The War Graves of Ystradgynlais

Alfa Powell

Alfa Powell's family moved from Ystradgynlais to London a few years before the war, but upon his death in 1942 in a flying accident after he had joined the Royal Air Force, he was buried in Saint Cynog's Churchyard with full military honours.

RAF researcher Andy Ingham has kindly provided us with information about the circumstances of the crash in which Alfa Powell lost his life.

The information on Alfa Powell has been compiled from a number of sources, including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, from the South Wales Voice newspaper, and the Parish Burial Register (courtesy of the Swansea Archives).

NameAlfa Powell
Date of Death17th April 1942
Place of DeathPLACE
Age at Death20
Unit and RegimentRoyal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
RankSergeant (W.Op./Air Gnr.)
Service Number1181850
War Grave  St Cynog's churchyard, Ystradgynlais  
Local MemorialsMaesydderwen Roll of Honour
Ystradgynlais War Memorial
NotesSon of William David and Janet Ann Powell
of Bedfont, Feltham, Middlesex.

Alfa Powell
To the left is a photograph of Alfa Powell taken from the South Wales Voice newspaper of 2nd May 1942, on the occasion of his funeral.

From the South Wales Voice, 25th April 1942

Sergeant Air Gunner Alfa Powell, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Powell of Bedfont Middlesex, has been killed in a flying accident and his body was brought here on Wednesday for burial in the Parish Churchyard yesterday (Thursday). Sergeant Powell, who was 20 years of age, lived with his parents at Pentwyn, Penrhos, until the family removed to London. An old pupil of Maes y Dderwen County School, he volunteered for the RAF, two years prior to joining up he was employed as an electrician at Staines Reservoir.

From the South Wales Voice, 2nd May 1942

The military funeral took place at Ystradgynlais Churchyard last Thursday of Sergeant Air Gunner Alfa Powell, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Powell of 21, East Road, Bedfont, London and formerly of Penrhos, whose death in a flying accident was reported in our last issue. Officiating were the Revs E.T. Evans, Wern; D.R. Beynon, Jerusalem; D. Lewis Williams, rector and W.J.M. Davies, curate.

The cortege was headed by a RAF band, which played "Rock of ages" at the graveside. A firing party also attended, together with officers and men from the station to which the deceased was attached. A service was held at Peniel Chapel, where the body had lain after being brought from the RAF station.

Mourners were: Father and Gerwyn (brother), David Powell, E.J. Samuel, T. Samuel, W. Samuel, W.D. Jones, Sergeant B. Rees, D. Parker, David Jones, W. Jones, Phil Jones, Lewis Jones, J. Jones, David Davies, Rees Evans, D.D. Evans, D.J. Rees, W. Davies, Pte. E. Jones, T. Jones, E. Surcombe, T. Williams, T.J. Rees, T.J. Evans, G. Evans.

Mourners at the house were: Mother; Meid, sister; Margery fiancée; grandmother; H. Powell, A. Jones, E. Samuel, R.A. Williams, Chr. Evans, E. Jones. Ch. M. Jones, L. Davies, Th. Evans, L. Miles, B. Jenkins, E. Jones, J. Surcombe, M. Griffiths, A. Griffiths, B. Jones, aunts.

Floral tributes were from: Mam, Dad, Ger, Meid and Will: Mamgu, Uncle David, Hannah, Gwyn and George, Margery (fiancée): Aunty Annie, Uncle Will; Les from Germany; Aunty Cen, Uncle Bert, baby and sweetheart Eira; Uncle Bill and Mary; Uncle Tommy, Aunt Emma, Les, Ross; Glyndwr; Ewyrth Tom a Modryb Jane; Uncles, aunts, cousins (Pontrhydyfen); Penrhos Cottages; Commanding Officer and Officers, RAF Thornby; Sergt's Mess; Corporals and Airmen; Mr. and Mrs. Brooks and family, Thornby; Tren, Cyril, Arfon; Boys of Penrhos; Brenda, Nan, Eirlys; Nora, Myra and Dolly; Wyndham and Eurof (RAF); Winifred; Abercrave R.F.C.; Mrs. Elyard and family; Mr. and Mrs. D. Hopton and family; Mrs. Thomas and Meyrick.

The arrangements were carried out by Mr. O. Morgan.

Ystradgynlais History has a page for Peniel Chapel.

SGT ALFA POWELL (1181850) RAFVR - age 20

Information from Andy Ingham

Alfa Powell was killed whilst flying in Hudson II, T9378 of No 6 (C) OTU Sqn. On the night of 17th April 1942 several Hudsons were undertaking night circuit training around Thornaby airfield, pilot of T9378 approached landing at too low a height and struck a tree at the northeastern boundary of the airfield near Manfield Farm at 00.45hrs. In the resulting crash three of the crew lost their lives whilst the pilot survived albeit seriously injured. The crash site today has been built over. It is thought to have been about two hundred yards south-west of the present Roundel public house. Sgt Powell is buried in Ystradgynlais (St Cynog) Churchyard. He enlisted in the RAF in April 1940.

Crew Details :-

F/O Ralph W James RAFVR (108839) Injured
Sgt JACK ERNEST TAYLOR (615773) RAF - age 23 Died
Sgt ALFA POWELL (1181850) RAFVR - age 20 Died


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