David Mansel Griffiths was from Bridgend. His father, Robert Christopher Griffiths, was a Bridgend Solicitor and Conservative Agent for South Glamorgan. David first went to school at Llandaff Cathedral School, joining Christ College at the age of 13 in 1907.
A popular sportsman, he first won athletic honours in his age group in the Christ College Athletic Sports of 1908. In that year he also played Fives and was in the 2nd Cricket XI. In his final year at schoolhe played for the Hockey XI, achieved further athletic wins and was selected for the Cricket XI. During the autumn term heand his fellow half-back, W A G Howell (Hostel 1907-1911; Master 1920-1959) had “established a good understanding” in the XV, and D M Griffiths’ departure from school for a business appointment left a “a serious vacancy” in the Rugby Football XV.
Having later emigrated and settled in Australia, he volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force on 9th November 1914 and joined the 8th Australian Light Horse regiment. The regiment sailed from Melbourne in February 1915, arriving in Egypt in March. Deployed into the 3rd Light Horse Brigade without their horses, which were considered unsuitable for operations on the peninsula, the regiment landed at Gallipoli in May 1915.
On 7th August 1915 Trooper Griffiths was killed with hundreds of other men and officers in what became known as ‘the charge of the 8th Light Horse’, a disastrous sequence of bayonet charges on the Turkish trenches at the Nek. His Squadron Commander, Captain H. Beath, wrote to his parents:
Your son was in my squadron and I was near him when he was killed. I thought a lot of him, and am proud to say he was a pal of mine. Poor old Griff (that is what we used to call him) was killed on the morning of 7th August in a bayonet charge on the Turkish trenches. Our regiment was badly cut up; very few of Griff’s troop got back. Only 120 of over 500 men are left to tell the tale. We were in such a very bad place; our regiment made a grand name for themselves. You can always feel proud he belonged to the 8th L.H. We were set a very bad task that morning, but console yourself he died nobly doing his bit like the fearless boy he was.
His body was never recovered and Trooper David Mansel Griffiths is remembered at the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli. He is commemorated on the Bridgend War Memorial as well as on the Christ College War Memorial.
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