Two to remember from the Somme

A brief story of two Royal Welch Fusiliers who were wounded at battles for woods on the Somme.

Their graves are located in the cemetery at Abbeville, which was some way from the front.

Abbeville cemetery
Abbeville cemetery

I took these photos some years ago and now the wonderful Anne Pedley, of the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum in Caernarfon, has helped me piece together parts of the stories of Ceredig Ellis and Edward Roberts.

Ceredig Ellis
Ceredig Ellis

Second Lieutenant Ellis, whose parents were from Aberystwyth, was married to Mildred and lived 61 Oxton Road, Wallasey, Cheshire.

He was educated at Bangor University where he was a member of the OTC.

He was commissioned on February 1, 1915. He was transferred to 15th RWF (the London Welsh) and joined the battalion in France.

He saw action with D Company and was wounded at Mametz Wood on July 11, 1916.

He was to die of these wounds, most likely at Abbeville where there was a large military hospital.

Ceredig's grave - detail
Ceredig’s grave – detail

As the inscription on the grave indicates Mildred had recently given birth to their first child.

The second fusilier, CSM Roberts, enlisted with 10th RWF and embarked to France on September 27, 1915.

He received the Military Medal for bravery while in trenches in the Kemmel area, where the Fusiliers defended themselves against a German gas and an infantry attack.

Edward Roberts
Edward Roberts

He also fought at High Wood and it was during fighting there that he was first reported missing and then wounded.

He died of his wounds at Abbeville ten days later.

The cemetery contains around 3,000 graves
The cemetery contains around 3,000 graves

The graves of Abbeville (WW1)

Abbeville cemetery
Abbeville cemetery

Abbeville was an important town for the Allied armies throughout much of the First World War.

It housed the headquarters of the lines of communication and three army hospitals.

Its cemetery contains more than 2,500 World War 1 graves and several hundred from World War 2.

The cemetery contains around 3,000 graves
The cemetery contains around 3,000 graves

The cemetery consists of the communal section and an extension which was begun in September 1916.

I took these photographs during a visit there a few years ago.

Here are a few of those buried there. Private Charles Leslie Bibby, of the King’s Liverpool Regiment.

Charles Leslie Bibby
Charles Leslie Bibby

Private E Edwards, of the 9th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

E Edwards
E Edwards

William Sheehan, of New Ross, County Wexford, who served in the Royal Irish Regiment.

William Sheehan
William Sheehan

The town also played an important role in the Second World War.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission notes: “Abbeville was a major operational aerodrome, but the town fell to the Germans at the end of May 1940. On 4 June, an attempt was made by the 51st Division, in conjunction with the French, to break the German bridgehead, but without success. Towards the end of 1943, eight large ski shaped buildings appeared near Abbeville. These proved to be storage units for flying bomb components and they were heavily bombed by Commonwealth air forces. Abbeville was retaken on 4 September 1944 by Canadian and Polish units.”

This memorial is in the town.

Abbeville memorial
Abbeville memorial