A NEW bridge in Blaenau Gwent could be named after one of the most decorated World War One soldiers.

The Welsh Government say they want to honour John Henry Williams, better known as Jack, by naming the new thrust arch bridge of the A465 Section 2 dualling scheme from Brynmawr to Gilwern after him.

The Great War hero, who was born in Ebbw Vale in September 1886, was decorated four times for his bravery during the conflict. The Victoria Cross was among the honours awarded to him.

Dominating the most westerly part of Clydach Gorge, the huge bridge which could be named after him spans 118-metres, crossing from north to south, with the A465 split-level carriageway below.

It also crosses the gorge, which is considered one of south Wales’ most important environmental and ecologically sensitive areas.

South Wales Argus:

Costain workers, who worked on the new bridge, at its official opening previously

Costain’s Bruce Richards said: “Both we and the Welsh Government know a bridge of this stature deserves a name symbolising the heritage and culture of the area in which it sits. We have spoken to the many visitors who have come to watch the progress of the construction of this bridge about the idea to honour Jack, and there was strong support.”

Cabinet secretary for economy and transport, Ken Skates AM added: “Jack Williams was a true hero and naming such an iconic bridge built in the area he lived after him is a fitting tribute to a man whose name should never be forgotten.”

“This connection with Jack will create a lasting legacy for generations to enjoy. That we can do it in the centenary year of the end of World War One, marking almost exactly 100 years since Jack acted so bravely, is very moving.”

Company Sgt Maj Williams’ citation for the Victoria Cross described his heroic deeds.

It says: “For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty on the night of October 7 and 8, 1918, during the attack on Villers Outreaux, when, observing that his company was suffering heavy casualties from an enemy machine gun, he ordered a Lewis Gun to engage it, and went forward, under heavy fire, to the flank of the enemy post which he rushed single handed, capturing 15 of the enemy.

“These prisoners, realising that Williams was alone, turned on him and one of them gripped his rifle. He succeeded in breaking away and bayonetting five enemy, whereupon the remainder again surrendered. By this gallant action and total disregard of personal danger, he was the means of enabling not only his own company but also those on the flanks to advance.”

Earlier this year, the Argus reported how family members of the Company Sgt Maj  travelled to Nantyglo for a memorial stone unveiling to commemorate his Victoria Cross award. 

South Wales Argus:

A final decision on the official name of the new bridge is yet to be made, with the Welsh Government and Costain calling for  residents to have their say – either in support of Jack Williams, or an alternative - at surveymonkey.co.uk/r/26KTKSQ