1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: Daniel Owen Lloyd

Sergeant 9444 Daniel Owen Lloyd. 1st Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 22nd Brigade, 7th Division. Killed in action, 25 September 1915, Battle of Loos, aged 30. No known grave. Commemorated Panel 50 to 52, Loos Memorial, Loos-en-Gohelle, Pas de Calais, France. Also commemorated on Abergele War Memorial and Abergele Town Memorial.

Lloyd, Dan O (2)

Son of Henry and Mary Elizabeth Lloyd, of “Rhianws”, 2, Granville Terrace, Abergele. Born Bodfari, enlisted Rhyl, lived Abergele. A professional soldier and formerly of 2nd Battalion, RWF. Promoted from Corporal to Sergeant January 1915. Brother of Griffith Lloyd, also of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. One of 12 children, one of whom had died young. The family had moved from Bodfari to Abergele between 1891 and 1894 and they initially lived at 3, Twll Llwynog Cottages until after 1901, before moving to ‘Rhianws’, Granville Terrace, by 1911.

Dan Lloyd was already serving when the war began, with the rank of Bugler. He was also a member of the 2nd battalion’s band. He was in France very quickly, landing 13 August 1914 with the 2nd Battalion . Dan wrote home regularly. For example, in early October 1914, whilst briefly hospitalised in St. Nazaire with a sickness, he wrote that with a bit of luck he would be home by Christmas, but added, “still, it may last longer than we expect” . He was quite right about the war, but not about being home for Christmas. Instead he was posted to the 1st RWF upon his release from hospital

On 20 December 1914, Dan wrote to his father.

I received your welcome letter about a week ago. That’s the first letter that I’ve had since September. It contained some Capstan cigarettes…I am with Griff’s battalion and in the same company that he used to be. I am glad to say that I am in good health at the time of writing. We are well treated – plenty of food, clothing, smokes etc. There is but one thing more that I would like – and that is some cake. XXX [name removed by censor] told me that you had sent some underclothing. I have not had them; it was probably owing to my being away from the 2nd battalion that the parcel went astray. Well, this is my tenth Christmas away from home, but it cannot be helped, can it? I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Dan and his brother Griff had so narrowly missed serving together. Dan had started the war in the 1st Battalion, but was now in the 2nd, and Griff had started in the 2nd but was now in the 1st. Griff had been shot in the leg near Ypres in October 1914 and, upon his return he had transferred battalions. It was whilst Griff was recovering in hospital that Dan had moved the other way. But in March 1915 a most bizarre thing happened. The two brothers bumped into each other, “in the trenches“, as the pair put it in separate letters home. They had not seen each other in nine years. This would be their last meeting.

Dan was home on leave in July 1915 whilst temporarily serving with the 22nd Brigade’s Trench Mortar Battery, which he remained with until the end of August 1915 when he was promoted to the rank of Company Sergeant Major. A few weeks later he was killed at the Battle of Loos (see here for details of the events of the day).

Some six months after Dan’s death, Corporal Bert Roberts of Abergele, serving with the 16th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, found himself in the same town as the 1st and 2nd Battalions and got talking to a fellow Corporal who had been in Dan’s platoon at Loos. According to the Corporal, just before the battle Dan had been saying “it will either be a VC or a bullet for me“. [Letter from Bert Roberts, North Wales Weekly News, 13 April 1916]

The Abergele and Pensarn Visitor printed a pen picture of Dan when his death had been officially confirmed, which is worth quoting in full.

A War Office intimation, as well as a letter from his brother, Private Griff Lloyd, reached his home at Rhianws, Grenville Terrace, yesterday morning to the effect that Sergeant Daniel Owen Lloyd, of the 1st Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, had been killed in the recent severe fighting on the Western Front. The deceased had been serving in France since August 1914. He was home on furlough in July last. Sergeant Lloyd had been in the army about ten years, the greater part of which he spent with the 2nd Battalion of his regiment in India. He returned to this country twelve months last Easter. At the beginning of the war he was Lance Corporal, thence he was successively promoted full Corporal, Lance Sergeant, Sergeant, to Company Sergeant Major, which rank he held at the time of his death. Though he had fought right along from the famous retreat from Mons, where the Welshmen were in [the] charge of Colonel Ratcliffe, Tanyfron, who is now serving in Kinmel Park, the deceased escaped without a scratch until he was killed in the great advance on the 25th September.” [Abergele & Pensarn Visitor, 23 October 1915]

In a letter home in November 1915 Griff Lloyd wrote;

Try and keep your heart up. I will try to find poor Dan’s resting place. I have been told that he was buried very honourably after the great battle and had a nice funeral. His battalion was on our right in that terrible battle on the 25th September. It was an awful day, but we gave the enemy something to be going on with, though for three nights afterwards they did their level best to piece our lines. Their repeated attempts, however, were of no avail, for we hurled them back with terrible losses. I was sent out in front to set up wire entanglements, and dead Germans met my gaze in every direction. We collected as many of them as possible and interred the corpses. It was different in Dan’s case, he being killed whilst our men were driving the enemy before them. He was buried at night. I shall certainly endeavour to find his grave when next I am in that part of the line…I would very much like to come home for a few days, but then there are poor fellows out who have not been home during the fifteen months. So I must hold back and give them a chance.” [Abergele & Pensarn Visitor, 6 November 1915]

It is hard to imagine that Griff got much of a chance to look for his brother’s grave. If he did he was unsuccessful, for Dan’s grave was subsequently lost or, if his body was removed for reburial in a concentration cemetery after the war, it had lost any marker to indicate his identity. It is possible that he lies in one of the many unnamed graves in the Loos area, but he will always remain one of the missing.

On the third anniversary of his death in 1918, Dan’s family placed an ‘In Memoriam’ in the Abergele & Pensarn Visitor:

The hardest time is yet to come,
When the heroes all return.
For we’ll miss among the cheering crowd
the son and brother we loved so well.
Sleep on, dear son and brother, in a far off grave,
A grave we may never see;
But as long as life and memory last.
We will remember thee.

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One Response to 1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: Daniel Owen Lloyd

  1. Darryl Porrino says:

    Hello,
    I am researching the men of the 1st RWF who died in the Great War & publishing a series of 4 books. Could I possibly use the photo & letter here for Dan’s record? I will of course credit you in my book. If you type my name in Amazon you will see 6 books I have written, to give you some idea of what I am doing. Many thanks,
    Darryl Porrino

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