David was born on the 5th May1893 in Dymeirchion, Flintshire, to John and Ellen Griffiths. He was their ninth child. ( 1891 Census Wales shows he had 4 older brothers and 4 older sisters all living at home). The mother Ellen died in 1901 when David was about 7 years old.
The 1901 census records David living in Rhuallt Chapel House with his family. The father, John had recently been widowed. He was employed as a roadsman for the Rural District Council. Also listed in the household on the census form were his children Robert 25, a Teamsman on a Farm, William 15 was a Grocer’s Carter. Anne aged 20 was married. David was 7. Also living there was Dinah Jones aged 32 the sister- in-law of widower John. She was listed as ‘housekeeper’.
John married his sister in law Dinah in about 1902. The 1911 census records the family still at Rhuallt. John was 68 and still repairing roads. His wife of 9 years, Dinah was 43. She had by then given birth to 3 children all named on the census (Mary Ellen 8, Phoebe 7 and Joseph 5) David was 17 and was a Houseman – Domestic.
UK Soldiers Who died in The Great war 1914 -19 accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk confirms all the military details at the top of this page and adds that he had been born in Tremeirchion, resided in St Asaph. and enlisted in Rhyl. This source tells us he was killed in action in France/Flanders.
His medal Index card, also on ancestry lists his three medals. It says his first theatre of war was France and he entered it on the 5th December 1915. The card says he was killed in action between the 10th and 12th July 1916.
David Griffith’s Army Service Records have survived and are on Ancestry. He enlisted in Rhyl and he signed his Attestation Papers on the 23rd February 1915 in Llandudno. He was 21years and 2 months old and he gave his address as Chapel house Rhuallt, St Asaph. His occupation was ‘Labourer’. A medical report at the time says he was 5 feet 9 and a half inches tall, weighed 11 stones 9lbs and had a 37 inch chest with an expansion range of 2 inches. His teeth needed some attention but his vision was good. He was accepted for, the 17th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers – part of the 38th (Welsh) Infantry Division of The British Army. His regimental number was 25420. He named his father as his next of kin.
He embarked from Southamton for Fance on 4th December 1915. He was promoted regularly during the next months. He was appointed to Lance Corporal on the 3rd June 1916 and promoted to Corporal at the end of August that year. In December 1915 he became a Lance Sergeant and was a full Sergeant by the 15th February 1916. It wasn’t all plain sailing and promotions. He had a septic toe in January 1916 which put him out of action for a few days and on the 23rd March 1916 he had a reprimand for ‘Improper Conduct (ie not having proper equipment on Forward Area)’.
In June 1916 he marched with his battalion to the Western Front and engaged in the attack on Mametz Wood where he was fatally injured at some point between the 10th and the 12th July. Mametz Wood was the objective of the Division during the First battle of the Somme. The attack occurred in a Northerly direction over a ridge, between the 7th – 12th July 1916. By 12th July, the wood was effectively cleared of the enemy but the Welsh Division had lost about 4000 men, killed or wounded in this searing engagement. Sergeant David Griffiths was one of those killed.
The Army records include correspondence with Mrs Dinah Griffiths , his stepmother, concerning the receipt of personal property, medals, plaque and scroll.
A stunning Welsh Dragon Memorial to the 38th (Welsh) Division overlooks the area where the Division attacked Mametz Wood