William Lloyd was born in Bagillt, Flintshire during 1893.
The 1911 Census tells us that the family lived at 6 Neston View, Bagillt. The head of the family was Thomas Lloyd aged 48, who was employed as a Coal Miner. His wife Mary Ann Lloyd aged 55 and their three children – Sarah Ann Lloyd aged 21, Joseph Thomas Lloyd aged 19, who was a General Labourer and William Lloyd aged 18, who was a Blacksmith.
William Lloyd was an active member of the Bagillt Salem Welsh Congregational School and was well respected in the local community.
County Herald Newspaper – Friday 23 February 1917 – Fallen Bagillt Hero. We regret to announce the death at the front of Private William Lloyd, son of Mrs Lloyd, Neston View, Bagillt. Deceased was a member of the Salem Welsh Congregational Church and also had been Secretary of the Sunday School. Mrs Lloyd has received the following letters from the Chaplain of the deceased’s Regiment # ‘Dear Mrs Lloyd, It is with a feeling of deep sorrow and regret that I write to you concerning your sad loss. You will no doubt have had intimation from the War Office that uour son has been killed in action. I deemed it a great privilege to officiate at the burial service of so brave a young man. I had not the opportunity to come to know your dear son, and that was mainly because I have not been out here only a few days. But, I can testify that William Lloyd was beloved by his friends, and that he had earned the admiration and deep respect of his officers by his unstinted devotion to duty. He was always ready to do what he was asked to do. He was laid quietly to rest alongside of his many comrades who had fallen before him. A portion of the Holy Scriptures was read at the graveside, and all present joined in in saying the Lord’s Prayer, and a fervent prayer was offered up God, thanking him for his services and beseeching him to comfort and strengthen his many friends and relatives. May God help you, his dear mother, in this sad bereavement. Cymerwch gysur y mae Duw yn gofalu am danoch. Anything that I can do for you I shall be most willing to do so as far as it is possible’.
The deceased’s commanding officer wrote to William’s mother. The letter reads – Dear Mrs Lloyd. It is with the deepest regret I have to inform you that your son William has been killed in action. The most heartfelt sympathy of myself and other officers of his company is extended to you and all his relatives in this your bereavement, your sons death was instantaneous and he could not have felt any pain. The testimony of his comrades as to his courage and good fellowship will probably give you pleasure and this can be best given in their own words, which were ‘He was one of the coolest and best fellows in the Company and just the man to be with in a tight corner. He was as good as any of the old hands’. He died doing his duty and on behalf of the officers and men of his company, I again extend our sympathy to you in this loss.
He is also remembered on The North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch, Deiniol Road, Bangor, North Wales.
There is a Flintshire Roll of Honour Card for him at the County Archives Office, Hawarden, which had been completed by his father. Details of his medals were obtained from Ancestry.co.uk
William’s grave was visited by Geoffrey and Olive Mitchell on Saturday 26 July 2014. 54746. Private William Lloyd. Royal Welch Fusiliers. 6th February 1917. Age 24. Greater Love hath no man St. John XV.13
Essex Farm Cemetery, Ypres, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. There are 1200 Commonwealth Servicemen buried or commemorated here. It was in this very cemetery that Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army Medical Corps wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Field’ in May 1915. During the early days of the Second Battle of Ypres a young Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2 May 1915 in the gun positions near Ypres. An exploding German artillery shell landed near him. He was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as a friend of his, the Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae.
As the Brigade doctor, John McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Alexis because the chaplain had been called away somewhere else on duty that evening. It is believed that later the same evening after the burial, John began the draft for his now famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, which reads-
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn. saw sunset glow.
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be your to hold if high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields