PRIVATE RONALD ALEXANDER LLEWELYN GALLEN GALLEN
ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS
10TH APRIL 1916 AGE 21
BURIED: GUARDS CEMETERY, WINDY CORNER, CUINCHY, FRANCE
One year after Private Gallen's death his parents inserted the following 'In Memoriam' in the North Wales Chronicle:
Gallen - In memory of our beloved boy Alexander Llewelyn Gallen (Alex) who fell in action in France 10th April 1916, aged 21 years.
Requiescat is not my bidding -
That is the weary man's right speeding;
You, O child, full of life laughter,
Joy to you now and long days hereafter.
Many a game and goal be given
To you in the playing fields of heaven,
Be, as you were, a light shape of joy,
Glad in the strength and the grace of a boy.
Dear and young, here's the prayer I pray for you -
Heaven be full of new life and play for you -
Swift as an arrow, light as a swallow,
So may we find you, boy, when we follow.
First published in The Windsor Magazine in April 1916, these are three verses from a four-verse poem, , written by the Irish poet Katharine Tynan in memory of Yvo Alan Charteris, youngest son of the Earl and Countess of Wemyss who was killed in action on the 17 October 1915. Tynan is saying that it was not her wish to write a 'requiescat', a prayer for the dead, for Yvo, that sort of 'speeding', an old fashioned word for a blessing as in 'God speed you', is meant for much older men. However, as he is dead, this is her prayer for him: may heaven be a wonderful place for you and may we find you 'swift as an arrow, light as a swallow' when we follow you there.
Alex Gallen was his parents' only child. Born and brought up in Bettwsycoed, where his father was a game keeper and his mother an artist/sculptor, he volunteered in 1914 and served with the 16th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers in France from 2 December 1915. On 10 April 1916, although the battalion were in reserve it provided a team of machine gunners for the Division in action that day. Gallen was killed by a sniper.
The War Graves Commission have Gallen's first name as Roland, the 1911 census records it as Ronald and his parents don't appear to use it all but call him Alex.