery led us to further research our families' involvement in The Great War. Unfortunately (or should I say, fortunately) I could find no trace of any of my family having been killed during this conflict. Lisa, on the other hand, found two further family members who were killed in The Somme region and a further three who were killed in the Ypres salient, Belgium. A total of six family members lost to this conflict.

Robert John ELLIOTT
Lonsdale MITCHELL
Charles Banfield MITCHELL
Samuel Oscar MITCHELL
Joseph SHERMAN
David John THOMAS

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killed on The Somme - June 1918
killed north of Ypres, Belgium - April 1915
killed south of Ypres, Belgium - June 1917
killed on The Somme - November 1916
killed north of Ypres, Belgium - April 1915
killed on The Somme - July 1916

Four of the six names above are remembered on the War Memorial at New Tredegar. I have researched the names on New Tredegar War Memorial and have now created a dedicated site for that village memorial.
The address is www.newtredegar-ww1.org.uk.

tn_mem_DJ_Thomas

D J Thomas name entry at Thiepval .

The last letter he ever wrote.

Samuel Oscar MITCHELL
Varennes Miltary Cemetery
The Somme, France

 [More visits to these battlefields were inevitable and each year we visit the battlefields three of four times, for a week or two at a time. During these visits, we have forged many friendships including Joe Cruise, our Scouser friend, Thierry, the owner of Les Trois Pigeons at Albert, Ken and Pam Linge, Teddy and Phoebe Colligan who ran the Ulster Tower Memorial, Thiepval until 2012 and others.]

Back to the story... Of the six killed, three have graves with headstones. The other three are confined to inscriptions on memorials, one at Thiepval, France where the names of over 72,000 men who fought and died in that area and have no known graves are listed. The other two are on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres where similarly, over 54,000 men who have no known graves are listed.

Incidentally, the men who were killed in the Ypres salient after 16th August 1917 and have no known grave are commemorated on a separate memorial at Tyne Cot Cemetery just a few miles from the Menin Gate. A further 34,874 names are recorded on the memorial at Tyne Cot cemetery, as well as the cemetery itself containing 3,588 graves.

In trying to find out more about Lisa's family members lost, we encountered difficulties because so little was known about some, and two were almost totally unknown within her family. A tragedy that only three generations after such a conflict, these men are getting forgotten about.

In 2005, one of us just passed a remark during one of our visits to France, "Wouldn't it be good to research the names on the plaque", that is, the Nelson memorial. That is where it all began.

In 2007, Lisa suggested that we included the results into a web-site, and, like all good wives, tasked me with this, my very first web-site.
This, folks, is it. I hope you find benefit from this site.

I have no financial motive behind the site, just a sincere desire to prevent the memory of those men who gave their lives in The Great War and who came from my own village, from fading away.

MAY THEY ALL REST IN EVER-ETERNAL PEACE


R & L Evans

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