Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales as an 'Important part of Wales' documentary heritage' Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - A Welsh Documentary Heritage Website
Identified by The National Library of Wales as an 'Important part of Wales' documentary heritage'
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War Years - Kenfig & Surrounding Areas


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War Years

Kenfig and Surrounding Areas


THE FIRST WORLD WAR AROUND KENFIG
The First World War around Kenfig © Rob Bowen, Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2013. All rights reserved.
As the World marks the centenary of the outbreak of WWI from 2014 onwards, this website is creating a special online resource on the First World War & how it affected Kenfig & surrounding areas. We are beginning our quest with the poignant story of a Kenfig Hill man who sacrificed his life for us all, he was only 21 when he died on the battlefields of the Somme.

What the Papers Said... The Glamorgan Gazette, Friday 15 September 1916

Kenfig Hill Soldier's Death - Pte "Jack" Bowen

One of the most popular young men that Kenfig Hill has given to the Army has made "the great sacrifice." Official news has come to hand that Pte. Thomas John Bowen, of the Post Office, Kenfig Hill, has been killed in action. "Jack" as he was known to his many friends, was a universal favourite, his quiet, winning manners endearing him to all. He was a regular attendant at St Theodore's Church and was also a member of the Y.M.C.A.
He joined the 20th Welsh ("Pals" Company) on November 1st, 1915 and was stationed at Kinmel Park, Rhyl, before being drafted to France. He was later transferred to the 15th Welsh Regiment. He met his death in the "great push" at Mametz Wood on July 10th last, at the early age of 21. Prior to enlistment, he acted as town postman at Kenfig Hill.
The following letter was received from his commanding officer: "I regret to say Pte T.J.Bowen was killed in the great fight in Mametz Wood. Please accept my deepest sympathy in the loss of a man who was a credit to his platoon, and who fought a good fight." Needless to say , the greatest sympathy is felt in the neighbourhood with his parents and relatives in their sad loss.

The First World War around Kenfig
website researcher/author: © Rob Bowen, Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2013. All rights reserved. Learn more.. [ Intellectual Property ] All information researched, edited, collated, authored & published (including photos & graphics)
Source: National Library of Wales 'The Welsh Experience of the First World War' (http://cymru1914.org/en/home)
Kenfig Hill - Roll of Honour

What the Papers Said... The Glamorgan Gazette 1914-1919

Glamorgan Gazette - Friday 9 April 1915

Death of Kenfig Hill Man in Neuve Chapelle Battle

Pte. Arthur Maddocks

The sad news has reached Kenfig Hill of the death of Mr Arthur Maddocks of Troed-y-Rhiew Farm at the General Hospital, Havre as a result of gunshot wounds at the battle of Neuve Chapelle.
A telegram was received by Mr R Maddocks on March 12th that his brother was dangerously wounded and this was followed by a letter on the 16th that he had been admitted to the hospital and in response to an enquiry as to his condition a letter was received announcing his death.
This was immediately followed by a letter from the War Office with the official news, together with a note signed by Lord Kitchener conveying the sympathy of the King and Queen with the relatives in their bereavement.
Private Arthur Maddocks joined the South Wales Borderers last September at Port Talbot and proceeded to Cardiff and thence to Winchester and through previous training was fit for drafting promptly to the front.
He took an active part in the fighting which unfortunately terminated his gallant career in the terrible conflict at Neuve Chapelle. The news of his death which took place on Sunday morning the 14th March will be received with great sorrow by the very large number who were personally acquainted with him.
It may be mentioned that Private A. Maddocks is the first from this neighbourhood who has met his death in this war and great sympathy is felt throughout the district with the relatives in their bereavement. The remains of deceased were interred at Cemetiere St Marie, Havre.

The First World War around Kenfig
website researcher/author: © Rob Bowen, Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2013. All rights reserved. Learn more.. [ Intellectual Property ] All information researched, edited, collated, authored & published (including photos & graphics)
Source: National Library of Wales 'The Welsh Experience of the First World War' (http://cymru1914.org/en/home)
Local Army Regiments - Porthcawl

Glamorgan Gazette, Friday 22 May 1914

Glamorgan Yeomanry - In Camp at Porthcawl

The Glamorgan Yeomanry are once again assembled in camp at Porthcawl. The camp which opened on Thursday is for the usual annual training period of fifteen days. The site is the one near The Rest used on the last occasion by the Glamorgan Yeomanry four years ago.
The troops commenced to arrive early, several squadrons coming by march route. The first camp was the Bridgend Squadron followed later by the Swansea, Pontypridd and Cardiff Squadrons.
The training is to be carried out under regimental authority and will be in the nature of horsemastership, squadron and regimental drill and field firing. The camp is selected near the seaside in accordance with the Army Council's decision that at least one in four shall be held at a pleasure resort so that the men who are patriotic enough to sacrifice their holidays in the service of their country may have an opportunity of spending their leisure time in as pleasurable a manner as possible.
Bathing has been prohibited except under the strictest supervision.

The Officiers

The unit is present in full strength and the following officers are also in attendance:
Colonel C.L.D. Venables Llewelyn (in Command), Major G.T. Bruce (Pontypridd Squadron), Major the Hon. Odo Vivian, M.V.O. (Swansea Squadron), Major J.L.D. Nicholl (Cardiff Squadron), Major J.G. Moore Gwyn (Bridgend Squadron), Captains W.Cope and R.G.M. Pritchard, Lieutanants Sir F.C.R. Price, Bart., G.S.N. Carne, R.W. Lewis, and R.H.P. Miers. Captain A.G.L. Astley (adjutant) of the 14th Hussars, the Hon. Lieutenant and Quarter-master A.S. Barrett who succeeds Major T.W. Yarrow (retired), Major R.J.R.C. Simmons, R.A.M.C. (T.F.), medical officer commanding Signal Troop, South Wales Mounted Brigade, Vet.-Lieutenant J.Campbell Hill, A.V.C. (T.F.) who will be in veterinary charge of all horses.

Quality of Horses

On Thursday afternoon last an inspection was made of all horses brought to camp by a band of officers including Lieutenant Hill, who pronounced them a very useful lot of animals. Of the 480 horses very few rejections were made and by far the best standard of horses for Yeomanry work came from Cardiff.
A large influx of visitors to the camp is expected on Wednesdays and Saturdays and every reasonable facility will be given them to judge the conditions of life under canvas. As, however, an abuse of these privilages will result in the entire closing of the camp, it is hoped that all will co-operate in preventing abuse.
On Tuesday squadrons were engaged in a rear-guard action near Kenfig Pool.
The regimental signallers in co-operation with the South Wales Mounted Brigade signallers received instruction under Lieut. Bowen. The wireless receiving station has now been established and on Sunday evening the first radio-telegram was received from Poldhu, Cornwall. The men express the hope that an effort will be made to receive the result of the Derby on Wednesday next by wireless.
The brigadier, Colonel A. Fryer and Brigade Major Hagg, of the South Wales Mounted Brigade have arrived in Porthcawl.

The First World War around Kenfig
website researcher/author: © Rob Bowen, Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2013. All rights reserved. Learn more.. [ Intellectual Property ] All information researched, edited, collated, authored & published (including photos & graphics)
Source: National Library of Wales 'The Welsh Experience of the First World War' (http://cymru1914.org/en/home)


The First World War around Kenfig - New Section Coming Soon
The War Years around Kenfig - Remembrance Sunday, Kenfig Hill 2013

Photo Journal Sunday 10 November 2013. Pyle Community Council & The Royal British Legion (Kenfig Hill & District Branch)

Remembrance Parade & Service held at St Theodore's Church, Kenfig Hill and at the War Memorial, Moriah Place, Kenfig Hill.

The War Years around Kenfig - RAF Stormy Down

Air Gunnery School 1939-45 War & its association with 617 Squadron RAF 'Dambusters' operation 'Chastise' 1943

Demilitarised Stormy Down c.1948

617 Squadron 'Dambusters'

As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of 617 Squadron, RAF, 'The Dambusters' raid on Germany, least shall we forget those brave & heroic airmen who carried out operation 'Chastise' during WWII.
Most if not all the airmen trained at RAF Stormy Down at some point before this operation, especially the front & rear gunners of the Avro Lancaster Bombers used as RAF Stormy Down was an Air Gunnery School during the 1939-45 War.
In February 2009 this website project was contacted by Mr Paul Morley (via email) from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada - he was doing research on his uncle Frank Garbas (R103201 RCAF - Royal Canadian Air Force) who actually did his training at Stormy Down.
Mr Morley was kind enough to provide some information re: He was in contact at that point in time with 'Tommy' Thompson who was a trainer at Stormy Down, the trainer who actually trained his uncle Frank Garbas - Mr Garbas went onto serve with 57 Sqdn & then 617 Sqdn where he was killed on the Dams Raid in Bill Astell's AJ-B.
With the advent of the Internet & the Dambusters website(s) we can now cross-reference this information: The Crews - Operation 'Chastise' May 16/17 1943 (No.617 Squadron Personnel) www.dambusters.biz/the-dam-raids/the-crews

Dambusters - BBC News Interactive Display

Photographs of all the men who took part in the Dambusters raid have been published for the first time.

Flight Sergent F.A.Garbas

Mr Frank Garbas was involved in the 'First Wave' on craft AJ-B ED864/G which was piloted by Flt Lt. W.Astell. Flight Sergent F.A. Garbas was the Front Gunner on this operation. Craft AJ-B ED864/G flight across Holland & Germany along with 2 other Lancasters was successful, however, near Dorsten the crew was unsure of a turning point - the craft gained height to get its bearings and as a direct result got caught in crossfire of anti-aircraft fire. The plane dissapeared & was never seen again.

Further information regarding the above will be made available in the near future, courtesy of Mr Paul Morley.

WAR YEARS - REMEMBRANCE DAY SPECIAL

11th hour, 11th day, 11th month - 2011 (11-11-11-11)
The Poppy Appeal

Remembrance Day

Also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day is a Memorial Day observed in British Commonwealth countries to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty since World War I.
Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the official end of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended 'at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month' of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice (at the 11th hour refers to the passing of the 11th hour or 11am)
Source: Wikipedia

War Memorial in Kenfig Hill

RAF Regiment, London 1943

They shall not grow old as we who are left grow old

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them


This year's rememberence day has a very significant & unique date - 11/11/11 and as a poignant reminder and mark of respect to all those who sacrificed themselves during both World Wars the Kenfig heritage website is providing a Rememberence Special in memory of all who served in the forces both at home & abroad during these desperate times.

Kenfig & surrounding Area during WWII

Kenfig, Porthcawl & surrounding areas welcomed British, French, Dutch, Canadian, Polish and American servicemen & women during World War II – they stayed in hotels, guest houses, Nissen huts and tents & at Margam Castle. The area had an air-gunnery school at RAF Stormy Down where more than 10,000 aircrew trained there from June 1940; they used local beaches for target practice especially at Sker Beach.


Local Remembrance

War Memorials

There are war memorials located in Cefn Cribbwr, Kenfig Hill, Pyle and Porthcawl; all record the names of members of their immediate local communities who sacrificed their lives in both World Wars.

Stained Glass Memorials

Local Churches also have memorials to those who fell in the war years in the form of stained glass windows. Both St James' Church in Pyle and All Saints Church in Porthcawl have stained glass windows donated & dedicated to local men who fell in the war years designed by Karl Bergmannn Parsons (1884-1934) - The east window in Maudlam Church has a stained glass memorial to local men who fell in World War I.

Porthcawl during and after WWII

Porthcawl during WWII
The Esplanade/Promenade Porthcawl just after WWII - The Seabank Hotel was home to many service men who were stationed in the town as was the Grand Pavilion. Learn more... Porthcawl at War

Kenfig during WWII
The War Years around Kenfig - An American base was set up in Kenfig on the site of where the current National Nature Reserve Centre is now located. Learn more... US Forces in Kenfig
Explore Kenfig and surrounding areas during and throughout the War Years especially the 1939-45 World War. Porthcawl and surrounding area welcomed British, French, Dutch, Canadian, Polish and American servicemen and women during WWII. They stayed in hotels, guest houses, nissen huts and tents and trained at nearby RAF Stormy Down and Kenfig and at the Air Sea Rescue Unit at The Jennings Building in Porthcawl habour.

Mission Statement

Here on Kenfig.org we share in the passion, courage and admiration of both civilian and military servicemen and women throughout the immediate Kenfig areas and beyond who witnessed some of the most desperate times in Britain's history.

South Wales & World War II

Kenfig and the Luftwaffe

On the 20th June 1940 the Luftwaffe bombed RAF St Athan signalling the start of the German aerial offensive against south Wales. Two months later, on the 20th August 1940, 4 bombs fell near Kenfig Castle, 450 metres west of the river and a further 450 metres inland. All the bombs exploded leaving a 90 metre long straight line of craters 11 metres wide and 8 metres deep. The following day RAF Stormy Down was also bombed leaving the Kenfig & surrounding area in no doubt that they were now part of this war.

Kenfig Hill during WWII

On Saturday the 3rd May 1941 at 23:31 hrs the alarm sounded at Bridgend; at 12:54 hrs in the early hours of Sunday morning Eurfyl James, the St John’s Ambulance Superintendant at Kenfig Hill rang Bridgend Control reporting that a bomb had been dropped on open ground behind the late Dr Ghose’s surgery (9 Commercial Street). Soon, it became apparent that the Luftwaffe had dropped a number of bombs on Kenfig Hill, including one on the porch of
St Theodore’s Church.
During daylight the people of Kenfig Hill discovered 7 bomb craters in their village including three behind St Theodore’s Church. Windows had been broken as well as disruption to the electricity supply but there were no casualties - by mid-day, the telephone service had been restored and echoing the spirit of the day, the people of Kenfig Hill kept calm & carried on.

Across South Wales

During the period 1940-43 Swansea and Cardiff were bombed regularly by the Luftwaffe and Bridgend received frequent warnings of approaching enemy aircraft, the last occurring on the 19th May 1943. Swansea was blitzed 6 times during World War II with the loss of 387 civilian lives. In Cardiff 355 civilians were killed and a further 82 civilians lost their lives in other parts of Glamorgan. The villages around Kenfig escaped lightly - an unexploded bomb that was found at Ty Tanglwst, South Cornelly on the 19th October 1940.

Captured German Gun near original Coastguard Station Porthcawl

German Gun c.1925

Captured German Gun near original Coastguard Station, Porthcawl - this was captured during the First World War and was displayed close to the coastguard station.
During WWII the country was short of iron & steel - the Government held a 'scrap drive' where all iron gates & railings were requisitioned including this field gun.
Porthcawl Harbour 1954

Porthcawl Harbour 1954

Two RAF Air Sea Rescue launches at their moorings.
From the outbreak of WWII they saved many airmen who had ditched in the Bristol Channel together with rescuing many holiday makers.
On 31 March 1959 the RAF Marine base ceased as an operational unit.
RAF Air Sea Rescue, Marine Craft Unit
*
RAF Stormy Down Aerial View 1946 © Crown Copyright

RAF Stormy Down Aerial View 1946 - Image © Crown Copyright

The Royal Air Force aerodrome on Stormy Down served a very important role in the training of both air and ground crews during the 1939-45 War.

RAF Stormy Down
*

Local Pill Boxes


Stormy Down Pill Box - showing date 15-7-40 Stormy Down Pill Box
Local defences build in 1940 around the Kenfig area
Learn more... Local Pill Boxes

RAF Stormy Down

The History of a Training Aerodrome 1934-47

RAF Stormy Down
The History of a Training Aerodrome 1934-47
The Royal Air Force aerodrome on Stormy Down served a very important role in the training of both air and ground crews during the 1939-45 War.
Learn more... RAF Stormy Down

ISLAND FARM POW CAMP

POW Drawings from the Hut Walls

The following photos of German POW drawings from the hut walls at Island Farm POW Camp have been kindly donated to this website project by Mr Phil Jones, North Cornelly. The photos were taken on 01 June 1993 prior to the camp's demolition. These photos have been digitally scanned & enhanced by Mr Rob Bowen (Kenfig.org Local Community Group) - All photos in this section remain the copyright of Mr Phil Jones © Phil Jones. All rights reserved.

EXPLORE WAR YEARS AROUND KENFIG


AROUND KENFIG

Local Evacuees
What the local Papers said... 1939-45
Local War Graves
Local ATC Organisations
VE Day Celevrations
Local War Memorials

OLD PHOTOGRAPHS

War Years Pictorial History



3rd Party Copyright

Information used throughout this section


3rd party copyright © Mike Mansley (Porthcawl at War 1939-1945)

Home Guard (Porthcawl); Royal Observer Corps (Porthcawl); Royal Dutch Troops (Porthcawl); 15th Battalion The Welch Regiment (Porthcawl); 49th West Riding Reconnaisance Regiment; 5th Battalion The West Yorkshire Regiment; 4th Monmouthshire Battalion; RAF Air Sea Rescue Marine Craft Unit (Porthcawl); Auxillary AFS & National Fire Services; Glamorgan Constabulary; Search Light & Anti Aircraft Batteries; Air Raid Precautions (ARP); The Red Cross (Joint War Organisation); St John Ambulance (Joint War Organisation); RAF Stormy Down; Porthcawl at War.
Information & photos originally researched by Mike Mansley (Porthcawl at War 1939-1945) and part re-published online strictly for educational purposes only - 3rd party copyright © Mike Mansley (Porthcawl at War 1939-1945) - (First Printed 1994 - ISBN 0 9523152 0 3)
Information edited & sub-edited for online purposes || Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2009-2011

3rd party copyright © JDV Ludlow (Royal Ordnance Factory, Bridgend - A brief history 1936-1946)

Information & photos originally researched by JDV Ludlow (The Royal Ordnance Factory - A brief history 1936-1946) and part re-published online strictly for educational purposes only - 3rd party copyright © JDV Ludlow 2004.
Information edited & sub-edited for online purposes || Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2009-2011

3rd party copyright © Brett Exton & Shawn Bohannon (Island Farm POW Camp, Bridgend)

Information & photos originally researched by Brett Exton & Shawn Bohannon (Island Farm Prisoner of War Camp: 198/Special Camp: XI, Bridgend, South Wales - 1944-48) and part re-published online strictly for educational purposes only - 3rd party copyright © Brett Exton & Shawn Bohannon.
Information edited & sub-edited for online purposes || Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2009-2011


Acknowledgements


Bibliography

  • Bridgend County Borough Council Library & Information Services
  • 3rd party copyright © Mike Mansley (Porthcawl at War 1939-1945)
  • 3rd party copyright © JDV Ludlow (Royal Ordnance Factory, Bridgend)
  • 3rd party copyright © Brett Exton & Shawn Bohannon (Island Farm POW Camp, Bridgend)
  • Porthcawl Museum & History Society
  • Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council Library Services
  • West Glamorgan Archive Services, County Hall, Swansea
  • South Wales Police
  • South Wales Fire & Rescue Service
  • Ray Cottrell; Semper Alacer (History of a Training Aerodrome 1934-47)
  • Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group

Webpage Author

  • Rob Bowen - Kenfig.org Local Community Group, 2013



Twitter News Feeds
Rob Bowen @radbowen
Owner/Author: Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - Welsh Govt sponsored & Heritage Status website on Kenfig's rich & colourful history

Related Sections

Home Guard

Local Defence Volunteers

Home Guard
In May 1940 a decision was taken by the War Cabinet to strengthen the Regular and Territorial Army by recruiting men between the ages of 17 and 65 who were not already engaged in civil defence activities. The new force was called the Local Defence Volunteers and by July 1940 it had grown to around 1.5 million men; in that month it was renamed the Home Guard.
The Home Guard

Royal Observer Corps

Locks Lane, Porthcawl

Royal Observer Corps
Hidden in a field next to Locks Lane, Porthcawl until April 1994 was an underground operations room. Built in 1961 on the site of a wartime surface observation post - the original wooden structure was built in 1938 for what was the Observer Corps. The observation post at Porthcawl commissioned in 1938 consisted of a wooden shed topped by a tower giving excellent views over the Bristol Channel.
Royal Observer Corps

The Royal Dutch Troops

Dan-y-Graig Camp, Porthcawl

The Royal Dutch Troops - Dan-y-Graig Camp, Porthcawl
First billeted in Haverfordwest then moved to Dan-y-Graig, Porthcawl the Dutch soldiers were accommodated in tents. Out of 1460 who arrived, 120 were officiers, 360 were senior NCO's and 980 corporals and privates. Collectively they were known as the 'Royal Dutch Troops' and also as the Dutch Legion until 27 August 1941 when Queen Wilhelmina presented them with a standard in the name of 'Prinses Irene Brigade'.
The Royal Dutch Troops

Kenfig Hill during World War II

Kenfig Hill during World War II - Pyle & Kenfig Hill Air Raid Wardens
Pyle & Kenfig Hill Air Raid Wardens
Kenfig Hill during World War II - Pyle & Kenfig Hill Air Raid Wardens
Pyle & Kenfig Hill Air Raid Wardens
Kenfig Hill during World War II - St Theodores Church after bombing raid
St Theodores Church after bombing raid
Kenfig Hill during World War II - Identity Card
Identity Card
Kenfig Hill during World War II - V.E. Day Celebrations
V.E. Day Celebrations

Maudlam & Ton Kenfig

Maudlam & Ton Kenfig during World War II - Anderson Shelter at Maudlam
Anderson Shelter at Maudlam
Maudlam & Ton Kenfig during World War II - Communial Shelter at Kenfig
Communial Shelter at Kenfig

Kenfig - The Complete History (e-Resource) - An important part of Wales' documentary heritage

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