Private 21490 George Hughes

Killed in Action on Wednesday, 12th July 1916, age 40.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 7 A and 10 A of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

14th Bn., Welsh Regiment. 114th Brigade of 38th Division.

Son of Mr George and Mrs Mary Hughes, of 15 Factory Road, Bargoed, Carmarthenshire.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Bargoed, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/794078/

Genealogical Data

1891 Census
15 Factory Road, Gelligaer, Hengoed, Glamorgan.
George Hughes (47, General Labourer, born Leominster), his wife Mary (41, born West Bromwich), and their 3 children: Samuel (17, Coal Miner, born Tipton), George (15, Coal Miner, born Tipton), and Louisa (12, Scholar, born Bargoed).

1901 Census
54 Pentre Road, Ystradyfodwg, Pontypridd, Glamorgan.
Boarding with Walter and Rachel Cosslett was: George Hughes (25, Coal Miner, born Tipton).

1911 Census
Cannot trace George Hughes.

Personal Data

George attested in Bargoed on the 9th November 1914 stating that he was a Collier aged 36 years, he was actually 38 years old. He was 5 feet 5¼ inches tall with a 36½-inch chest, weighed 147 pounds and had good physical development. He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair, and stated he was Church of England.

He trained with the 10th and 21st Battalions, but transferred to the 14th Battalion on 16th March 1916 which was presumably around the time he landed in France. The only blemish on his record was a charge in 29th February 1916 whilst training at Rhyl "Refusing to come on parade 2 o'clock" for which he received 3 days confined to camp.

Action resulting in his death

The 14th (Carmarthenshire) Battalion, the Welsh Regiment, was in 114th Brigade of the 38th (Welsh) Division. The Division moved to France between 21 November and 6 December 1915, and its first action was at Mametz Wood initially on 7th July 1916. This attack was aborted as the men were prevented from reaching the wood by machine-gun fire, in enfilade, from Flatiron and Sabot Copses; the wood was to be assaulted again by the full Division of 9th July.

On the 9th July, concentration of artillery fire and a smoke barrage allowed quick gains, the German second line trenches being cleared by 1.00pm., and the eastern portion of the wood by 4.00 pm. By close of day the Division were within 40 yards of the northern edge of the wood, and dug in for the night. The 14th Welsh were relieved from the front-line during the night of 9th/10th July. On 11th July, 115th Brigade successfully cleared the remainder of Mametz Wood, and the Division as a whole was relieved from the Mametz sector on 12th July. Private Hughes is recorded on CWGC as being killed on 12th July along with a further 22 men from the 14th Welsh, 2 further dying of wounds. His Soldier's papers record his death as occurring between 10th and 12th July, it is likely to have been during the attack on the 9th July until his unit's relief on the 10th July. In the 5 days of the action which lead to the ultimate clearance of Mametz Wood, the 38th (Welsh) Division had 4,000 casualties, being killed, wounded or missing. It would be over 12 months until the re-built Division came into action again, at the Third Battle of Ypres. The memorial to the 38th (Welsh) Division, the Welsh dragon, stands overlooking Mametz Wood.

Newspaper Cuttings