War memorials at Brecon Cathedral

PWMP logobutton_lang_welshWar memorials at Brecon Cathedral

The Havard Chapel in Brecon Cathedral contains numerous memorials to members of the armed forces. It was built in the 14th century as the private chapel of the Havard family of Pontwilym (north of Brecon). The family crest is still visible on the chapel floor.

A relatively recent member of the family, William Thomas Havard (1889-1956), is commemorated by a plaque in the chapel. He was a South Wales Borderers chaplain in the First World War, and later Bishop of St Asaph and Bishop of St Davids.

In 1922 the chapel was dedicated to the Brecon-based 24th Regiment of the South Wales Borderers in a ceremony attended by more than 500 people who had lost relatives in the war. In the chapel you can see a slate memorial to the 5,777 men and officers of the SWB who died in the war.

A plaque commemorates five Breconshire police officers who died in the war - see below for their details. There’s also a Roll of Honour for men from St John’s Parish who served in the war (the cathedral was then the parish church).

Another memorial lists members of the SWB who won the Victoria Cross or George Cross, Britain’s highest honours for valour, in the First World War. They include VCs Private James Henry Fynn (d.1917 aged 23), Sgt Albert White (d.1917 aged 23), Sgt Albert Rees, Company Sgt-Mjr JH Williams, Lt-Col David Burges, Lt-Col Dudley Graham Johnson and Capt Angus Buchanan (blinded by war wounds).

There are several memorials in the chapel to SWB officers who died in the First World War, including Capt Willie Ross, who was badly injured in the 1915 Gallipoli landings (Turkey) and killed in action in Belgium in 1917. He had married Mary Hooton in Brecon in 1907. Another plaque commemorates Lt Col Franklin Macaulay Gillespie, killed by a sniper’s bullet at Gallipoli in 1915. He left his wife Agnes (of Newtown’s wealthy Pryce-Jones family) and their three children.

A separate memorial is dedicated to air ace Richard Aveline Maybery, who was born a few metres from here and died in action above Bourlon Wood, France, in December 1917, after winning the Military Cross and Bar for his feats of bravery in the air. Click here for our page in his memory.

Members of the SWB’s 3rd Battalion are commemorated by a stained glass window, unveiled in 1924.

Look up to see the SWB Colours (flags), some of which date back to the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879.

On the Havard Chapel’s central pillar you can see a memorial to the 1,025 men and officers of the SWB and Monmouthshire Regiment who died in the Second World War. They are also commemorated by the chapel’s pews and wood panelling.

Postcode: LD3 9DP    View Location Map


Breconshire Constabulary war memorial

The following police officers died in the First World War.

Where shown, click this icon for our page in memory of the person: Extra page icon

  • Davies, William, Lance Corporal 37119. Died 22/06/1916 aged 25. Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Commemorated on Loos Memorial. Son of David and Elizabeth Ann Davies, of Gilestone Cottage, Talybont-on-Usk.
  • Griffiths, Arthur Allan, Corporal 1319. Died 05/03/1917. Welsh Guards. Buried at Sailly-Saillisel British Cemetery. Was a police constable in Brecon, Builth and latterly Hay. Left a widow and three small children who lived at Heol y Dwr, Hay.
  • Hatcher, Edward, Private 1321. Died 10/09/1916. Welsh Guards. Buried at London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval. Was a police constable in Brecon and Llanwrtyd. Had earlier worked for opera singer Adelina Patti at Craig-y-Nos Castle. His widow, whom he married shortly before his death, lived in Llyswen.
  • Martin, Charles E, Gunner 57582. Died of wounds 16/01/1917. Royal Garrison Artillery. Buried at Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery. Lived at Oaklands, Builth.
  • Pitman, Thomas, Corporal 57583. Died 09/05/1918 aged 23. Royal Garrison Artillery. Son of Henry and Winifred Pitman, of Dorset House, Cwmllynfell, Swansea. Buried at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez. Was a police constable in Builth for a year.soldier icon
To continue the Brecon in WW1 tour, leave the Cathedral grounds. Go down Priory Hill. Turn right at The Struet. The next QR codes are on the RAFA Club, by the traffic lights
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