Ordinary men caught up in an extraordinary war.
In the main, the men of the Whitchurch Parish of Cardiff who served in the First World War of 1914-1918 were not soldiers. The vast majority were working men who went to ‘do their bit’ for King and Country, with basic training but fully expecting to return and continue in their everyday lives with their families and in their jobs. However, for more than 200 of them it was not to be, whether being killed in action, dying of wounds or disease, or succumbing at home after being invalided back to ‘Blighty’.
This work, compiled by local historians Ceri Stennett and Gwyn Prescott, looks at those men from the villages of Whitchurch, Llandaff North, Birchgrove, Rhiwbina and Tongwynlais who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War. Cardiff has a proud history in playing its part in times of war, and this book tells the stories of the men who valiantly served, butdied for their efforts.
For most the theatre of war was France and Flanders, but others met their fate in Gallipoli, Salonika, Palestine or in the Senior Service, the Royal Navy, on the High Seas around the globe. Many also met their end in the Merchant Navy whilst attempting to supply the UK with food, goods and materials.
Much of the material included has been unearthed from local newspapers of the time, from descendants of the fallen, and the ever-expanding information available online. Census records from 1891, 1901, and 1911 have been used to trace the lives of the men – making this work invaluable to family and local historians alike. A real attempt has been made to portray the men as individuals, and not just as members of a particular battalion, regiment or corps. Readers can retrace the lives of the men by their pre-war homes, many of which still stand today.
Every death is a human tragedy, but within this small part of the story of a catastrophic war, the book shines a light on stories of great selflessness, comradeship, devotion to duty and at times, great heroism. It was a time when for ‘King and Empire’ stood for the principles that many people lived by.