Kyffin, William Thomas

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William Thomas Kyffin

277351, Sapper, Royal Engineers
Accidentally drowned, 13 May 1918, aged 21
Buried at Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece

CWGC registered (no family details)

William Thomas Kyffin, the son of Thomas Kyffin and his wife Ellen Kyffin (née Metcalfe), was born in Llandudno on 18 August 1896. The Census of 1901 records the family living at 1 James Street, Llandudno; Thomas Kyffin was a railway carter. William was the elder of three recorded brothers: William (4), Joseph (2) and Idwal (1). William attended Lloyd Street School – the register for 1903 records the family’s address as “Elm Cottage”, Bodarfon Row. A register for John Bright County School indicates that William transferred there in 1905. Ellen Kyffin died in 1905; Thomas Kyffin married Ellen Salisbury in 1907. Curiously, it is the register of Lloyd Street School which indicates that William left school for work in July 1910 – there is no indication that he had been readmitted there. The Census of Wales 1911 records William still living at home but at a date unknown, he moved to Birmingham and took up employment with the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA).

William Kyffin’s army record no longer exists. It is known that he enlisted in Birmingham and spent some time with the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment with a regimental number of 24190. The records of a soldier with a very close number, 24192, survive. This soldier volunteered under the Derby Scheme in December 1915. The Medal Rolls indicate that William was with the 4th Warwicks when he first entered a theatre of war but since that battalion never served overseas, then William must have been destined for an active unit. In the event, William must have been transferred to the Royal Engineers on the Macedonian Front, judging from his new serial number of 277351, sometime in 1917. His unit was the General Base Depot at Salonika.

William Thomas Kyffin was accidentally drowned on 13 May 1918 aged 21. His death certificate states that he was drowned at Salonika but since he was buried at Karasouli Military Cemetery, some 45 miles away, then Salonika may not have been the precise place of death.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • Tabernacl Welsh Baptist Chapel, Llandudno
  • Birmingham Employers’ Roll of Honour

Two of William’s brothers also fought in the war and both survived: Joseph Henry served with the Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Machine Gun Corps and Idwal John served with the South Wales Borderers. Joseph Kyffin’s army record survives and it shows that he re-enlisted for two years in 1919. The family’s address was “Green Bank”, Augusta Street, Llandudno.

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