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The Development and Alumni Relations Office at the University of Chester has been researching its ‘77 Fallen’ as part of the University’s World War One Centenary commemorations. The project has seen staff, alumni and other volunteers put in hours of dedicated work researching and commemorating the 77 students and staff of the former Chester College, who lost their lives during the First World War.

During this research, the Alumni team recently made an extraordinary discovery. When looking through records of the old College magazine, The Collegian, it was discovered that one of these former students, Llewellyn ‘Llew’ Lloyd, read The Collegian at the Front.

Llewellyn wrote a letter to his fellow alumni which appeared in the first 1916 edition of the magazine. In it, he describes the appalling conditions of ‘mud, water and rats’ as their ever-present companions, as well as the aircraft duels and the falling fragments of shrapnel. But he also writes about thinking of his College friends, looking forward to ‘a joyful reunion’, and describes his pleasure at ‘receiving the Collegian while in the trenches’, and scanning its pages ‘again and again’.

The Collegian was published four times a year, so it is likely that Llewellyn received the last 1915 edition in the trenches, before his letter appeared in the first 1916 edition.

Helena Astbury, Head of the Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO), who made the discovery, explains more about Llew: “Llewellyn is a veteran from Flint, who attended Chester College from September 1914, until he enlisted into the Army in 1915. He was born in 1885 and was the eldest of seven children, born to William and Mary Ann. As well as fighting in the War, Llewellyn had also been an Elementary School Teacher for the Flintshire Education Authority.

“He was part of the 11th Battalion South Wales Borderers and was posted to France in December 1915. He communicated weekly with the Rev Canon Nicholas of Flint Parish Church. By late December 1917, Llewellyn was granted a leave of absence from military duties and returned to active service on the January 22. Llewelyn was wounded in action on July 31, 1917 and sadly he died the following day. He is buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, in Belgium and remembered on the war memorial in St. Mary’s Parish Church, in Flint.”

As part of their research, volunteers also contacted Flintshire War Memorials, who have created a website for the stories behind the names on Flintshire’s World War One memorials. The DARO would like to thank them for their help. If anybody has further information about Llewellyn or you are a descendant, you can contact Peter Metcalfe at the Flintshire War Memorial Project by emailing peter-redfern@runbox.com. Peter is interested in making contact with any surviving relatives.

As this year marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office has launched a website, which archives the research on the 77 fallen.

The Chester Civic Trust will also be projecting the names of all those from Chester who died in the First World War from November 9 to 11. This will include the names and some images of the 77 fallen from the former Chester College.

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