Some corner of a foreign field

Saron graveyard, Troedyrhiw is full of reminders of our forebears including some who died overseas. Here are some examples:-

EVAN J. WILLIAMS

This young Troedyrhiw man died in South Africa during the 2nd Boer War (Anglo – Boer War), 1899-1902. An inscription on the headstone of his family grave in Saron Graveyard reads:-

ALSO OF EVAN J. WILLIAMS, SON OF THE ABOVE

WHO DIED IN SOUTH AFRICA

MAY 20, 1901. AGED 27 YEARS

Williams family headstone, Saron Graveyard, Troedyrhiw

Williams family headstone, Saron Graveyard, Troedyrhiw

The death of Trooper Williams is recorded, along with those of his comrades from the Borough who also perished during this conflict,  on the Boer War Memorial in Merthyr.

South Africa War Graves Project

South Africa War Graves Project

The results of an enquiry made of the South Africa War Graves Project include the following record and a photograph of this soldier’s grave marker:-

No 278748, Trooper E. J. Williams, 4th Company, Imperial Yeomanry, died of disease on 20 May 1901 and buried in Harrismith Cemetery (note that the date given here is slightly different from that recorded elsewhere).

Grave marker Evan J. Williams, Harrismith Cemetery, South africa

Grave marker Evan J. Williams, Harrismith Cemetery, South Africa

JOHN WILLIAMS DAVIES

This young Troedyrhiw man died in France during the last year of the First World War.

An inscription (translated from the original Welsh) on the headstone of his family grave in Saron Graveyard reads:-

ALSO IN DEAR MEMORY OF

JOHN WILLIAMS DAVIES

GRANDSON OF THE ABOVE, WHO SACRIFICED HIMSELF ON

THE ALTAR FOR HIS COUNTRY IN FRANCE APRIL 1918

AT 24 YEARS OLD

J 32

Troedyrhiw War Memorial

Troedyrhiw War Memorial

The inscriptions on one side of Troedyrhiw’s War Memorial begin:-

Arw’r y byd heriar bedd

This memorial, raised by the inhabitants, is dedicated to the memory of the

men of Troedyrhiw who gave their lives for King and country in the Great War

1914-1918

Amongst the men whose sacrifice is recorded here is the following:-

DAVIES J.W.           Pte            Ches Regt

JOHN W. WILLIAMS

It is likely that John Williams, a native of Troedyrhiw, having honed his mining skills in local collieries, decided to emigrate to the goldfields of Canada to ‘seek his fortune’. An inscription on the headstone of his family grave in Saron Graveyard, Troedyrhiw reads:-

IN MEMORY OF

JOHN W. WILLIAMS

LATE OF TROEDYRHIW

HE DIED MAY 3 1877

AT 52 YEARS OLD

BURIED AT OHANACAN BRITISH COLUMBIA

‘Ohanacan’ would appear to be a reference to the Okanagan region of British Columbia. A Canadian newspaper published 18 May 1877 refers to a miner named Williams who was killed at the beginning of May 1877 during gold mining activities at a place called Mission Creek.

Newspaper record of death of miner called Williams

Newspaper record of death of miner called Williams

The above information is supported by a report from British Columbia’s  Gold Commissioner, Charles A. Vernon for the previous year (1876). This records the gold mining activities at Mission Creek and the involvement of an experienced miner called John Williams who had spent time in the Cariboo region of British Columbia before coming to the Okanagan. Charles Vernon wrote:-

‘Considerable mining and prospecting has also been done on Mission Creek this fall, with a fair average yield of gold. John Williams, an old Caribooite, has run a tunnel into the hill from the creek some 60 feet, and found a good prospect.’

Okanagan Miners

Okanagan Miners

Mission Creek, British Columbia

Mission Creek, British Columbia

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About davidjcollier

Originally from South Wales I have lived in Nottinghamshire for over forty years. I am married and have three grown up children and two grandchildren. Having worked in education for 43 years I will retire in July 2012. My interests include history (general, local and family), rugby union, swimming, photography, bird watching and gardening. For the benefit of anyone who may actually read this (extremely unlikely, I admit) please do not confuse 'interests' with knowledge or skill. My involvement in a community project which aims to rescue a graveyard from the effects of almost 30 years of neglect. also keeps me quite busy. View all posts by davidjcollier

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