Barry Merchant Seamen

- History and Tribute -

Contents- About- Articles- Ships- Seamen.

Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery

Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery is Barry's main cemetery. It is the location of many sailors' graves and memorials; indeed, the first burial there a month after being opened in September of 1889 was that of a foreign seaman by the name of William Marra, who died when aged only 18.

Seamen who died during wartime were obviously less likely to be buried, hence the cemetery contains memorial stones as well as grave stones for seamen. In peace time however, burials were more likely. There are several sailors worthy of mention.

We have a map to show the locations of the cemetery, and of the Merchant Navy memorial in the town. This is approximately 700KB, and so may take a while to appear.

The Friends of Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery have produced some guide booklets to the cemetery, including:

Merchant Navy - 2nd World War Tour   (download PDF file, 684KB)
Servicemen - 1st World War Tour   (download PDF file, 752KB)

Printed copies are also available from the Barry Council's office.

Barry Town Council,
7 Gladstone Road,
CF62 8NA,
United Kingdom.
Phone +44 1446 738663.

Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery,
Cemetery Approach,
Barry Road,
CF62 8BP.

Merchant Navy war graves and memorials

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has records of casualties and where they were buried or are commemorated. It has a short note about Barry (Merthyr Dyfan) Cemetery.

The following list is of the graves and memorials (*) in the sequence provided by the Friends' booklet for the tour. The names are linked to the relevant entry on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website.

  1. HAMMILL, Francis.
  2. TONG, G P.
  4. HANSEN, S.
  7. Danish Memorial Stone for sailors of the "SS Soborg":
    • ARRENHUIS, A J. (*)     Note: should spelling be ARRHENIUS ?
    • FREDERIKSEN, A Bruno.
    • HANSEN, Svend.
    • HERSKIND, B A.
    • JORGENSEN, A O.     Note: CWGC has JORGENSEN, A O buried in Bari, Italy.
    • KRUSE, H B. (*)
  9. YEOMAN, J. +
  10. JEAVONS, S. +
  11. BLOODWORTH, P H. +
  12. EDMONDSON, Ernest. +
  13. HUNTER, A A J.
  14. COLEMAN, P J. +
  15. LUCEY, P J.

*   indicates a memorial rather than a grave.
+   indicates seamen mentioned in our list of Barry sailors who died in WW2.

Photographs of the gravestones

Click small pictures to view larger versions. Click larger pictures to return.


Other graves and memorials

Some other seamen worthy of note are buried in Barry.

Cecil Foster

Cecil Foster was Master of the SS Trevessa which foundered during rough weather in the Indian Ocean. He is credited with bringing many of the crew to shore after a 1700 mile trip in the ship's lifeboats. Additionally, his forethought led to a change in the Board of Trade's provisioning of lifeboats: adding condensed milk to their stores. This contributed to the well being of many more seamen forced to take to the boats.

The following is a copy of Keith Greenway's letter to the Barry and District News (27th Aug 2009), together with a photograph of the dilapidated gravestone.

Honour hero
Thursday 27th August 2009

BARRIAN, Cecil Patrick Thomas Foster passed away on August 8, 1930 aged 43.

His wife Minnie Foster died on April 14, 1982 aged 98. I recently discovered and was surprised to find the couple are buried at Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery, Barry, and the family home was in East View Terrace.

Master Mariner Captain Cecil Foster has remained relatively forgotten until now in Barry outside of maritime circles, although Capt. Foster and the SS Trevessa foundering are world famous.

The captain was received by the King at Buckingham Palace and his obituary was recorded as far around the globe as New Zealand. His actions then continue to save lives at sea today.

When the SS Trevessa foundered, she was owned by Hains, a Cardiff-based steamship company.

She foundered on June 3, 1923 and sank in the Indian Ocean during rough weather.

There then followed an historic ordeal of 1,700 miles in open boats.

photograph of the weatherworn gravestone for Cecil and Minnie Foster, styled as a scroll draped over a rough slab During a recent visit to Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery, I found the final resting place to be in an awful condition and would like to attempt to have some repair work carried out on the grave.

I hope to help Barry remember one of her most famous Master Mariners.

Many like this gentleman were involved in the First World War, but crossed the bar between war years with no mention on memorials.

I believe it would be good for the town for Barry to remember and record in her history one of her own, and the many that have sailed from this former great port - in her time described as the Gateway to the World.

I would like to hear from anyone prepared to help or sponsor the work that needs to be done to ensure the grave of Cecil Foster is restored, and once again provides a fitting tribute not only to him but also to serve as a memorial to all those that sailed from Barry.

Many seamen are buried at Merthyr Dyfan from various times and are not included in or on any memorial.

Pledges only please at the moment (via e-mail) to