COLWYN BAY Football Club have supported the Living Memory Project, a joint campaign between The Football Association and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) to mark the 100th anniversary of the ending of the Battle of the Somme.
They laid a wreath in Old Colwyn cemetery in Llanelian Road at the grave of Flight Sergeant Ewell Daniell of 19th squadron Royal Flying Corps, who died exactly 100 years ago on November 3rd 1916 at the age of 26.
The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest in human history, commencing on 1st July 1916 and lasting 141 days. It finally ended on 18th November and resulted in over one million dead and wounded.
Many are buried in war graves in Northern France, but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission care for 300,000 graves and memorials across 12,000 locations across the United Kingdom and, with the FA, are encouraging football clubs to mark the event by visiting war graves in their community.
The Royal Flying Corps, who flew over enemy lines to take crucial reconnaissance photographs and drop over 290 tons of bombs, lost 800 aircraft and had over 250 crew killed during the battle.
Flt Sgt Ewell Daniell
Flt Sgt Daniell was born in Winnipeg, Canada, but came to Britain at the outbreak of World War 1 as a volunteer, and trained in the Colwyn Bay area, where he met local girl Hilda May Whitley. They were married at St John the Baptist Church in Old Colwyn in 1915 and lived on Wellington Road.
Sadly they had been married a little over a year when he was killed and he didn’t live to see the birth of his son in early in 1917.
It is believed the steering rod broke on the aircraft he was in and he tried unsuccessfully to wrestle the control off a companion who was gripped by fear and would not relinquish it. Both men died later in hospital from their injuries.
His body was returned to Old Colwyn and given a full military funeral.
His grave, where his wife (who never remarried) also lays after she passed away in 1940, had become totally overgrown and forgotten in recent years, but has recently been uncovered along with many others by local volunteers Friends of Llanelian Road Cemetery who have done a fantastic job tidying up the site and Sgt Daniell’s plot.
WW1 historian and researcher Lorraine Lister (North Wales Pals), who organised the event on behalf of the FA and CWGC, said: “He is a forgotten man – now remembered. A brave man who died trying to save another and we thank Colwyn Bay Football Club for helping to mark the 100th anniversary of his death at this special time of Remembrance. The players were a credit and absolutely in the spirit of the initiative the CWGC and Football Association are undertaking with clubs across the country.”
Players and officials at the Old Colwyn cemetery. Photo by Dave Thomas
The players with WW1 historian and researcher Lorraine Lister (dressed as a WW1 nurse) after laying the wreath in Old Colwyn cemetery.