- October 1, 2013
Written by Huw Williams, Trustee, LlGC/NLW
As one of the Trustees of the National Library of Wales, I have been in the privileged position to observe the evolution of the Welsh Experience of WW1 digitisation project and my wife and I have felt honoured to have been able take part in this ground breaking project by contributing items that tell the story of my wife’s grandfather, Serjeant Jack Regan of the Glamorgan Royal Garrison Artillery.
Jack Regan was a member of the Territorial Army. He went to France in June 1916 with 113 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery as part of the preparations for the Battle of the Somme. He was killed in action on 31st July 1916and now lies in the Peronne Road Military Cemetery at Maricourt. The full story can be found here.
I think it is fitting that the National Library’s contribution to marking the centenary of the Great War should be a project that preserves and makes available the individual stories behind the names that appear on the war memorials across Wales that are a familiar backdrop to our daily lives. To my mind it speaks much of the Welsh character that the first war memorial anywhere to commemorate the dead by name was erected in Carmarthen to commemorate the dead of the Royal Welch Fusiliers in the Crimean War.
The First World War was a shared experience that touched every family in Wales and we still live with the consequences of that conflict today. Resources such as the Welsh Experience of WW1 project enable us to understand more about the nature of that shared experience, especially as many of those who survived to return to their families were reluctant to speak about what they had experienced.
Although this contribution tells one of our family stories, when we place our poppy cross in the Garden of Remembrance in Penarth this year we will, as we always do, be remembering in addition to Jack Regan the other member of our family who perished:
Private William Reginald Rees, 1st/4th Welch, died 27th February 1916 aged 18 and buried in Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.
Private Thomas Sydney Williams 15th (Carmarthenshire) Battalion, Welch Regiment, died 10th May 1916 aged 19, commemorated on the Pozieres War Memorial, Somme, France.
Private Joseph Charles, 4th Battalion, Tank Corps, died 25th April 1918, aged 19 and buried at MorbecqueBritishCemetery, Nord, France.
Images relating to Sgt Jack Regan’s story will soon be available to view as part of the Welsh Experience of World War 1 Project via the People’s Collection Wales website.