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Glynneath: Memorial Service for Private William Jones.

A SERVICE to remember and acknowledge the shame and injustice of an event that took place during World War 1 will be held at Glynneath on Saturday 30th September 2023.

On 25th October 1917, Private William Jones was executed by his own British Forces having been found guilty of desertion.

Private Jones, who it is believed was 17 years old and hailed from Glynneath, was part of Kitchener’s Volunteers and a member of the 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. A local historian and author, Mr Robert King researched the event and together with others successfully campaigned for an official pardon for Private Jones on the grounds that he was probably suffering from what would now be known as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Mr King chronicled in his book ‘Shot at Dawn’ the shameful events and the subsequent campaign that led to the pardons of Private Jones together with a further 306 British Soldiers, 15 from Wales who received the ultimate punishment for military offences.

Mr King said “I am so glad that what happened many years ago has not been forgotten and that this service is taking place.”

Mr King who resides in Abergarwed, just outside Glynneath, has been campaigning since the 1970’s to have Private Jones and the other soldiers pardoned and their names placed on memorials to those who died in World War I.

Local politician Lord Peter Hain supported the proposal in The House of Commons to grant a blanket pardon to the men and subsequently wrote the foreword to Mr King’s book “Shot at Dawn.”

Captain Huw Williams MBE DL of the 157 (Welsh) Regiment Royal Logistics Corp who was responsible for instigating the service said “It is important that we remember The Fallen of past wars and conflicts. Pte Jones did not receive any recognition of the sacrifice that he gave during the Great War, particularly after he was shot at dawn. The recognition, remembrance and gratitude only followed after a Royal Pardon was issued for all 306 personnel who were shot at dawn. Mr King should be applauded for the campaign that he led to enable this pardon to be put in place and for Pte Jones’ name to be added to the War Memorial in Glynneath.”

The memorial service will take place at the Glynneath Memorial Site, Glynneath Miner’s Welfare Park, Glynneath at 10.40am on Saturday 30th September 2023.

Present at the Service will be the First Minister Mr Mark Drakeford, the Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan Mrs Louise Fleet CStj, JP together with other dignitaries.