The War Graves of Ystradgynlais

Harold Martin

The information on Harold Martin 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).

Harold Martin had worked as a coal miner before serving on the Western Front where he was killed in action in November 1918. The newspaper articles reproduced below record both his, and his brother James', service during the First World War.

NameHarold Martin
Date of Death5th November 1918
Place of DeathFrance
Age at Death21
Unit and RegimentRoyal Engineers; 151st Field Coy.
Service Number67486
Additional InformationBorn at Great Bowden, Leicestershire. Former Coal miner underground. Died in a French Hospital.
Local MemorialsYstradgynlais War Memorial
Marble Plaque - English Congregational Church Ystalyfera (Demolished 2005) Plaque now housed in Royal British Legion.
Scouts Memorial in St. David's, Ystalyfera
Family DetailsSon of James (born Great Bowden 1865) and Ann Measures Martin (born Leicestershire 1864) formerly of Main Street Great Bowden Leicester, of Crofton House, Lower Cwmtwrch, Glamorgan.
Known BrothersWilliam (born 1890)
James (born 1896)
Cyril Herbert (born 1903)
Known SistersAnnie (born 1891, died Nov 1918) married David Lewis (born 1882, died 13th July 1920)

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 18th September 1915 :-

Page 2
Private Jas. Martin, R.A.M.C. who as already stated, is with his regiment at the Dardanelles, has been shot by one of the Turkish girl snipers we have heard of so much and the bullet lodged at the back of the neck. In a brief letter to his parents this week, he tells them that he is on a hospital ship, but does not know what destination he is bound for.
His brother Private Harold Martin, R. E. has been back on leave from his regiment at Winchester and is expecting to leave for the fighting area any day within the next week or two.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 2nd October 1915 :-

Mr and Mrs Martin, the parents of Private James Martin, of the R.A.M.C., Cwmtwrch, who, as recently reported, has been wounded in the Dardanelles, have received an interesting letter from an Exmouth lady whose husband is in the same regiment as the local soldier, and with whom Martin was billeted before going to the East. Mrs Letten, the lady in question quotes the following appreciation of Private Martin's work written by one of his comrades, and says it is such that any mother would be proud to hear. The appreciation is as follows:
"I really must praise Jimmie Martin. He worked like a hero. He was working night and day; you would have laughed to see him riding the mule carrying dispatches back and fore. It was not a very nice job, but Jimmie seemed very proud of it."
Mrs. Letten adds: "I hear Jimmie got wounded when he went out to get some milk for a comrade. I hope you will have further good news of him soon."
We learn that Private Martin is progressing favourably.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 9th October 1915 :-

Page 2
We are glad to know that Bugler Jas. Martin, Lower Cwmtwrch, who as already related, has been wounded in Gallipoli and is now in Hospital in England, is also making excellent progress. So well is the bugler getting on that he hopes to be back at duty soon, but it is expected that he will pay a visit home before going on duty again.
His brother, Harold Martin, who is in the Royal Engineers, expects to go out very shortly.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 25th December 1915 :-

A letter has been received this week from Private Jimmie Martin, who is with the R.A.M.C. Until recently Private Martin was at Winchester, having lately been discharged from the Birmingham Hospital, where he underwent an operation. Previous to this he was out in Dardanelles, and took part in the historic landing at Suvla Bay, which has been evacuated by our troops the last few days. Here he was wounded by a Turkish sniper, the bullet penetrating his neck, and "Jimmy" now carries this bullet about with him as a souvenir. He says he is quite well and on his way to the Balkans, and wishes a Merry Christmas to his many friends in this locality.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 8th January 1916 :-

A letter has been received this week from Private James Martin R A M C of Lower Cwmtwrch, stating that he has a pleasant sea voyage. He states he is quite well but complains of the climate being very cold out there. He has met several boys from Wales and there are many Swansea valley boys amongst them. Private Martin says that the time in the Balkans differs greatly from ours. Instead of 12 figures on the clock, representing half a day, there they have 24, representing the whole day! Private Martin thinks "the job out there will end about Christmas 1916" when he hopes to be in our midst once again.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 27th May 1916:-

Mr and Mrs James Martin Cwmtwrch received a telegram from Salonika last weekend to the effect that their son Jimmy, who is with the R A M C was dangerously ill in hospital with dysentery. Jimmy's many friends in the place will look forward anxiously to hearing better news soon.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 8th July 1916:-

His many friends will be pleased to learn that Private Jimmy Martin R A M C, late of Lower Cwmtwrch, is progressing slowly after his recent serious illness. An interesting letter has been received from him from Malta Hospital, in which he states he "still in bed after a six weeks' bad time".
He wishes to be remembered to all friends. Private Martin was stricken down with dysentery while at Salonika.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 9th September 1916:-

Private Jimmy Martin of the R A M C, whose parents reside at Gurnos, will shortly be leaving for Mesopotamia. Private Martin is now stationed at Southampton. Best wishes Jimmy.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 14th October 1916:-

Private Jimmy Martin of the R A M C arrived home during the weekend from a hospital in Barton-on- Sea. Private Martin looks well after his trying experience in the East. For a long period he was at Salonica with the British forces and while there fell victim to dysentery, was invalided to Malta and from there, home. Previous to this he saw service in the Dardanelles and took part in the memorable Anzac landing and was wounded by a snipers bullet in the neck. "Jimmy" (to put it in his own words) expects to be pushed to France next".

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 21st October 1916 :-

Page 2
Private Jim Martin of the R.A.M.C. whose parents reside at Lower Cwmtwrch, returned on Monday to his depot at Aldershot after being home on sick furlough. His future destination is uncertain.

From the Brecon And Radnor Express newspaper, 6th September 1917:-

Driver Harold Martin (Graigmaespica Lower Cwmtwrch) was home on his first leave (after over two years' service in France) last week.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 16th November 1918 :-

Page 5
Deep regret was felt throughout Cwmtwrch this week when it became known that Private Harold Martin of the R.F.A. had died in a French Hospital of pneumonia. The deceased young man had a large circle of friends in the district although he had been with the colours since the first day of the war. He had seen considerable active service and the deepest sympathy is felt with the bereaved parents.

Possibly as an indicator of the Pandemic that was about to sweep the nation, the death of Harold Martin's sister was recorded from influenza only a week later than the above, in the Labour Voice of 23rd November 1918:-

The death took place on Saturday of Mrs Annie Lewis wife of Mr David Lewis, Crofton House, and daughter of Mr and Mrs James Martin Lower Cwmtwrch. The deceased lady was only 27 years of age and she passed away after an attack of influenza. Mrs Lewis leaves two young children. It will be recollected that only last week we reported the death in France, also from influenza, of Mrs Lewis' brother, Private Harold Martin, who had been on active service for three years, the news of which was a great shock to the deceased lady. Private Jimmy Martin of the R A M C, another brother, who has seen considerable service in France, Salonica and Gallipoli, has arrived home this week on leave from France. Much sympathy is extended to the husband and family in their bereavement. The funeral took place at Beulah on Wednesday, when there was a large number of sympathizers.

Harold Martin was one of 14 men of Cwmtwrch remembered at a memorial service held in February 1919. The write-up in the Llais described his service thus:-

Driver Harold Martin R. E. Enlisted March 22nd 1915 Died at de Treport (France) October 1918.






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