AS the country marks a century since the conclusion of one of the bloodiest military conflicts in history, the First World War, both Penarth players and supporters and their visitors from Penygraig will keep a minute's silence on Saturday in memory of the players, from Penarth and elsewhere, who gave their lives for King and Country.

Until recently it was thought that Penarth had lost 17 of its players between 1914 and 1918, possibly the biggest death toll from a Welsh club in the Great War.

Thanks to the diligent work of former Penarth RFC secretary David Hughes, two more Penarth club war casualties, Lieutenant Charles Clement Heywood, from the Royal Field Artillery, and Private William East, from the 1330 Prince of Wales Company, 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, have been identified in addition to the 17 found previously.

The memory of the 19 Penarth war heroes is preserved by the club Memorial Stand, formally consecrated in 1925.

According to Hughes, who is the chairman of Western Front Association in Wales, Private East was the first Penarth player to die in action on 6th of October 1915.

In 1911 before the war, the son of George and Jane East was a police officer in Llanbradach, and his name is recorded on the Glamorganshire Constabulary Memorial at Bridgend, the Llanbradach Memorial near Caerphilly and also at Bedlinog.

Lieutenant Heywood, a former solicitor who captained the club during the 1902-03 season, the second in which Penarth had entertained the Barbarians, was killed in action near the end of the war, on 25th of April 1918, and is remembered at Tyne Cot memorial to the Missing in Belgium.

The following year Sergeant John Regan of the 113th Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) and a former vice-captain of the club was the first Penarth player to die in 1916, leaving behind a widow and five children.

He was followed by Second Lieutenant Alexander F Whitley of the 49th Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery who was also killed in action, then Private Frank Blackmore of the 16th Battalion, The Welch Regiment, who died a few months before the birth of his seventh child.

Veteran Penarth forward, Sergeant Major Thomas Bartlett of the 113th Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery, also lost his life, one of the three Bartlett brothers from Penarth, to have died during the conflict.

In 1917 which was one of the bloodiest years of the war, Penarth lost seven of its sons, all killed in action: Frederick Morgan Aubrey of the 18th Battalion Welch

Regiment, Sergeant Edwin Boyle of the 113th Siege Battery RGA. Earle M Angove of the 8th Battalion of the Welch Regiment, W. Davie and the brothers William and Arthur Monroe, as well as John Angel Gibbs DSO, the brother of two former Penarth captains William and Reggie Gibbs.

Major John Angell was killed as he was leading his battalion at the “Menin Road” battle. At the “Battle of the Somme” the then captain displayed such gallantry that he was mentioned in dispatches, awarded a DSO and promoted to the rank of major.

1918 was another bloody year for Penarth rugby who in addition to Lieutenant Heywood lost five more players.

Among them there was former club chairman and Wales trialist Rev E T Davies MA, the Chaplain of the 5th Battalion Welch Regiment, Private Arthur Chick of the 14th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Private Edwin Thomas Murray, of the 6th Battalion Cameron Highlanders, 2nd Lieutenant Cyril de Clare Yeld of the Indian Army Supply and Transport Corps and 2nd Lieutenant Richard James Pawley of the 92nd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.

Interestingly, three weeks before his death, Pawley, one of four brothers on active duty from Penarth, scored three tries for his battery team in a friendly game in France.

The last to die, though technically after the end of the war, was Seaman William R Lawday, serving with the Mercantile Marine Reserve, who drowned in November. Frenchman Jules Forgues, who played for Penarth before the war has not been added to the Penarth club casualties list, having been included alongside his brother Charles, among the ten players who lost their lives from the Bayonne club. His Penarth friend and mastermind of the Bayonne’s raise to fame in French rugby Henry Owen Roe, had joined the Home Guard for the duration of the war and returned to France at the end of the hostilities.

Another “casualty” of the war was the club playing field, at the time between Stanwell Road and Victoria School, which was parcelled into allotments in order to help the war effort.

After the war several understated war heroes of the likes of Tommy Garrett and Charlie Bryant returned home, alongside the five recipients of the gallantry award the Military Cross, all former of future Penarth players: Major Leonard Thomas MC, Captain Dr George Lindsay MC, Captain Clifford Francis Burke MC, Captain Malcolm Vyvyan MC and Major John Stranaghan MC and Croix de Guerre.