The growing popularity of the prestigious new racecourse at Ffos Las has prompted members of Llanelli Community Heritage to investigate a link with the town of Llanelli and its horse racing heritage. A look at some of the names on the long list of winners of the Grand National has turned up two jockeys, both of whom were brothers who rode in the same Grand National. One of them, Mervyn Anthony Jones, was first past the post to become the winner of the 1940 Grand National.
Mervyn Anthony Jones was born on the 12th of May, 1919 at Llwynwhilwg Farm, Llanelli. He was the son of Herbert Jones who was a farmer. His mother, Ann Elizabeth Jones, was related to the famous Kidwelly horse trainers, the Anthony brothers.
Both Mervyn and his brother, William Hywell Anthony Jones, were pupils of Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Carmarthen, and were prominent members of the school’s rugby team.
Llwynwhilwg Fawr farmhouse used to stand approximately half way down Penyfan Road, and most probably gave its name to the Llwynwhilwg Housing Estate that was built for the Llanelli Borough Council in the early 1960s. Both brothers had ‘joined up’ in the Second World War and were serving in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. The two airmen were given special leave to ride in the greatest steeple chase in the world. Sergeant Mervyn Jones had just passed his navigation exam and was then told to “Go and navigate the horse ‘Bogskar’ around Aintree” which he did, coming in first at odds of 25-1. Tragically the two brothers died in the war and are both remembered on the Royal Air Force memorial at Runnymede. Flying Officer W. H. A. Jones was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Llanelli Community Heritage are now seeking sponsorship for a Blue Plaque to commemorate this famous jockey [Sept. 2010].