Hughes, John David

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John David Hughes

61221, Private, 9th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Killed in action, 8-18 April 1918, aged 19
No known grave (Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium)

CWGC registered (Son of Robert and Gaynor Hughes, of Ravenscliff, Winllan Avenue, Llandudno)

John (Jack) David Hughes, the son of Robert Hughes and Gaynor Hughes (née Jones) was born in Llandudno on 16 March 1899. The 1901 Census of Wales records John (2), his sister Ellen (4) and his parents living at 13 Grove Terrace, Llandudno; Robert Hughes was described as a painter. Ellen Hughes died in 1902. In April 1904. John attended Lloyd Street School and was transferred in September 1905 to the newly-formed Dyffryn Road School. The Census record for 1911 indicates that John had two younger sisters: Lillian May (3) and Gwynedd Orme (1). John left school in June 1912.

Unfortunately, John Hughes’ army record no longer exists. His regimental number of 61221 in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers indicates that he was probably conscripted in March 1917, shortly after his 18th birthday. Though it is known he enlisted at Llandudno, the unit to which he joined or where he received his infantry training is unknown as is the date he disembarked in France. John Hughes’ Medal and Award Roll indicates that after disembarkation, he joined the RWF Infantry Base Depot before being posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion.

A memorial stone in St. Tudno’s Churchyard states that John Hughes was killed in action in April 1918 (no specific day) aged 19 at Messines, France. Soldiers Died in the Great War states that he was killed in action on 18 April 1918 though the Register of Soldiers’ Effects reveals that he died sometime between 8 and 18 April and that his death was presumed. Messines, or Mesen as it is now called, is actually in Belgium and was captured by the Germans on 10/11 April (Battle of Messines) during their spring offensive (Battle of the Llys). Previously on 7 April, the 9th RWF had relieved the 2nd Lincolns at Wytschaete, a mile north of Messines. Fierce fighting took place on 10/11 April and the remnants of the Battalion were withdrawn on the 12th to positions two miles west on the France/Belgium frontier. On 13 April, the battalion was ordered back to the front to hold the line and it did so until relieved on the night of 18/19 April.

Exactly where or when John Hughes was killed is unknown. The situation at the time was very fluid and desperate – it was on 11 April when Field Marshal Hague issued his famous “backs to the wall” order. John Hughes’ body was never knowingly recovered and he is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Known memorials:

  • Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium
  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • Memorial stone in St. Tudno’s Churchyard

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