Welshmen fought all along the Western Front during the First World War, not only in Welsh Regiments but also in other British and Commonwealth units. Their exploits are legion and diverse; they include fighting in the trenches, fighting in the air and in the underground war. Our Welsh on the Western Front tour encapsulate these exploits drawing on the stories of heroic deeds carried out by Welshmen in battle, not just those in the infantry, but those in the other Arms and Services too.
Inevitably when one thinks of the Welsh on the Western Front one is drawn to the 38th (Welsh) Division, the Welsh New Army division championed by David Lloyd George. They had their baptism of fire in the epic struggle at Mametz Wood during the Battle of the Somme and a year later took part in the assault along the Pilckem Ridge at the beginning of the Third Battle of Ypres. In 1918 the division attacked several fortified German positions during the German Spring Offensive and the subsequent Allied Hundred Days Offensive; crossing the River Ancre, braking through the Hindenburg Line and German positions on the River Selle, to end the war on the Belgian frontier.
Welshmen served with distinction in the air including: Captain James Ira Thomas 'Taff' Jones DSO, MC, DFC & Bar, MM who scored 37 victories in just 3 months whilst flying an SE5 with 74 Squadron in France; and Lieutenant T Rees who was acting as observer for his friend L B F Morris on 17 September 1916 when they were shot down by the Red Baron to become his first victim.
Many Welsh miners found themselves serving on the Western Front in the underground war. Forty thousand South Wales miners volunteered for service in the First World War and by mid April 1915 about a quarter of the UK's miners had enlisted. In some mines the shifts had to be reduced from three to two per day and eventually the government was forced to take measures to stop miners leaving the industry for fear coal output would collapse. One notable Welsh miner was Captain Arthur Edwards, a mining engineer who served in the 2nd Battalion of the Monmouthshire Regiment who was awarded the Military Cross and twice mentioned in despatches for gallant and distinguished service.
Many Welsh Battalions distinguished themselves during the First World War fighting on the Western Front:
The Royal Welsh Fusiliers [RWF] — The RWF raised 39 Battalions, was awarded 77 battle honours and 8 Victoria Crosses in the First World War. Of these the 1st Battalion, 2nd Battalion, 1/4th (Denbighshire) Battalion, 1/5th (Flintshire) Battalion, 1/6th (Carnarvonshire & Anglesey) Battalion, 1/7th (Merioneth & Montgomery) Battalion, 9th (Service) Battalion, 10th (Service) Battalion, 11th (Service) Battalion, 13th (Service) Battalion (1st North Wales), 14th (Service) Battalion, 15th (Service) Battalion (1st London Welsh), 16th (Service) Battalion, 17th (Service) Battalion (2nd North Wales), 19th (Service) Battalion, 24th (Denbighshire Yeomanry) Battalion and 25th (Montgomery & Welsh Horse Yeomanry) Battalion all served on the Western Front. Within its ranks it had several notable authors, including; David Jones (both a painter and one of the first-generation British modernist poets), Siegfried Sassoon (an English poet, writer who greatly influenced the work of Wilfred Owen), Robert Graves (an English poet, scholar/translator/writer) and the Welsh-language poet Hedd Wyn, who was killed at Ypres in 1917.
The South Wales Borderers [SWB] — The SWB raised 19 Battalions, was awarded 64 Battle Honours and 6 Victoria Crosses in the First World War. Of these the 1st Battalion, 2nd Battalion, 5th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers), 6th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers), 10th (Service) Battalion (1st Gwent), 11th (Service) Battalion (2nd Gwent) and 12th (Service) Battalion (3rd Gwent) all served on the Western Front during the First World War. The SWB lost 5,600 men during the course of the war.
The Welsh Regiment — The Welsh Regiment raised 36 Battalions, was awarded 71 Battle Honours and 3 Victoria Crosses during the First World War. Of these the 1st Battalion, 2nd Battalion, 1/6th (Glamorgan) Battalion, 9th (Service) Battalion, 10th (Service) Battalion (1st Rhondda), 13th (Service) Battalion (1st Rhondda), 14th (Service) Battalion (Swansea), 15th (Service) Battalion (Carmarthenshire), 16th (Service) Battalion (Cardiff City), 17th (Service) Battalion (1st Glamorgan), 18th (Service) Battalion (2nd Glamorgan), 19th (Service) Battalion (Glamorgan Pioneers) and 24th (Pembroke & Glamorgan Yeomanry) Battalion all served on the Western Front. The Welsh Regiment lost 8,360 men during the course of the war.
The Monmouthshire Regiment — The Monmouthshire Regiment raise 10 Battalions and received 25 Battle honours in the First World War. Of these the 1/1st Battalion, 1/2nd Battalion and 1/3rd Battalion served on the Western Front.
Our In The Footsteps® tour of the Welsh on the Western Front usually begins in the Somme, but can easily be reversed, and typically takes in the important Welsh locations of the Somme and the Ypres Salient.
The typical cost for a 3-day /3-night tour covering the Welsh on the Western Front is £850.00 per person.*.
* This price per person is based upon a minimum of 2 people, and no more than 8, travelling in a dedicate tour vehicle driven by our expert Battlefield Guide.
All of our Flexi-date tours are fully customisable to allow you to see the sites that are most important to you. Where changes to the standard itinerary are made there may be an additional charge to cover the associated additional costs.
To book your tour click on the button which will take you to our Enquiry Form.
Deposit required £200.00 per person. See our Terms & Conditions.