Nic Hodges

  • Nic Hodges

    Nic Hodges

Client: Nic Hodges
Location: Cemetery Barry

Last week I met with Nic Hodges, the current Chairman of 'Friends of Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery' and accompanied him as he gave me a tour of the cemetery whilst sharing his extensive knowledge of our cemetery. Nic explained that there are only 14 Commonwealth War Graves dedicated to the Merchant Navy from the Second World War. Not a high number for a town that lost more Merchant Seamen proportionately than any other port. The reason for this was that most died at sea, victims to drowning, exposure and enemy fire. Around 360 men and boys didn't return to Barry some dying on their first and only voyage. In total 32,000 British Merchant Seamen died as a consequence of war, 1 in 3 ships that sailed from Barry fell victim to the enemy. The founding of the cemetery is attributed to two men John Claxton Meggitt, a timber merchant based at Barry Docks and a four time Chair of the early Barry Council. He along with Dr PJ O'Donnell, who was originally from Ireland, a Surgeon and chairman of the local council were two of the founding fathers of the Cemetery. The first Roman Catholic Mass since the reformation was held in the home of O'Donnell. Nic continued his tour highlighting graves of interest, showing me the grave of Gareth Jones. He was a foreign affairs advisor to Prime Minister Lloyd George who uncovered starvation in the Soviet run Ukraine and reported on the rise of Hitler. Gareth Jones was kidnapped and murdered in Mongolia in 1935 he was 29 years of age. The grave of John Morgan Lloyd, a soldier so sickened by the poverty and conditions that soldiers and their families faced after the war, that he went to London and posted his War Medals through the letterbox at 10 Downing Street. We then visited the grave of a victim of RMS Lucitania, a ship sank by a German U-boat at the start of the First World War. An Unknown sailor is buried in a common grave as are the people named on the back of the stone. The stone was erected to mark the Centenary in May 2015 and is the only gravestone in the cemetery owned by Barry Town Council. Merthyr Dyfan Chapel was built by Mr Small in 1893 at a cost of £610. It was renovated at a cost of £160,000 and reopened in 2006 after being out of operation for over 20 years. Should anyone wish to know about our cemetery and its history, then please get in touch with Nic Hodges. Nic has an incredible knowledge on the cemetery, not only interesting facts about the people buried there, but the stones themselves and how cultures and traditions became a theme for the stones. Nic Hodges is the current Mayor of Barry, he co-authored with his wife Shirley Hodges the booklet titled "First World War Tour Of Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery Barry".

Nic Hodges.

The church.


Nic Hodges in his work.

The church outside.

Nic Hodges and the graves.

Church background.

Nic Hodges, the current Chairman of 'Friends of Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery'.