Ystalyfera Fallen

War Graves & Remembrance Graves

Andre Kies

The information on Andre Kies has been compiled from a number of sources, including E. 'Skip' Morgan's memoirs of scouting in the area, 'Still Glow The Embers', and with grateful thanks to archivist Annick Vandenbilcke of the Research Centre of the Field Museum (Belgian Army) in Flanders, Belgium.

Andre Kies is remembered on the Ystalyfera County School War Memorial and the St. David's Church Scouts Memorial, but not on the Ystalyfera War Memorial. This is probably due to his having been a Belgian refugee, and not strictly a native of Ystalyfera.

NameAndré Henri Kies
Date of Death26th July 1918, at 3am
Place of DeathDied at Death's Head Trench Belgium
Bikschote (Smiske, hearingpost Catinat)
Age at Death19
Unit and RegimentBelgian Army; 23 regiment, attack unit (24 regiment/1 comp)
RankPrivate, 2nd class, volunteer, patroller
Service Number123 (124) 607
Additional InformationWar refugee - see below
Born Ostende 14/01/1899. Lived in Ostende in Kapellestreet 82. Andre was unmarried.
Killed by a bullet but was also stabbed by a bayonet. He was decorated with several medals.
Cemetery  West Vleteren Military Cemetery Grave No. 1360 on 31/07/1918.
Later reburied at Ostende Municipal Cemetery. 
Local Memorials Ystalyfera County School War Memorial
Scouts Memorial, Saint David's Church, Ystalyfera
Book = Ystalyfera County School THE FIRST 50 YEARS
Family DetailsSon of Hubert KIES and Maria Louisa (nee Zwaenepoel.) of Kapellestreet 82, Ostend, Belgium.
Parents remained in Belgium.
He was unmarried
Known BrothersJean Kies
Known Sisters

Annick Vandenbilcke Kindly translated and supplied the above Military Details from the Archives at the "In Flanders Fields Museum" in Ieper (Ypres)

Swansea Valley researcher, Val Trevallion of YEARGroup, writes:-

So far I have had no luck in researching the servicemen who served with the Belgian Army but the other day I was advised to read the book written by E. Morgan "Still Glow the Embers". The book can be still purchased but I found that Ystradgynlais Library have a copy albeit for reference use only.

I knew Pte. A. KIES was a Scout because his name appears on the marble memorial tablet hung in St. David's Church Ystalyfera. But in Chapter three Page 49 of the book there is a section on the Belgian refugees and quite remarkably a paragraph on the KIES brothers.

"The troop's first continental trip was most successful and one result of the camp in Belgium was the formation of the 1st Ostende Troop of Scouts. A friendship was struck with the Belgian boys, which was to result in a visit to Wales. The Ostende Troop was due to arrive at Cwmgiedd for a Camp there in August 1914 to be followed by a Hike Camp down the Wye Valley.

The idea, of course, had to be cancelled when Belgium was overrun by the German Army. Some Belgian boys however, did pay us a visit but not as happy campers but as poor miserable War Refugees. Three of these lads who were with us at the Cwmgiedd camp became the guests of Captain Woodliffe at Ystalyera and became honorary members of the Troop at Varteg.

These were Andre and Jean KIES and Marcel Germompre..."

The Chapter goes on to tell the story how the three of them had received a letter from Capt. Woodliffe telling them that if the situation became worse then they should make their way over to Wales and stay with him at Ystalyfera. Apparently after leaving their parents in Belgian all three did catch the Red Cross ship to England but at Folkestone a Scout Committee for Refugees took charge of them and refused to let them go on to Ystalyfera, a place the Committee had never heard of!!!!

After several unsuccessful attempts at reaching Ystalyfera they finally arrived at the station to be met by Mr. Will Woodliffe for Capt. Woodliffe had been ordered to Aden two days before. Marcel Stayed with Mr. Woodliffe and his two friends stayed with Mr. Jim Griffiths the Bank Manager.

"The three boys went to Ystalyfera Grammar School. Marcel volunteered for the Belgian Army and a short time after Andre Kies joined up. Marcel was captured and became a prisoner-of-war. Andre was with a unit in an advanced position and was killed at a spot known as Death's Head Trench."

In addition, the Labour Voice newspaper had the following notice on Andre Kies' death in its edition of 17th August 1918.

Additional particulars have now been received concerning the death of Private Andre Kies, whose death, whilst serving with the Belgian Army, we reported in our last issue. In a communication received by Mr Griff Griffiths, Capital and Counties Bank, it is stated that he was with a party of Belgians who had raided the German lines, and who were returning with prisoners. The party was given some trouble by a sniper and Pte. Kies left the party with the object of capturing the German. He was, however, shot in the thigh in making his gallant attempt, and died from loss of blood after being brought back to hospital. In recognition of his gallantry, the honour of the Knighthood of the Order of Leopold, and the Croix do Guerre, had been confirmed upon him. He was buried in a Belgian cemetery, and the funeral party included five of Andre's schoolmates, together with a large number of officers.

'Still Glow The Embers' by E. 'Skip' Morgan can be purchased online:

Still Glow The Embers at Amazon

Still Glow The Embers at Mollie's Loft

Still Glow The Embers at Abe Books

Another copy at Abebooks

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