The War Graves of Ystradgynlais

Thomas Henry Pitman

Thomas Henry Pitman served with the Royal Garrison Artillery and was killed in action in France in May 1918. His father Petty Officer Henry Pitman served in the Royal Navy during the war, and his brother Sidney joined the Navy in 1918. Both survived the war.

The information on Thomas Henry Pitman has been compiled from a number of sources, including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, from the Labour Voice newspaper, and the Parish Burial Register (courtesy of the Swansea Archives).

NameThomas Henry Pitman
Date of Death9th May 1918
Place of DeathFrance
Age at Death23
Unit and RegimentRoyal Garrison Artillery; 5th⁄6th T.M. Bty. (Trench Mortar Battery)
Service Number57583
Remembrance GraveThomas Pitman is remembered on his parents' grave in the churchyard of Saint Margaret's Church, Ystradowen.
Local MemorialsYstradgynlais War Memorial
Cwmtwrch War Memorial, Ebenezer Chapel
Cymllynfell War Memorial, Cwmllynfell Millennium Hall
Personal Details Thomas was born 1895 in Fishguard. Son of Henry L (born Dorsetshire 1863) and Winifred Pitman (born Dowlais 1868) who around 1901 moved to Dorset House, Upper New Road, Cwmllynfell. Prior to the war Thomas was a coal miner and then registered as a policeman working with the Brecon Constabulary in Brecon and later in Builth Wells.
He enlisted for service at Brecon and killed in action aged 23. His father was a Royal Navy Reservist who was also on active service and his brother Sidney also served.
Known BrothersSidney James (born Pembrokeshire 1897) Collier Miner Hewer
William Glyndwr (born Mumbles 1898)
David E. S. (born Oystermouth 1901)
Known SistersFrances M (born Dorsetshire 1891)
Alice Cicely (born Carmarthenshire 1892)

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 23rd January 1915 :-

His many friends at Cwmtwrch were glad to welcome recently Chief-Petty-Officer H. L. Pitman, who was home on a short furlough. Petty-Officer Pitman was until the outbreak of war employed at the Gilwen Colliery, and was called to the colours in August. He is now stationed at the War Naval Signal Station, in Ireland. He has served his country in the past, having gained a bronze medal for service rendered at the bombardment of Alexandria (1884 - 1886) and silver medal in respect to the Nile Expedition (1884-1885). Chief- Petty Officer Pitman was also in the relief of General Gordon at Khartoum. He is, furthermore, in possession of a Board of Trade medal for saving life at Goodwick, Pembrokeshire, in 1895, and a diploma for heroism (dated 1896).

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 1st December 1917 :-

Petty Officer Henry Pitman and his son Gunner Tom Pitman of the Naval Service and Artillery, respectively, have been home at Cwmtwrch on furlough. Both looked well and were heartily received.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 11th May 1918 :-

Mr. Sidney Pitman of Ystalyfera has this week gone to join the Navy. He is one of a family that has an excellent record. His father, Mr. Henry Pitman is in the Navy, his brother, Corporal Tom Pitman is with the R.G.A. in France, whilst his brother in law, Sergeant Instructor T. J. Jones* (Smiths' Arms) of the Canadians, is also doing his bit.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 18th May 1918 :-

The sad news arrived on Wednesday at Cwmllynfell that Corporal Tom Pitman, of the Heavy Howitzer Brigade had been killed by a shell in France on Thursday last and was buried in a military cemetery on Friday. His home was at Dorset House, Cwmllynfell and he is the son of Petty Officer Henry Pitman, R.N.

Another brother of his, Sidney, joined the Navy last week. A letter conveying the sad news was received from the Rev. J. Jackson, C.F. Deceased had been in the Army for about two and a half years and before joining he was a police constable at Builth.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 1st June 1918 :-

Mrs. Pitman of Cwmtwrch has received a letter from the Rev. C. J. Jackson, Chaplain to the Forces, concerning the death of Corporal T. H. Pitman, of the Trench Mortar Battery, R.G.A., whose death was recorded in our last issue. The letter reads as follows:-

I am sorry that I shall have to try and prepare you to receive sad news of your son, Corporal T. H. Pitman. I regret very much to tell you that he was killed on the 9th May by a shell. Fortunately for him, he was killed instantly and so had not the pain and distress of suffering. I buried him on Friday 10th, at a nice little cemetery where the grave will be well taken care of. Your son is much regretted by his officers and all his comrades, all of whom who could be spared, came to his funeral. What greater comfort can I offer than our Christian hope that those who die in Christ shall live with Him, and that death is not the end of life, but the beginning of a better one.

After offering sympathy and guidance, the Chaplain says that the grave will be marked by a cross, so that it can be easily found should any relatives desire to visit it when the war is over.

From the Labour Voice newspaper of June 8th 1918 came this article on a Memorial Service to Tom Pitman, which also listed the other fallen to date of Upper Cwmtwrch:-

MEMORIAL SERVICE TO A CWMTWRCH SOLDIER On Sunday evening a special service was held at Ebenezer Chapel, Gwys, in memory of the late Corporal Tom Pitman, son of Petty Officer Henry Pitman and Mrs Pitman Dorset House, Cwmtwrch who fell in action in France on May 9th. Rev Lewis Thomas officiated, and preached a sympathetic sermon to a very large congregation. He also made eulogistic reference to the life and character of the fallen soldier, and emphasised the esteem .in which he was held in the district.
Corporal Pitman is the fifth on the death roll of the Upper Cwm, viz. Lieutenant Tom Powell, who died of fever in Mesopotamia about two years ago; Seaman Albert Jones, who was drowned at sea. Private Daniel John Williams, who was killed in action early this year; Sergeant Emlyn Rees, who was killed by a shell recently, All these young men were of the most sterling qualities and their loss will be great in many directions.

*Brother in Law Thomas John JONES M.M. died 1947 Buried with Wife Frances Mary nee PITMAN and Son Magnus PITMAN Alltygrug Cemetery Plot G 10 (240)

The Pitman family grave is in Saint Margaret's Church graveyard, Ystradowen.


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