The War Graves of Ystradgynlais

Mansel David

Mansel David served with the Royal Navy and was killed in action when the cruiser HMS Charybdis was sunk off the North coast of Brittany by a an attack from German torpedo boats.

The information on Mansel David 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).

NameMansel David
Date of Death23rd October 1943
Place of DeathOff the North coast of Britanny
Age at Death22
Unit and RegimentRoyal Navy, HMS Charybdis (cruiser)
RankAble Seaman
Service NumberD⁄JX 168463
Remembrance Grave  Parents Grave: Gorof Cemetery Row G 23 "William DAVID died 1st March 1955 Aged 82 Sarah Ann DAVID wife died 16th May 1966 Aged 78 Worthy of Remembrance Also their son Mansel DAVID died on Active Service 23rd October 1943"
MemorialPlymouth Naval Memorial, UK (Panel 79, Column 1.)
Personal InformationSon of William (born 27th August 1872) and Sarah Ann (born 25th March 1887) David (married in 1906) of 6 Crown Cottages, Ystradgynlais, Glamorgan.
Known BrothersClarence David* (Born 31/08/1908-1952) Married Nancy E Lewis (Born 01/11/1914)
Jack David
Known SistersDoreen David (Born 31/10/1911) Nurse Married David Sanger
Evelyn David

Mansel David
To the left is a photograph of Mansel David, kindly supplied by Timothy, his nephew.
HMS Defiance is the naval training establishment at Saltash, Devonsport

Read about the loss of HMS Charybdis at
From Wikipedia, reproduced under the Creative Commons license:-
In late 1943, the British authorities were aware of the approach of the German blockade runner, Münsterland, which was carrying an important cargo of latex and strategic metals. The Germans had a well-rehearsed procedure for escorting such vessels. The British reacted by executing Operation Tunnel, a standard operation whereby available ships would attempt to intercept.

On 21 October 1943, Charybdis and destroyers HMS Grenville, Rocket and four Hunt class destroyers (HMS Limbourne, Wensleydale, Talybont and Stevenstone) intercepted Münsterland off Ushant, Brittany. The force was attacked at night by the German 4th Torpedo Boat Flotilla (five Elbing class torpedo boats), commanded by Franz Kohlauf, which was escorting the blockade runner.

Charybdis was almost immediately torpedoed by the German torpedo boats T-23 under the command of Friedrich-Karl Paul and T-27. HMS Limbourne was also hit during this action and had to be sunk by HMS Rocket. The German force escaped unharmed. Charybdis sank in position 48°59'N 3°39'W Coordinates: 48°59'N 3°39'W, with the loss of 30 officers and 432 ratings just off the North Coast of Brittany.

From the South Wales Voice 6th November 1943:-


News has been received by Mr and Mrs William David, Crown Cottages that their son, A.B. Mansel David RN who was serving aboard a cruiser, is missing. Information came from the Admiralty... previous to that (the Navy) he had worked at the Tirbach Colliery before leaving for London... He was home on leave about 5 months ago

From the South Wales Voice 18th November 1944 came confirmation of Mansel David's death, over a year previously:-


Mr and Mrs William David, Lluest, have been officially informed that their youngest son, AB Mansel David, RN was killed in action some months ago. Mansel, who volunteered for service in the Navy at the outbreak of war, had sailed around the world and had had some thrilling experiences. He was reported missing about a year ago and now his death is officially presumed.
Mr and Mrs David's two other sons, Clarence and Jack, are in the Army. The former, who is on leave this week, is very popular as a vocalist at Army and factory concerts. In pre war days he was a member of the Morriston United Male Choir and the Ystalyfera Choral Society, before the latter was disbanded. Jack was home a few weeks ago.

From the South Wales Voice 4th March 1955 came the news of the death of Mansel David's father:-

The death took place on Tuesday of Mr William David aged 82 of 28 Dolfain Penrhos. He was well known locally and formerly lived at Crown Cottages. He was caretaker of Cynlais School for many years.

From the South Wales Voice 11th March 1955 came the report on the funeral of Mansel David's father:-

The funeral of Mr William David of 28 Dolfain Ystradgynlais, who died aged 82 on March 1st, took place at Gorof Cemetery Ystradgynlais on 5th March.
The mourners were: Jack son; B Sanger, E Henwood sons in law; Harry David, J David, Alan, Gear, W Rees, G Rees, V Thomas, T Thomas, W J Rees, W R Thomas, A Hiseman, J Miller nephews.
Mourners at the house were: Mrs Sarah Ann David widow; Doreen and Evelyn daughters; Mesdames Ellen Rees sister in law; Margaret Williams, A Hiseman, I Jones, W J Rees, W Rees nieces.

From The Voice 12th May 1966 came the news of the death of Mansel David's mother:-


The death occurred on Friday at Craig y Nos Hospital of Mrs Sarah Ann David 28 Dolfain Penrhos, formerly of Crown Cottages. Aged 78, she was the widow of Mr William David; 2 daughters Doreen and Evelyn and a son Jack survive.
The funeral took place on Tuesday for Gorof Cemetery.

From The Voice 19th May 1966 came the report on the funeral of Mansel David's mother:-


The funeral of Mrs Sarah Ann David of 28 Dolfain Penrhos, who died aged 78, took place at Gorof. Mourners at the funeral were: Jack son; Bob, Eddy sons in law; Matthew brother; Stan, John, Noel, Viv, Tudor.
Mourners at the house were: Doreen, Evelyn daughters; Lizzie sister; Ann, Manseline granddaughter.

The grave of Mansel David's parents, William (died 1955) and Sarah Ann (died 1966), which also mentions Mansel David in the form of being a remembrance grave for him. The grave is in Gorof Cemetery, reference plot G23.

The brother of Mansel David, Clarence David died in 1952 and is buried Godre'rgraig Section IIA R09 G11

From the South Wales Voice 31st October 1952:-


Following an illness that lasted nearly a year, the death took place on Tuesday at 28 Pantteg, the home of his mother in law, Mrs H Lewis of Mr Clarence David Duffryn Clwyd Pantteg.
Mr David was 44 and a native of Ystradgynlais. A miner at Tirbach he left because of pneumoconiosis and entered the services of the South Wales Transport Company as conductor.
Called up at the beginning of the last war he served for five years as a dispatch rider with the Royal Artillery. On demobilisation he resumed as conductor with the same Company but had to give up because of illness. He was a keen singer and musician and had assisted local choirs and operatic companies.
He leaves a widow and two young daughters.
The funeral for men only is on Saturday at 2.30 at Godre'rgraig Cemetery.

From the South Wales Voice Friday 7th November 1952:-


The large and representative attendance at the funeral of Mr Clarence David, Duffryn Clwyd Pantteg last Saturday, demonstrated the high esteem in which he was held.
Sympathy is felt for his widow and two younger daughters. Leading the cortege was a strong contingent of his fellow employees in uniform, led by Mr Idris Thomas, assistant manager and chief inspector Archie Isaac Swansea; Inspectors D Gealy and C Locke and Mr Herbert Jenkins, traffic superintendent Pontardawe and other representatives of the South Wales Transport Company. Also present were members of the staff of J James and Sons Ammanford and the United Welsh Company.
Burial took part at Godre'rgraig Cemetery.
Principal mourners were: Mr Jack David brother; Messrs D Sanger, F Henwood, W O Lewis, E Lewis brothers-in-law; G Thomas, Matt Morgan, W R Thomas, E Williams, W Williams, G Williams, T J Lloyd, W O Lewis uncles; Harry David, Cliff John, W Rees, V Thomas, T Thomas, S Rees, R Davies, J Jones, J Rees, C Davies, Tal and Emlyn Williams, George Davies, D J Davies, David Knight, W R, Herbert and Islwyn Lewis, Phil Rees, Clem Hazel Councillor, Meurig Williams cousins.
Mourners at house were: Mrs Nancy David widow; Misses Audrey and Janice David daughters; Mr and Mrs W David parents; Mrs J Lewis mother-in-law; Mesdames D Sanger, E Henwood sisters; Dorothy Lewis, I Lewis, Margaret Davies sisters in law; Mesdames G Thomas, N Evans, Lizzie Morgan, M Lloyd, M Knight, a Morgan, Lizzie Davies Rhiwfawr, M Davies aunts.


The location of Clarence David's grave in Godre'rgraig Cemetery, and a close-up of the gravestone.

Mansel David's other brother, Jack, lived until the age of 93, dying in 2008 at Cwrt Enfys Nursing Home, Ystradgynlais. He had been born in 1915, and was buried on 29th June 2008, interred in the grave with his parents in Gorof Cemetery.


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