Sunday, April 30, 2006
My maternal grandfather, a native of Pembrokeshire, joined the 1/4th Welsh in August 1914. He was never the same after being seriously wounded in Palestine by Johnny Turk, and died some twenty-five years later, in his early fifties, leaving a widow - and eight children.
It appears that the 1/4th Welsh had the worst possible start to the war - a direct posting to the hell-hole that was Tunbridge Wells in 1914. How relieved they must have been to get a move !
"On 19 Jul 1915 it sailed from Devonport for the Dardanelles, arriving at Mudros Island on 5 Aug and landing at Suvla Bay on 9 Aug 1915."
Hmm. Maybe not.
"On 8 Oct 1915, after suffering heavy casualties, the 1/4th Battalion was amalgamated with the 1/5th Battalion to form the 4th Welsh Composite Battalion."
"On 11 Dec 1915 the composite battalion left Gallipoli for Egypt. On 10 Feb 1916 the 1/4th Battalion assumed its identity. On 30 Jul 1918 the 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions merged again to form the 4/5th Battalion. This battalion ended the war on 31 Oct 1918, in the same formation, in Palestine as the 53rd (Welsh) Division was moving back to Egypt."
Seems a pity to survive Gallipoli and then get filled with shrapnel in Palestine. But so many never made it home.
This evening I was asking my eldest uncle for memories of him, and he quoted this chunk of a song his father used to sing. I imagine 'jolly' would have been replaced with a more sanguinary variant in real life.
...And when we get to Gay Paree
The Kaiser he will say,
"Ach ! Mein Gott ! What a jolly funny lot,
Are the 4th Welsh Infantray !"