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John Thompson, Pte #19021 13th (2nd Rhondda) Bn Welsh Regiment 14/15 star

Article about: A 14/15 star from a trio belonging to John Thompson the welsh regiment. The 13th (2nd Rhondda) Battalion, Welsh Regiment was raised in Cardiff on the 23rd of October 1914. They joined 129th

  1. #1

    Default John Thompson, Pte #19021 13th (2nd Rhondda) Bn Welsh Regiment 14/15 star

    A 14/15 star from a trio belonging to John Thompson the welsh regiment.

    The 13th (2nd Rhondda) Battalion, Welsh Regiment was raised in Cardiff on the 23rd of October 1914. They joined 129th Brigade, 43rd Division at Rhyl. On the 29th of April 1915, the formation was renamed, 114th Brigade, 38th (Welsh) Division. They moved to Winchester in August 1915 for final training and proceeded to France, landing at Le Havre in December 1915. In July 1916 they were in action at Mametz Wood on The Somme, suffering severe casualties. The Division did not return to major action for more than a 12 months. In 1917 they were in action in the Third Battles of Ypres. In 1918 they were in action on The Somme, in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and the Final Advance in Picardy Demobilisation began in December 1918 and was complete by June 1919. - See more at: 13th (2nd Rhondda) Battalion, The Welsh Regiment in The Great War 1914-1918 - The Wartime Memories Project -

    Pals battalions were formed across Great Britain in the autumn of 1914, consisting of men who had enlisted together in local recruiting drives, with the promise that they would be able to serve alongside friends, neighbours and work colleagues rather than being arbitrarily allocated to regular Army regiments.

    Dai Watts-Morgan, Labour county councillor for Porth and Cymmer, a long-standing South Wales Miners Federation activist, was an early recruit to the war effort and organised recruitment for the Pals battalions from September onwards. Watts-Morgan became the MP for Rhondda East after the war. Having been awarded a DSO in the war and subsequently a CBE, he was later nick-named ‘Dai Alphabet’.

    David Watts-Morgan was a passionate speaker for the war effort. His recruitment language for the Rhondda Pals was sometimes interestingly nationalistic. At one meeting at Tabernacle Chapel in Porth on the 3rd October 1914, he is supposed to have quoted Lloyd-George’s appeal:

    “I should like to see a Welsh army in the field. I should like to see the race that fought the Normans for hundreds of years in their struggle for freedom, the race that fought for a generation under Glendower, against the greatest captain in Europe, I should like to see that race give a good account of itself in this struggle and they are going to do it.”

    The meeting in Porth was also addresssed by Mabon – the Rt Hon William Abraham MP (Rhondda) – William Brace MP (Abertillery), and Rhys Williams KC, as well as David Watts-Morgan. As a Welsh-speaker, Watts-Morgan subsequently became a main recruiter across Wales for the war effort.

    The success of the recruitment in the Rhondda produced sufficient men to raise two battalions which carried the Rhondda name: the 1st Rhonddas, the 10th Battalion the Welsh Regiment; and the 2nd Rhonddas, the 13th Battalion the Welsh regiment. A 3rd Rhondda Battalion was raised to act as a reserve battalion for the two others.

    The first commanding officer of the 1st Rhondda was Col. E Holloway, Indian Army. The battalion formed on October 1st at Codford St Mary, Wiltshire, as part of the 25th Dvision, but on the 30th October it transferred to the 129th Brigade of the 43rd division at Rhyl. The battalion strength was 6 Officers and 800 other ranks. When the battalion left to go overseas in December 1915, Col. Holloway was succeeded by Lt. Col. P.E. Ricketts MVO, Indian Army.

    The 2nd Rhonddas formed together at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on October 23, though the men had been accumulating at the Depot Barracks in Maindy, and was 500 strong. On the 3rd November, the Battalion moved to Prestatyn and on the 17th November joined the 1st Rhonddas at Rhyl. Its first Commanding Officer was Lt Col William Watts KCB. He was succeeded in June 1915 by Lt Col W.Gifford who had distinguished himself in the Boer War.

    The 3rd Rhondda, the reserve battalion, was under the command of Lt Col Watts. It moved to Rhyl in July 1915 and two months later moved a short distance to its base at Kinmel Park, where it remained.

    The 1st and 2nd Rhonddas arrived in France in early December 1915 via Le Havre.

    They were placed in the Xl Corps commanded by Lt. General Sir Richard Haking K.C.B. D.S.O. which formed the right of the Second Army from Leventie in the north to Givenchy in the south. The Division was attached to the Guards Division and to the 19th Division for trench warfare training at Fangissard and Neuve Chappelle.

    During December they learned bombing and rifle grenade technique when not in the trenches. There was a brigade bombing instructor as well as one officer and two sergeants, who were specialists in the field of bombing, in each battalion. The standard that they wished to achieve was that every man should have thrown two live bombs and that 128 men per battalion should be expert bombers while 384 men should have thrown at least 10 bombs.

    During the first weeks of January 1916, the 38th Division was active in every sector of the XI Corps area. Although their sector was a relatively quiet one, the Division as a whole took a heavy toll of casualties.

    May 1916 saw the 10th Welsh in Riez Ballieul sector where Capt. Roberts and L.Cpl. Jones were awarded the D.S.O. and M.M. respectively for attempting to de-fuse an unexploded torpedo.

    Early June saw the men of the 10th Welsh dig a trench half way across no-man’s land towards the German line. This trench, known thereafter as Rhondda Sap, was to be used a month later as a launching point for the ill-fated Battle of Fromelles.

    On June 4, Officers and 53 other ranks of the 10th Welsh, raided the Leventie sector, using mats to cover the enemy wire. However, it was unsuccessful, and they returned losing 3 men killed and 4 Officers and 9 men wounded.

    Major M.A.Napier lost his life when supervising 200 men of the 10th Welsh, who were digging a trench 250 yards long. They were covered by 13th Welsh in support.

    The Rhondda Battalions saw action in many battles, including

    Mametz Wood, 8-9 July 1916

    Pilckem Ridge 31 July-2 August 1917 (3rd battle of Ypres – Passchendaele)

    Canal du Nord Septemmber 1918

    The Selle 18-19 October 1918.

    The 1st Rhonddas were disbanded in early 1918 following an overall reduction in the number of brigades. The 2nd Rhonddas were at Ecuelin near Mauberge when the cease-fire sounded on 11th November 1918, and was gradually demobilised from there unttil it was reduced to a core cadre.

    This information has been taken from the pamphlet The Rhondda Pals by Glenn Baber, originally written in 1995. We are very grateful to Glenn for his permission to use this material.

    From The Rhondda Pals ‹ Rhondda Remembers
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    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  2. #2

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    You are really on a roll with these WW1 medals!
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  3. #3

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    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    You are really on a roll with these WW1 medals!
    Indeed Ade, they are very addictive, in the main sensibly priced for what they represent and don't take up a lot of room to display or store. They also open up various avenues or research and reading. This is one of those from my medal madness thread as when they arrive I am starting an individual thread on each one.

    This one to the Rhondda pals is pretty cool and another who would have served at Mametz wood, which is probably the biggest battle as far as the Welsh division is concerned during the Great War.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  4. #4

    Default

    nice one.

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