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Fears for future of memorial to soldier shot on Swansea's Wind Street

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 06, 2014

Andrew Vollans alongside the grave of Private Enoch Dudley at Brynteg Chapel, Gorseinon.

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IN 1914 Private Enoch Dudley signed up to fight for King and country and ended up losing his life to a rifle shot . . . on Swansea's Wind Street!

The tragic loss of life is just one of three that befell the Swansea Rifles — as the First World War was raging on this side of the channel.

The loss of life has been recalled by Port Talbot-based historian, Andrew Vollans, who is concerned about the future of private Dudley's grave after learning that Brynteg Chapel, in Gorseinon, is up for sale.

Mr Vollans said that he hoped whoever bought the chapel and its adjoining cemetery took care of the war grave. He said: "The 6th battalion of the Welch Regiment, known as the Swansea Rifles, was based in the drill hall behind Swansea prison.

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"They were a territorial unit and when war was declared they were responsible for coastal defence.

"They didn't have a very good start, they lost a man within two weeks, a 16-year-old called Owen Owens fell into the dock while on guard duty."

Matters were to get worse. Mr Vollans said: "In October a group of men guarding Port Talbot docks had an argument over who had drank the most before going on duty, to end the argument a guy called Private Crout shot private Phillip Burrell who died that night. He is buried in Holy Cross in Port Talbot. Crout was given a death sentence, which was later reduced to manslaughter."

The battalion went overseas at the end of October so those left behind, doing guard duties should have been safe enough.

Mr Vollans said: "Come Christmas Eve they were on guard duties on Swansea docks and came off duty on Christmas Day and went for a drink. One of the men had a bottle of whiskey as a present, and they had all had a drink from it, and an argument ensued over who had drank the most out of the bottle.

"They were walking down Wind Street when the sergeant levelled his rifle shot and wounded one man and killed private Enoch Dudley.

"He was initially sentenced to death but his sentence was later commuted to four years hard labour. It didn't do anything for morale, it was bad enough thinking your son was going to be sent overseas to get killed by the enemy."

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