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Aber Valley Heritage Museum
Gwern Avenue
Senghenydd
CF83 4HA
Tel: 02920 830445
E-mail:  senghen.heritage@btconnect.com

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Our Valley’s Forgotten Hero

30.03.2016

Flight Sergeant Ronald Michael Anderson LevisWe have recently made a discovery regarding a young man” killed in action” in January 1942 and whose name is not among the other brave men remembered on the Senghenydd War Memorial WW2 Plaque. He is Flight Sergeant Ronald Michael Anderson Levis, who lived with his family at the School House, Senghenydd, his father being the School Caretaker at that time. 

All this came about when we “older members” of the Community were reminiscing about “Carroll Levis and his Discoveries”, Carroll had a well known popular radio and TV show in the early 1950’s showcasing new talent. He often visited his uncle in Senghenydd, which several of us as young children remembered seeing him driving up the hill in his” big white car”.  A senior member of our community aged 95 remembered the Levis’s and told us about the family and of the son, Ronald, who was killed in action earlier on in the War.

Information from the MOD (Air Historical Branch) explained that Ronald served in 210 Sqn, regarded as a Welsh Sqn located at a flying boat base in Pembroke Dock until 1941 when it moved to Oban, Scotland in order to cover the North Atlantic Convoys.  At this time Ronald was serving as a Wireless Electrical Mechanic/Air Crew and on 11 January1942 he was flying as part of the crew of Consolidated Catalina Serial AN547.  The crew had been tasked with undertaking a convoy escort and were taking off from the Oban Alighting Area when the aircraft started to “porpoise” (bouncing off the waves).

Tragically, the pilot was unable to recover from the “porpoising” and the aircraft stalled, struck the water and sunk.  Sadly of the nine man crew, three were killed immediately and Flt Sgt Ronald Levis died from his injuries later in the day. The remaining crew members survived.  Ronald is buried at Penyrheol Cemetery, Nr Caerphilly along with his Grandmother and mother. The reasons why his name was not included on the War Memorial are unclear, however we have since discovered that when a new Dwarf Screen and Lecturn were installed in St Peter’s Church, Senghenydd circa 1960 his name was included with seven others on a small brass plaque as their families worshipped there. 

The Heritage Group, together with the Community Council agree his name must be included on the War Memorial. In 23years time we will be encouraged to commemorate the outbreak of WW2 so we believe it is fitting for us to act now to ensure that his name is there for all to see amongst those others who also gave the ultimate sacrifice for their Country.

Caerphilly County Borough Council have already refurbished the War Memorial and Ronald’s name is presently being included on the WW2 Marble Plaque. Arrangements are  being made to hold a Re-dedication Service on Sunday 8th May (Anniversary of VE day) in the area around the Monument.  Further details will be published as soon as all confirmed.
 

PASSCHENDAELE (THIRD BATTLE OF YPRES)

A typical act of bravery took place on 17th August 1917 when Sgt Gilbert Lloyd, (Senghenydd), South Wales Borderers who, together with five others soldiers, held an isolated position until his battalion had been relieved and then brought out their wounded whilst still under fire.

He was awarded the MM at a local ceremony held on “The Rec” in August 19, 1919.  At this same ceremony where the villagers turned out in their thousands to see Colonel H E Morgan Lindsay, CB, DSO award the decorations to Sgt Lloyd and the men and also to the families of those Killed in Action (KIA). All listed below.

Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)   Military Medal (MM)

Cpl. Tom Locke Sapper Robert Jackson

Pte. William Higgs Bdr. H C Fleet

Dvr. R G Taylor

Gnr. David Davies

Sgt. King Humphries

Pte. Syd Edwards

 

Distinguished Conduct Medal Military Cross (MC)

Sgt. T H Brown (KIA) Lt. J A Roberts(KIA)

(accepted by his wife) (accepted by his father)

Photo of Sgt Gilbert Lloyd

 

Wounded on three occasions before winning the MM in 1917.  Became a

 

Lieutenant in Home Guard, Aber and

and Senghenydd Platoon 1940-46.

Secretary of local Ex-Servicemen’s

Club for over 50 years.