Nantyglo tribute to most-decorated Welsh NCO
12:10pm Friday 15th March 2013 in News
TRIBUTE: Cllr Mike James, Mayor Elect of Nantyglo &Blaina Town Council, Cllr Graham Bartlett, Mayor of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Mr John Henry Williams, Mrs Shirley Daly and Mrs Ann Page, grandchildren of CSM John Henry Williams
NANTYGLO and Blaina Town Council commemorated the 60th anniversary of the death of the most decorated Welsh non-commissioned officer of all time, Company Sergeant Major John (Jack) Henry Williams, last week.
The event was at the Wesley Chapel, Nantyglo, on March 6 and featured the Ebbw Vale Male Choir and 275 Squadron ATC Corps of Drums.
CSM Williams was born in Nantyglo in November 1866 and was decorated for bravery on several occasions culminating in his receipt of the Victoria Cross, the UK’s highest award for gallantry.
In November 1914 Williams left his job as a colliery blacksmith and enlisted in the 10th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, and was promoted to Sergeant in January 1915. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for ‘most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty’, after an attack on Villers Outreaux, France, on October 7 1918.
During the attack he realised his company was suffering heavy casualties from an enemy machine gun, and ordered a Lewis gun to engage it, while he went forward, under heavy fire, to the flank of the enemy post which he rushed single handed, capturing fifteen of the enemy.
CSM Williams was medically discharged from the army on 17 October 1918 after being severely wounded by shrapnel in the right arm and leg.
In 1919 he received the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal and Bar from King George V, the first time he decorated the same man four times in one day.
The grandchildren of CSM Williams, John Henry Williams from Chepstow, Shirley Daly from Weston Super Mare and Ann Page from Maidstone, all attended the memorial event last week and unveiled a new plaque in honour of their grandfather.