Swansea Family History
Swansea Family History 

Census Records & The History of Houses

 

 

THIS MONTH, I AM GOING TO WRITE A FOLLOW UP ON TWO ARTICLES I HAVE WRITTEN IN THE PAST YEAR

In the first reflections“Readers’ Wartime Recollections”, published in Bay April 2017, I had been contacted by Mr Chris Davies, CBE, DL, who had told me about his father, George Haydn Davies’ first wife Ida, who had been killed during the first bombing raid on Swansea during the second world war 1940. The Davies family had been living at 3 Broadway, Sketty, when Ida and her daughter had gone down to 28 Russell Street to visit her family. Ida 28, survived the bombing raid but died the following day, 2 September in Swansea Hospital. The rest of the family, father Reginald John Jones 55, mother Mary Kate Jones 56, sister Elaine Jones 26, brothers Kenneth Jones 16, Alan Hirwain Jones12, and daughter Jean Margaret Davies 6 had all been killed in the bombing raid on 1 September 1940.

Whilst in communication with Chris, he asked me various questions as to where the family were buried and the location of the graves. The answers were obtained from the Cemeteries Department in the Civic Centre – they know me well in that office! He went to Oystermouth Cemetery and laid a wreath. To add to the mystery, he told me there was already a wreath in position, did I possibly know who could have laid it? I was foxed.

Over last few years, I have been researching the men and women from Swansea, who fought in both world wars. I also created two Facebook pages, Swansea War Dead – First World War and Second World War. Each day I would put up a post stating those men/women who were killed on that particular day. I received a message from Mr Bob Rees, asking a variety of questions in regarding to the incident on the 1 September 1940. We spoke on the phone and I had told him about Chris, and where he fitted in to the picture.

I arranged to meet the two men at the cemetery on 1 September this year.

Wreaths were laid and then before Mr Rees left he gave both of us a DVD; a recording that he had made of a conversation with an elderly gentleman, a Mr GraceMr Grace was an eyewit-ness to the bomb-ing on that day in September 1940, A boy of 14 at the time, he stated that the bomb which was HE (High Explosive) had landed in the South Wales Bus Yard situated at the back of the house, causing the devastation. At the time there were no Anti-Aircraft guns located in Swansea, the nearest being located at Cardiff. Other places that were hit that night, 1 September 1940 were Bristol, Essex, London, and Shrewsbury. In Swansea, 17 civilians, including 3 Norwegian Merchant Seaman, staying at the Pembroke Hotel, St. Helens Road were killed.

What about the connection between the two men, Chris, and Bob?

Even though they are not blood related, Chris’s father is the husband of IdaBob’s grandmother, Ida Syme was the sister of Mary Jones, mother of Ida. Or to put it another way Bob’s grandmother was Chris’ fathers first wife’s aunt!

3 Broadway was renumbered later to 10 Townhill Road, a few doors up from here lived Ivor Watkins, who would be Swansea’s Last Tommy of the First World War.

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© Charles Wilson-Watkins