Ystalyfera Fallen

War Graves & Remembrance Graves

William Jones Hopkin

The information on William Jones Hopkin has been compiled from a number of sources, including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the archives of the Llais local newspaper, and detail upon local memorials.

William Jones Hopkin is remembered on the Ystalyfera County School War Memorial


NameWilliam Jones Hopkin
Date of Death8th October 1916, died of wounds
Place of DeathWestern Front; France
Age at Death26
Unit and RegimentEast Yorkshire Regiment; 11th Bn.
RankSecond Lieutenant
Service Number?
Personal InformationSon of Daniel HOPKIN (Born Llangyfelach 1864) Coal miner and Publican and Catherine HOPKIN (Born Llangyfelach 1861-Died pre 1911) Brynffynone, Craigcefnparc, Clydach-on-Tawe, Glam. / Formerly Colliers Arms. Prior to War employed as Schoolmaster at Pontardawe
Cemetery  ST. VENANT COMMUNAL CEMETERY - FRANCE; II. K. 2.
Local Memorials Ystalyfera County School War Memorial
Clydach. St. Mary's Church, Clydach
Clydach War Memorial Hospital Quarr Road Clydach
Book = Ystalyfera County School THE FIRST 50 YEARS
Known BrothersNoah Daniel HOPKIN (Born Llangyfelach 1893) Collier Hewer
David John HOPKIN (Born Llangyfelach 1896) Miner
Hopkin HOPKIN (Born Llangyfelach 1897)
Tom E HOPKIN (Born Llangyfelach 1902)
Known SistersHannah HOPKIN (Born Llangyfelach 1900)

From the Cambrian Daily Leader newspaper 9th October 1916:-

LOCAL CASUALTIES
PONTADAWE OFFICIER KILLED

News reached Clydach on Sunday of the death from wounds of Second Lieutenant W Jones Hopkins of a Yorkshire regiment, of Craigcefnparc.

Second Lieutenant Hopkins enlisted in the RWF but on being granted a commission was transferred. Prior to the war he was an assistant school master at Pontardawe. He played Rugby for Cardiff University and Pontardawe. He also assisted the All Whites in several matches. He was 27 years of age and single.

From the Labour Voice newspaper 14th Occtober 1916:-

Page 4

Quite a gloom was cast over the village of Craigcefnparc on Sunday last when the tragic intelligence became known that Lieutenant W Jones Hopkin of the East Yorkshire Regiment had passed away from the effects of severe wounds received in action in France. The deceased officer, who was only 27 years of age, was a thorough sportsman and was very popular throughout the Swansea Valley. Engaged as an assistant master at the Pontardawe Council School prior to the outbreak of war, he soon patriotically responded to his King and country's call to arms and enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Some time later he was granted a commission as second lieutenant and was transferred to the East Yorks. With which regiment he was drafted out to the front some months ago. He was an active and familiar figure on the rugby football field, being a centre three quarter player of admirable dash and resource. He had played for Cardiff University College, Neath, Pontardawe and had also assisted Swansea on several occasions. The sincerest sympathy and condolence of his host of intimate friends in the Swansea Valley are extended to his bereaved father and relatives.

From the Labour Voice newspaper 14th October 1916:-

TRIBUTE BY HEADMASTER

Mr J Walter Jones B.A., Maesydderwen County School, Ystradgynlais writes:

I cannot allow the death of William Jones Hopkin to go by without writing some small tribute to his memory. It is now about 14 years since I taught him first at the Ystalyfera County School, he was then, as he continued to the end, a somewhat shy boy, not over forward in his words but exceedingly willing and of a very fine and generous disposition. Craigcefnparc and its neighbourhood brought some fine boys to the school but never any better metal than Hopkin. He soon shone on the field and is probably to be ranked among the half-dozen finest athletes the school ever turned out. I doubt whether he ever felt any greater satisfaction at any game than when near the end of the grim and gruelling game against Maesydderwen School, he landed a goal from near half way, which gave his side the victory. It was a lovely kick and "even the ranks of Tuscany could scarce forbear to cheer." He was a thoroughly clean player, chivalrous and sporting in the best sense of the word.

I did not meet him often after he left the school but it was always a pleasure to do so, his smile was so genial and his manner so pleasant. From his fellow students I heard good reports of him, and I found that they all joined in pronouncing him a real good sort. Had the war not broken out I feel confident he would have secured international honours at his favourite game.

I was not at all surprised to hear he had joined the Army. He was just the fine noble sort to do so. I met him twice in khaki; the last time (alas that it should have been so in the other sense) he was on leave from Yorkshire and I do not think a finer looking officer could have been seen anywhere than he. Tall, upright, smart of movement and graceful of gesture, he smiled sunnily showing a perfect set of white teeth. When I heard he had fallen this was the picture that I saw. How grim the contrast. Poor Hopkin! And yet why should we say so? Is life to be measured solely by its length? Hopkins lived to be 78 is quite possible he might not have achieved the glory has now 27 attained. No, we must remember what a noble lady said when her brilliant and promising son was killed on the Somme a few weeks ago: "I do not look upon his life", she said "but as cut-off but ass fulfilled". Does not that fit William Jones Hopkin's case? He has fulfilled the highest ideal he had handed down a finer inspiration to the boys of the Ystalyfera County School than if he had secured the highest honours a University could give. His name is the fragrance and the glory to generations of boys who have not yet taken their place in the school. A memorial should be set up in the Hall of the school and his glory should be made immortal. We bow our heads in reverence as we recall his sacrifice.

Llaw y dewr sydd wedi oeri,
Tra yn rhwym ar garn y cledd,
Ond mae ysbryd dewrion Cymru
Byth yn gwylio'i Anwyl fedd!

J W J
Ystradgynlais

From the Labour Voice newspaper 28th October 1916:-

IN MEMORIAM

An impressive memorial service to the late Lieutenant W John Hopkin, Craigcefnparc, who recently died of wounds in France, was held at Elim Baptist Chapel Craigcefnparc on Sunday evening. The service was attended by a large and sympathetic congregation and in the course of a thoughtful sermon, the Rev Rhys Lewis pastor made touching references to the late gallant young patriot. Suitable hymns were effectively sung during the evening.

From the Labour Voice newspaper 25th November 1916:-

Extract from letter written by George E Chappell Hon Sec of the Ystalyfera County School Old Pupil's Association:

"Lieut. W. Jones Hopkin, Craigcefnparc, was a contemporary of mine. He made his mark in school as a footballer, and ranks, in my memory, with R.M., Luther, and Howell Lewis, as the finest player the old School has produced. His kicking was marvellous for its length and accuracy, a thorough sports man, a good pal and a clean living, pure bred Welshman. He was popular with all his fellows. Those same attributes, I am sure, earned for him the love and respect of the men in the East Yorkshires."

Ystalyfera - South Wales

W J Hopkins, Grave
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