James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants


Noel's CO commented: "We miss him very much, as he was so popular with all ranks" and Noel's Captain wrote: "It has been a terrible blow for us all. 'Ty', as we always called him, and myself were the best of friends. We have lost one of the truest of friends and a fine sportsman, and the men simply adored him; he was always so kind to them, and they knew they were dealing with a gentleman, a fearless officer, and one who would not send anyone where he would not go himself. I can only say that no officer has done finer work for his company, and his loss is being keenly felt by us all." (From Obituaries, Old Birkonian Society, p 25-26. The site describes the 24 Old Boys who were killed in WWI; your server may not show the young men's photographs).

Noel is buried in Zantvoorde British Cemetery, Zillebeke, Belgium, (grave number II. H. 9). His name appears on the Cenotaph in the Regimental Chapel of St. George in the Cathedral at Chester and on the Wallasey war memorial, at the entrance to Ward 7 of the hospital on Mill Lane, Wallasey. The latter, in the form of an engraved brass frame holding parchments, lists the men of Wallasey who lost their lives in the War. It was very moving to find myself standing by Noel's grave on Armistice Day, 2003, and later that day joining in a service of remembrance at the Menim Gate. His death was reported in the Wallasey and Wirral Chronicle of 12 October 1918, under the heading “DIED A NOBLE DEATH”:

The death in action is announced of Lieutenant W.N.D. Tyson, only son of the late Mr. W.J. Tyson and Mrs. Tyson of ‘Wynnfield’, Warren Drive, New Brighton, and grandson of the late Mr. John D. Tyson, insurance broker of Liverpool and Wallasey. Lieutenant Tyson was instantaneously killed by machine gun fire whilst leading his men in an attack. In a letter to his mother his commanding officer says:- He died a noble death, and by giving his life, without hesitation, undoubtedly saved heavy losses among his comrades. He was a gentleman and a fine soldier. Can any man be more? Lieutenant Tyson was educated at the Leas School, Hoylake, and at Birkenhead School. He was in his twenty-second year, and last January, when he attained his majority, he was made a junior partner in the old-established firm of Messrs. John D. Tyson and Co.

Noel left all his “real and personal property” to his sisters. A few personal possessions were subsequently returned to his mother and eventually the army paid out £105 10s 11d. He fought in some of the major engagements on the Western Front in 1917-18 before, like thousands of others, dying in Flanders; hence the choice of this well-known WWI poem, in his memory.