Swansea and Port Talbot Docks History

The Great War -

Frank Hopkins

The following photographs and documents relate to Frank Hopkins, a Swansea Harbour Trust employee who served as an Infantryman in the Anson Battalion, Royal Naval Division, during the 1914-1918 war. Frank Hopkins was the uncle of former Swansea H M Customs Officer Peter Hopkins, to whom we are grateful for giving us this fascinating insight into this family’s experience of the Great War

This photograph of Frank Hopkins in uniform was taken in June 1917

Letter from France dated 11th November 1917

Dear Mrs Hopkins

With deep regret I inform you of your son’s death in action. He was a good and willing soldier and will be missed by all his comrades. I sincerely sympathise with you in your great loss and may God grant you strength in your sad bereavement, but rest assured he died nobly fighting for his king and country. If you care to write to me my address is Sub. Lt. Atkins. Anson Batt., B.E.F. France.

Yours sincerely J Lloyd Atkins

Letter from Swansea Harbour Trust dated 12th November 1917

Dear Sir

At the meeting of the Trustees held today, the Chairman, Sir Griffith Thomas, referred to the sad death of your son, who was a member of the Collectors’ Department, and I was directed to convey to you the deep sympathy of the Trustees in the great loss you have sustained.

I am Dear Sir

Yours faithfully Talfourd Strick

Note of sympathy from King & Queen

The King commands me to assure you of the true sympathy of his Majesty and The Queen in your sorrow

Letter from War Office dated 18th January 1918

Sir or Madam

I am directed to inform you that a report has been received in this Department that Frank Hopkins is a Prisoner of War. The description given is not, however, sufficient to enable the soldier to be identified. As your name and address are mentioned in the report, it is believed that you will be able to supply a full description of this Prisoner of War. I am therefore to request that you will be good enough to complete the attached form and return it in the accompanying envelope, which will not require a stamp.

I am, Sir or Madam Your obedient Servant

Letter from Swansea Harbour Trust dated 26th March 1921

Dear Sir,

I am in receipt of your letter of the 24th inst., informing me of your intention to leave the Trustees’ employ on the 31st inst., which is in order. Yours faithfully P W Phillips


Upon resigning from the Swansea Harbour Trust, Frank Hopkins emigrated to begin a new life Canada.

Ernie Beynon

Pictured above is a group of wounded First World War soldiers dressed in their 'hospital blues' uniforms. Included in the photo is Ernest Edward Benyon (furthest right) who later became a shunter on Swansea Docks. The location is either the Chamberlain Auxiliary Hospital or the First Southern General Hospital, Birmingham. Ernie Beynon served in the 14th Battalion of the Welch Regiment and was wounded twice – once in the battle of Levant in 1915 and again in Bourlon Wood, France, in 1917.

Docks Manager W Jeffers presenting retirement awards in the boardroom on 29th Sept. 1958. Second from left is shunter Ernest (Ernie) Edward Beynon, one of the hospitalised First World War soldiers shown in the previous photo. Both photos were kindly provided by Ernie's son Alan Beynon, who was himself a shunter on Swansea Docks for many years.

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