On October 28th 1905, 13-year-old Thomas Williams was admitted into membership of this chapel. Tom lived at Cwmdu cottage, about a mile and a half from here on the road up to the Begwns, with his parents Edwin and Elizabeth and his 4 younger brothers and sisters. Edwin and Elizabeth were also members here, and you can find their graves in the burial ground outside. However, you will not find Tom’s grave there…..

When the war started in 1914 Tom joined the 2nd battalion of the South Wales Borderers and saw action in Gallipoli where he was wounded. Once he and his unit were evacuated from Turkey, they were sent to northern France and were soon pushed into the front line. He was home on leave in June 1916, when he reported that he was quite well and there were more opportunities to sleep away from the front line in France than in Gallipoli. The Somme offensive began once he returned to the front line in August and continued into autumn. Then in October Tom’s family received news, which was later reported in the Brecon and Radnor Express of 19th October 1916:

We deeply regret to announce the death of Pte. Tom Williams, S.W.B., son of Mr and Mrs Williams, Cwmdu, which took place on the 3rd inst. in France. He was 24 and had been through the Gallipoli campaign and slightly wounded. A shell burst near him on the morning in question with almost instantaneous fatal results to Williams and a comrade. Williams is spoken very highly of by the officer who communicated the sad news to his parents. Deep sympathy is felt for them.

A short time later on the 9th November, the B&R carried the following report:

The memorial service at Maesyronnen, in commemoration of the death of Pte. Tom Williams, S.W.B., whilst fighting for his king and country in France last month was very largely attended. The old edifice was filled with a devout and attentive congregation, who assembled to pay their tribute of respect to the young soldier and his family, who were all members of the church at Maesyronnen. The parents, Mr and Mrs Williams (Cwmdu) and the children, including Pte. George Williams, K.S.L.I. (brother of the deceased, on leave from Shrewsbury) and other near relations, formed the mourners. The service, which was most impressive, was conducted by Rev. W. Jones (pastor), who spoke words of consolation and hope to the bereaved. The departed was only 24 years old, and, said the minister, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Special hymns were sung, Mr Roger Prosser presiding at the organ


Tom was buried in the military cemetery at Vlamertinghe in southern Belgium next to his comrade. Whilst Tom’s grave may not be here at Maesyronnen, he is with us every week - his name is on a small brass plaque on one of the benches, along with the name of our other war casualty William Edward Jones who died in 1918
18464 Pte Thomas Williams, 2nd Bn South Wales Borderers