Billy Sass Davies and Ashleigh Mills Abergele soccer stars

Two Abergele teenagers aiming to kick-start careers as professional footballers have already racked up ten international caps between them. Centre-back Billy Sass Davies has trained with ex-Arsenal player Thierry Henry, while defender Ashleigh Mills is planning to crack the American soccer scene.

Ashleigh Mills
Billy Sass Davies

The pair are both regulars for their respective Wales international teams as well as their domestic clubs, while doing schoolwork at Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, Abergele.

Ashleigh, 16, who plays for Prestatyn Girls Under 16s, has already played for Wales against teams from England, Ireland, Finland and Iceland.

School football team captain Billy, 15, trains three times a week at Crewe Alexandra. He’s played for Wales Under-15s against Poland,  Switzerland and Belgium.

Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan’s PE teacher and assistant curriculum leader Darren Doyle-Howson says he is delighted both Billy and Ashleigh are playing international football and representing Wales: “Both Billy and Ashleigh deserve their success and I hope to see them both earn full-time contracts in the future. They are a credit to themselves and the school.”

Source: Ceidiog PR

1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: Neville Lewis

Private 2368 Neville Lewis, B Company, 1/5th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, 127th Brigade, 42nd (East Lancashire) Division. Killed in action 27 May 1915, aged 22. No known grave, Panel 158 to 170, Helles Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey. Commemorated on Abergele War Memorial andAbergele Town Memorial.

Son of Edward and Elizabeth A. Lewis, of Strathmore, St. George’s Road, Abergele, and the proprietors of The Gwindy Hotel (the family was a well known local family and the ‘Lewis Bro’s’ tailors ghost sign can still be seen high on the wall of the building adjacent to Y Gwindy).  Born Hawarden, enlisted Wigan, early September 1914, lived Gwindy Hotel, Abergele. Initially served with 6th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, with a home address of the Gwindy Hotel. He landed in Gallipoli on 6 May 1915 and was killed exactly three weeks later. His younger brother, Henry John Bernard Lewis, also served.

Although Neville Lewis has no known grave, he was buried initially. Private Alf Austin of Pensarn, who also initially served in the 6th Manchester’s with Neville, wrote home in September 1915 that Neville’s grave had been found and that “the Abergele boys out there” planned to erect a suitable memorial. One can only assume that this was never done, or that subsequently the memorial marker was removed or lost following the evacuation from Gallipoli at the end of the year.

Lewis, Neville (9) resized


The Old Abergele Mill

How many of you can remember this old limewashed windmill at the junction of Chapel Street and High Street? These photographs, from Dennis Parr’s collection and reproduced with his  permission, show the old mill before it was demolished.

Abergele Mill. Copyright Dennis Parr.
Abergele Mill. Copyright Dennis Parr.
Abergele Mill. Copyright Dennis Parr.
Abergele Mill. Copyright Dennis Parr.
This is one of  a series of images of Abergele from Dennis Parr’s collection. Mr Parr will be familiar to many who’ve lived in the town since the 1960s. He used to run Parr’s shops in Market St.
We’ll be publishing more images from the Dennis Parr Collection on this site over the coming months.


1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: Joseph Davies

Private 11069 Joseph Davies, 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 22nd Brigade, 7th Division. Killed in action 16 May 1915, Battle of Festubert, aged 27. No known grave, Panel 13 and 14, Le Touret Memorial, Le Touret Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Commemorated on Abergele War Memorial, Abergele Town War Memorial and Rhyl War Memorial.

Son of Walter and Alice Davies, of 5, Rhuddlan Rd., Abergele. Born Llanrhaeadr, lived in Abergele, and enlisted in Rhyl. Joseph was a noted long distance runner having won many prizes in competitions before the war. The family had moved to Abergele c.1893. They had 14 children, of whom 11 were still living by 1911. From the 1911 Census they were (with ages of 1911): Walter (25), Joseph (23), Charles (21), John (19), Margaret Elizabeth (17), Eliza Emma (15), Sophia (11), Robert (9), William Edward (6), Ivor (3). The missing name is that of Isaac Morris Davies, a professional soldier who was serving in India in 1911, age unknown, and who lived at 33, Peel Street. Isaac and the 4 oldest boys, Walter, Joseph, Charles and John, all served. Charles and John would both become Prisoners of War, with John becoming famous for escaping from his German prison camp in December 1916 and making it home to a hero’s welcome (the subject of a future article).

Joseph had formerly served as a professional soldier and was called up from the reserve when war broke out. He arrived in France 11 December 1914 as a 1st Battalion reinforcement and was soon followed by three of his brothers, all of whom were serving by January 1915 when Joseph was reported to be temporarily ill in a hospital at Le Havre. Official notification of Joseph’s death was received by his father in the first week of June 1915.

The account below, of the events of the day that Joseph died at Festubert, is written by my friend the Reverend Clive Hughes and reproduced with his kind permission.

The unit mustered 25 Officers 806 men in the trenches that morning, Following a half-hour bombardment the unit attacked just after it ended at 3:16am, going over the top in successive order of the 4 companies, 2 waves of men per company. Their aim (within the larger battle) was to take 2 lines of enemy trenches then hold a defensive position. It met heavy shell and machine-gun fire even as it left the trenches and tried to cross No Mans Land. They got beyond the two enemy lines but came under fire from their left, and part of the battalion (A & part of B companies) was mixed up with the 2nd Scots Guards on that flank. The rear two companies (C & D) also suffered badly in crossing to the German lines. As some men pressed on further they were hit by “friendly” shellfire and halted.

By 1pm contact was made with the Royal Warwicks Regiment on the right and The Queen’s Regiment came up in support. The battalion found itself holding an exposed position facing an orchard, open to enemy sniping from front and rear. At 2pm the enemy began shelling the trench they were in, which offered little cover. Reinforcements from the 7th London regiment came up and attacked the orchard covered by fire from the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (RWF), but had to fall back under machine-gun fire. The shelling meantime wrecked the trench and cut the RWF off from other units. Darkness was approaching as the RWF fell back to a line being held just in front of the former Second German Line; then were ordered to withdraw to trenches being held by The Queen’s, which they accomplished successfully.

The RWF claimed to have penetrated the enemy defences to a depth of 1200 yards. For this they paid a heavy price: Officers- 6 killed, 2 died of wounds, 9 wounded, 1 wounded & missing, 1 missing. Total 19 out of 25. Other Ranks- 118 Killed, 271 wounded, 164 missing (many of whom would prove to be dead), 6 wounded and missing. Total 559 out of 806. Some 110 bodies were collected and buried in the old No Mans Land on 18th May, in addition to various officers brought in the previous evening.

1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: William Henry Hartley Higgin

Private 9031 William Henry Hartley Higgin, 2nd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 19th Brigade, 6th Division. Died of natural causes 11 May 1915, aged 29. Screen Wall. O1. 203, Leicester (Welford Road) Cemetery, United Kingdom. Not commemorated in the Abergele district. Son of Henry and Elizabeth Higgin, of Hey Brook, Rochdale. Born Rochdale, enlisted Abergele, lived Prestatyn. An original member of the 2nd Battalion, William arrived in France on 1 September 1914. The nature of the illness that resulted in his death in May 1915 is unknown.

Time for a street party Abergele! Save the date: 7 June 2015

Does anyone else remember the fun of the Jubilee street parties? Well a friend of mine, Gwion Thorpe, is the Wales organiser for The Big Lunch, run by the Eden Project and funded by the Big Lottery. Since starting in 2009, thousands of Big Lunches have taken place across Wales and the rest of the UK. The date for this year’s event is Sunday 7th June 2015.

This June millions of people will come together for The Big Lunch, the UK’s annual get together for neighbours. It’s a simple idea to get as many people as possible across the UK to come together in their shared spaces in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.

You’re invited by  Gwion to hold one in your street or area in Abergele and surrounds and bring your local community together: “If everyone brings a dish or some decorations and activities, you have yourself a Big Lunch! ”

To find out more, to get a Big Lunch Pack or to register your interest, go to or call 0845 850 8181.

Gwion Thorpe, The Big Lunch
Tel: 07801227288
Website: (or for Welsh)

Big Lunch 2015 cut out

1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: Francis Rubenstein Linekar

Rifleman 1914 Francis (Frank) Rubenstein Linekar, A Company, 1/6th Battalion (Rifles), King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, 15th Brigade, 5th Division. Killed in action 5 May 1915, aged 20. No known grave, Panel 4 and 6, Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Ypres, Belgium. Not commemorated in the Abergele district, but commemorated on the Abergele County School War Memorial, Colwyn Bay War Memorial and Hoylake and West Kirby Memorial.

Born Colwyn Bay. A former pupil at Abergele County School. Son of Lucy Mary Linekar, of Waverley House, Hoylake, Birkenhead, and the late Thomas J. Linekar (died 1918), of Bryn Deryn, Colwyn Bay and of Colwyn Bay Council. Enlistment address given as Hoylake, Cheshire. Enlisted Liverpool.

Francis Linekar, better known as Frank, was born in Colwyn Bay in 1895. His father, Thomas Joseph Linekar, was a Professor of Music and was providing his services as a Music teacher. His mother, Lucy, was also a teacher prior to marriage. Francis had one older brother, John Clarence Linekar, who also served before being discharged with a Silver War Badge. In 1901 the family were living at Sea Forth, Colwyn Bay. By 1911 the family had moved to Bryn Deryn, Queens Park, Colwyn Bay. Thomas was no longer teaching music and was employed as an accountant for the gas department of the Abergele Urban District Council. John had left home and Francis was aged 16 and attending Abergele County School.

Frank enlisted in Liverpool shortly after the outbreak of war into the 6th King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, known as the Rifles. He volunteered to serve overseas and therefore became part of the original 1/6th battalion that landed at Le Havre 25 February 1915.
Frank would probably have seen action at the Second Battle of Ypres, the Battle of Gravenstafel fought 22-23 April, and the Battle of St Julien fought between 24 April and 5 May 1915. It was here that Frank was probably killed.

A memorial plaque in Holy Trinity Church, Hoylake reads:
To the dear memory of Francis Lancelot Farnall and of his cousin and comrade Francis R Linekar who gave their lives for their country in the Great War. This window is dedicated by their parents.

Gwrych Castle 9-10 May Open Weekend

The Gwrych Trust’s Jake Basford has been in touch with news of an Open Weekend  at the castle on 9-10 May 2015.

With children’s entertainers, costumed characters from Disney’s Frozen, and fire eaters alongside traditional Morris dancing, a bouncy castle and guided tours, the biggest amount of entertainment yet will be available throughout the weekend.

The opening hours are between 12 noon and  4pm on both the Saturday and Sunday. Entry is £5 for adults and parents can pay what they like for children under 12.

Medieval outfits are welcome. Here’s a list of everyone who’ll be there:

Harley the Clown
Kids Ghost Stories with Lucy
Bouncy Castle
Children’s Drawing Activities
Stilt Walkers
Organised Fire Eaters (battlements)
Ukelele Band
Morris Dancers
Martial Arts Display
Self-Guided Walks and History Guided Walks
Visits from ‘Frozen’ Characters in Costume


Photo by David Hughes
Photo by David Hughes

Late News: Here’s an update from the Trust on the advice of the Police:
‘Parking will be available on the day at Manorafon Farm, available through the archway at the corner of Tan-y-Gopa Road and Abergele Road, for a small fee on the day; behind Abergele Library; Water Street, near the Bowling Green; or, Pensarn Beach. Cones and ‘No Parking’ signs will be in place around Tan-y-Gopa Road, Llanddulas Road and the Main Castle Entrance to help local residents. No immediate street parking will be available on the day, so please plan parking in advance.’

1915-2015: Abergele & District Commemorations: John Davies

Private 9094, John Davies, 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, 84th Brigade, 28th Division. Died of wounds 2 May 1915, Second Battle of Ypres, aged 24. Buried plot II. L. 6., Poperinghe Old Military Cemetery, Belgium. Commemorated on Abergele War Memorial, Abergele Town War Memorial, Rhyl War Memorial.

Son of John and Alice Davies, of 1, Fronhyfrd, Groes Lwyd, Abergele. Born at Rhyl, enlisted Chester. Brother of Allen Davies (killed in action 30 October 1914, though it may be recalled that when news arrived in Abergele of John’s death in May 1915 his younger brother Allen was still listed as missing – see below).

John Davies was a professional soldier, having enlisted in 1908. He arrived in France as an original member of the 2nd Cheshire’s on 16 January 1915. According to a casualty report he bled to death within ten minutes of his wounding, a detail that his father found by accident whilst looking at casualty lists printed in a newspaper.