James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

End of 10th (Service) Battalion

January saw the men a few kilometres southwest of Ypres employed in constructing a new corps reserve line and working on a light railway at Dickebusch followed by a week of specialist training and providing carrying parties to the front line at La Clytte. Two days in the support line at Stirling Castle was followed by several days in the front line. The trenches were in a bad way, often several feet deep in water, and extreme weather conditions made repairs difficult to execute. A week’s rest was followed by another three days in the front line and then in support. There was an opportunity for the officers and men to enjoy a concert, held with the assistance of the "Verey Lights". The end of January saw the men back at La Clytte. During the month Morgan received the DSO for his action during the Battle of Cambrai where, despite repeated attacks, he stood firm with his men for two days.

Morgan was at a Commanding Officers’ Conference at Flixecourt, his men in reserve, when, on 3 February, orders came through that the Battalion was to be disbanded. High command decreed that all infantry brigades be reduced from four to three battalions. The redistribution of men from the unfortunate battalions selected for disbandment brought the remaining battalion just about up to fighting strength but significantly reduced the size of each brigade. Having worked so hard to rebuild his men’s morale, Morgan must have been quite devastated when he returned on 12 February to learn of this. He was clearly saddened at the demise of such a fine fighting force. Nevertheless, he had to oversee the not inconsiderable task of winding up the battalion and redistributing its men. In general whole companies were reassigned to battalions of their own regiment and officers were allowed to choose which battalions they would go to. In the War Diary Morgan gave a brief account of the Battalion’s history and concluded with the assertion that his men had got over their horrific experiences at Cambrai. His final words were: SIC TRANSIT GLORIS MUNDI …. yet the Battalion’s memory will never die.

Morgan relinquished his temporary rank and was reattached to 11th R.B., which was boosted by the arrival of some of the men from the disbanded 10th R.B. 20th Division transferred to Vth Army, XVIIIth Corps in February and much of the Battalion’s time was occupied in training around Candor, between Noyon and Roye (map) until mid-March; the men were also able to enjoy some sports. Officers frequently reconnoitred the battle zone to the west of St Quentin. And intelligence reports suggested the Germans were about to mount a major assault. 11th RB marched about 8 km north to Ognolles where it spent the night of 20 March; 20th Brigade was preparing to man the rear zone defences from St. Simon to Trefcon.