Ebenezer Congregational Chapel
Rudry, a small village close to the River Rumney and two miles east of Caerphilly, has two churches. St. James, small part of which dates from the fourteenth century, but the majority of 1885 restoration, and the Ebenezer Congregational Chapel. Original building on this site from 1821, but rebuild in 1903.
On the wall to the right of the pulpit, a white marble tablet in the shape of a shield commemorates chronologically by order of death, four men of the church that were killed. Names, ranks, regiments, ages are given, along with date and place of death.
Private William Clifford Harris
Private William Clifford Harris served with the 16th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, which had arrived in France from England during the first week of December, 1915. As part of Kitchener`s "New Army", the 16th formed part of the 113th Brigade, in 38th (Welsh) Division. On 6 January, 1916, the Battalion took over front line trenches near Neuve Chapelle. Relieving the 6th King`s Own in various locations that included - Copse Keep, Guards Trench, Boar`s Head, a position consisting of four small isolated posts, Farm Corner, held by one platoon and of particular interest to the enemy`s snipers, and Pall Mall Keep. One spot known as "Rangers" was held by two companies, which was, notes the Battalion War Diary - "in a very bad state and impassable."
Relieved on the 27th, the Battalion was in reserve behind the front line at Richebourg St. Vaast when Private Harris was killed. He was a member of "B" Company, Machine Gun Section and is also commemorated within the church on a brass plaque erected by his relatives and friends -
Sacred To The Memory Of Pte. W. Clifford Harris, (16th Batt, B Co., Royal Welsh Fusiliers) Aged 21 Years. Who Was Killed In Action At St. Vaast, France Jan. 30th 1916. "He Died As He Had Lived, A Brave And Cheerful Soldier."
Private David Stanley Jones
Also with the 16th Royal Welsh Fusiliers was David Stanley Jones. Twenty-one when he died on the Somme, and the son of John and Louisa Jones of Danygraig Farm, Rudry. The date of death given on the memorial is inaccurate. It was at 4.15 am on 10 July, 1916 that the 16th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, with other units of the 38th (Welsh) Division, attacked Mametz Wood. On the left of the assault, the 16th dashed forward. One officer observing noting that what he saw was "one of the most magnificent sights of the war." Wave after wave of men were seen advancing without hesitation and without a break over a distance of up to five hundred yards.
Lieutenant-Colonel J.E. Munby notes in his history of the 38th (Welsh) Division how the 16th were met by heavy rifle and machine gun fire. Their Commanding Officer, Colonel Ronald Carden being one of the first to fall. To encourage his men, the Colonel had tied a coloured handkerchief to his stick and going forward cried - "This will show you where I am."
Once in the wood, fierce hand-to-hand fighting took place, the Welsh pushing forward until relieved on the 11th. This being the date given by the War Office and Commonwealth War Graves Commission regarding David Jones`s death. He was subsequently buried in Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz - plot V, row M, grave 6.
Private Thomas David Evans
In the War Office publication Soldiers Died In The Great War, Private Thomas David Evans is recorded as having formally served with the Army Service Corps, but was with the 8th Border Regiment when he was killed at Ypres on 5 August, 1917. At this time the Battalion was holding the line at Westhoek Ridge. Not involved in any offensive operations during this period, but, according to the unit War Diary, constantly exposed to shelling. The weather is noted as wet and cold, the men suffering a great deal from exposure when in the trenches. Thomas Evans has no known grave. His name being recorded on the Menin Gate Memorial to the missing.
Gunner Walter James Moses
The last man on the Ebenezer Chapel memorial, Gunner Walter James Moses of the Glamorgan Royal Garrison Artillery - 121st Siege Battery, died while home on leave. The son of Lewis and Mary Ann Moses of Rudry Mill, he was buried in the churchyard at St. James`s Church, Rudry.
Copyright © Ray Westlake November, 2001
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