Elias Thomas Williams
Language: Welsh & English
Rank & Number: Private, TR/5/3684, 1514,T.R./5/10229, 10229
Regiment: 3rd TD Durham Light Infantry, No 3 Training reserve Battalion, 31st Northumberland Fusiliers.
Cemetery / Memorial: Etaples Military cemetery (XXV. II .16.)
Other memorials: Glan Conwy
8th June 1917, aged 28 of illness in a military hospital in Etaples, before even reaching the front line.
His wife chose the epitaph “A place is vacant in our home which can never be filled. At rest”.
Excerpts taken from the following book:
Dr Bridget Osborne, We Will Remember Them… The Men of Eglwysbach and Llansanffraid who served in the Great War, 2016
Life / Background:
Elias was one of the children of William, a farm labourer born in Llandrillo, and Catherine Williams of Bron Pistyll. There were six children, William, Elias, Badin Robert, Elizabeth, Maggie and Jane. Elias married Mary Elizabeth Jones in December 1913 and moved into York Place in Conwy, where Idris was born in 1914 and Mary Catherine in 1916.
Elias, who had been working as a farm labourer, enlisted in Wrexham on 11th December 1915 when he was 26. At his medical he was noted to be 5ft 6 1⁄4 inches tall and weighed 130lbs. He had been vaccinated in infancy and his physical health was good, although his history of chronic bronchial catarrh resulted in a C1 rating, so he was sent to join horse transport on 12th December. A year later his chronic chest troubled him once more and he was hospitalised for 8 days with bronchitis.
He was sent down to Woolwich and transferred to the 5th training Battalion in February 1917 as number 3684, with a note that he would maintain his former state of pay. On 3rd May he transferred again to the 3rd Training division of the Durham Light Infantry in Catterick as number 1514, with a posting to the British Expeditionary Force as a Private on 28th May 1917. However, on his arrival in France, he developed acute appendicitis and subsequent peritonitis, for which no treatment was available at the time, and he died on the 8th June 1917. He was buried in the Elias is also commemorated on the Glan Conwy Memorial pathway.
His widow was granted a pension 22s 11d a week for herself and the two children, who had moved to Rose Hill Street in Conwy. She also received his British War and Victory medals.
The plethora of service numbers and regiments reflect the confusion of war, and the fact that he was evidently far from ‘fit for service’.