Langford, George Thomas

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George Thomas Langford

18543, Corporal, 16th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Killed in action, 22 April 1918, aged 20
Buried at Bouzincourt Ridge Cemetery, Albert, France

CWGC registered (no family details)

George Thomas Langford, the son of William Langford and his wife Susan Maud Langford (née Berryman) was born in Llantrisant on 7 June 1897. According to the Census of 1901, William Langford was a coal miner and the family lived in Newbridge Road, Llantrisant. Ten years later, the family lived at 87 Jones Street, Blaenclydach, near Tonypandy; William was described as a colliery foreman (above ground) and his son George as a hewer assistant. Though George was recorded as being 14 years of age, he was in fact aged 13 years and ten months.

Soldiers Died in the Great War records that George was in the 16th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers having enlisted at Tonypandy and had a regimental number of 18543. Unfortunately, George’s army record no longer exists but records for soldiers numbered 18542, 18546, 18547 do exist and all attested at Tonypandy on 28 November 1914, joining the 16th RWF at Llandudno the following day. George was underaged at 17 years and 5½ months – the minimum age being 18 years.

The 16th (Service) Battalion had formed at Llandudno earlier that month with volunteers surplus to the 13th RWF. In common with other battalions raised at Llandudno, many recruits from outside the North Wales area volunteered to join it and it is thought that many did so attracted by a sojourn at the seaside. Clearly the seaside air had a positive effect on George at a personal level for in the autumn of 1915, he married Hannah Elizabeth Owen, daughter of Isaac and Ann Owen of Penrhynside. Their daughter Laura Gwendoline was born on 11 December 1915. Meanwhile by August 1915, the battalion had moved to Winchester and it disembarked in France on 2 December 1915 by which time George was a lance corporal and six months underage to have entered a theatre of war. Promoted to corporal, he served in France with the 16th RWF, though George’s medal roll indicates that he was at times attached to the Headquarters of the 3rd Army, the 29th Prisoner of War Convoy, and the 38th Divisional School. A recent newspaper report quoting a family source confirms that his removal from the front line was because he had been wounded.

George Thomas Langford was killed in action on or slightly after 22 April 1918 aged 20. The 38th (Welsh) Division had been held in reserve during the early part of the German Spring Offensive until 11 April when it joined the front near Bouzincourt. Elements of the division attacked the German positions on 22 April in an attempt to retake some lost territory. Though partially successful, the attempt was costly with half of the battalion being casualties. George was buried at Bouzincourt Ridge Cemetery, Albert, France.

Also killed in that action were Corporal William Matthew Hughes of the 16th RWF and Private Owen Roberts of the 13th (both qv).

Hannah Elizabeth Langford married William Roberts in 1924. The Register of 1939 records Hannah, William, Laura and Hannah’s father Isaac Owen living at Bodarfon Road, Llandudno. Hannah died in 1943. Laura married John K Davies in 1941 and died in 2004.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • Penrhynside War Memorial
  • St. Thomas’ Church, Clyddach Vale (also on Langford family grave)

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