Orme grave of David Cynddelw Williams
Born and educated in Aberystwyth, David Cynddelw Williams’ first appointment was as pastor of Saron church in Penygroes, near Caernarfon, in 1902.
At the outbreak of the First World War, he joined the Army Chaplain’s Department and was one of only 14 Welsh Calvinistic ministers to serve. In September 1915 he was attached to a battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers serving at the Somme in France.
A short distance from the front line at Courcelles, David turned an old barn “with a shell-shattered roof and a hole or two in the walls” into a chapel. Here he held his Sunday service and after prayers and a reading held a “cymanfa ganu” (collective singing session). It was reported that soldiers of all nationalities came from afar to hear hymns sung in Welsh.
While some padres remained in First Aid posts and dressing stations a long way from danger, David accompanied his battalion to the front line. He was awarded the Military Cross for helping to rescue and tending to wounded soldiers under intense fire on a number of occasions. He was remembered by many of them for the great work he did, for “his tenderness, his care for their spiritual well-being, and his manliness in the face of every danger on the battlefield”.
In October 1917 he returned to Wales. His connections with the military continued, and he went to Kinmel Park Camp near Bodelwyddan. He officiated at the unveiling of Penmaenmawr War Memorial in 1925.
In later years David settled in Llandudno and was chaplain of the local branch of the ToC H Club. Toc H was a network of social clubs which grew from the original facility on the First World War battlefields. He continued his pastoral duties until his death in 1942.