The Welsh Guards Charity enables us to remember those who have gone before us:
by WO2 (RQMS) DJ Davies
Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant
Regimental Headquarters Welsh Guards
On 31st July 1917 Sergeant Robert Bye of the Welsh Guards was awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry in action during the 3rd Battle of Ypres (also known as the Battle of Passchendaele). His was the first Victoria Cross granted to a soldier in the Welsh Guards and remains one of only two VC’s awarded to the Regiment.
His bravery in the face of the enemy, which was recognised in the award of the Victoria Cross by King George V in September 1917, has been commemorated by Welsh Guardsmen over the years most notably in 2015 during centenary year, and is a part of the Regiment's history of which we are very proud.
Fast forward 99 years and 364 days to Sunday 30th July 2017 to Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd, the site of the Sgt Robert Bye VC Memorial and the location for the Welsh Guards commemorative service in the presence of his daughter (Mrs Mary Moody) and a host of Bye family members who had made the journey to Pontypridd (many from Nottinghamshire where he settled after the war), members of the Welsh Guards Association and local dignitaries among them; The Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Mid Glamorgan.
WO2 M Davies 96 with the Bye Family members
The Regimental Recruiting Team with their display and vehicles drew attention and it wasn’t long before a crowd had gathered and soon learnt, by the reading of Sgt Robert Bye’s citation by RQMS Dai Davies 03, of just how brave a man he was, a product of their town and somebody they should be rightly proud. The occasion was made particularly special and poignant as we could share it with his family, people that actually knew the great man himself and they were left in no doubt whatsoever just what a hero and legend he is to all Welsh Guardsmen everywhere.
It was a suitably overcast and grey day with the weather threating rain, but holding back for the duration of a simple service conducted by the Rev Mark Haldon-Jones. With the Welsh Guards Regimental representative Major Alun Bowen replying to the words of the Deputy Leader from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, Councillor Maureen Webber, there followed wreath laying on behalf of the citizens of Rhondda Cynon Taf by the Mayor, Councillor Margaret Tegg and by Major Alun Bowen on behalf of all Welsh Guardsmen. The hauntingly superb Last Post was played to perfection (as always) by LSgt Stuart Laing from Regimental Headquarters.
The Welsh Guards Association Standard Bearers
The bravery and selflessness of Sergeant Bye continues to be a source of great inspiration and Regimental pride from Guardsmen to Regimental Sergeant Major, we are all immensely proud of him, will cherish his memory forever and ensure he lives on in the hearts of all Welsh Guardsmen.