Monday, 13 February 2012

Frederick Rowlands & 16th Battalion Welsh Regiment




Elizabeth Matthews as a teenager. 
Frederick Rowlands (The tall man with the moustache
·         Nationality: Welsh/United Kingdom
·         Rank: Sergeant
·         Regiment/Service: Welsh/Welch Regiment
·         Division:38 Welsh
·         Brigade:115th 
·         Unit Text: 16th Battalion
·         Age of Death: 27
·         Date of Death: 7/7/1916
·         Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
·         Cemetery: FLATIRONCOPSE CEMETERY, MAMETZ
Additional Information: 
·         Lived in Glam.
·         Husband to Mrs Phillips (Formally Rowlands).
Frederick Rowlands was born on 22nd of February 1889 to Mary and Joseph Rowlands, in Welshpool Montgomeryshire. He moved down to Pontycymmer, Glam and worked as a coal miner. While he was in Pontycymmer he met and eventually married Elizabeth Matthews on 24th of March 1913. Around November 1914 Frederick and other men enlisted at Porthcawl. He became part of the 16th Battalion, and in December 1914 the battalion moved from Porthcawl to Colwyn Bay. The next eight months were spent in North Wales, before moving to Winchester in August 1915 with other units of the 38th (Welsh) Divison. They had their final visit to Cardiff in the November of that year before embarking to France on 4th of December 1915. 
The 16th Battalion War Diary Shows that they were in the following places on the following dates:
·         Southampton:4/12/1915
·         Harve:5/12/1915
·         St. Quentin:6/12/1915
·         Robecq:21/12/1915
·         St. Vasst:30/12/1915
·         Robecq:7/1/1916
·         Riez Bailleul:16/1/1916
·         Croix Marmuse:25/1/1916
·         La Pannerie:16/2/16
·         Locon:17/2/1916
·         Festubert:24/2/1916
·         Les Choqeaux:17/3/16
·         Gorre:25/3/1916
·         Givenchy Lez La Bassee:28/3/1916
·         Leschoqvaux:10/4/1916
·         Nevuf Berquin Estaires:14/4/1916
·         Laventie:16/4/16
·         La Gorque:1/5/1916
·         Riez ?: 9/5/1916
·         Moated Grange Sector:13/5/1916
·         Riez Bailleul:18/5/1916
·         Moated Grange Sector:22/5/1916
·         La Gorque:26/5/1916
·         Laventie:5/6/1916
·         La Gorque:10/6/1916
·         Robecq:11/6/1916
·         Auchel:14/6/1916
·         Monchy Breton:15/6/1916
·         Fortel:27/6/1916
·         Autheux:28/6/1916
·         Toutencourt:30/6/1916
·         Auheux:3/7/1916
·         Buires/L’Ancre:4/7/1916
·         Carnoy:5/7/1916
On the 7th July 1916 Frederick Rowlands lost his life, this is a diary extract of what happened on that day. 
“8.30am Bn. under orders drawn up on their own side of slope facing MAMETZ WOOD in lines of platoons with a 2 platoon frontage. 11/SWB in support 10/SWB in reserve. Our artillery ceased firing at wood at 8.30am + first lines of Bn. proceeded over the crest of the slope but came instantly under heavy machine gun frontal fire from MAMETZ WOOD, enfilade fire from FLATIRON COPSE + SABOT COPSE + the German Second System,which now between MAMETZ WOOD + BAZENTIN LE PETIT WOOD, Bn. suffered heavily + has to withdraw to their own side of crest. Bn. made two more attacks but position was much too exposed for any hope or success + orders were received to cease operation. 11/SWB attempted to approach the wood through a gulley running between CATERPILLAR WOOD, slope mentioned above but machine gun fire drove them back. Our losses:- 6offs, killed, 6 wounded, 268 OR’s killed, missing or wounded. Weather very wet, this adding greatly to exhaustion of troops Bn. received orders to return to their Bivouac. Moved off 10.30pm Arrived 4.am 8/7/16”
Fredericks daughter Gwladys-Maud Louvain, September 1915.
That is where the story ends for Frederick. He died so that we could be free, he left behind a wife and daughter who was just one years old.


The story does not stop here the men from 16th Battalion went on to fight in :
·         Warloy:13/7/1916
·         Couin:14/7/1916
·         Hebuterne Sect:15/7/1916
·         Courcelles:19/7/1916
·         Hebuterne Sect:22/7/1916
·         Courcelles:27/7/1916
·         Vauchelles:28/7/1916
·         Siomer?:31/7/1916
·         Millam:1/8/1916
·         Merckeghem:4/8/1916
·         Ypres:19/8/1916
After those dates I am unable to read the writing on the War Diary. 
 The 16th Battalion later disbanded on 27th February 1918. 
As the following extract from that day shows.
“From today the 16th/Welch ceases to exist as a battalion” 27th February 1918.








1 comment:

  1. Dear Louvain,
    I enjoyed reading this post, albeit quite a few months after you wrote it. One of the other men in that photo must be my relative Will Owen. He was also killed in 1916 - 13 September actually, aged eighteen. I wonder which one he is in that photograph. I am writing something about his for 11 November.
    Bye for now
    Kirk

    ReplyDelete