LLEWELLYN Gwynedd Violet – VAD Nurse
Gwynedd Violet Llewellyn was the daughter of Lt. Colonel A. Llewellyn, O.B.E. and Mrs A. Llewellyn, of Wribbenhall, Bewdley, Worcestershire. She enlisted with 126 Somerset Detachment in 1918 and was posted overseas to France. At the time of her death at the young age of 19 she was working as a VAD Nurse at No 2 Hospital at Rouen.
Her name appears in the Worcester/Worcestershire Roll of Honour Book for army casualties located in Worcester Cathedral as Gwynedol Llewellyn with the information: The Voluntary Aid Detachment.
British Red Cross Register of Overseas Volunteers 1914 – 1918:
Gwynedd Violet Llewellyn
Certificate Number: 18124
Department: Voluntary Aid Detachment
Passport Number: 206603
The following information has been researched and transcribed by Simon Fielding:
Gwynedd Llewellyn is the only woman and the only nurse commemorated on either the St Anne’s or Wribbenhall War Memorial. She fell victim to the 1918 ‘Spanish ‘Flu’ pandemic on the very eve of the Armistice, and is a cousin to former Prime Minister David Cameron’s maternal grandmother.
Gwynedd was born in October 1899, at Wribbenhall, Bewdley. She was the daughter of Arthur Llewellyn (1873 – 1920) and Meriel Byrne (1874 – 1921). Arthur Llewellyn was the fourth child of the Conservative politician Evan Henry Llewellyn (1847 – 1914) , and had a distinguished military career primarily with the Somerset Light Infantry. He married Meriel Byrne in a society wedding at Holy Trinity, Brompton on the 2nd November 1895. The outbreak of war in South Africa in 1899 saw Evan Llewellyn and all of his sons serving in the British forces: Arthur and his father with the Somerset Militia, Wynne with the 2nd Battalion Somerset Light Infantry, Thomas with the British South African Police, and Hoel Llewellyn on armoured trains. Arthur is listed as a major in the 2nd Somerset Militia in the 1908 Army List. Arthur and Meriel Llewellyn had five daughters: Olive Meriel Rose (1896 – 1962); Gwynedd Violet (1899 – 1918); Mary Shelagh (1903 – 1932), Eira Delphine (1905 – ?) and Julia Ysobel (1910 – ?). In the 1901 census, the family are resident in Severn House, Wribbenhall, together with Meriel’s elder sister Violet; Arthur is absent in South Africa. The family are still in Severn House in 1911, with Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Llewellyn’s unit given as 3rd Somerset Light Infantry. This became a reserve and training battalion during the Great War. It remained in the UK, moving to Devonport on 8 August 1914 and staying there until November 1917. It was subsequently deployed to Ireland, initially going to Londonderry, and on to Belfast in April 1918.
During the War Gwynedd joined the VADs in March 1918, and served with the 126 (Somerset) Detachment. Initially, she was a ‘housemember’ at Ashton Court near Bristol, which was an officers’ hospital during the war; her work was described as ‘very good’. In early October she was selected for service in France (passport number 206603), commencing her service on the 22nd October 1918, attached to the 2nd British Red Cross Hospital based at Rouen. No. 2 Hospital was opened in Le Grande Seminaire, Rue du Champ des Oiseaux in the central part of the city, on 14th September 1914. In 1915 it became an Officers Hospital, with 200 beds, and it also provided a hostel to house the patients’ relatives. Rouen was a cavalry base depot, and there were many senior officers in the city. As No.2 Hospital was for officers, the hierarchy and military discipline were strictly enforced. It closed on 20th December 1918, having treated 26,905 patients. The hospital even received a royal visit in 1917 from Queen Mary:
In the afternoon, after having seen several British centres of activity, she paid a visit to No. 2 Red Cross Hospital, installed in the buildings of the Great Seminary. This being part of the estate of the Archbishop, deprived of his antique palace by the Separation Law, His Eminence Cardinal Dubois, accompanied by Rev. Father Lemonnier, came to pay his homage to Her Majesty. Queen Mary thanked the Cardinal for having given his seminary to be turned into a hospital for British officers, and, on the gracious invitation of the Queen, the Cardinal accompanied her in her visit to the hospital and remained to tea. The Tablet Page 26, 11th August 1917.
Gwynedd Llewellyn’s service as a VAD was tragically short as in just over a week; she became a victim of the Spanish Influenza pandemic that caused so many deaths in war-weakened Europe. She died on the 3rd November 1918, and is buried in grave S. V. G. 13 of the St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France.
Arthur Llewellyn OBE died in June 1920 in Nottingham while working in the Army Records section. He was buried in the west part of the churchyard of Holy Trinity, Burrington Somerset. Meriel Llewellyn died the following year in January 1921.
i. Gwynedd’s uncle, her father Arthur’s elder brother Owen John Llewellyn (1870-1943) married Anna Elizabeth Mann (1877-1963) in 1903. Their daughter, Elizabeth Nance Llewellyn (1904-1994) is the maternal grandmother of David Cameron, current Prime Minister (August 2014).
ii. “Colonel Evan Henry Llewellyn (25 February 1847 – 27 February 1914) was an army officer and a Conservative politician who sat in the Commons between 1885 and 1906. He was the fourth son of Llewellyn Llewellyn of Buckland Filleigh, North Devon, and was educated at Rugby. He was a J.P. and Deputy of Somerset and in the 1885 general election, was elected MP for North Somerset and held the seat until 1892. He was re-elected in the 1895 election and held it until 1906. Llewellyn lived at Langford Court, Somerset.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evan_Henry_Llewellyn
The following information is courtesy of Jerry Park:
Violet Julia Byrne, who was Gwynndd Llewellyn’s maternal aunt and was recorded as a visitor to the family home in the 1901 Census, worked at VAD Headquarters, Devonshire House from 1915-1920. She was Hon. Sec.
of Selection Board at VAD HQ. Commandant VAD L/284 1917-1920. She was awarded the OBE and was a Lady of Grace of St John of Jerusalem. The Byrnes were an Anglo-American family in the 19th century cotton trade, based in Liverpool and New Orleans. In the American Civil War, the grandfather of Violet and Meryl Byrne was an associate of Jefferson Davis.