Williams, Robert Richard DCM

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Robert Richard Williams DCM

22589, Lance Corporal, 15th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Killed in action, 1 or 2 September 1917, aged 33
No known grave (Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium)

GWGC registered (no family recorded)

Robert Richard Williams was the son of Hugh Williams, a labourer, and his wife Alice Ann Williams (née Williams). He was born in Llandudno on 16 November 1884; his baptismal record shows that the family lived at “Brynhyfryd”, Cwlach, Llandudno. In May 1888, Richard was admitted to St. George’s National School. The Census of Wales for 1891 records the family: Hugh, Alice, Robert (6), Rebecca (3) and Roger (6 months) still living at Cwlach Street. In March 1892, Robert transferred to St. Beuno’s School. In 1901, Robert lived with his parents at 1 Ty Isa Cottage, Mostyn Street and was described as a general labourer. In the Census for 1911, Robert (26) is again recorded living with his parents, this time at “Bay View Villa”, Howard Road, Llandudno and he is described as a house painter. He was also a fireman.

On 16 January 1914, Robert married Ellen Williams at the Tabernacle Chapel, Llandudno. Robert gave his address as “Bunyan Villa”, Chapel Street, Llandudno. By the end of that year he had volunteered at Llandudno to join the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and joined the 15th (Service) Battalion (1st London Welsh) that had formed at London on 20 October 1914 before moving to Llandudno. His regimental number was 22589. Little is known of Robert’s army service though it is noted that he disembarked in France on 3 December 1915.

Robert Richard Williams had been appointed lance corporal when he was killed in action. A memorial in St. Tudno’s Churchyard states his date of death as 1 September 1917, aged 32 whilst Commonwealth War Grave Commission and other official records give his date of death as 2 September 1917, aged 33. The war diary for the 15th RWF states that late on 1 September it relieved the 14th RWF in the trenches at Langemarck near Ypres and reported no casualties taken that day and only slight casualties on the following day. However, 1 September had been a calamitous day for a sister battalion, the 14th RWF when a shell struck the battalion’s forward command post and many men were killed. Thirteen men including nine signallers were buried including Private Hugh Owen B Jones (qv). These deaths are also officially recorded as being on 2 September so perhaps Robert Williams of the 15th RWF got caught up in that incident, either as being attached to the 14th or just delivering a message from the relief battalion at the wrong time.

On 26 January 1918, Robert Williams was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Hearing that there were many wounded in front of the line held by his battalion, he went forward in daylight and in full view of the enemy, over ground which was heavily sniped, and brought his wounded comrades back to the aid post. He set a very splendid example of devotion and total disregard of his own safety.”

It was locally reported that Robert and Ellen had had two children.

Known memorials:

  • Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium
  •  Llandudno Roll of Honour
  •  Llandudno War Memorial
  •  Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  •  Llandudno Fire Station War Memorial
  •  Tabernacl Welsh Baptist Chapel, Llandudno
  •  St. Tudno’s Churchyard, Great Orme’s Head

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