Hughes, Daniel

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Daniel Hughes

Temp Second Lieutenant, 8th/10th (attached 1/4th TF) Gordon Highlanders
Killed in action, 23 July 1916, aged 32
No known grave (Thiepval Memorial, France)

CWGC registered (no family details)

Daniel Hughes, known as Dan, was born in Llandudno in 1884. He was the son of Samuel and Mary Hughes. Sam Hughes was the licensee of the “Mostyn Arms” near Llanrhos church and the Census of Wales for 1891 records the family (parents and six children) as resident there: Sam being described as a publican and secretary and Dan a scholar. Dan later attended Ysgol John Bright. By 1901, the business had relocated to what is now Conway Road as the “Mostyn Arms Hotel” (now the “Links Hotel”). Dan was described as an assistant at the electric light company. The minutes of the Llandudno Town Council record that in 1906, Dan’s salary was increased from one pound per week to 25 shillings – this was proposed by Councillor W T Griffith. Mary Hughes died in 1909. The Census for 1911 records just three of the family living at “The Rosary”, Abbey Road, Llandudno: Sam (67) described as Secretary of Llandudno Pier (he was also the manager), Dan (27) as an assistant engineer, and Dan’s spinster sister Mary (38).

On 28 October 1914, Dan Hughes volunteered to join the army. Though he enlisted at Llandudno, he joined the Gordon Highlanders on 31 October 1914 at Aberdeen, his regimental number being S/6633. He was posted to the 8th (Service) Battalion, the first of the New Army battalions formed by that regiment (August 1914) which had already moved to Aldershot. Dan was promoted to lance sergeant on 1 December 1914 and to sergeant on 16 February 1915. In February 1915, the 8th GH moved from Aldershot to Bordon and on 10 May 1915, it was mobilised for war and Dan Hughes disembarked that day at Boulogne.

A local newspaper dated October 1915 recorded Dan Hughes as being home on leave. On 11 December 1915, he was ordered to attend the GHQ Cadet School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 30 January 1916. Though he was commissioned into his old battalion (which merged with the 10th (Service) Battalion on 11 May 1916 forming the 8th/10th GH), at some time he was attached to the 1/4th Gordon Highlanders, a battalion of the Territorial Force which had been in France since February 1915.

The 1/4th Gordons took part in a failed attack on 23 July 1916 at High Wood near Bazentin-le-Petit during the Battle of the Somme. Dan Hughes was reported wounded in a shell-hole but a subsequent search for him proved fruitless and he was recorded as missing – there was some speculation that he might have been captured. However, enquiries through the International Red Cross confirmed that he was not a prisoner of war and his date of death was assumed as 23 July 1916. He was aged 32 and has no known grave. Dan Hughes wrote a “soldier’s will” leaving his estate to his sister Mary. His address in the National Probate Calendar was given as “Tyaildro”, Hill Terrace, Llandudno.

Known memorials:

  • Thiepval Memorial, France
  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • Ysgol John Bright Roll of Honour


1. Instead of joining a regiment that recruited in North Wales (the Royal Welsh Fusiliers typically), Dan Hughes joined a Scottish Highland regiment. Why he did this is unknown but it was perfectly within his rights as a volunteer and could only have been refused if that regiment was not recruiting or if he was unsuitable for it.

2. Dan Hughes was not the only Llandudno lad to volunteer for the Gordons as Mervyn Kenyon Griffith, son of the aforementioned Counsellor W T Griffith had also headed north a week or two before Dan having also applied for a commission in the South Wales Borderers. Whether any others from Llandudno joined the Gordons is presently unknown. Mervyn Griffith was also promoted to sergeant and reported whilst on leave around Christmas 1914 that Dan was confined to hospital. Shortly after, Mervyn Griffith received his commission in the South Wales Borderers. Mervyn Griffith was luckier than Dan in that he survived the war but as a private in the Army Service Corps having resigned his commission in 1916. After the war he achieved notoriety as a habitual fraudster.

3. What is unusual in the cases of Daniel Hughes and Mervyn Griffith is how they were both able to secure their NCO’s stripes in a remote Highland regiment with seemingly no previous military experience. It is also curious that, considering Dan Hughes joined the Gordon’s depot at the end of October 1914, he was immediately posted to the 8th Gordons (formed August 1914 and moved to Aldershot), rather than the 9th – 11th Gordons (forming September/October 1914). The author can only speculate that some experienced men in the 8th Gordons were used to reinforce the regular 1st Battalion that had sustained heavy losses early in the war and the most promising of the new recruits at the depot were sent to replace them. Both Daniel Hughes and Mervyn Griffith were over six feet tall and the latter must have had a certain charm.

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