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Crowd helps to honour soldier injured in Gallipoli.

DESCENDENTS of a decorated World War One soldier gathered at his graveside to mark a tragic centenary.

A large crowd gathered at the churchyard of St Illtyds Church, Aberbeeg, to remember Private William Weale.

Pte Weale was wounded during the notorious Gallipoli campaign, suffering wounds which he later died from.

The ceremony, which also saw a new War Graves headstone unveiled, took place on Saturday, as the centenary of the battle Gallipoli was commemorated nationally.

Pte Weale was born in 1873 in New Tredegar and moved to Rock Cottages Aberbeeg where he lived with his family and worked at Marine Colliery Cwm, Ebbw Vale, before joining the Army.

He enlisted with the 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers on November 16, 1914, and arrived in Gallipoli on May 31, 1915.

After being wounded, he was brought home and died on May 12, 1916, at the age of 42.

He was awarded the Silver Wound Medal, 1914-18 War Medal and, after he died, his family received the Victory Medal and 1915 Star.

In tribute to his efforts, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission donated a new headstone.

Six British Legion Standards attended, with Colonel Andrew Jones of the Royal Welch Fusiliers playing the Last Post and Reveille.

Wreaths were laid from Pte Weale's family, The Royal British Legion (Abertillery Branch), and a ceramic poppy was donated by Zion Miners Chapel, Llanhilleth.

Pte Weale's grandson, Brian Webley, 78, from Llanhilleth, said: "This is a great tribute and I can't thank the commission and the Royal British Legion enough.

"I grew up with stories of my grandfather and how he died of his war wounds.

"It's still inspiring today."

Peter Williams, 76, a member of the Friends of St Illtyd's Church, added: "We have to keep the memory of these men alive and I've just been so inspired by Private Weale.

"A service like [this] has brought his family together."


The new headstone

A large crowd, including descendants of Private William Weale gathered at the |churchyard of St Illtyds Church, Aberbeeg, to dedicate a new headstone

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 29, 2015
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