Lance Corporal William Achilles Lewis


William Achilles Lewis was born on 14 August 1894 in the district of Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales, one of at least five children of coal miner William Thomas Lewis and his wife Elizabeth. By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 6 Hill Street, Chapel of Ease, Abercarn, Monmouthshire, with his father, step-mother, and three siblings, and working in the coal mines as a hewer's helper.

Lewis enlisted in the Dragoons of the Line in late 1914 or early 1915 (No.8647). Posted to the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, he embarked for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, probably at the end of June 1916, having been posted to the headquarters establishment of the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment following the formation of that regiment in France from C and F Squadrons and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron. The headquarters, formed in England and comprising 40 officers and men, joined the new regiment in France at the beginning of July.

The 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment served as corps cavalry to X Corps until August-September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and its men were transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. Most, including Lewis, were transferred on 20 September and posted to the 9th (Service) Battalion – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion – joining it in the field at Ruyaulcourt five days later. Lewis was issued regimental number 41083.

He probably saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and perhaps also during the retreat from St Quentin and the fighting on the Ypres front in March and April 1918.

Lewis was wounded in the right forearm during the Advance to Victory offensive in the second half of 1918, probably in September or October. On 18 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a pension due to his wound, his level of disability assessed at 30 per cent in May 1920.

After the war Lewis returned to Abercarn. He died at Pontypridd, Glamorgan, in 1981.