Llewellyn Griffith was born in Hillmorton and baptised there on 21st Feb 1897. His parents were John and Sarah Ann (nee Wolfe) who married in Hillmorton Parish Church on 11th Dec 1873. Llewellyn was the youngest of nine children and his father was a railway labourer. Soon after his birth the family moved to 74 South Street, Rugby where John worked on the railway. By 1911 John was employed as a boiler cleaner. Llewellyn, aged 14 was an engine cleaner, like his elder brother Albert. Other members of the family worked for B.T.H including Llewellyn’s sixteen year old sister Lily.
Llewellyn Griffith must have joined the 7th Bn, King’s Royal Rifle Corps (No. R/1651) near the start of the war; perhaps he is the L Griffiths in the list of volunteers from the Locomotive Department of the L & N-W Railway at Rugby published in the Rugby Advertiser of 5th September 1914.
In another report published in October 1915, he writes to Mr Hodges, headmaster of Murray School:
“Rifleman L Griffith, 7th K.R.R Corps, has also written to Mr Hodges, and states that the Rugby boys remaining in the Battalion are quite well. He adds : I am glad to see that the Old Murray Boys have responded well to the call. The Old Boys have not disgraced the school’s name.”
(Rugby Advertiser, 16 October, 1915)
By September 1916 the 7th Bn, Kings Royal Rifle Corps had taken part in many actions, including the Battle of Hooge in 1915, the first division to be attacked with flamethrowers. Now they were at the Somme. At 11.45 pm on 14th September the Battalion “moved up to Delville Wood and took up its position in artillery formation in the front of the wood at 1am” At 6.20 they left their trenches and attacked ” ‘Tanks’
which were used for the first time came up on the Bn’s right flank … but were unable to take their objective owing to M. G. fire on both flanks.” There was confusion on returning to trenches “owing to some of the 42nd IB returning to our trenches and many of the 7th KRR going forward with the 42nd IB.” Heavy shelling continued all day and “they remained until the following evening being shelled the whole time.” At 7 pm they received orders to retire.
Casualties: 12 officers and the Medical officer, other ranks: Killed 21, Wounded 189, Missing 120. “Great Gallantry was shown by all ranks”
This is probably the action in which Rifleman Llewellyn Griffith was injured. He died of wounds on 18th September 1916 at the No 1 New Zealand Hospital and was buried at St Pierre Cemetery, Amiens.
In the Register of Soldiers’ Effects Llewellyn’s sole legatee is named as his sister Lily, perhaps because their father John Griffith had died in 1914. Lily Griffith married John Mawby in 1917. This perhaps led to the confusion in the CWGC record which names Rifleman L Griffith as the son of Mrs Manby, of 74 South Street, Rugby.
He is listed on the Rugby Steam Shed Plaque as well as Rugby Memorial Gates.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM