Around 5000 men and women from Gwent lost their lives while serving during the Great War. Some families suffered from more than one loss. Mrs Williams of Oxford Street Abertillery had lost no less three sons: Frederick, in the Dardanelles in May 1915, David, in France in May 1916 and Austin, on the Somme in August 1916. She was not alone in losing three members of her family.
Amongst those who lost their lives were a number of the Monmouthshire social elite. Prominent among these was Lord Llangattock (Major John McLean Rolls), son of Lady Llangatock of the Hendre, near Monmouth, and the brother of Charles Stewart Rolls, who had been killed in an aircraft accident in 1910. In 1900 he had been Lord High Sheriff of Monmouthshire; in 1906-7 Mayor of Monmouth and was also a County Councillor. He had long been involved with the local territorials of the Royal Field Artillery and was killed while serving with them in France in October 1916. Captain Elidyr Herbert, the eldest son of Sir Ivor Herbert (Lord Treowen of Llanarth since 1917) who, as Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire, had led the county recruiting campaign in 1914, was killed in Palestine in 1917. At the other end of the scale, a memorial in st Matthew’s Church Monkswood, commemorates the nine former inmates of Monmouthshire reformatory who lost their lives.
WAR DEATHS IN SELECTED GWENT COMMUNITIES
|COMMUNITY||NUMBER OF WAR DEAD|
|Magor (includes St Brides, etc)||10|
|Portskewett and Sudbrook||21|
(Figures are taken from R Westlake First World War Graves and Memorials in Gwent Vols 1 and 2 Barnsley 2001 and 2002. Ebbw Vale/Cwm figures are taken from Ebbw Vale Book of Remembrance.
*The Newport figure comprises the 1476 names on the Newport Roll of Honour plus 257 ‘ghosts’ added by David Ashwin in his book Newport Ghosts & The Great War. )