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Christmas Conundrums.

Amman Valley County School.

ILlandilo -County School.…


Brynamman Prisoner of War's…


Brynamman Prisoner of War's Story. Priv. Willie Thomas, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Isaac Thomas, Park Street, Lowei Brynamman, who recently returned home from captivity, having been taken prisoner on May 10th, 1918, tells our representative an interest- in story of how he and others were captured and subsequently treated by the Germar.s:- On May 9th we were in action in the Mame section of the battlefield. We were marched forward until we reached a wood, having been told that a French division w-te in front of us. Here we biiletted till next morning, when we espied in front of us, not French, but Germans. We were attacked on right and left flanks with machine-guns, and o ir men were falling fast. Soon we were made to understand that the enemy had broken through on both sides, and that detachments of hostile forces had managed to work a dis- tance of two kilos behind us. Our position became serious, and retreat was impossible. Surrender was therefore inevitable. Three British companies, including the 9th Welsh Regiment, were taken prisoners. I was con- nected with the latter. We were marched 20 kilos that night, and put in French huts which had been captured the day before by thj Germans. The huts were encircled by a labyrinth of barbed wire. Next morning we were told off to lay light railways. The food we had to consume (or perish) was simply repulsive. We had breakfast at 5 in the morning, comprised of coffee made of burnt oats. We were read the Martial Law, and had to sign our names. Then we were medically examined, and eventually allocated to the jobs that suited the state of each re- spective constitution. Most of us, however, were made to work in the coal-mines, and 1 was one of that number. These mines are in the Aachen district. We had to rise at 4.30 in the morning, and hauled down the pit before the German miners, and drawn to the surface after them in the afternoon about 4 o'clock. Asked what kind of people the Germans were to work with, Priv. Thomas replied:— They have nasty tempets. They expected us to understand them at once and obey orders. Failing to do this, they would get hold of a log and attempt to bash us. They would soon cower down if we stood defiant. Generally we were cruelly treated. Soup made of mangolds and swedes was doled out to us after working hours. This did not half satiate the inner man, and some of my com- rades felt so famished that they even drank slops not fit for pigs. We were given more bread while working in the pits. We were here two months, and then taken to Germany in vans something like our railway vans. We travelled two days and two nights. Why we took such a long time to reach our destination was because we were shunted to dead sidings on the way to clear the road for German traffic. We were put in camps at Cassell, and whilst here 250 of our boys died. Then we were taken to Limburg, where again we were made to work in the mines. On top of the pits were baths, but not a bit of soap. They weic ihvvveu iJdll1, anU we hac to lay OUT- selves out beneath to be cleansed. Small tablets of soap cost about 3s. 6d. each. To avoid any risk of escape, we were counted no fewer than about two dozen times a day. We slept in barracks, and the beds were alive with vermin. The camp was situated about two kilos from the frontier. When the armistice was signed, we were led like. sheep at midnight to the border, and left there to find our way further. Previous to being actually released, however, we were informed that the armistice was about to be signed, and we struck work there and then. They (the Germans) did not seem to relish the news, and looked jealously at us. A petulant young sentry, who had also acted as chaplain, cursed us and called us English swine. Most of the German miners came to respect us, but the officers treated us in a most heartless manner, and many a Tommy was ruthlessly kicked about by them when in a rage." Priv. Thomas looks well, and received a warm welcome home by old friends.

With the Welsh in the¡ Near…


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lesu y Sosialydd.


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