THE recent Argus commemorative supplement on the start of the Great War was compelling and educational. The article that caught my eye was on the Blackwood miner James Herbert Spencer, who enlisted to join one of the tunnelling regiments. But I like to point out that Another local miner took a similar route. His name was Moses Williams, and he was a resident of Argoed.
Williams was born in Gloucester in 1883, and moved to Argoed to seek employment in one of the local mines. He enlisted in Tredegar with The Royal Engineers 253rd Tunnelling Company, where he became a sapper.
The Royal Engineers 253rd Tunnelling Company was formed in January 1916, and its objectives were to dig tunnels and destroy enemy lines. The company consisted of men with mining expertise, and comprised all classes. Their work was dirty and highly dangerous, but quite highly paid.
By spring 1918, the 253rds were only used for construction work and infantry purposes. During March 28th 1918, The Royal Engineers 253rd Tunnelling Company, acting as emergency infantry, fought in the First Battle of Arras. On this day, the company suffered around 100 casualties, of which Sapper Williams was one. Sapper Williams is commemorated at Arras War Memorial in France.
W Thomas, Markham