First World War Roll of Honour
David Jones Capenhurst Jenkins was born on 19 June 1893, the fourth son of the Rev. John and Florence Jenkins. With his brothers and two sisters, he spent his early years at Llantwit Vardre Vicarage, Pontypridd, before joining Llandovery College as a boarder in 1904, where he went on to show great promise as a rugby half-back.
Jenkins came up to Downing in October 1912 to study Law. He played in the Freshmen’s rugby match and was a prominent member of the College XV, also playing for London Welsh, until an injured knee incapacitated him. Although no matriculation photograph for 1912 has survived in the archive, the above picture from a recent donation of sports photographs from this period includes Jenkins in the College team (archive ref. DCPH/2/3/8/28, see above, showing Jenkins standing on the far left of the back row; and detail below).
Jenkins’ obituary in the College’s student magazine, The Griffin, states that ‘after only two terms’ residence, he emigrated to Canada, joining there two of his brothers who had preceded him’ to begin a new life as a farmer. At the outbreak of war, David enlisted in the army at Regina, Saskatchewan on 12 August 1914. He joined the 16th Light Horse as a trooper before transferring to ‘B’ Company of the 5th Infantry Battalion, Saskatchewan Regiment, on 3 September 1914. He set off for France with the 1st Canadian Contingent in early 1915 and was promoted to Sergeant on 10 June, serving as a despatch runner. In early April 2016, the Canadian Corps took over the area from St Eloi to Hooge in Belgium and were under constant attack.
Sgt. Jenkins was killed instantly on 9 April 1916 by a shell exploding in the midst of his reconnoitring party. In a fitting tribute, he was described by one of his officers as 'the most fearless, painstaking and cool man I have ever had under my command'. Two of his three brothers, Morgan and Richard, were also killed in action during the war.
Sgt. David Jones Capenhurst Jenkins is buried and commemorated in the Railway Dugouts Burial Ground in Zillebeke. All three Jenkins brothers were commemorated in their late father’s church in Llantwit Fardre and a set of stained glass windows inside the church is dedicated to their memory. Their names appear both on the memorial stone outside the church and the decorated plaque in the parish hall.
Obituary in The Griffin, Michaelmas 1916.