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THE JOURNALS OF REES STEPHENS
VOLUME 1 - Nov 1944 - May 1946
CLICK HERE FOR VOLUME 2
|On this page you will find 2 journals from the collection of Rees Stephens, where ???? appears our transcriber was unable to identify the word or name. The journals cover the early part of Rees' international career and volume 2 the Neath tour of France in 1955 plus internationals towards the end of his career.|
November 14-44 Tues
Down Swansea today in Swansea office with Mr Rees. Went over books with him all the morning. Lunch at Woolworths. Up Swansea Tec after to see Dai, but not there,- called in Photo supplies and then back to office, talking over books etc. Back home with Theo Davies by 5.30. Letter from Skippy. 1st in over a fortnight. Dad had a stomach attack. Hope it isnt much. Mr Jones the manager came down and dad had a chat with us about the colliery and complained about absenteusm, and the ???? taking advantage of the war to claim to shift for working on a few ????. Weather is bitterly cold so stayed in.
Up early as off to Treforest. Caught 7 train. Very dark these mornings and cold. Had a pile of writing and handed in my homework. That a fellow from pyle- caught train back to Cardiff then the 5.30 home. Arrived early tonight, about 7 oclock. Had tea ? wit my mates after. Gave ? a new book.
Off to Treforest again this morning. Bitterly cold and heavy frost. Slept all the way up. At school did 1st and 2nd class questions all day, as a few boys going up next week. Back to Cardiff with 4.30 so met Jo. had tea in Sandringham and brought back memories of meeting Dai but there. Went to flics and caught the 8.40 ?? bus home. Reached home at 10:15- ?? is pouring with rain and had a good supper.
|Up Colliery about 7:30. Very wet and misty.
Did the royalty book for Hubert and then did the pay book. Water coming
through newspaper ?? but they should be extended down. Had a row with
Will Jones Rugsly over the collection. Should be taught a lesson.
Shortages not as bad tonight. Home about 5 oclock- did some homework,
but first I went up farm to see the tractor pulling up trees in field
beside the machine. It makes very short work of them. Wrote to Skippy in
Melville and borrowed stamps from Theos. - Bed
Up Colliery early and started on time book. did some questions for Southerns and then finished off the timebooks. Very wet all day. Home about 2:30 and had a bath. Went to town and bought records in Salters. Went to 'H G' farewell dinner in evening about 200 present and Fred Evans Leslie Thomas and Col Bevan made speeches. Had a dinner first and then had various items. Jery Flemmings in a good mood. Home about 12:30 after a good time.
Didn't get up until late today- about 10 oclock as felt tired. Fed chickens and ducks and then went up farm Very wet. Had to go up colliery as power out. ???? was sent over mountain to meet ?? after on poles. Had dinner and then ???? ???? the new cowshed and painted the ironwork cleaned out drain as it was blocked ????? leaves his ???? out. Be glad when our team will come ???? will ???? ???? his actions. Home about 5:30 and
|3||very wet. Washed and changed and put few
records on and then settled down to some homework. Raining heavily
tonight. Up colliery early an thought that men wouldnt go in ???? ??
water up in level, but found that the newspapers had worked well and had
pept the water down, but water droppens in and was awful. Pwen was back
to its old course and had worked a number of the heavy blocks put by the
G W R, away and had even shifted the cak baulk. Went underground with
Dai Lewis ?? ????, as these is a ???? with T Barnes over double time. He
claims DT because a stall was turned by a repairer on Sund night whereas
it is the ???? for the heading man to turn it. This custom is good, but
the men do not justify the DT, as they walk a bout 2, so getting money
for ??. Eventually it was settled, but only ?? ???? of down tools, and
Mr Lloyd agreed to pay providing he ???? turning it. ???? had ?? ???? ??
?? ?? ?? usual. One day he will have a hell of a job to pull it out ??
???? ?? Hubert after, then take it down main with Lloyd to show S Pugh
what to do regarding the installation of tail-rope on D Barnes level.
Home about 5:00 then went to singing practice at 7 oclock. ???? is going
well. Walked home with ????. Very cold but not raining. Waiting for ????
to phone up, but he didn't so went off to bed.
||Dad was elected chairman and meeting ????
discussing various items of colliery ???? with working and financial by
???? most of it but lot of work ahead. Dad took me over to meet Mr
Morgan the coal controller, and on first impression he seems very nice.
I was also introduced to the ???? ???? ????. Went to see ?? after at tea
to explain my absence.- ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ???? ?? ?? ?? ??
??. On my way down I bumped into ??. She is studying for her MPS at the
Tec. Perhaps its a pity i haven't started there again- but anyway I
certainly was glad to see her- though I doubt if she returned it. Back
to office and talked to the girls Home about 5 and Uncle Eric a Aunty
Nella there. Had my 1st lesson with ???? and got on OK. Melville phoned
up and we arranged about the Brecon on Sat ??
||didn't go to school as only a few would be
there as went up colliery instead and Ike helped me in some electrical
problems. Home about 4 o'clock and stayed in all night doing homework. I
looked over Dai ?? old letters. We had the old ???? Leaflet, ?? was
confirmation of Dai Evans death in Holland I shall miss him a great deal
as we were the very best of pals.
Saturday Nov' 25/44
Brecon day today. Caught the 8:15 AM bus from Swansea- arrived at Llandovery at 10:30 AM. Went to Castle and arranged for lunch. Met Misso and had a stroll around town and had lunch with him. Raining at about 12. After lunch went up coll and saw Pope. He didn't have much time- too excited- saw Lloyd Williams the old massier from Llandilo and still doing his good work- on 'sweat pea' Graham Rees- the capt. Last time i saw him was on junior game away back in 1939 and it brought back happy memories. Went up to meet train and saw ?? ?? Harry Thomas. but Ivor David the ref hadn't turned up, ?? old pope in a bit of a ??- eventually the game started and this time the odds were on Brecon as they had the bigger side, and indeed in the first 5 mins they scored and i thought it was all over by now the ball was greasy and the weather was showery, so ?? forwards took a hand in the games started using them ?? and they really played well, and showed Brecon a thing or two in helping. Half-time they were leading 6-3 and in the 2nd half the, backs thought of 2 marvellous movements, ???? the ball was greasy and they ended up ???? 12-3 after a very good game. Back to castle and had tea with Misso, Mel, and his pal.- good feed of ham and eggs- like ?? was with mammy and ???? as it was there iv always went after a match. Went up to coll after and in C ???? most of the team and to Graham Rees, till about 7:15 then off to catch the local ???? back.
|7||On platform met Brian Griffiths father and
mother, derek and his younger brother and had a chat with them. Didn't
pay to go home do feel that G W R owe me a lot going to Treforest and
got away with it- as at Neath ???? i had got in at Skewen -paid 4 1/2
not bad. arrived home about 10:30 and found a letter from Bill ?? who ??
in France. Will reply to it tomorrow .Went to bed as tired
||worked but the E W S order so they think
covers them. Anyway the case is being sent off to Cardiff and let them
give the decision. Output down 1051tons. Home about 5 and went to Young
???? Club till 9. Not many there as every wet.
School again today. Looked over 2nd and 1st class questions, and on studying them, found that i could answer most of them. Home about 7 after spending a ???? in Llantrisant. Again no work. This time they're out because they said that they want Lloyd to name the 'hailor' in their ranks, who told him that, Dai Howard had been told to phone up on Monday's dispute but refused. Actually it was Alf Maggs who was told by ???? ????, quite accidentally that someone had suggested to Howard to phone up and he had actually been by the phone, but a few of the men started growling. They have no cause to the out and personally I think that they have got out of hands that the comittee have lost control, especially some of the youngsters, however, ?? ???? about 9 o'clock in the evening that they have agreed to start work tomorrow
|10||get me out, at least ???? ?? and ???? ??, but
i shall remember. Anyway home they went and spent rest of day doing
homework. Dad up. Lloyd still arguing when I ????, as I believe the
committee has the ???? up in case it spreads. Phoned ???? Griffiths
Sat Dec 1/44
|11||Anyway ???? not getting paid until Cardiff has
decided- Getting their own back. Output about 180 so we didn't lose a
lot. Young ???? Club meeting in night. Wrote to Dai Evans mother and
||Up colliery early and down main with Lloyd all
morning. Short of trains and had a bad piece of tap coming in Dai ????
place and hid is crossing under the old 'four'. Helped Hubert with
dockets Home about 5, and did homework till 8, and then went singing.
Home by 9:30 and changed as going back with Lloyd. Up colliery by about
12 and down main caught Livingstone doing nothing and then the ???? were
going from ???? because the water was up. Told the repairers what to do
about ???? the ?? to take the ???? and then went on to the faces ??
about 3 and then had a doss on table.
|13||Went to Theo's after for a chat and then bed
Up colliery early and Llantwit. On with B Parker. Very wet there at present. Did some homework till about 7 and then went singing.
School all day till 3, but not much done as last Wednesday of term. Up to Cardiff and home with the early train. Copied up notes and did some homework.
Up colliery all day. Cleaned up yard and got ready a truck or two for scrap. Very cold day and had ???? back. Had a few Xmas cards
||give in, but not again. Agreed to meet committee
on Tuesday. We ?? stopped men taking any more firewood, as they have
abused the custom by scaring Norways.
Monday Jan 1/45
Up colliery Main and Tail working O.K down Main, but colliers still refusing to share, but, we've managed to keep the face going so far. Singing in night and walked home with Doug and Betty.
Tues Jan 2/45
|20||about 12 oclock and put night shift on
alternate work. Down Main and 5, till about 3, and had a sleep on office
|21||Dad made a speech and presented a cheque to ??
?? to Mr Lloyd and Doug to Will Evans and Ike. Doug had everyone
laughing. He spoke like and orator for a good 20 mins Dad presented all
the rest and all suitabley responded. After a very good meal we all went
into the office for drinks and a singsong. Doug was in his element, and
starting to warm up Everyone sang- even me and it all went OK. Dad was
pleased I think, especially that both us boys were there. I dont think
he imagined Doug could talk so much. After we went to the Cambran, and
Doug kept us on our backs laughing. I dont think they have laughed so
much before. Anyway it all ended to soon. and we split up. I took Ike
home in the car, but we first called in Huberts house, were we had a cup
of tea and cheese and pickles. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, and
we are all looking forward to another reunion
Dai ?? birthday. Up colliery in Lloyds car, as snow on ground. No work today had refused to listen to committee and walked home dipute was over a shift due to Len Sparks which we didnt pay, and wanted to go to Cardiff as a test case, leet mob law prevailed and home they went, but our teem is sure to come. to put the screw on dad up and looking worried as this year has started off pretty badly so far. Did some homework in work and in the evening.
||tonight in the Gwyn Hall with the orchestra
went off OK. Letter from Dai Williams
||the Messiah. Went down with Griff and saw him
to his seat. It went off very well, but old Griff couldnt stick it, and
had to go out for a refresher. I found him after the show. Walked home,
and we played snooker until about 11 and off to bed. Hes a devil of a
boy and we enjoyed ourselves very much. Only pity is that he off to the
army. It seems fated that all my mates are getting called up. I only
wish they would call me up.
Up colliery and did homework all day. Hughes up in evening and we worked till about 10:30. Griff phoned me up and I arranged to meet him tomorrow morning to send him off.
|26||the less they appreciate it. Did homework in
evening Sent letter to Bob Morgan
Sat 20th Jan
Up colliery with Lloyd and down Llantwit While on Cliff Parkers, a ???? came on and told us that the Main Dist were out because of the rent. Went out to investigate, and spoke to John Hughes and Dai Howard and they said the car was very thick. Lloyd invited them to come
||back, but they refused to we went onto the
intakes and returns and found nothing wrong. On going back to the
painting, the men had gone out. It looked a deliberate attempt to ????
output. Out about 2 and home after about 4:30 pm as Doug is coming home
and off to station to meet him. No letter yet from Griff, but expect he
is too busy
||£25. In night phoned Griffs home to find out
his address. Spoke to his mother and glad to hear that he is alright and
wrote to him, and i dont expect he has got over the effects of
innoculation as get. Hughes up and went over some surveying
Up colliery and down the Main ???? and Llantwit Sky pretty black. Snow had turned into rain, and roads were very slushy this morning. No work, because the men had all turned back because they were wet.Hughes up in the evening
||be a lot different. They seem to take
advantage of everything. Decided to stop ???? and called a ????mans
meeting to discuss the mens positions. Had a haircut in night and wrote
to Griff- hope he writes back
On the move all day, as getting things settled, but on the whole everything went off OK and the journey was kept on the move. Got wet by passing back and through work. Home about 5 and found a letter from Griff and was greatly relieved. Did some homework.
||certainly make a mess of the place and it is
dreadfully cold. They have umpteen cranes working here. Tractors
lorries, and any amount of men. Its a good job that its a government
concern. Anyway we had a good look round and ???? from it a lot. Saw a
500 ton walking crane from America, being built by Americans-massive
job. Also saw some Niagera ???? working. Caught bus back to Treforest,
and then to cardiff and met Wyn Lewis from Gowerton. Chatted for a while
to Neath and arranged to meet him sometime in Cardiff- Home late and
found out that Controller had given us permission to ???? both Tonmawn
and Resolven for their illegal strike.
Stayed in bed late today as Doug's last leave day- he went to church with dad. Had turkey and plum pudding dinner, and eat to much. In noon I did some homework and Doug had some records on. Hubert came down. tea and then in the evening had a chat. We sent Doug off by the 9:5 train. this time he is much happier as he is not going back to his ship but do Devenport.
Up colliery all day. Finished my surveying lesson. Home with 4 bus as Lloyds car in dock. Bought in look in town snaps still havent come in yet at Walliers. In evening did notes and wrote to Hector, George Rees and Mel
School today, but as I missed the early train. I went to Cardiff and spent the morning in the Museum in the geology lab. Home about 8, and on the train I met a Yank about my age and I gave him my address and he promised to write to me
||to come back afternoons to ting it with
8'rings. Home about 4 oclock, after making it safe for the journey to
pass Doug going back today. Hope it isnt for embarkation leave, but ????
as he had a telegram telling him to come back. Had records on in the
evening and then Dad and I sent Doug to catch the 9:30 train.
||London Train was crowded and we arrived in
Neath about 12 oclock. I ran Ike home in car and eventually got to bed
||to the flics with him. Home about 10:30
Thursday March 1/45
||Caught train to Pontypool, and walked around
Pontypool in morning and met a girl in the Clarence, and then I caught
the 12:30 bus to Goytre. Lovely weather and they live in a pretty spot.
The sugar loaf mountain stands out very clear. Mr and Mrs Evans are
keeping up well, although Mr Evans is far from well. Left about 3 oclock
and caught bus back to Cardiff. Met Griffs Brother there and had tea
with home. Home about 7 oclock.
||small chickens. Wrote letters to Fenner Skippy
and Griff in evening and did homework.
Puncture in byke so caught bus up. Did some work and home about 2 as arguing with committee. Swansea in noon and went to Plaza. Home on 9:30 and met ????. Lovely day - like summer -still got ????.
Monday 12/45 - 12/3/45(1 yr in a 100)
||Neath. Bought a book in Cardiff Home about 7
Shrewsbury and win a knocked Some other good fights followed. Home about
9:30 pm and had supper on Theos bed.
||and saw my sports job. Looking OK. Bathed and
changed and did some homework.
Up colliery on byke Men in but few boys home. B Phillips A Ball, B and WD Hughes as air was bad. If in peace its the sack they should have had. Did some swotting and Hughes up in evening.
Colliery in morning. Bought new Mornis Sports car and paid Alf the Cheque. Its in good condition and can tamp along. Better than byke in long run although not so thrilling. Met Mil in noon at same time and place and went to flics. Had supper and he caught 8 bus. Up to John Swales house in Townhill but his people were out. Caught 10 bus home.
Monday April 2/45
Tuesday April 3/45
|47||Wales V England Schoolboys. Jolly good match
and weather OK. Had tea and off to Swansea to Griffs house, but I didnt
have enough time failed to find it, so will have to phone to see what
time his train is due in on ??
Wenesday April 4/45
Thursday April 5/45
||few prices. Left about 9 oclock as not sure of
buses and arranged to see him during week. Its been a lovely day. Hope
it stays fine.
Communion morning- Not many there and then up farm. Painted gate and then up to see sheep and counted about 18 lambs, all looking well. Home about 3 and did the Mornis ??. All went to Church in evening, so I read Southerns Notes in the garden as it is a beautiful summer day. Good news in the papers, as our forces are doing what they ???? Germany. Hope it wont be long.
Started work again and read Colliery Men agens Report. Back pretty stiff as before. Finished work about 5 and went to flics as feeling browned off being in all the day. Gas-men doing repairs in front of house as there is a heavy gas leak.
||It was a poor 1st half but things woke up in
the second half- Wales won 11-8 but only managed it. Back to the
continental for tea and had fish and chips. Be glad when the fish is
filleted again. Out about 6 and went to baths and then caught a tram to
Roath Park where we had an hour on the boats. Off about 7:15 and then
walked to the gardens and caught a tram back to station. Reached station
about 9 and sat down and talked till train came out. Pretty packed and
had to stand all way. Arrived in Neath about 11, and said goodbye to
Griff as he is going back off leave tomorrow after a good day. Bought
him his present.
||night. Had a card from Dai Williams with his
|| Lovely day. Back to Emp and saw an
excellent show with Jane outstanding. Back home with 9:30 bus and found
that Doug had come home on a 48hr leave. Up talking until about 12:30
and then off to bed.
|54||and caught 4:30 bus to Cardiff. Met Ivon as
arranged, had tea and went to flics. Out about 9, and sent him to bus
and caught tram and bus to Aunty Nettas' where I had a good supper. Bed
about 11:15 and slept well.
Communion in morning and then up farm with Jack Rees fining the stumps in new field. Took sheep up mountain Up Gilfach about 3 and cleaned out pond. Home with 2 dz duck eggs. Church in night and sang ready for ????. Went to the Trotskyte Meeting in the Gwyh Hall and walked home with Douglas
Tuesday May 1/45
Caught 8:30 bus to Pontypridd and went over 2nd class questions Very cold day. Italy has surrended. Nobody feels like doing work. Fetched car from Castle and put small chicks right.
Tues May 8/45
Today is VE day and everyone has a two days holiday. Raining heavily in morning but cleared up after funnily enough. Put flags out like everyone else. Dad has a pretty bad head. Down town, and everything ready for some fun fireworks already going off. Up Resolven after with Gwyn and put the bonfire OK for the evening. Dad up later as his head is better. Set bonfire off about 11 oclock and dad and Sam fired powder down the woods. Tempt blaze- will have another on V day proper. Home about 12 and set off our fireworks and rockets, Doug there. Bed about 12:30.
Wenesday May 9/45
Up Graigie with Ike and put new paper on the syphen. It works well. Down about 1 oclock and walked around with dad discussing the new plant for surfaces. Fish have come and tank coming tomorrow
School today. All there and did a little revision. Went for a walk after with Ivor down Pontypridd Home about 8. and in evening fetched Aunty Bess from station ???? in morning to Oak Grove for holls. Wet in evening
May Friday 18/45
Whit Sunday 20/45
Whit Monday 21/45
||and then went up the Gnoll to see MC races.
Very good. Up to Ikes in evening for a refresher ready for Exams on
Wenes and Thus feeling rotten and have a headache. Very ill in the
||down town and bought an oil can for the Mornis
car. Home early
Up Tonmawr all day. Down 5 with Dai Lewis - Everyone waiting for Trams. Painting still uncompleted. Letter from Griff home on the 15th
Friday June 1/45
Saturday June 2/45
Sunday June 3/45
||Dai Lewis. It places on the cutter. Rather a
few to many. Went to a joint ?? and Liberal meeting where D Bowen K.C
was adopted as our delegate for the M P - not many there.
||Back home about 10-30.
||noon. 'Arsenic and Old Lace' -good show and
went to Swansea Emp in the evening- ?? ???? and his band.
||about 1 and had a good feed in the Bear Inn. -
Back up to the Coll an d had a long chat with old Pope who is still the
same. Back to the cricket pitch and watched coll in their 1st cricket
match of the season. Griff and Gerald went ???? ?? Met and I went for a
walk up to see the caved dragon and up Blain ?? brought back happy
memories of my walks with the gang and Dai ??. After tea went back to
Coll and had a game of Ball courts- grand. Started back about 8:30 and
after a puncture and calling for fish and chips and Griffs uncle and
dropping off the gang eventually reached home about 11 after a tip top
||wishing Griff goodbye as he is off on
the eleven train tomorrow. Have had a grand time the last few days.
sorry he is going back as we get on fine. Be glad when he is home for
||bags ready for tomorrow. Took two bags, one
for my working clothes and one for my clean things
Yorkshire tour Sat June 30/45
||As my bed was too short, we had to put two
together and after a hell of a good laugh till gone two in the morning
we eventually all went to sleep after a good beginning.
||B Boy and myself and the rest of the gang went
to Mexboro where we had a singsong in the Bull. Back about 10 oclock,
had a snack and a chat in the hostel and off to bed about 12
Monday July 2/45
||and kept spotlessly clean and white washed. All tracks are cemented in and all points or latches worked by compressed air. At pit bottom there are over a dozen offices- for surveyor- under-fitters ?? stones- and fitters stones etc and each one again as spotlessly clean- made me do a lot of thinking- Our party was split up in two and we went our different ways. Shown the endless rope hauler which again was kept clean. Went ???? to the face and found conditions vastly in front of ours in S Wales Talked to the men and found their wages were very low as compared with ours in S Wales in comparison with the tonnage filled. Had a chat with the officials over the training scheme and after shown the distinct where the 'bump' had taken place resulting in the loss of 13 lives. It had to be seen to be believed, as where the roadways were, was now solid - ???? were flattened like pankcakes, as was everything else. On walking back shown were the ???? oiled and cleaned and nunor repairs carried out. Their roadways are kept in perfect line and there is hardly any notice able pressure, but its hellish warm, and we sweat our guts out. Tomorrow very few of us will wear so many clothes, although I had some prepared for it. Back to P B and shown the advice of where the trams where tipped|
||into the skip automatically and weighed
underground. Very few Rowbottom Whells are used mostly fixed wheels and
roller bearings- Up Pit and then to the canteen where we had a meal. All
of us were tired, as we were not used to such hot conditions, but before
we left we had a look over all the colliery. Finished about 4 and walked
back to Mexboro feeling hellish tired where we washed and had tea. In
the evening I intended staying in but unfortuneatly old John collared me
and another lad and took us to Manvers Main Colliery with the idea of
showing us the new baths and sunray, but worst luck the aeroline bath
was out of action, so he showed us around the surface and from there we
went back to the hostel, had supper and then to bed, after I had a chat
Impression- Capt John is very strict and methodical, and is treated with respect, which is absolutely unknown down in S Wales. His officials know whos' loss and so do the men- His pit is very clean and it has been well worth the time time. Of special importance is his pit bottom where a stand???? of 350 trams is allowed for and ?? perfect roads and timbering- a diff timbering method is used -??
Tuesday July 3rd/45
Got up at 7:30, and then packed my working clothes ready for trip to Manvers Main Colliery. Had a good breakfast and caught the 8:30 bus. Dai Davies met us and took us to the baths where we changed into our working trap and proceeded to meet out guides. Our guide was the safety officer and we proceeded down pit in a double decker cage. Arrived at pit bottom but it couldnt be compared with the Barnbon. Went down the endless rope main haulage which as usual was kept in perfect order with typical theoretical manholes. We insisted the Silkstone Seam 3'3'' thick, 300 yd face double unit feeding on a chain loader and then onto a mecco camier belt. Crawled through face on knees and sweated like hell by the time we reached the other end. Walked back through the return and had a lift up in a Paddy Mail and at Pit Bottom talked with the economy officers and then up pit. Had an excellent dinner in canteen after ???? and then we toured the surface of the colliery which included a ???? to engine house, ???? plant, ?? ovens and lye product plant, a novel feature was the collieries boys club. Which was run by the colliery on the colliery premises. It was an excellent play containing large, billiards, table tennis, reading room, and gym and was open all day and until late in evening. After our walk we were all pretty well done in, but Mike Williams and myself were fortuneate enough in being able to have an arestone bath ans sunray treatment which considerabley ???? us. We then went back to Mexboro where we had a good tea. After tea ???? up Tucker and we both
||went to the flics in Mexoboro and saw 'The
Falcon in Hollywood' Had a feed of fish and chips and caught bus back.
Back to lounge and sat talking with Tucker, 'Ginger' and some of the
lads. Ginger and I went for a stroll after and weren't back until about
Wenesday July 4/45
had to return by 7:30 as Capt John was to give us a lecture on 'Rock
Mining in Gilratter' in the meanwhile I sat in the lounge with Frankie
and had a good old yarn with him, and we became firm pals although we
had only just got to know one another. John came about 7:30 and we had
our lecture in the dance hall. He finished about 9, and just as we were
leaving asked Gilbank and myself to come over to the Manvers Workmens
Club and although I had other business I just couldn't refuse so off I
went. We had a drink and a game of snooker and then we caught the bus
back to Mexboro. Ginger was waiting and we went for a stroll in the
fields. Back in early as very tired and said goodnight to Frankie. Impressions-
All of us had a good day and were amazed at the way the american
machinery worked, but as already explained you must have excellent
conditions for it, good wages are most important the cooperation of the
men handling ? The agent was a charming fellow and gave us a real good
welcome which we all appreciated.
Thursday July 5/45
|77||quickly towards the boundary and open a face
long wall retreating using a mecco moore loader. Down the pit in a
square cage and landed at pit bottom where we went to the other shaft
and was lowered by an electric hauler driven by V-belts to the Parkgate
Seam. Off to face and saw the same kind of machinery as yesterday. Had a
look around, and as usual asked numerous questions to everyone we
contacted and after an hour or so returned to pit top where we were
taken to the officials club and all had a drink. After on way to
canteen, where we had an excellent meal and I met Fred Foster ( White
Wash) just before he went down pit, and arranged to meet him tomorrow
evening and then after saying goodbye to the agent, we caught a bus back
to Mexboro where we washed changed and had a good meal. As Mr Steer is
coming to give us a lecture on Skip Winding none of the lads went out
and I went over to Frankies down for a yarn and after we went over the
lounge to see Ginger. Had a good lecture on Skip Winding, but it was
hellish warm there and we were glad when it was over by 8:30. Met
Frankie and we caught a bus to Mexboro where we had a bottle of cider
and chips in town and we walked slowly back and sat on the bed in our dormitory
till 10:30 arranging plans for next holls in August. Ginger sent for me
after so I???? Frankie goodnight and went for a stroll. I cut my hand
pretty badly on returning and the lads bandaged it up but it beld a hell
of a lot and I was glad to go to sleep.
Impressions - The Hickleton Pit was the
||largest we had visited employing 4000 men,
with a weekly out put of 23 000 tons. It appears to be well managed by
the agent who was a very clever fellow and knew his stuff and he put
himself out to help us. Underground ???? were to good to be true, but it
was devilish warm. and we were soon stripped to the waist.
Friday July 5/45
||7 oclock where we all washed and changed ????
had come back early to night so as Whitewash couldn't make it he Frankie
and myself went for a farewell drink together in the Bull, but as it was
getting full we left, had some chips and walked back to Mexboro. Over
the hill Back by about 10 and sat in the lounge with the lads. and said
goodbye to some of the lads and Ginger. Bed about 12 oclock and as the
fellows were playing cards Tucker came into our dorm and we talked until
about 3 oclock and then we went to sleep. About 5 in the morning Frankie
came in for half an hour to say goodbye and fell asleep on the bed and
nearly missed his bus. We shook hands goodbye and he said he would be
down 2nd week in August. Sorry to see him go as we both had got to like
Impressions Had a good day in Sheffield- wouldnt mind a course there myself. as it is very instructive. In the S M R B we saw how they carried out their various experiments and were quite taken in by their work especially that done for the new entrants. Had a good evening and felt sorry to leave the place as we all enjoyed ourselves, and I personally had made three good meals.
Saturday July 6/45
||Mexboro about 10, I reached London about 3:50
in the afternoon. Will Evans Dan Walters, Austin and Dai Davies left us
and Mike and I went to look for digs which we eventually found in the
Brighton Hall Hotel near the station 17/6 bed and breakfast. After a
wash up we took a bus to the Marble Arch and had tea in one of the
cafe's. Strolled around after in the park and the West End and then went
to the Windmill Theatre which wasnt up to much. Mike took me sight
seeing and we went to Houses of Parliment, Thames, Buckingham Palace Big
Ben and St Pails and a host of others. Had a snack at wayside cafe and
after a walk around we returned to the hotel feeling very tired. We also
saw the aeroplane exhibition and it was the first time I had had a close
up new of some of the planes, and amazed at their size. At the hotel I
wrote a long letter to Frank and then we went off to bed and slept like
||Llangammack Wells for the week-end Slipped up
farm in car and arranged to get hay in tomorrow night.
||collect enough land got colliers to try clear
some of the coal as not to lose a cut- they cleared 6 trams, and gave
the noon shift a sporting chance. Back home about 6 had a wash and a nap
and wrote up my diary.
Up Tonmawr till about one oclock and tried to complete the stone sheets with Ike and Hubert. Went to dog show in noon and meeting of the football committee in evening in order to get funds for making a start next season. Went for spin in car to P Talbot beach
Up Tonmawr till about 12 and then over Resolven as William Thomas the regional adviser was coming- and he had a chat with us in new methods of working which might be applicable at Resolven. His idea was to do away with the monotory of ex colliers job and also the off shifts by having 2 faces, the colliers to share up and work ???? faces themselves, filling ???? one day and cutting the next- Very good idea- if the men will accept it. Up farm after on the hay in field by house. Letter from Frank Tucker and Dai Williams
Up Tonmawr and on to Nartylar to see how Alfie and his men ar shaping- Long way in but it is standing well after such a long time. Back out and then found I had to go to Cardiff to meet Doug. Left about 3:30 and waited for the 5 train, but he wasnt on it, so slipped up to Aunty Nettas where he had a good feed. He still looks the same. Arrived Neath about 11 oclock.
||OK, and we scouted up the men and hauliers,
and finally about 4 after a lot of false alarms we started filling coal
and filled off the 20 trams by 7:30 and ???? then went down to the
village to arrange with No1 cutters, shifters and duffers to come in and
do their Stuff I bet the No1 going will be off, as they expected to half
only 1/2 a shifts work tomorrow, but they will have a surprise- Back to
farm for food and saw Doug and Vernon and his family up in their car.
Had tea and Back home and changed and after Vernon came up the farm and
we had the records on, anf finally about 11:30 I went off to bed pretty
||and with ????, we shall reach the 1000 tons.
Thursday 26/45- Churchill Resigns
Up Tonmawr in the morning and started to clean up yard. Back over Resolven with part of the ram pump and arranged with Will Davies to get men to work on lifting the empty road tomorrow. Up farm on hay all the rest of the day and half finished the middle field. by about 9:30. Took Dilys Wathan and her small sister back to Skewen and then back to Neath and bed as very tired Doug stayed in Swansea Cut my thumb pretty badly.
Up Tonmawr all day and had the gang cleaning up the yard and screens, but a lot of work to finish it. Committee Meeting in the evening Home about 5 and took my car to the Castle Garage to be greased and oil changed in ????, axle and engine. In evening wrote letter to Frankie, Tucker, and Ginger and Aunty Bess and Melville
Wenesday Aug 1/45
||that it came this week and not next week. Home
about 10 oclock and dindn't go up to Tonmawr as enough there already.
Thursday Aug 2/45
||home about 11:30 and ankle swollen up, so
bathed it in hot and cold water and went to bed.
Friday Aug 3/45
||went through the pay together, as I shall be
paying out next Friday as he is taking his weeks holliday Doug packing
as he is going back off leave today to Devonport, and he feels it
a lot and dad, as he like thousands of others one simply wasting
their time. He left about 3 oclock and we all said goodbye but expect
him home again soon. Couldn't send him to the station and this is the
first time I've missed doing since he joined up. (photo- Doug home on
leave during last year 1944 Doug is 21 years old). Stayed in all the
evening and read a book called The Rayors Edge by N S Maugham. One of
the best Ive read for a long time and worth reading again. The old
saying that '' Greater Love hath no Man than this,- that a Man lay ????
down his life for his friends.
Monday Aug 6/45
|93||but I stayed in and read my books and papers.
Tuesday Aug 7/45
Wenesday Aug 8/45
||Came across a photo of Tonmawr Colliery today
so thought I would stick it in This photo was taken just after the
canteen was built, but before the new haulage. In front of the canteen
Hubert can be seen walking Next to the canteen is the new office on the
?? and the boilers and fitting and blacksmiths shop on the left. and dad
took me home in the car. Read a book in evening. Ankle burning like ????
Thursday Aug 9/45
Friday Aug 10/45
Up early and up Tonmawr with dad to pay out. Ankle a good lot better Ike had got the tumbler and conveyor in place and had made a good job of it, but the place looks rather bare, as the sheets have all been stripped off it, as Owen David will have to start in the new building straight away. Theo and Lloyd up with pay and starting at ?? we finished about 3 on pay. On 6 oclock news
Saturday Aug 11/45
Sunday Aug 12/45
Monday Aug 13/45
Up about 10 oclock. Dad up colliery Down to Phillips in morning to see about my ankle . Back to dinner and then Frank and I went to Mumbles we had a stroll around and back to the flics in Swansea to see ''King Henry V'' ???? a novel film, but not enough excutement in it. Back to the farm for supper and then we had a game of draughts and so to bed. Been a dull old day- not many men turned up at Tonmawr. New tumbler working O K. - It will be a good job for all concerned when the full two weeks holiday with pay is introduced.
Up early- that is about 10 oclock- and had a good old fashioned breakfast of ham and eggs. We then went for a stroll up the top of the mountain to see how the sheep were progressing Back to dinner and then off to Porthcawl. Had a grand time on the fair, but as is usua, the prices were beyond all conception.-11- for a few minutes ??- if any thing should be controlled it is prices of these amusements.- Back to the flics in Neath and then up to the farm for supper where Frank ???? into the ???? of chess. After an hour or so concentration off to bed.
||farm for tea and then out for a ride on the
horses as Frank seems to like it. But I bed he will be sore in the
morning Back to Neath in the evening to see how it looked lit up, but
surprised at the small gathering present.
Friday Aug 17/45
Saturday Aug 18/45
||and left for Port Talbot. Parked car and had a
look around the town- had tea and then went to the Odeon and saw two
good films. Out about 8 and down Aberavon Sands and went out in the pier
and had a good on the fair. Back to house and then up farm for supper
and had the usual game of chess and then bed as tomorrow Frank is to go
back to London as his week and ?? is up.
Sunday Aug 19/45
Monday Aug 20/45
||to Phillips for a massage. Back home and read
a book and had a chat with Doug and Dad till gone 12 oclock, quite a
novelty to listen to Doug talking- exactly as if he is in the House of Parliament-
Bed about 12:30
Tuesday Aug 21/45
Wenesday Aug 22/45
Thursday Aug 23/45
||and put new slippers down. Over Resolven with
dad and Ike and had a final discussion with Mr Jones on the pros and
cons of starting off the new double unit face.- the deciding factor
being the speed at which the deep can be driven. Proposed to send to
Siskol for further enlightment. Home about 5, and then to Phillips for
massage to ankle which is slowly mending and then went to flics in the
empire. Charles Laughton in ' The Suspect'. As usual there was a queue.-
Neath is about the most backward town for its size in Wales. With a
population of over 50 000, it possesses only 2 desent cinemas, and thats
about all. -Be good job when a few progressive men get on the counsil.
Friday Aug 24/45
Saturday Aug 25/45
Down to Phillips at 9 for massage to my ankle and then up colliery. Dad and Gwyn off on a fortnights holliday to Droitwitch. Up Tonmawr about 10 and prepared to change flooring of the coal shute, but ???? to much coming out and had to leave it. Back home about 1:30 and washed and changed. Doug is going back off leave today so took him down to meet the 3 oclock train. He is fed up with it and will be glad to come out. Back up the Rugger Pitch as Neath R F C is holding its first trial. Kick off late- but weather O K. Poor game generally as very few of the players seemed to know anything about the game. How they entered getting a 1st classside- beats me. Had tea in the house and then off to Swansea in bus and went for a ride to Oxwich and Thumped into T L A Morgan who I hadn't seen since I left Coll 6 yrs ago Had a long chat and I gave him my address. Home about 10:30 and off to bed.
Sunday Aug 26/45
||and they should finish this about a fortnights
time. Back home and washed and changed and read a book and papers.
America have stopped the 'Lease and Lend Arrangement' and old ???? had
told us of the serious position it puts us in. Went to church in evening
and sang in the choir. Lovely day- Sat in park afterwards.
Monday Aug 27/45
Tuesday Aug 28/45
Wenesday Aug 29/45
Up Tonmawr early.- again not much coal ???? to heavy absenteesm down the main and a lot of our repairers are also on 'comps' . Last night we had a terrific storm- thunder and lightning, but fortunately no damage. About 12 oclock a terrific peal of thunder was heard and the juice was knocked off a both Resolven and Tonmawr. Phoned up Pontypridd and they said it would be in in one hour but it didnt come in until 5:15 pm. Naturally the men in both places were out by 2 as the fans are on stop. This couldn't be helped, but in Resolven it will mean a big loss of coal as the cuts are not cleaned. The afternoon shift in Resolven knew about the juice when they went up as Jones the manager had told them, and also that they needn't go home as they could work in the deep. About 5.10 pm they decided to go and walked off, and just as they had passed the mouth the juice came in, the fireman called them back, but they refused to answer him, as they must have heard him, The manager caught some of them at the bottom, but they definitely refused to go back. This will mean a loss of 3 cuts, which otherwise could have been cleared by the afternoon shift. - The hauliers and the cutterman remained, so with a few extra men got in, they intend trying to clear. No2 face which has about one dz. trams left, but it will be touch and go. Talk
||about cooperation. What they did was typical
of all the rest of their dirty ???? Self first second and third. If it
wasnt for the officials at Resolven and Tonmawr, and I suppose can be
said of all pits, there would be very little coal out. Home about 5,
washed and changed and then over to hut in Laurels in preparation for
tomorrow V J party.
Thurs August 30/45
we picked up old Paddy stretched out on the floor on London Rd. He, poor fellow
had at last kicked the bucket at the grand old age of 22 yrs. Took him back to
the garage and went back. to June house. and finally left there at about 2
oclock and walked home with Pete and Kath and finally got to bed about 2:30
after a very enjoyable evening.
Friday Aug 31/45
Saturday Sept 1/45
Down to Phillips at 9 for massage to ankle, and then called at Mr Freethys house for the N R F C season tickets and then up colliery- Back down about one oclock washed and changed and went to see Neath V Glyn-neath. Very wet day. Quite a desent crowd there for the first match but the play was very scrappy Neath loosing by 3pts to nil. Home about 5, and waited for Doug to phone. He got through about 7:30, and said that most likely he will have to go abroad this week, and most probably to Beylon. - He is fed up with this business as he and 1000's like him are wasting their time. Went out for a spin in the bus and called in at Trev Harts house and saw him for the 1st time since we left Coll. He is now a Capt in the Indian Commandos and looks well, but he sure has been through a hell of a tough time. having been shot and ?????. Home about 10 and had a chat with dad on the phone at Droiturch. Bed.
Sunday Sept 2/45
for ???? for ????. Saw Kath on way home. Washed and changed and did some weight
lifting excersises. Went to church in evening- not many there. Had an icecream
after and then home to supper.
Monday Sept 3/45
Tuesday Sept 4/45
Wenesday Sept 5/45
Up colliery early after mending and dammed puncture- I've had more punctures with this Mornis than the worth of it. ?? trams in so put lads to unload them. Left about 12 oclock with powder, dets and fuse for Gilfach. Sam and Will Rees doing good work. Back home and washed and changed and then off to Swansea. Had a chat with Mr Rees and after helped Miss Bullock on the books. Bought a shirt in Sidney Meaths and home by about 6 oclock. Had a letter from Eric Payne.- 1st for a very long time. Choir practise at St Thomas's Church in evening not many there Home about 9:30
Thurs Sept 6/45
our cottage is very low being unable to work in Resolven. Home about 3
and off to sheep sale. One dz ewes made 27/6- 5 yrs old mostly. Picked up Mike
in evening and off to Porthcawl for a spin in car. Had a walk around the prom
and had a good feed in one of the resterants, and then had an icecream. Home
about 9 oclock and met Mary and went for a short ride one reaching Lewis Rd met
the gang including Peter, Trevor and Kath. Had a wire Doug is coming on leave.
Saturday Sept 8/45
Sunday Sept 9/45
Communion in morning Up Farm about ? oclock and dipped all the sheep for the winter and coloured them red. Up Gilfach with powder, and then home for tea. Church in the evening and Gwyn started in the choir with 3 other boys. Had a practise and afterwards went home early as a few letters to write. Very close day.
Monday Sept 10/45
Tuesday Sept 11/45
low in my opinion. Tried to impress the men on the ???? for output and that the
high absenteeism was playing, but it can be seen that they dont intend helping
if their jobs are in danger. Took powder up Gilfach and then home and washed
and changed and out ???? on the Gnoll to test my ankle, and it behaved very
well. Home about 7:30, feeling pretty good. Very wet day. Saw Mike on field.
Wrote letters after to Eric, Ginger, Griff, Jack and Frankie. Bed about 10:30
Wenesday Sept 12/45
Thurs Sept 13/45
around Carmarthen and around the cattle market. Bought two books. Home via
Llandilo and Ammford. Had dinner and then we went to horse market and the
cattle sale. Very few horses there. Cattle going cheap. Out training in the
evening, but found it vastly different from what we had in coll. Old Pope would
make a good side of Neath if he could have them for a month. Ankle lasted O K.
Had a general ????- ever with Mr Thomas after and saw Mike Bed about 11 after
having a chat with Doug. He has got an extension of leave till Oct 1.
Friday Sept 14/45
Saturday Sept 15/45
at Melvills, but he has a date. After a tight game Neath lost by 8 pts to 6.
Neath are a vastly improved side. Off to Albert Hall for tea and then to
Swansea Emp. Very wet day and pouring down on way home.
Sunday Sept 16/45
Monday Sept 17/45
First time for seven months. Saw Mike and sat with him in park. Home about 9
and off to bed early.
Tuesday Sept 18/45
Wenesday Sept 19/45
Thurs Sept 20/45
Up Tonmawr early with Hubert as his car is in clock. All the morning we worked on the new output look and finished it about 1. Arranged for two men to work on the new covering for screens. Home about 4 oclock, had a light tea and then went out training. Had a run out, but in my opinion it wasnt worth a ??. Went to Thomas's after and then for a walk with Mary up Gnoll. Arrived back about 10:30. Bed early.
Friday Sept 21/45
but got knocked out in crossing. Eventually after a good and ???? game we lost
by 11-9, but it should have been a draw. Saw Jackie Mathews, Trev Hart and St
John Rees after the match. Feeling rather stiff Had a good tea and off to flics
with Mike and then went to bed early.
Tuesday 25/45- Dads Birthday
men seem to be afraid to take the responsibility. Training in the evening Mike
out and introduced to Tom. After training we all had a chat in the Y M. Home
Wenesday Sept 26/45
In the evening met Mike and Tom and up shed and had a good game of billiards.
Sent Tom to the bus. Home about 10.
Saturday Sept 29/45
Sunday Sept 30/45
Monday Oct 1/45
Tuesday Oct 2/45
faces there. Had lunch in Woolworths. Home about 5 and out training with Tom
and the boys.
Wenesday Oct 3/45
Thursday Oct 3/45
Friday Oct 4/45
Saturday Oct 5/45
Sunday Oct 6/45
Up early as taking Mr Rees to Port Talbot to take a service at St Marys Church Quite a crowd there Wrote to Ging and Tucker. Church at 11 with Dad Doug and Gwyn in St Davids After dinner down to Griffs as he is home on leave. Went to Mumbles and had tea in his hut at Langland. Back in time for church and saw the boys after.
Monday Oct 7/45
Tuesday Oct 8/45
Wenesday Oct 9/45
coal price book all the afternoon. Just rain today for a fortnight. Home with 4
oclock bus. Met Tom in the evening and had a game of billiards up shed.
Thursday Oct 10/45
Friday Oct 11/45
Saturday Oct 13/45
Up early and had breakfast with Doug and then took him to station to meet 9-5 train. Hadyn and Vernon there to see him off. Took Hadyn home and then took togs to be pegged. Phoned colliery everything O K. Left Neath for Newport by bus and arrived there about 2:30. Quite a large crowd there. Lovely pitch but very heavy. In the first few minutes they scored 2 lucky tries and this upset the whole side.- Anyway after a good game of spin football they won 22-11. After ???? a Leeds scout asked G Hughes and myself if we would like to go North- I told him to go to hell. Arrived Neath about 8:15 after talking with Frankie all the way down. Saw Tom and after a walk I buzzed off as tired.
Sunday Oct 14/45
Monday Oct 15/45
Tuesday Oct 16/45
School today down Swansea. Left early to call at Griffs but he is up ????. Back to School and spent morning and noon on 2nd class questions. Home about 4 and out training with the team. Up shed with Tom after and played Billiards.
Thursday Oct 18/45
Friday Oct 19/45
Up Resolven to see how things were getting on . The ringing of the deep in ???? is almost finished. Down GlynGwlyn. Three faces O K and both deeps going well. Down to farm about 2 oclock- Saw Sam and then down the office. - Been repainted and new floors and looks O K. Back home about 4 and went to flics with Tom and Windsor.
Saturday Oct 20/45
Sunday Oct 21/45
Monday Oct 22/45
4 oclock and down to Phillips for a rub and the lamp. Back feels a lot better.
Saw Tom on way to singing practice.. Terrible rains all day and blowing hard.
Tuesday Oct 23/45
Wenesday Oct 24/45
Thursday Oct 25/45
as trying out my back in practice. Had a good run around, but felt rather
stiff. Washed and changed and went to see 'The Light of Heart' written by Emily
Williams and produced by the Neath Little Theatre people. Howard Davis was the
principle actor in it. Frank and Tom were with me. Terrific lightning all the
evening and terrbal rain. Home about 10 oclock.
Friday Oct 26/45
Saturday Oct 27/45
Sunday Oct 28/45
re-piping cow shed Lovely day. Back home about 3. Church in evening and after
church saw Frank and went for a stroll up Gnoll
Monday Oct 29/45
Tuesday Oct 30/45
Wenesday Oct 31/45
Thursday Nov 1/45
Up Tonmawr with some ???? for Ike and then over Resolven to meet Dad and ???? regarding the royalty. Finished about 1 and slipped up the farm. Back home about 2 as special training today for Sats match. and all the team out and we had a dash good ????, and all feel very confident about it. Although bets are going round that they will put 30 pts on us. Up shed after with Tom and Frankie and playing billiards.
Friday Nov 2/45
Saturday Nov 3/45
Started ???? about 2:15 and saw ?? New Zealanders They're a well built lot most
of them standing over 6'. and 3 of their forwards weigh 16 stone and over. Had
photos taken and then out to the field where they did their war dance. It was a
lovely day and we scored in the first 4 mins. We were all over them and if our
backs were better we would have easily beaten them, as in the srcumswe were
getting the ball back 8 out of 10 scrums. Anyway after a hard game we
lost 22-15, but it was against the run of play. Had a crack on my leg in the
last few minutes. After a bath, we, the Neath team went to the Church Hall for
tea while the Kiwis, went to the Castle after we all joined them in the Palm
Lounge we ???? their autographs and sing song. Back home about 8 and then down
to Thomas for a massage- Bed
Sunday Nov 4/45
Monday Nov 5/45
Tuesday Nov 6/45
3 and slipped up farm but didnt turn up George Hughes one of our best forwards
has signed for Leeds. Flics with Tom
Wenesday Nov 7/45
Thursday Nov 8/45
Friday Nov 9/45
Saturday Nov 10/45
it was very scrappy and terribly cold. Home about 6, had tea in the Anchor
Cafe. Walked around most of the night.
Sunday Nov 11/45
Monday Nov 12/45
Tuesday Nov 13/45
Wenesday Nov 14/45
Thursday Nov 15/45
Up Resolven today and up Coid-cae. Some devil on the night shift had deliberately put his mandrel through the cable on No 4 face- resulting in a cut going west. Training in noon from 3.30 till 5 and up shed after with Tom Dai and John. Very cold evening.
Friday Nov 16/45
Saturday Nov 17/45
Sunday Nov 18/45
Up to Communion first and then up Tonmawr with things for Ike. New siding looks O K. Back to Resolven and painted buildings of shed. Down after 3 oclock washed and changed and church in evening. With Frankie after and went for a walk
Monday Nov 19/45
Tuesday Nov 20/45
Wenesday Nov 21/45
Thursday Nov 22/45
Friday Nov 23/45
Up Tonmawr today and down '5'. Still very wet there. Up about 2 oclock and helped Hubert with pay. Home about 5 and met Frankie about 9 after going to the flics Dai. Walked home with him Picked for trial.
Saturday Nov 24/45 'Brecon'
Sunday Nov 25/45
Monday Nov 26/45
Up Tonmawr all day and did work on Southerns course and finished his lesson. Output down last week. Out training in evening and had good run and feeling pretty fit. Saw Tom and went to flics- poor show.
Tuesday Nov 27/45
Wenesday Nov 28/45
Thursday Nov 29/45
Friday Nov 30/45
Saturday Nov 31/45
Up about 9 oclock, packed bag and caught 11 train to Cardiff Went up with Cliff Williams. Met Graham Hughes -alltogether 3 Neath forwards and 1 centre playing. 2 on reds and 2 on whites. Saw dad etc in Royal before match. Throat still sore and full of cold. Kicked off at 2:30, and according to dad after played a very good game. Mansfield wasnt playing Wish he was as he is the only likely one to keep me out. Had a kick in in teeth and a ???? ?? ear. Poor game. Had tea with the teams and caught 5:30 train home. Met Tom and Frank after and found Neath had lost to Gloucester 6-5. Bit of bad luck.
Sunday Dec 1/45
Monday Dec 2/45
Tuesday Dec 3/45
???? very good singing there. Sent Tom to bus.
Wenesday Dec 4/45
Thursday Dec 5/45
Friday Dec 6/45
Saturday Dec 7/45
Sunday Dec 8/45
Communion in morn- Very few there- Up farm after and walked mountain to see how the sheep were. Had dinner. Down about 3 oclock. Church in evening and had a full choir practise after. Met Frank
Monday Dec 9/45
Tuesday Dec 10/45
Wenesday Dec 11/45
Thurs Dec 12/45
Down ?? ?? and did some training, but not many players there. Billiards in
evening with Tom Frank and Dai, and then had a good feed in new cafe in Windsor
Friday Dec 13/45
Sat Dec 15/45
Sunday Dec 16/45
Monday Dec 17/45
???? J P, where there. Had a good output last week 1300 tons and 878 tons in
Resolven. With Tom in evening Flics.
Tues Dec 18/45
Wenesday Dec 19/45
Up with Hubert and made my statement and then took it back to the police station at Skewen. Back up colliery and finished off one of Souther s Lessons- Coal slow coming out Choir practise in evening for next Sunday night- Quite a few there Very wet evening. Wrote out a few cards
Thursday Dec 20/45
Friday Dec 21/45
on screen so helped Ike to mend it. Home about 5 oclock. Date in evening- Out
Saturday Dec 22/45
Sunday Dec 23/45
Monday Dec 24/45
there- Left by bus about 2 to Cardiff and caught 4 oclock luxury bus to Neath.
Flics with Tom and Frank in evening. Saw Toms ???? Schooldays
December 25/45 Xmas Day
Wenes Dec 26/45
Thurs Dec 27/45
Photos from Neath
V Kiwis 1945
Pic- Neath Team
Pic- At Cardiff W13- E25
Pic- Kiwis having their photos taken
Pic- Kiwis giving their war-??
Frid Dec 28/45
Picked for Wales V N Zealand with two other Neath forwards G Hughs and M Thomas Photo in Post. Up colliery with Lloyd still a lot missing. Home about 4. Out in night with Syl. Up shed- Terrific rain
Sat Dec 29/45
Sunday Dec 30/45
Monday Dec 31/45
Tuesday Jan 1/46
but on the whole it has ?? far been a very mild winter. Helped Hubert and
replied to some of the telegrams. Down at 2 and out training with lads. Awfully
cold out, so didnt stay out long. Tom up in evening and played billiards.
Wenesday Jan 2/46
Thurs Jan 3/46
Friday Jan 4/46
Saturday Jan 5/46
navy who turned out to be Frankie Williams cousin. Reached Cardiff about 11,
and saw Graham Hughes. Strolled around and had a cup of tea in a cafe. Met Ivon
at 12 as arranged and went to have some sandwiches. Back to dressing rooms to
report for a forwards meeting, but couldnt do much- Started changing about 1:30
and off to field at 2:30. Introduced to Premier of New Zealand. Mr Peter Fraser
and ?? Ferry berg V C. Wales kicked off. Just missed 2 pen goals on 1st 1/4 of
an ?? by an ????. Half time 0-0 and we had their run but a hard game so far.
Finished up 11-3 after a faulty kick by our full back, Sherrat threw ??
catching the ball and scoring between the posts. They then had 2 penalty kicks
kick on knee. Had luck in club room and had autographs. Gave my address to O A
Meates their ????. Home by 6 train Bed early.
Monday Jan 7/46
homework. Walden up after to satisfy the Mines Dept. Home with dad and down to
Phillips. After for a rub on knee Flics after byself as Tom didnt come down.
Very good choir. Leg badly swollen in evening.
Tuesday Jan 8/46
Wenesday Jan 9/46
Thurs Jan 10/46
Friday Jan 11/46
Up Tonmawr with dad. Resolven out for something or other. More you do for them-less they do for you. Lorry over with some stuff for us. Had my P D review. Leg a little better. Bus service going well. Gets the men to work in time, and takes them away. Frank phoned up. Chatted with Mike in evening and then to Oak Grove.
Saturday Jan 12/46
Not playing as leg not fit. Won 8-nil Nice day but cold. Tea in Tuckers with
Frank and the to lodge in Ferry with Tom and Frank. Very cold.
Sunday Jan 13/46
Monday Jan 14/46
Tuesday Jan 15/46
School today, down Swansea in car. Heard that Dai's wife died. D L Evans passed his 1st class written. Didnt do much work. Back early and out training. Not many there. Up shed with Tom in evening. Fall in arching in Tonmawr owing them to them taking a big motor in arching and it jammed knocking some of it down and the stuff started sliding. All out by 11 so no coal out. Dad home about 8. Didnt go up as couldnt so any thing Sent Tom.
Wenes Jan 16/46
Thurs Jan 17/46
Friday Jan 18/46
evening. Very good show in Gnoll, but very cold. Bed early in readiness for
Sat Jan 19/46
Sunday Jan 20/46
Monday Jan 21/46
Up colliery early Full work in both places. Down Llantwit in morning to see how things shaping. Picking up rails down Nippys. Met Tom in evening with Frank and went to see School for Scandal a play in the Gwyn Hall. Very good- Sent Tom and home after.
Tuesday Jan 22/46
Wenesday Jan 23/46
Thursday Jan 24/46
Friday Jan 25/46
on Gnoll. Very good show. Good laugh
Sat Jan 26/46
Monday Jan 28/45
Tuesday Jan 29/46
School today Had oral questions all morn which the boys had in their oral exam last Wenes. Dinner in Woolworths. Surveying in noon. Called in Photo supplies for my photos. Home about 5. Frank and his cousin Whyndom up and we play billiards. Frank printed my photos. Terrifically wet day.
Wenesday Jan 30/46
Thursday Jan 31/46
Friday Feb 1/46
Up Tonmawr all day. Stayed in office and helped Hubert with books and did some homework. Still very wet. Met Tom in evening with Frank and went to the flics in Gnoll. Home and bed early ready for morrow.
Saturday Feb 2/46
Sunday Feb 3/46
and read a book all day. Church in evening Met Frank after and off to Bridge
Cafe Everyone talking about the match. Lovely black eye Bed early as very tired
Monday Feb 4/46
Tuesday Feb 5/46
Wenesday Feb 6/46
Thursday Feb 7/46
Swansea. Went to see Merchant of Service after in Church Hall with Tom and
Frank and Why. Very good acting especially by Mike Shylook but show too long
7-11. Saw Why home with Mike.
Friday Feb 8/46
Saturday Feb 9/46
Sunday Feb 10/46
dinner there. Back down about 2 and bathed. Church in evening. Bed early as
Monday Feb 11/46
Tuesday Feb 12/46
Wenesday Feb 13/45
flics in the evening Tarzan and the Amagons Fairly good show. Welsh team picked
8 changes from Scot game. and I'm the only one from Neath
R J Evans
Thursday Feb 14/46
Feb 15/46- Friday
three-quarted had been fatally injured at a local colliery and it knocked the
stuffing out of me and all the rest of the boys. Saw Harold Parker in the
evening and talked over it. He is treasure for next Saturdays game. Bed early.
Of the team only 3 of us from Neath. myself, Morlais and ???? Parker. -After
the game George Hughes an excellent forward went North to Leeds
Sat Feb 16/46
-had a nasty kick on the knee and limping most of the game- should really have
come off. After the game had a massage with Thomas and stayed in the rest of
the evening so didn't see Tom or Frank. Had another rub with him about 9.
Cardiff lost their record to Newport 7-30-10 tries.
Sunday Feb 17/46
Monday Feb 18/46
Tuesday Feb 19/46
colliery Me and that one of the boys on. No1 conveyor face killed by a pan
falling on him. Home about 12 as funeral in noon of Ken Hardwicke. Picked up
the wreath from Olivers- lovely one and met boys at 3:20 outside the church. Up
in a private bus. He had a grand funeral, if such things can be called grand-
over 3 000 people there. The Neath team acted as bearers. Saw Tom there and he
came back to Neath. Thomas in evening Leg a bit better. To late to go to flics
so up shed and had a talk and then down to cafe.
Thursday Feb 20/46
Friday Feb 21/46
up from Neath. Changed compartments at Cardiff and met rest of team. Took Tom
with me. All had a meal on train on way up and had a good journey Lovely day.
Arrived at Paddington about 1:30 and arranged to see Tom tomorrow. Bus waiting
for and took us to our hotel. After a wash went to Home Mill for a practise
game. Mady n Tanner there, and he made a wald of difference- we shall definitely
win on Sat. Had a good practise game especially the forwards who had the
L.Welsh pack against them A M Rees, Woller and V Jenkins there. Had a good tea
after the game in the club rooms. Leg stuck it O K. Back to hotel with boys. My
room mate is W E W ???? Newport out Left wing. All off to the Palladium in the
evening to see Tommy Frinder. Very good show indeed and we all enjoyed
ourselves. We walked back to the hotel and had a good supper and then off to
bed about 10:30. Had a talk before turning in.
Saturday Feb 22/46
FIXTURES-SEASON 1945-46 SCORES
Twickenham -Sat Feb 23/46
Wales 3- England 0. 2nd Victory
play. Wales played against a strongwind. In the 3rd scrum I damaged my back-thought I had broken it-unable to run as well as usual but had to stick it out to win. Tanner scored. In evening stayed in all time and bed early. Mr W R Thomas Aberavon bought me back in a car. In great pain Didn't sleep all night Dad over about 12 oclock.
Sunday Feb 24/46
Monday Feb 25/46
Tuesday Feb 26/46
been out since Doug and Hadyn and myself used to play in the good old days. Bed
Wenesday Feb 27/46
Thursday Feb 28/46
Friday March 1/46
Saturday March 2/46
Capt Rees and he very kindly took me in the committee box with him. Went to the
Kiwis room and saw Bell and the rest of the m. Nice bunch of lads once you know
them. Very tough game Both sides tolling it out. Aberavon only had 14 men and
sometimes only 13-they lost 17-4. ???? a marvellous forward always there to
receive an inside pass on the wing. After the game had lunch with them in the
Grand hotel and talked with them with Shemet Smith and a few others. They are
going to France on Tuesday to play a few matches and then coming back home.
Hope to see him then .Left them about 8 and Bill said he would write Waited for
Tom and Frank till 9:30 but they had gone back so I left on my own and caught
Tom at the station and arranged for Monday.
Sunday March 3/46
Monday March 4/46
Went to the flics in the afternoon. Saw Danny Kaye in 'Wonderman' excellent
show-very funny. Out about 6 and left for Neath in the dark. Reached Neath
about 7:30 and had food in Tuckers- Had a chat and Tom home early. Called in
Capt Rees and told him I couldnt play next Sat.
Tuesday March 5/46
Wenesday March 6/46
Thursday March 7/46
better side always follows into the rough and tumble game. Neath won 13-6 but
very lucky to win. Forwards very poor and so were the backs- Had a good tea in
Tuckers with the team after and met Tom and Frank and went for a walk. Bed
Friday March 8/46
Saturday March 9/46
Sunday March 10/46
Monday March 11/46
Up colliery with Hubert and did homework all day. Very fed up. Read again in the evening. Bed early
Tuesday March 12/46
Wenesday March 13/46
Thursday March 14/46
Friday March 16/46
Saturday March 17/46
Up Tonmawr in morn and did homework. Back a little easier. Gloucester played Neath and we won 9-8 but a very poor game. Flics in evening with Tom and Frank after and good tea in Tuckers with the team.
Sunday March 18/46
Monday March 19/46
Tuesday March 20/46
Wenesday March 21/46
Thursday March 22/46
Up Colliery as usual and books again- Output still down and no signs of increase. Saw lads training in evening Met Frank and I went to the flics-Poor Show.
Friday March 23/46
Saturday March 23/46
Sunday March 24/46
Monday March 25/46
Tuesday March 26/46
after and saw boys training. Worked in evening. Bad ???? on Resolven face
Thursday March 28/46
Friday March 29/46
Saturday March 30/46
Doug home from Australia Being Demobled
the ball about. Wales won 6-5 by a penalty in the last min. Three Neath boys in (2 forwards (wing)). Had a sandwich and Came home on 6 bus. Wales lost to Scotland at Murray field 14-11 ???? 1 man short and Tanner missing 2 easy kicks in front of the posts Neath won away at Newbridge 18-3 so keeping intact their unbeaten record since Xmas.
Sunday March 31/46
Monday April 1/46
Tuesday April 2/46
School today- Took Frank down and picked up Alf Johns who is going for his med- Did Surveying most of the day Took Twickenham photo to be framed to Photo supplies. Went to Neath County School. Concert in the evening-Very good.
Wenesday April 3/46
Thursday April 4/46
Friday April 5/46
Saturday April 6/46
crowd there- this is about the best season they have had for money and crowds-
Ground packed- Neath won 6-0 but a very scrappy game- our backs very poor- Tea
in Tuckers and strolled around with Frank after
Sunday April 7/46
Monday April 8/46
Tuesday April 9/46
Wenesday April 10/46
Thursday April 11/46
Sale with dad up in Duffyn- Baters farm Excellent ???? of implements there- Lovely day. Farm in nice place. Bought Chaftcutter- Combill-????-????- Manure Drill Home about 4 Neath played Aberavon at Neath's- won 17-6- Poor game Saw Nev Walsh
Friday April 12/46
Saturday April 13/46
Sunday April 14/46
Monday April 15/46
Up colliery first to called tackle to get equipment from Baters farm. Lovely day. Made two leads of it. Walked around grounds with Ike after and had some ???? from it. Up farm after. Singing in evening. First time for ages.
Tuesday April 16/46
Wenesday April 17/46
Thursday April 18/46
Friday April 19/46- Good Friday
play for dads side with 2 more ????. ???? and Tom Price of Gloucester and
England. Very good open game. Ben ???? won 27-6. After the game had tea in ????
and had a chat with Bill in his bedroom He gave me his team photo and we
swapped jerseys. Will see him tomorrow at Cardiff- Left about 7:30 and soon
home. Cough a lot better.
Saturday April 20/46
Sunday April 21/46
Monday April 22/46
settled with them about Thurs they are staying with us. Home about 5:30 and
???? Spin in car about 9 with ???? down ????- ? cold night
Tuesday April 23/46
Wenesday April 24/46
Thursday April 25/46
loaded up with baggage- Stopped on way for ice-cream. Arrived Neath about 1 and
had lunch in Tuckers Doug joined us there. Had a good feed and then went to
Castle for a refresher. Up the house after and introduced boys to all at Theos-
Up our house after and we played billiards and darts to pass the away the time.
Frank ???? of Wales has oned off injured- Met the 4 oclock train and found Les
Mansfield and D J Davies O K.- Looks as if I shall have a strong side out. Took
the last to the field and found all there including Johnny Thortnon and Tom
Price both of ???? and Eng. Event got my team which is
Eric Boggs (Kiwis)
Bill Meats, Dolson, King (Kiwis) Watson (Halquins)
V Marisson (????)
Peter Marret (????)
Gwyther, Bevan, Hager Evans (Llanelly and Wales) Tom Price J Thortnon (Engl and Glouces) . Les Mansfield (Cardiff and Wales Capt) D J Davies (Swansea and Wales) Rowlands (Neath). Ref Mr J Phillips. The Neath side was at its strongest- Fortuneatly the weather cleared off and there was about 6-7 000 present. I was on the line. Neath played excellent football- seems better the side against them the better they play- anyhow the won by 19-3, and the crowd really had their moneys worth. Best game seen at Neath since the Kiwis. After they had bathed we all
tea in the Church Hall and after a lot of speech-making including one short one
by myself we all ???? ???? to the castle for the night we all had a good time.
We left there about 10, and went to Mr Symonds house for a show and then to
Theos for supper where we stayed till about 2.- We all thoroughly enjoyed
ourselves and finally Eric and Bill stayed with us and Dolly and King with
Theo. Bill Eric and myself had a good chat and then bed.
Friday April 26/46
Sat April 27/46
home about 7 and off to Swansea with ????. Dinky won cup 4-1 after extra time
and St Marys won the 7-a side tournament. Bed about 11- Phoned dad.
Sunday April 28/46
Monday April 29/46
Tuesday April 30/46
Wenesday May 1/46
Up Tonmawr all day-still swothing- be glad when its over.-Lovely day- could do with some rain. Home about 4 after finishing writing all the letters to the chaps who played for Dads XV. In evening the Old Central School Boys and Girls hold their first re-union. Helped Ron to take the cakes down. There about 7 About 150 there-Had dancing and singing etc and had a bit of eats. Finished about 11:30 and took Betty home after in bus- Home about 11:45.- All had a good time and look forward to our next meeting.
Thursday May 2/46
Friday May 3/46
Saturday May 4/46
Showed Ellis what wanted up Tennis lawn regarding the steps. Up Resolven to settle with Sam and the lads Down early as today the Neath team is off to Tenby for the week-end. Left Neath about 1 oclock-lovely day. about 26 players and 3 or 4 committee men after a nice journey arrived Tenby about 4:30. Where we had tea and were alloted rooms. Some of us stayed at the Royal Leon and others at the White Hart. After tea we had a stroll around the town I bought a souvenir in an elephant sticker. Lovely view from the hotel which was right on the front and owned by Miss Reason late of Neath- the manageress knew me as she used to keep Dolcoad hotel Llaneryled where we were in Coll. We were taken to the Tenby field and stripped. After a nice open game Neath won 39-3 and all enjoyed after washing all went back to the Royal for dinner- had a grand feed- chicken etc and all thoroughly enjoyed it. After dinner all down to the White Hart and then back to the Leon Most of the lads well filled and after a devil of a lot of fun. We managed to get into bed about 2 oclock. Couldn't sleep as bed to short
after lunch we picked next seasons captain in Cliff Williams- I myself wanted
Tom James to remain as ???? Cliff is a nice lad, he is not the type for capt
anyway I didn't say anything. After we went for a stroll and got ready to go
back by about 5 oclock after tea, and after a nice run back we arrived at Neath
about 8 oclock. I went straight home and then bed where I slept like a ????.
Monday May 6/46
Tuesday May 7/46
Wenesday May 8/46
Thursday May 9/46
Friday May 10/46
a hand with the pay. Home about 5 and saw Tom about 8. Had a game of ping-pong
and then a feed after in Tuckers Cafe.
Saturday May 11/46
Sunday May 12/46
Monday May 13/46
Tuesday May 14/46
Sat May 18/46
and a power lift for various implements. Dad eventually bought it- Had a good
feed and bought a fishing rod £2-5.0 Called at Droitwitch and had a swim in
the Brime Baths and felt really O K after it. Called at R C Church just
outside- The interior was covered with Mozaic and was really marvellous. Home
via Hereford and Brecon and had tea in a farm house. Home about 8 after a grand
Sunday May 19/46
Monday May 21/46
Tuesday May 21/46
Thursday May 23/46
Met Ivor in evening- Had a good tea and then went to flics- Arranged to spend a
week-end in the near future at Weston.
Friday May 24/46
Saturday May 25/46
Sunday May 26/46
|additional newspaper cuttings|
|Additional news paper cuttings|
THE JOURNALS OF REES STEPHENS - VOLUME 2
Report on the Neath Tour to France on Thursday November 10-55 to Sunday Nov
13-55. The party were made up of the following persons Vice Chairman Cyril
Challinon, Treasurer Llew Morgan Committee. Mel John; Billy Millet, Sid ????,
Harold Phillips, Stan Lymonds Perry Steer, Bryn Dennis, Gareth Thomas- Gwent
Reg Dennis and The players were Dai Meredith Capt, Keith Maddocks Vice Capt,
Viv Evans Bryn Phillips John Weaven Gwyn Hopkins Paul Davies Dudley Thomas Ray
Jenkins Howard Davies Don ???? John Samuel. Viv Jenkins Rees Stephens C W
Williams Denzil Thomas who was playing his second game after being transferred
from Llanelly- Laws Gazzi from Gorseinon and Terry Davies from Bynea also
included were two officials from Trick Son and Lloyd.
|5||Paris and it finally ended by the Neath Committee agreeing to the tour taking place providing Penarth, whom we were due to play on Sat Nov 12, allowed us to postpone the date- this they very kindly did so, So it was on a fine day Thursday Nov 10 that the party finally assembled at St Davids Church to start the first part of the journey by bus to Rhoost Airport. To be able to say that in so many words does not convey the work which had gone on behind the scenes to enable it to happen- the passport problems- photos to be taken- signing of forms- currency problems and a host of other details which are always forgotten, but never the less have to be seen to by some one to enable any trip to be a success however at 10-30pm for 11 oclock and the party were away, all looking forward to the trip- some because they had not flown before were timid and didnt show it- others this include Dai ???? were very nervous and were men enough to show it- The bus journey soon passed and ???? Rhoost Airport- many ????|
opinions as to the supposed weather we were going to encounter were made chufly
I might add for the benefit of Dai- by this time I'm sure he wished he had
decided not to fly- he was to first to spot the 36 seater Dakota waiting for us
in the field- his first reaction were it looks bloody small for all of us. at
any rate we landed ourselves outside the customs office and after the various
custom formalities- we were told to take our places in the plane- not before
cause we had had our photos taken- some wit in the back shouted -our last'
Soon as were securely in our seats. the door was locked- the NO Smoking Sign and Fasten your Safety Belt Sign flashed and we taxied on to the end of the runaway- where as usual the plane warmed up- shaking itself very badly again at this time some one that the largest accident rate during our travel was in Dakatos- anyway with a terrific surge of power- we were soon airborne with Cardiff and the Channel beneath us
and very soon all of us very quickly forgot any worries we had, and commenced
the usual singing etc which always goes with any rugger party. Cheap
cigarettes- were soon unclocked and the smokers very quickly polluted the air.
The first stop was Denard just off the French Coast for fuelling and French Custom Check. and before we knew it the coast had been crossed and we had landed at Denard- I think the first official Neath team ever to play in France and a thing I had envissaged years ago. and more important still something that had come to stay. (J'espere.
Nothing very difficult about the custom- never is on ????- the lads very quickly found a three a side pen football game and were soon hard at it with Viv as usual scoring the most goals and making the largest volume of noise.
Afterwards he pinched or rather borrowed a French Kiddees cycle- and chased every one in his path- his antics were soon cut short with the refuelling complete and the custom over we were very soon air boune and on our way towards
????. The air hostess was very kind to us all at this stage and biscuits and
coffee were greatfully received. Darkness was soon upon us and it was quite an
experience to see the ???? let up towns and hamlets thousands of feet beneath-
like looking upside down at the stars. We were flying around the 6000'mark and
information reached us that we were slowly circling around our final
destination- gradually getting lower until we finally landed about 8-30pm
feeling weary-very hungry- and very excited- I think all football team must
feel excited on reaching French soil as the mysterious works French ???? always
conjures up in most peoples minds something out of the ordinary
We had a right royal welcome- Lucier was there meeting us with the usual press reporters- and from the distance Chevaliers booming voice could be heard and a few minutes later his massive shape boomed ahead and he proceeded to kiss us all French style.- Viv again enjoyed this and his is ???? ???? way proceeded to kiss us all sundry but gradually making
his way towards the fairer sex- but C D had beaten him to it.
One the photos etc had been taken we were led into the dining room and there was a meal- a large one by the look of it.- and so it turned out to be- The various wines were there in profusion and quickly disappeared. Viv was thoroughly enjoying himslef- we all were- but Viv showed it differently- on one occasion a long three foot French loaf appeared and without any messing he grafftted it and slashed old ???? over the head- didnt hurt him- at least all the said was its my turn now; anyway after the usual French and English speeches all requiring translation the meal eventually ended and we proceeded to the bus singing the new edition of Who Killed Cock Robbin- it was now going on for almost 11 oclock and apparently we had a three hour trip ahead of us to ????- it was not the distance which made this trip so long but the fact that we had to cross a range of mountains- which by all accounts were now covered in snow- so they should be at 3000 feet up. anyway we eventually roped in the team
and got under way- all of us keeping a wary eye on Viv who was in an impish
mood. ???? betide anyone who slept- We was soon awaked with a wet finger in one
or if unlucky two ears- and if that didnt wake him something far worse.!!.
To cut a long journey short we got to ???? round about 2 oclock and then after 3???? of slight confusion were eventually sorted out into various couples and allocated our bedrooms. Quite a number of Bacti Plants were in the incincty and all around the walls of a winding stair case- all of a sudden a voice( needless to say Vivs) shouted to Lleward who was downstairs- quick catch it- a rugger like a instinct ???? he grabbed at a round falling object- a well grown ???? plant- the next- the manageus was quickly on the scene collecting the remainder with Vivs help- muttering like hell and Vi saying Wee Wee.
Note- the casual reader of this must be wondering what we would do with out Viv- someone might say we'd still have Derrick- but joking aside Viv is and has been a grand contributor to the entertainment of all
Neath Teams and its players and dull they would have been without him- remember
the fish at Northhampton- and Tenby- or Roys Rabbit.!!! I continue. The whole
party were soon sound asleep and woke to a grand morning- very unlike that what
we are normally used to.
Apparently there was a memorial service at the local Memorial, but what happened there cannot be reported as it was not seen, but a wreath was laid there by the officials of the party- bless their hearts. however we did attend a civic function at the Town Hall at 11-0clock with its usual colourful speeches and translation and of course the Champagne- always acceptable and poplar. Once again our vice chairman and treasurer conducted themselves and spoke all the deguity becoming officials of any Neath R F C.
Back to the hotel for dinner in the long room.- which needless to say passes reasonably quitely- at least by those playing. Viv wasnt and he stuck up an acquantance- if it can be called that- with an old gentlemen who was staying with us at the hotel and on seeing him for the first time and the last most
probably- met him full Trend style- beard or not- The old gentle man not to be
out. done insisted on toasledg Viv in Champagne to a lot of Trend ???? and Vivs-
Wee Wee, Wee Wee. apart from this all was quite and after dinner most of us
went back to our bedroom for a kip and to write a few PC's which appeared from
nowhere.- Despite the hot sunny day- it was it safe to stand out side the front
of the hotel with out getting wet in sudden douches- many an unwary committee
man and player to were caught off their guard- this time it wasnt only Viv who
was enjoying himself- but shall be nameless.
The bus came about 2 oclock for us and we all piled in- singing lustely- all clean ???? and soon reached the ground. which apparently like lots of French Grounds are sponsored by the Ministry of Sport- incindentally the Minster of Sport was at this morning Banquet.
Were allocated our changing room and shower bath combined- rather a strange combination- pegs and seats along three sides and showers the fourth- not very conducive to clean drying after a game
-as for toilet conditions- one tryed and and locked his knee joint in raising-
the rest of us didnt.!!
Before the game there was an impress we ???? at the local memorial on the field with both teams lining up to attention whilst both anthems were played and finally both Captains laid a very colourful and impressive wreath at the shrine and thence to play.
The team was Terry Davies FB Keith. Louis Gazzi Denzal Thomas Gwyn Hopkins Bryn Phillips Paul Davies ???? Thomas Ray and Howard, Dai ???? John Sam, CD Rees and Viv Jenkins. In passing ???? add that in all my French games and tours- I dont recollect playing with or against such a massive pack- their three front rows were 17stone a piece and as we soon found out- very mobile despite their weight- the second row were equally as long and included Chevalier- who at this time ?? reckoned the best French forward.- his ?? there 171/2 stone. and the back row- not to be out done were of
a similar build- The French always seem to be able to find such huge forwards-
and far from being slow and ponder ??, are being agile- who can forget one of
the French Props breaking through from a line out and being chased by our wing
Gwyn Hopkins and actually drawing away from him.
Of the game itself- at half time we were 23 points down to nil with the French teams handling and running with the ball extremely well and might I say kicking to.- they kicked three out three penalties and converted two out of three tries-far out.- still two of the tries were elementary mistakes on our part and nothing we did could stop them breaking clean away from line cuts- joining up with their three's and in ???? hand to hand passing as I say at half time- and 40 min each half we all felt washed up and thought a cricket score would be the final result.
Old Dai kept at as and tried to buck us up and for the first ???? we held up the French is ???? attacks when our luck changed and we
scored through Howard Davies scoring after a forward dribble and Terry
connected. Soon after CD interapted on their 25 pointed over the challenging
full back and scored near the posts- again Terry converted. Following this we
certainly had our talls up and from a kick ahead by one of our backs Gwyn
Hopkins following up fast, beat a French defender for the touch down- this was
not improved upon- but it brought our tally of points to 13 in 9 mins and we
had the crowd with us- but it was not to be dispite a glorious chance to
further improve and shortly after the find whistle went and none of us at all
sorry- still the 10,000 crowd thoroughly enjoyed an incident free game.
After the game- the usual shower and troop to the bar for a Bier and then the bus trip back a l'hotel for a wash and brush up prior to the dinner in the evening.
Before leaving, one cannot help but check how the Ministry of Sport pays a big part in the Sports ?? like in France. At this
particular Stadium, was the field surrounded by a running track equal to the
beat we have- near by was a huge swimming post and behind it another two
sulsidary fields- the whole being built in ???? ???? with an imposing entrance-
still they can well afford it when they pay ?? and ?? for stand seats.- another
novel idea is that of calling out the players name prior to the game as they
face the ????- the called player leaves the ranks and as ???? his popalarity,
so he gets applause or the bird.!
The dinner quickly passed - more chicken and speeches- but Viv wasnt in his top form- anyway we had another long journey ahead of us to Limoges- four hours apparently so we hurried as quickly as possible and finally left about 11 oclock. At the drinking reception before the main dinner- Cyril Challinor was presented with a large Champagne Holder on behalf of the French Club and suitably responded.
After leaving we settled down to some lusty singing until finally one by one sleep caught up on us. Altho some were rather
the worse for weather. Dai Meredith was on a very ???? mood and must have
walked miles and miles in the passage way with his black baret pinched
French wise on his napper and calling the lads Men this and this- very
antiseptic- etc etc.- In the backs Harry Thomas was given an impression of a
Neath player caught by sharks!- At some unknown place we stopped for tea but
found everything locked until the proprietor of a local cafe was pursuaded to
help out- near by was a large dance hall and one of the tunes the people dance
to was 'God Save The Queen.' One or two little incidents followed- nothing ????
but it involved many changing hands and nameless is he who three a flag
standard in the ?? by river.
At any rate the rest of the journey soon passed by and we finally got to Limoges at the Hotel De Le Parc at 2-30 AM in the morning- cold tired and hungry and were met by a miserable old porter who refused any food or tea- if he could have only understood what he was called to his face- he wouldnt have just said Non Non
but something far worse.
Saturday morning arrived and the only time left for a few presents to be bought so after a French breakfast-altho those who spoke French managed to get what they wanted- des oeufs et chambon. Shopping French way is far different from the way in which we are accustomed to. -those who have been shopping on French ???? will realise this and take everything for granted- so enough said on that point except to say that we all had a wonderful time that morning.
Dinner was late- The French Team had had their dinner at 11-30- couldnt help smiling when Cyril Challinor kept going round the blokes- Dont eat to much now lads-and they must have been near starving after the Continental Breakfast- anyway soon after we left by coach for the stadium.- It was almost 10 years to the month that I was here last with the Glamorgan County R F C- time goes- it was another huge concrete constraction and an ???? of pitches and swimming pools- again run by the Ministry De Sporte.
The game itself started with the usual warm up outside by the French team and
Dai not to be ???? followed suit- the usual introduction and I kicked off-
rather an unusual ???? in my ???? clothes. The game itself was not near as good
as the first game, and the ref partially was the blame because of his fondness
to blow up, apparently for no reason and we were rather unlucky to ??, having
one run by Keith ?? allowed when he was fairly set to score and awarding the
most blatant off side try I've seen- ?? the French crowd were with us ???? and
gave him the bird- still it was an incident free game and apart from the rugby
it has helped considerably to build up pleasant relations between the two towns
on ???? or what have you and may be of course future towns.
After the game was over- back to the hold for dinner at 8pm. -in the interval of ???? we had plenty of time to get warmed up. The dinner like all French Dinners consided of the usual umpteen courses and speeches and
lasted until 11-30pm- and I must add that out of respect to the Mayor of
Limoges who was present- it was the most behaved and orderly dinner I've ever
attended- only one song was sung- quite unlike some of the more fashionable
dinners I've attended It was well worth noting that ???? ???? who had and is
doing so much for us was made an Honary Member of the Neath R F C after of
course consultation with the committee men who formed a ????- Apparently he is
only the third outsider ever to achieve this- tho goodness knows who they are
for that matter- anyway the little economy was performed with the dignity as
such becoming of a club by the treasurer- ???? much hearty churning.
After the dinner- the -remembering Hotel Casanova or was it Casablanog- it matter nought- but we all enjoyed it- Vill Chairman- Committee and Players young and old- remember the dance and afterwards What Wing forward bought off a head on tackle of a committee ??. Who lost his glasses and said he couldnt see
and had the eloquentreply from the vice Chairman- you can bloody well see me
cant you- what the hell youre worrying about ?? what no one seemed to remember
was who stole the glasses and started the fun all those of the party who stayed
up voted it the best turn they had ever seen.- ask Howard Davies for his
impressions- worth seeing- at any rate- all good things must come to an end and
so it was at about 3 oclock the lads gradually went to bed- not forgetting the
7 oclock shake in the morning and the six hour bus journey to Tours a ???? was
the nearest the Dakota could come to fetch us.
The next day the party eventually got ready by 10 oclock looking a very tired collection of humanity- the youngest member was last- young Viv Jenkins was still fast asleept- his bedroom door had to be burst open- otherwise he would still be there now.- Of the long days journey ahead nothing much can be said except to compare the ???? of France.
Much water has passed under the bridge by the time any reader has gone to the
trouble to read the various reports and to decepter my horrible writing- for
the latler I'm truly sorry. Critics I suppose must live- like us all- some say
tea is never worth 4d a cup I say it is- we all agree to differ, still for all
that tea is always 4d a cup and I never change my idea of its worth, whereas
lots of critics change as and when they seem it necessary
Reports are very conflicting- as those who dont see a particular game must assess its worth good or otherwise through the eyes of the critic and as such he has a public duty-yeh. ever tho its his job-it is also a responsibility to put in writing a time unbrased report irrespective of the colour of jerseys or of players.- still for all that it has been and up and down season with lots of surprises- lets hope this coming season will prove that Welsh foolkee can hold its own with any of it foolkelling ???? ????-near and far.
In common with most International Games- very little back play was seen-
Internationals are themselves vastly different from the ordinary club games-
they are games of different standards- higher or lower is beside the point- and
they are games which one goes out to win with what ever strength one has at
one's disposal- Very often it is the side that makes the least number of
mistakes which wins.
Pre match views of these two teams were that England were far stronger in most depts- had had the advantage of playing as a team-with one or two changes-in three trials, whereas the Welsh Trials gave a great deal more trouble to the selectors- ???? chosen team were heater on two ???? of three trials-a consolation in this, is that perhaps the opposition is the Welsh trials were far stronger than those in the English Trials- anyway Wales were not favourites for this game- not that any Welsh member worried at all about this-never have to the best of my knowledge.
It was conceeded by us that England would have an advantage in the line outs where Margues and Cume would out jump us, so that it was decided that
when it was our throw in- we would either throw a short line-out to C Mereded
or B ???? or Prosser- or to the long line to Russel or Clem where we had the
advantage- this in fact happened and on our throw in the ???? very seldom went
near to Marques or Carrie and frequently Russel was able to give a quick pass
back to ???? Brace- this little paint was never mentioned by the all seeing
When it was Englands throw in- the ball was thrown to Marques and Carrie- they favoured the short fast low ???? which made them rise quickly (Ray's favourite)- anyway it was the two Rees's job to either catch it ourselves and if failing that to prevent Marques or Carrie getting it back, so consequently when ever one of those two went up- they were always smothered ball and all-at last when ever we could manage it-if they did get it away- at least it was a slow one altho- they did manage despite or close attentions get it away very ????-it was there tactics which resulted in a lot of ???? and ???? forward play
None of us were unduly worried about the set srumms- but a point more of the
critics said any thing about was the fact that both Court and Ray were tight
head props-neither had ever played loose head before.- and there is believe me
a difference- any way on the Friday we had a little practise- first Ray going
loose head- and just in case it didnt work out Court tried it- as it so
happened Ray found the loose head OK and kept it for the whole game- in fact we
more than held our own in the scrums-in fact Bryn managed to get possession
about half a dozen times on our tight head- some achievement in modern
As is the case of set scrums- our ball ???? put in- the other???? ?? up flat and near so and vice versa- with the back saw forward porsid ???? for covering or on the poor outside half- more often than not a slow heel- and the only alternative is for the ball to be kicked to touch- and to be tackled, but passing is out of the question-anyway this English pack were very hefty- one of the heaviest Ive played against and first holding them was no mear achievement- indeed pre march critics said that the
Welsh pack would be doing more than was expected of them of they broke evens
with this English Eight- this the Welsh '8' did.
The occasion ?? all backs like a crisp quick heel is from the loose scrum when perhaps an opposing back is held on the floor and the defence is at sixes and sevens- here generally Welsh Fowards fail in their task- here in this game the English Pack had the edge on us- at least in this dept, but even so our covering was sufficient to stop them scoring, plus of course that little bit of luck which is so important in all games- anyway England failed to score on two occasions when they should have.
Like so many of these international matches- its the side which makes the least number of mistakes that usually wins- very frequently by a penalty or opportune ???? goal
Tries are very rarely scored if at all by crisp and accurate passing to the wing but more so today by ???? kicks high or low well places for the wings
to run around their opposite and touch down.
At any rate this was thoroughly enjoyable game from a players point of view- it was hard faught and every man on the field was well and truly tested for fitness- ???? and general all round ability- Naturally open football was difficult because of the nature of the ground- it was very heavy and muddy- but more so because of the high proficiency of the back row forwards
Under present day conditions it is becoming increasingly difficult for constructive back play to develop from set scrums and line outs- hence the importance of the loose and quick heel from the ruck
The French game in Paris March 23-1957
After the apparent success against Ireland the whole team was picked en bloe
with the exception of Griff Howells the left wing who was dropped for his
club?? Ray Williams. Later on he was brought in, as an injury to Cyril Davies
made him any off- Gordon Wills was brought into the centre and Griff took his
place on the wing.
of in the near future- After a usual Cardiff London trip- we arrived late as is
???? and were loaded into two BEA Coaches V lake direct to London Airport- For
most of us it was our first visit to the airport and all were impressed by its
size and ????- there seemed to be planes taking off and landing every minute.-
our plane was quickly ???? lifted and after a wait of about half an hour which
was spent on the roof of the airport, we were called over the intercom to the
plane- and after going this the customs- passports English money etc we boarded
the plane and after ???? engine warming we taxeed on to the run away and were
very soon airbourne.
Those who have flown before tried to frighten those who hadnt this included old Ray Prosen who was really scared- (we all were for that matter)- but apparently he'd promised his mother not to show it still his eyes were very prominent- and when up 10000 feet- the engines coughed- he certainly jumped! this type of plane has the seats facing both ways- those in the back facing towards the engines those in the front toward the tail. My companion over as Cliff Jones the ex-Welsh outside half- and we spent the.
whole of the journey talking 'shop'- generally on Welsh team tactics- one thing
we both agreed up on was that for pre-international match training- it would be
a good thing if someone or other took charge of this training so that it could
be open Aled with out time-wasting for instance some one with the backs and
some one with the forwards and then a combination of the two- who knows what
might ???? ?? from this talk!- time will tell.
Before we knew it- Paris was below us- Ray shouted out the news- the bloody wheels are falling off- the next thing we made a perfect 3pt landing- after the customary greetings, by a ???? bound- Le Bourget airport is a good half hours run from Paris.
Taken up on May 13/57- ???? will have to work overtime hour.
At the hotel Teminus we were allocated our Rooms- I shared with Terry Davies and after a wash and brush up- a good meal- most of us felt hungry. -during the dinner we heard the good news chat are were to be taken to The Folus- usually this is done on a Friday- but because of the time saving by plane we had a free extra
|167||night- the news was generally accepted by all the lads- especially those who hadnt had the pleasure before- sorry its the Casino we went to- The Folus on the Friday night- during the show some of the lads were called up the stage Rhys Williams and Russel- and during the proceedings I took some line shots of them which I'm glad to say have come out very well.|
Season 1952 1958
Oct 3rd-57 and most clubs have played several matches- in fact on looking
back I cannot remember so many early games as we have had this season- towards
the end of the season- yes- we expect them- but not Sept- yet already many
Welsh players have played in as ???? two or three games per week and making a
total of 12 or 15 games- To those who have only administrated rugby- ah well
what is 12 games- they till on you by Xmas and more by Easter- and its
surprising or is it? how short are the ???? of committee and public!
or knowing when to kick-when to pass- ???? they are very young and should
improve This year the pack has not reached anything like its normal form- still
for all that it has held its own- and things should improve- we certainly could
do with one or two rough forwards with bags of devil and hywll- to many clever
forwards spoil a pack.
Our Committe are almost identical as any other season- always one or two changes but the ???? is the same- always have the same problems- which are always tackled the same way.
I wonder how many of the committee knows for instance the whole of the Athletic side- but then to get to know chaps you must come up occasionally to training sessions to talk to then and meet them- and of course occasionaly go on an away trip with them- in fact be as one of them- as the younger boys would say- bet your hair down and be damned.
Last night at committee meeting we spent almost half an hour thrashing out the rota system to try
and find one committe man to go away with the Ath- just one mind you.-
the request of the Ath capt to saty away late on the Sat was put aside until
tomorrow to discuss who was going as certain committee men object to staying
out late.- fair enough- lets all follow the ???? of one rather than the
majority esprit de Corps Vive La Committee!!
On team selection- it was found that Dai Davies could not be- considered this Sat against Swansea and fair play one of the committee proved Tony Stevens and it was seconded- to give justice to Tony he has been running well this season and has trained hard and I think has been the equal of the other two wings tried- but lo and behold some one is the cendience- no names no packnill -spoke up regarding a game against Bridgend at the early part of last season when apparently Neath beat Bridgend and played exceedingly well- apparently Tony played 2 this game and was the games only Missfit- ?? Missfit- then is still remembered almost 12 months
|223||later and will be I suppose 12 months hence no thought being given to the fact that a player can improve - ever at the ender age of 24 - makes you think- if Mr X from Gumscut recommended a wing 3/4 from Ashwer- he be moved and seconded and put in with out any trouble- a good bloke- but to have the misfortune to have been born in Neath- gee I think and wonder and say you lucky guy Stephens.-lets pass eh. for a ???? training- I wonder how many committee will be present tonight- a few will be checking on the teas and sandwiches- just in case a stronger is with in the gates.- and of course to ???? the forwards for Sat against Swansea.- a tick lish job as on or two of us are no longer as young as one should like- but still as fit as the younger ones- after thoughts only the secretary and treasurer turned up for the meeting to finalise the forward selection- it was a good thing it was made easy for them- this chap Dodds from Cardiff- wouldnt play- Cardiff had selected him- Courtly's wife is still very ill after her operation and he has to travel|
to Cardiff every day to see her. Emlyn Thomas is injured and I cried off with a
bad guts.- so everything turned out OK for them after all- it could have been
very embarrassing if we all reported fit- for the record- the ????? beat
Pontypridd 12-0 and the first XV beat Swansea-10-0
Llanelly are going great guns knocking up 34pts to 5 at Bath- no mean achievement that. Cardiff beat Newport 3-0 in a terrific but down battle- I think at least the press thinks that only Cardiff and Newport car have these tight hard fought forward battles which are tremendous or titanic- but any other two Welsh clubs playing the same-proude a poor game or such like.
???? back to Committee Matters- On Monday over 3/4 of an hour was spent on deciding which committee man or men was to go away with the Ath. to Pontypridd- A few weeks ago it was decided that two committeemen go-make a rota and in alphabetical order.- it was finally changed to one committee ma and when
|225||it was found out that earlier in the evening an application was to be made by the Ath Capt that the team be allowed to stay-more groans- I dont want to go dancing or stepping in a pub. or such like- anyway to cut a long story short- the Ath went away- stayed away late-committee man less.-good show.|
A general Report on the second inset of Neath. RFC to France from Thursday
November 7 to Tuesday Nov 12 and Wed Nov 13-1957. Two matches were played The
first time at Limoges on Nov 9th against Limoges, and the second on Monday at
Tulle against a combined Limousin and Auvergne XV- We lost the first 9-6 and
won the second 9-6
To start from the beginning- all things such as there are controlled by L-s-d- and unlike the first tour, we were guaranteed L850, or its equivalent at the time at the arrent rate in france- this was the seem of money paid to the French when they visited us in Neath last Sept.- on the first tour the French people guaranteed to pay all our expenses for a party of 26, which is quite different-anyway it was decided in committee that firstly 20 players make the trip-then the trainer and baggage men, -three officials and one place for a Courier from Truck Son and Lloyd-this time Mr Glyn Thomas Later on Mr W A Griffiths declined to go because of the air travel involved and his
|227||place was taken by the Vice-Chairman Mr Sid Davies- in the event of any player failing to go, the place vacant was then to go to either Mel Johns or Percy Steer- as it happened on the night before we left- Tony Palmer cried off- and Mel came along with us.- in fact the four committee members had been on the first trip- still talking L-s-d this trip was costing approx £32--0-0 per head inclusive. The party that finally left Neath were as follows-The Chairman-Billy Millet Vice Chairman Sid Davies-Treasurer Llew Morgan- Committee Man Mel Johns Courier Glyn Thomas- Trainer George Jones Baggage Randall Parker-Players Bill Young- Cyril Roberts John C Hopkins Terry Thomas Dai Davies (he had his calling up papers for this Thursday- but thanks to the good work of Mr W A Griffiths he had a deferment until Nov 21- the olde club is isnt so bad after all) V Eleas. Tony Step Rins- John Weaven Brian Harris (Brynant) John Thomas of Gowerton Forwards- Court Herestill-Skipper|
|228||Sugar Ray Jenkins- Ginger Waldron Eddie Davies- John Samuel Em Thomas Rees Stephens ???? Walters and Alex Richards. So the party was 9 forwards and 10 backs- which were further broken up into two scrum halves and four wings- not a great deal to play on and in fact there was a distinct possibility that ???? of the players would not be played- this in fact actually happened- it was a pity that we couldnt take our full team with Ray John Dai Rees- Don Devereaux and Crawley, because the French Tours are always very hard and the sides very big and fast- that to take a depleted side out is asking for trouble- we however were very fortunate in having the services of Brian Harris- a typical Welsh Terrier Scrum Half from Brynant- their capt a fact- he had a good service- stocky and well able to stand up to any hard knocks- can kick well with both feet and knows when to save his forwards by kicking and has bags of guts.- in the forwards of which we were nine- we had a spare hooker in Eddie Davies and unless|
Sugar was crocked he would be the unlucky forward not to play- of the backs-
the ones who didnt play were V Elvas J Stephen John Thomas too, would have had
a seat in the stand, but for the fact that Bill Young was crocked in the first
game and had to leave the field, so John Thomas played full back.
That in a nut shell was pre tour arrangements, but like all tours a great deal of paper work was done behind the scene work-never appreciated- unless actually done by oneself and there you know- Very few of the team had actually changed their English in francs, as Llew in all fault thought that he would be able to change it for them when he arrived in Paris-haven I changed English Money at the local bank for self, Dai Davies and Ginger at the current rate of 1350 fr for one pounf.
Well that was the set-up and we all met no punctually- but around 9 oclock on a fairly fine Thursday morning at 9-15pm and had our last cup of chair at Momizzis Cafe- all looking foward expectantly to a good
trip. Its funny what the mind conjures up when one thinks of France and Paris-
something out of this world.- what ever it is-one thing is certain we will each
know one another better by the end of it. and be that much better friends for
As usual Randy was late- anyway he did come- after a press photo we were away at 9-30pm and sang our way to Rhoose with Bill Youngs repertoire of songs fully extended.- we arrived at Rhoose about 11-0AM and were handed the white card which always has to be filled in before such a flight- in case of accidents- those who were nervous took their Kwells- but it should be a nice flight as the weather was lovely and calm.- after a few photos outside on the tar mac we were ushered to the faithful Dakoto and soon were seated comfortably. The Pilot walked in along the narrow gangway with dark glasses and ???? Walters, always sounding serious said- gee boys the bloody pilot is blind.! his last remark before the plane left was So Long Wales- ???? by the way has strong
After the usual pre-warm up and the testing of the various equipment- with everyone looking out through the tiny port holes- some one shouted there's a bolt loose on the star board wing- we were eventually air-bourne with Barry soon below us.- the time then was 11-30AM. Soon the warning lights feeded out and bells were un fastened, altho when once for a brief while we encountered five mins rough weather and the red warning lights flickerd- Faster Your Safety Belts- every one looked at each other and smiled- this was made worse when we encountered a small air pocket and every bodys stomach was left about 100 above- that might be an exaggeration- but it certainly felt like it- anyway this was soon over and we landed at Bristol at 11-45 for a brief while and again at Southhampton at 12-15 and eventually Paris at 2-30- The air crossing was good and no one suffered any ill-effects Mention must be made of the Chicken Salad Meal everyone ate and enjoyed
in comfort- why some people prefer to be ill at sea is beyond my comprehension-
still even so we were all nervous despite a safe crossing Le Bourget was packed
with planes- as usual- some coming some going- some one said ???? smell the
After passport checking- out into the lounge and picked up our baggages and there was Piquet with his say all is alright No- Yes.- Because of the cramped toilet space up above most of us were ready and soon found Les Dames- to which those who didnt know any French were directed and made use of including at the finish those who knew the difference.
After a 10 min wait-in the bus and off to Paris to the Pigalle and our hotel Blanfontaine.- Everyone in the party knew by repute The Pigalle and expected just an ordinary hotel, but indeed the Blanfontaine was the goods- its poor approach beleid its inside looks- indeed it compared very favourably with most of London'd Hotels.- most of the double room had seperate bathrooms
complete in all trimmings- to the ???? we had to explain what some of the
things were for. Directly at the head of the rue in which the hotel was
situated was The Famous Moulin Rouge complete with Windmill
Dinner was to be ready by 7-30 already by know it was getting dark -France being one hour ahead- and the lads were famished by now- all we paired off- I with Ginger- and most on the same floor- but there was no fear of any messing around tonight at least not in the hotel as everyone was keen to get out and inspect the sights- but not before dinner
We assembled in the dinning room and what a sight for sore eyes- On an upright 2 range gas grill was about a dozen chickens gently roasting as they turned where our mouths watering- The meal was terrific- soup- with a difference- then these roast chickens- one quarter each. with all the trimmings- chips a la French style- followed by an ice cream followed by du Tea-au lair- thats milk to
those who cant understand French- followed by fruit- intosperced with all this
was du pain-du beure (thats bread and butter) beaucoup de-plenty of and
lastings of vin rouge- at the most of us settled for tea- weak tho it was-
still for most of us it was satisfactory
All this eating took well over the hour and a half but about half past nine we were all well fed and looking forward to an interesting evening- Before proceeding mention must be made here of our first difficulty and a few explanations made- as from certain parts of view this town was not up to the first one. When the French people arrived at Neath they were presented with their cheque with our guarantee upon arrival, so that the French lads had English money.- we expected this at Paris but ???? said we should our money at Limoges- anyway he lent us £30 of his own personal money and I lent some of the lads some francs I had, but it hardly went around at 1000 fracs a time- this question of finance we were to find made relations run high- still thats to come.
It was the ???? wish of
|235||all the team to see The Jolies and a mass booking was made for the party and we proceeded some on foot and the late comers ???? a taxi- and the last shall be first ?? out. -Eventually we were all seated in our respective 6-seat boxes a la posh- the show had already started and ones of admiration were soon forth coming from the equipe- Like all shows- members of the audience are required and this was no exception- no sooner had we arrived than the leading lady called for four volunteers and Mel and Llew were ustled up on the stage and with two others dressed Chef style-little white aprons. Mel was Revelling in it-Gnoll stage fashion and entired into the fun of it- indeed if he had been left there- he woulda have stolen the show.- anyway the four had to set on ?? and ???? away with their trouser up and finally whisk some food or a mixture up in a ????- and first to win was Mel of course who was presented with perfume and a kiss- not being to tall he got the box he was sitting on to help him to the height deserved- because of their make-up their rouge is very heavy- it leaves a|
|236||mark on the fore head or wherever placed, which is very difficult to get off, and is almost unwashable on a hanker chief- I wonder how many hanker chiefs were thrown away. The show proceeded further,- and what a spectacle it is-plenty of colour variety and magestic scenes- until another aundience scene came along and this time it was yours truly's turn- rather than go up on my own- I caught hold of the nearest and this happened to be Johnny Weaver- the long and the tall- we marched up stage feeling- well I did quite shaky- worse than walking out into an international match and there we were met by the leading lady- who asked us in broke English if we could dance- on saying yes she provided a hulo girdle- faced us bottoms towards the audience and made us hulo hula- she then put a brassure girdle on our chests and bring them into it to-some hard work be ???? me- had to take my coat off- the final trick was- we were all dressed up cowley fashion- big ????- etc and put on a rocking horse- each horse had a balloon in its mouth- and by jumping up and down the balloon was blown up-the balloon by the way was|
about 2ft long- you can well imagine how we all looked- making those horses
jump-with all the ???? girls urging us on.- not forgetting the boys in the
audiences- finally my balloon burst first- my extra weight I guess- the winner
had a bottle of parfume and was asked to demonstrate a Gallois kiss- but with
all the make up etc- discretion was the better point of valour and she marked
my fore head for the evening so it turned out- I felt sorry for one of the
other members of the audience- he was unfortunate enough to possess a bald
head- and this was literally covered by rouge when she had finished- still all
part of the fun
The interval soon came and boys bought drinks- lemonade for 2/6 per time-things sure are expensive in Paris- anyway we all enjoyed the show which finally ended at 12 oclock and then we all set ???? for an evenings fun among the bright lights and attraction of The Pigalle- suffice is to say that
here the Committee left as to our own tastes- I've often ?? wondered why is it
that committees or is it just our committee- leave the lads when a bit of fun
is about to start-one day I hope to be a member of the committee- and I do hope
that because I'm a member of the committee and not a playing member of the
club- that I shall be expected to stay with the committee and not with the
lads- after all that is the only way you really get to know the team by sharing
their triumphs and disappointments- the reason I should think they do not stick
with the team is should there be trouble and a committee man is present-some
one might say -well why didnt so and so stop it- hes on the committee- thats
the only reason I can think of
Of the rest of the evening- we all enjoyed it sticking together all the way this- The Pigalle is an amazing place which has to be seen to be believed- almost every language can be heard sometime during an evening spent there- anyway we all finally got to bed round about 3 oclock-dead tired
|239||only to be wakened at 6-30 again- we had to catch the 8-30 train from St Lazaine down to Limoges and this entailed a 1/2 hour bus ride from our hotel to the station- boy you should have seen our faces that morning- what with no breakfast-except for a cup of tea and buns jam and butter at the station- we were a miserable looking lot-anyway we were soon Limoges bound- I'll say this for the French railways- electrified of course they leave on time and arrive on time and 1st class is very very comfortable- with pull out seats- most of us slept all the way down Limoges was soon in sight and we finally arrived about 12 oclock.- Another point illustrating French views- Llew had wanted to book meals on the train, but Piquet said there be a meal waiting for us at Limoges- when we finally got to the hotel it was more like two oclock when we had the meal-to the French time means so much nothing- this happened frequently on the train- we'd leave early in the morning with only a cup of tea- not have lunch until 12 to 1 and the our next meal would be in the evening about 9|
-there were times when we were starving- and it was just impossible to try and
get this over to them.
At Limoges our hotel was the Deta Paix- the same one ?? we had stopped at two years ago- the same grunty old porter was in his same box- same one said Good Morning you miserable old Bugger- to which he replied Ah Oui and so it went on.- we were soon allocated our rooms- unpacked because we were here for three Nights according to our itenery (this was without Piquet's ideas). and down for dinner After our long journey down we were all as stiff as boards and none felt like playing anyway out we went for a training session at a local field.
Climatic conditions were nowhere near like those of two years ago- it was a dull day and bitterly cold with a nasty wind blowing where as two years ago- it was very hot. Once we were on the field however and did a few runs- most of us felt a lot better for it-indeed we even caught a live rabbit- it was seen running across the field and as soon the whole side was in full fling after it- we were going to take it back with us for dinner until ???? stepped in and
insisted upon releasing it- well done ????- after an hours run out- we all
trouped back in- to a cold shower- so we all hurredly dressed and returned to
our hotel via taxis Heres another tale of the French woe- Dinner had been
booked for 7 oclock and we were looking forward to it- dinner handnt been up to
much- anyway we found out that it would not be ready until 8 oclock- and that
some of the French reporters wanted us to go to have an apperif at a near bye
hotel- all went except Ginger Johnny Weaver and self.
We decided to go to the same old cafe where we had dinner on our arrival at Limoges I almost forget that piece- you see- when we arrived at Limoges and at our hotel- because it was closing day-all the staff had a holiday. and it was impossible for us to have a meal.- imagine that- no meals at 2 oclock- so ???? said he knew of a small cafe around the corner-when we got there- we found it packed and we had to wait until it was cleared.- eventually we got seated -and to cut a long story short- it ended up by me ???? the lads and myself included- and helping out.
in general-but for all that we had a good meal- it looked like beef-until
someone suggested Le Cheval-but it just goes to show the lack of planning on
this tour-so far no French official- except Lucien of course had been
It was here that the three of us went for dinner- we were starving-all we had had that dinner was dinner at 2 oclock-and nothing else and it was now drawing on for 8 in the evening- we we lucky enough to encounter an English speaking Frenchman who helped us considerably- what a big help it is to be able to speak a foreign language-its a pity that whilst in school the importance of speaking foreign languages is not more emphasised-you know just not the correct grammatical way but plan speaking-its suprising how many are nervous-well I suppose we all are for that matter-but it is nice to be able to get up and propose-second-or what have you-at least make an impression-still lets get on with this tour.
We had a terrific steak two eggs lashings of milk and beaucoup du beurre
and du pain and eventually finished eating at about 9 oclock-paid our bill- I
think it came to about 12/-each and sauntired back to the hotel and found
them-yes-just starting their meal.- were they saying it-there was nothing laid
on tonight- we were all dead tired, so some strolled off to the flics to see
Moulin Rouge-myself I posted up about 40 post cards to the lads back home and
was in bed by about half past 10. I think Courteray went even earlier- anyway
most, if not all the equipe were a bed by 11 and soon fast asleep.
Very few were up early on the Saturday excepting ????- John Cecil said he was up at seven oclock and out in the town by eight crazy man- anyway I got up about 11 or was it 10-washed shaved- had breakfast- what a waste of a good word- tea and crumpets and then made off in groups townwards on a shopping spree.- The committee and Derby and Joan who shall be anonymous- were already out in force. and soon a brisk business was being done- there didnt appear to be a shortage of anything here-except that by our standards prices were very high-another sore point was not frames
Llew had still to be paid and he and us to complained to Lucien bitter by about
the non-payment- always the afternoon or tomorrow- it doesnt argue well for any
future tours- as already we didnt see eye to eye with the French view point
Lunch supposed to be at 12 was more like one oclock and was composed of poached eggs on toast- the least said about them the better - anyway little did we know then that this was the last bite we would have until we returned that evening to the hotel.
We left the hotel for the ground soon after lunch-it was a bitterly cold day- very ???? of home- low cloud-dull with a wind blowing- not a day for football and soon reached the Municipal Stadium. Two years ago they were in the process of erecting a new ???? stand- this is was now complete and the whole pitch was now enclosed and both touch lines by ?? massive concrete stands- unlike this years ago- very few spectators were there-in fact couldnt have been 1000 present at the KO- money has been lost on this game anyway.
There were the usual pre-match an then when the players names were called out as
we faced standwards and we trotted out onto the field of play. The Neath Team
for this match was Bill Young, Cyril Roberts John Hopkins Terry Thomas Dai
Davies John Weaver Brian Harris C C ????. Sugs- Ginger Waldron. John Sam Em
Thomas Eurof Walters Rees Stephens and Alex Richards blind side
The game was scrappy- for the first 10-15 mins we were pressing and I thought that we could win- the pack however gradually lost is again and our passing behind broke down- we were at disadvantage with the referee- some of his interpretations were ???? at any rate wrong- its seems amazing when you think about it- here we are playing mighty-with the same rules and yet referees not only in France have they own interpretation- as if they say I'm the boss on the field- and youll of course to players but it seems to me that there must be something wrong with the way our rules are set out that makes them so complicated and difficult and at times evasive.
We lost this game 9-6- it was ????
by an injury to Bill Young- who was ???? in possession- at any rate he had to
leave the field and Eurof went to full back. Even so we played well enough to
win and had two good tries this allowed for off-side-still its all part of the
game.- this by the way was supposed to be the weaker of the two games we
play-time will tell
We heard that after the game there was to be an apperatif at another nearby hotel- in other words drinks and speeches before our dinner-???? we were loathe to go there- I was starving as were the others- we felt we ought to- we piled into taxis and were driven to some hotel and as usual had to wait in a lounge complete on three sides with tables laden with champagne glasses and biscuits and a bar at one end- some of us stood this for half an hour and then the speeching started- as it seemed like by that it would continue for some time- some of us did a bunk and left the officials stout by holding the post- we got back to the hotel and found dinner wouldnt be until 8 oclock.-imagine -no breakfast-poached eggs at twelve and no dinner until 8 crazzy seption -it was events like these that made one think
|247||that perhaps this tour is the last if its kind down so far South- For the remainder of the evening after dinner we had to made our own amusement- no French official came near us-not even Lucien this time- there was no dance in the hotel- no dance in town in face ??-all. Most of the night was spent in singing songs of all disinptions until the party decided en bloc to visit the Hotel C us ???? and after much searching found it ferme- we were all disappointed and returned to out hotel and sleaded to all change into our pyjamas and have some fun on our own- we all did this and returned to the bar- an odd assortment of pyjamas- jock straps in ungamily places ???? caps knee caps indeed we wouldnt have disgraced and pantomime- only to find that my host had shut the bar- the was afraid of trouble!!!- this soon wore off and some one discovered at Snack Bar open around the corner and they we all went to for steak-chips- du tea and du pain etc at 1-30 in the morning- a Sunday Morning at that- bed followed and most of us stopped there until 12 next day- the first|
real sleep we had since we left home.
However by 12 oclock we were all up. had lunch and on our way to Limoges ground by 2-30 to see the final French Trial- the only one they held in fact. France apparently are due to play Raumania very soon. There was a fair syed around there I should say 5 000,- nothing to compare with the final trial crowd at Cardiff-condition were good-it wasnt near so cold as the day we played-it was dry-only the slighest of breezes persisted- but due to other important games a number of French Stars had cried off which lessened the importance of it as a trial. The team trotted out on time and we were all quick to notice the immenseness of the French props-thick ??- neckless in fact- huge legs and on an average well even 15 stone a piece- all were indived to be fleshy and looked as if they had grazed on good pastures
The game ???? like our trials was uneventful- there was a ???? ???? of mauling in meflies and line cuts-very few quick huls-but one couldnt help but nothing how they all liked to
handle the ball-for big men they seemed to move very fast. Line out work play
is a lost ????- pushing-jabbing ankle grabbing-everything was allowed.-for the
betterment of football in general- the miles should be framed that whatever
language they are issued in- there can only be on interpretation not a dozen-
this time that miles were made by lazy men not lawyers
To proceed- on the itinary were ever supposed to have slayed in Limoges on Sunday and travelled afterwards to Tulle on Monday- apparently Lucien had other ???? and had looked dinner for us all Brive in ????
restaurant and also a hotel there that evening- it was because of this that
rail tickets had been taken out- but lo and behold when we got to the
gates-there was a bus waiting for us- chartered by some one unknown.- after a
lot of haggling- we finally left Limoges and proceeded to Brive and our second
meal of the day.- there was a distance of seventy kilometres involved and
because of the mountain was country took rather more than two hours- the roads
bent-turned- twisted- nothing we could see- but feel we did- as the driver
literally flew his noisey grate into all manner of turns.- the time was spent
alternatively sleeping and singing.
We finally got to Brive around 8 oclock-starving-my word- the arrangements this time were to put it mildly- were slip-????-more to come later
We had an excellent meal in Donmends- you could see from the photos on the wall if you didnt already know that a mighty international was in charge.- this was the best so far on the tour.- and we finally got through by almost 10 oclock and took the bus to the hotel- only to find that
apparently there were no reservations- the final straw-however Lucien put
things right and we all got roomed in the end.
Because of the poor reaphow we had had the committee c good faith had tried to alter the inineray themselves now- and instead of staying at Brive on Monday night- catch the 5 train back to Paris and at least have one enjoyable evening- most if not all the players agreed to this, however Lucien said it couldnt be done- and it ended up by a players meeting in my room at 11-30pm ?? which everyone aired their views- anyway we backed up the committee- despite Lucien saying it wouldnt be done and mentioned a banquet at Dommenecks tomorrow- as things turned out we couldnt catch the 5 train because of Courts injury but did make the 12 train instead and far from being a banquet- all it turned out to be was an excellent meal for which we ourselves had to pay 15f per head for- I dont thing the French people paid for a single item- not even a meal after any of the games- unlike that they had over here.
We left Brine for Tulle next morning - thats Monday scheduled to leave at 8-30
AM but not until 9-30 - The usual continental breakfast - eggs and beure and du
pain and off to Tulle about 14 miles - but again mountainous and arrived there
about 10-30. Those who had been on the previous tour remembered it straight
away as the place we had called in late one night on the way home - had some
trouble with the local host and gendarmes - however the same host appeared and
recognised us and smiled a knowing smile. Today Nov 11 is of course Amistice
Day and a general holiday in France - they pay far more attention to it than we
do. - We all went to the local monument and Court and Belli Millet put a wreath
on it and observed a min silent - it was very impressive and far beneath us lay
the town of Tulle - it took us a good 5 min by bus to reach it.
Back to the town hall for a civic reception by the local ???? - Champagne and speeches - when it was grub we wanted - this two meal a day is getting me down fast.
Back to a local hotel for our steak dinner - indeed when were has grub - it is
really good stuff - and then we had to hang around until 2-30 until the bus
came to take us to the football field - dining this time we managed to persuade
a local shop owner to open up and he did a very lively half hours trade.
The field at Tulle is sat on the mountain slopes with tall fine trees all around it - they obviously like their rugby as a junior game was already in progress - they must have different views to what some of our committee have. This apparently was to be the harder of the two games and accordingly we selected our best side which meant that some players didnt have a game. The team was John Thomas ( the Spare I H) Cyril Roberts John Hopkins - Terry Thomas Dai Davies - John Weaver and Brian Harris - Courtney - Ray Jenkins Ginger Waldron John Sam - Em Thomas. Alex Richards - Rees Stephens and Eirof Walters.
Of the game itself - a few things stand out 1/ The excellent understanding of Brian Harris and John Weaver - and Johns three dropped goals.2/ The excellent display of the Neath - especially after old Court had to retire to F back after his injury
some extraordinary decision by the referee regarding the offside rule and
scrumming and the length of the match- we kicked off at 3-30 promps and finally
came off the field at twenty mins past five- two hours all put 10 mins- if they
had had flood lights- I believe he would have put them on- he tried his
darndest he give the French Team victory-but the whole team had this tails up
and gave nothing away I havent seen the Neath pack so vigourous for a long
time- some of them ???? ?? terrific- I felt really sorry for those French chaps
who had to fall at-our feet- they thought twice before doing it a second time!
The only incident was Courts injury- he fell heavily and we all thought he had broken his collor bone- but he pluckily stayed on the field until the end- altho in considerable pain- well done Court- I'm sure now that a himself he is pleased that he took over the Captaincy- I know the lads think highly of him and know him a lot better for it.
After the game we fully expected a meal but no such luck- more speeches and apperatif at the Cafe Theatre
Ginger and I missed this and spent the time tea drinking at the bar until it
was time to go back to Brive and Dommensks for our dinner
A thing which didnt help relations was the delay in us obtaining our guarantee.- quite some haggling was spent until Llew our treasurer said of course the W R U will have to be informed of all tour details and they eventually agreed to settle up partly and the final installment by Lucien in Paris- all this didnt help for future tours- and it seems to me extremely unlikely that we shall participate in a Tour so far South
We eventually got to Brive and apart from Lucien and Dennis Lulanne-the reporter of L'Equipe banqueted in style and had to pay for it too- in fact the two meals we had at Donnenoch was at 30f per head-a little salty- I dont think the French people had laid on a thing for us- utterly unlike the previous tour.
A good sing song was soon in progress and the rest of the scoring was spent at a local hop until 11-45pm where we all left for the Station to catch the 12-30 train for Paris- we all had booked seats 1st class- very comfortable- but what
beat us was the heat- it pound into the carvages and very few of us could
sleep- were we glad to see Paris at 7oclock on Tuesday morning-utterly worn
out- we breakfsted at a cafe with tea and bread and butter whilst waiting for
the coach to take us to the Hotel.
On our way back we were taken around Paris for the benifits of those who hadnt seen Paris before and got to the hotel about 10-30 where those who were staying until the Wednesday were allocated room which were shared by those going- for a wash up-brush up and what have you.
Those who were going went out shopping- those who stayed went to bed and flaked right out. The first party left for Le Bourget Airport at 3 oclock and the remainder of us went shopping but were back at our hotel within two ???? dead- beat in fact we all retired to bed except Derly and Joan who shall be nameless- after a meal about 8 oclock Lucien took us out until about 12 and by then we had had enough- went to bed again and didnt rise until the following morning at 1-30- went down for our last meal on
French soil- and caught the airport bus to Le Bourget and having to find out
that we had to leave in a Heron plane- thats a 16 seater and land at Southampton-
Bristol and then Rhoose.
It was a great trip back- I shall never forget the brilliant sunset when we were well above the clouds- and the big change from light to darkness when we broke through the cloud formation to See Southampton all lit up in the dark- like a fairy town with hundreds upon hundreds of lights- we could see all the liners lit up in the docks- I wish I could have taken a photo of it all
Well all things come to an end and we finally got to Rhoose at 7-30- had no difficulty with the customs- found Randy waiting for and we were soon back home again- how quickly the time has gone looking back.
The Death of An Athletic Side in One Easy Lesson
Monday Evening- November 25-1957- how well I shall remember this date- why?-
because it was on this evening at a Committee Meeting of the Neath RFC that it
was decided to disband the Athletic Side at the end of the ???? season.- on
reflection it makes me feel sad and sorry for those responsible that they are
able and willing to discard and potential wealth of talent for the future
benefit of the club- but more so now that Neath had a ???? for the first time
in years for local talent- local lads who are Neath minaled- and whose sole
ambition is to play for Neath
I took an active part in those discussions and had with me a sort of record of
2nd class players who had been selected for Neath from second class clubs but
had never made the grade- Whether or not these figures influenced those who
voted for an Athletic Side- no one will ever now- but there was a possibility
that I made a few bad friends- at least thats how I feel- still I felt very
happy in the fact that Neath were to have an Athletic Side.
I pointed out to the committee even then that it would be ???? even unfair to expect miracles- in my opinion it would take 5 years or more for an Athletic Side to fulfill its object- and even longer to obtain that club loyalty which is so essential.- I pointed out to that the first seasons fixture list would be that of the Y M C A and this not very strong and here again it would take years to build up an Athletic list equal to that of a serious Athletic Side.
This was all taken ?? and agreed to was that of finance and here again I gave a rough idea of the expenses of the local YM Athlectic and a figure of £350 or thereabouts was accepted as a sort of maximum
To go on a little- to offset this- at least to help the argument- or guild the
lily- the price the Season Tickets were put-up at least it was proposed by the
Treasurer and ???? by the secretary that due to overall ????- it was essential
that the price of season tickets be increased by 10? for Stand Members- and to
help this argument- no matter how little- it was said that we were prouding a
match on the Gnoll every Saturday- there was no opposition to the proposition
and it was carried- the extra revenue from this increase was estimated in the
region of £400 to £500 which would more than compensate the cost of the
Athletic- not that those honestly concerned with the future of the Athletic
wanted it to be a financial drag- indeed I personally had hopes that one day
such would be the standard of its football that we would be getting £20
gates.- might ever consider entering the WRU Competition- but this would all
take time- little then did I think that it would be cut off with out a fair
That then ?? what happened regarding the formation of the Athletic- it is ?? as I see it- then would be no point and me
giving a ???? report-just because I'm interested in the formation of an
Athletic- one of my reasons is that Rugby is a game where in you meet many
people ? invariably make great funds- and it would be most unfair to deny
others the chance of doing that- irrespective of the class of football they
One year and approx three months later in fact Monday Evening November
18-1957. The chairman Mr Millet- read out from the Agenda- To Discuss or Review
The Suitability of Proceeding with the Athletic Side-it came as a shock to me-a
big shock in fact- first because the season was only just under way- and
usually when some one one the committee wants something on the Agenda- he
usually mentions it at a previous meeting and asks the Secretary to have so and
so included at the next meeting- this person must forever be unknown I guess.-
or persons who ever they may be.
possibly coonstructively intisized- but never ????- how wrong I was.
Anyway came the fateful evening- I think it only correct to record who were present- The Secretary W A Griffiths- Chairman - B Mullet Treasurer- L Morgan- Bert Swarliffe- Vicar J A Lewis Ray Jones W R U member. D Meredith J Thomas- Schools Representative J J Smith- W Harrington. M Johns F Thomas W Rees Supporters Representive S. Symmonds- C Challimor Theo Davies- Life Member and the Skipper Court ???? a total of 17 plus self 18. Those not present Perry Sten- Tom Fossedge- Sid Davies.
The discussion soon started a points that arose were- it was not fulfilling its position as an Athletic Side- as the Athletic players were not good enough to play in Neath Team when short
Neath Players when rested or dropped from the Senior Side- preferred to go back to their own clubs rather than play for the Athletic. That our fixture list was poor and not good enough. and finally that it was costing the club to much money- that we had a duty to our members and to ???? a loss of £300 every season would not be right- in fact it was said by an
official that if the committee didnt do it- that in all probability it would be
raised from the floor if the annual meeting- the same official who in his piece
said he had heard that some of us had been canvassing- and that canvassing
always indicates a weak ????-from the attendance tonight- it looked to me as if
at the opposition big guns had been canvassed- quite a number who in my opinion
were completely out of touch with the pulse of the players and their feelings-
in fact I doubt of many of then eve know the Athletic players doubt very much
if they have seen them play- doubt whether they even cared
To try and answer their points- the first of course few of the Athletic Players are ready enough to step into the first XV- the average age cannot be more than 20 years- in fact we have few of last years Bolts team playing- how on earth can anyone knowing anything about rugby except such players to be ready, altho in fact young Terry Jenkins the ?? did play at short notice against Old Belveredere and didnt let us down
How on earth you can judge on all lilic Side on One Season and 3 months of another- is honestly beyond me. I should think it impossible
to say a side is in any position to be set up and judged after 1 season and 3
Question two- Neath players who were rested and dropped would not play for the Ath- Not quite time- in fact myself- Courtiney Mered- V w Evans- have all played. When Tony Palmer was getting fit last season- he played- when Em Thomas couldnt get off this season when Neath were away- he played as did Ron Waldron- but when a player who came from another club to Neath is not required by Neath- then it is quite feasible for him to go back to his old club- and not the Athletic- the only time it would hold goog, would be for players who have played only for the Ath or Neath- and that would take 5 years or more- something which was never allowed to happen.
The fixture list- not a very important one from the point of view of disbanding the Ath- as funnily enough they all agreed it would take a considerable time to build up a good fixture list- but couldnt see the same should apply to the side playing that list
The last finance was the important one-at least so it said- quite a number of the committee said they would be ???? by the treasurer a finance-forgetting
that at The Athletics ???? they agreed that the loss of £300-£400 would be
more than off set by the increase in ticket money-
that at the accounts of last years working when a figure of £350 was mentioned ( I was not at that meeting, but hope to get a detailed account of that amount soon)- and some- the treasurer to told me that he was pleased- as he thought it would have been higher
It was moved by the treasurer and seconded by Raynor the W R U member.- another thing 9 personally couldnt understand- how a W R U member could possibly ???? such a motion- one who is on the parent body and should be all out to foster football- not the distanding of teams or the helping of it
He moved it on the grounds of finance- answering Mr Harrington's that season tickets were increased to help cover the cost of a Athletic by saying it was only to partially help the increase of membership and said the real increase of membership was increased costs
I like Mr Harrington thought that membership had been increased to partially offset the Athletic, as our seep porters wanted be getting a game every Sat- while Raynor Jones
in his piece to said it was to guild the lily- obviously inferring that it was
to coat the pill to make it easier to swallow- referring in this case to
membership increase as the pill.
That then was the proposal- and we who were against could by now see how things were going- wen so I still thought that there might he those among us who would realise that money isn't everything- that for a club of Neaths standing to disland such a side would be. lowering the diguily of its standing - especially as lots of second class sides run and support two sides- any way it was put to the vote and we lost and I must say how very disappointed I was - mention I must of the fact that three members of the committee who voted against- at the quite with a ???? rights- Theo - a life member or hustee on what have you - some one who has no doubt ???? ?? man service in the post - but the future - - -. Bill Run - Supporter Rep - so called not actually on the Supporters Committee and on who takes little interest in what goes on. - if he did - very little attention would be paid J. Thomas ???? school number - just 3 votes but valuable one's for the oppostion.
We who fought the good fight were
|268||Mr Harrington - Gareth Thomas - Dai Meredith Les Smith . T A Lewis- Rees Stephens and the Skipper. Four very recent ex and players - 2 new members of the committee - what chance did we have - still its better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. The future|
||More Athletic News - Monday Dec 2/57- After the Athletic Game on the Gnoll on Sat when ???? they won 17-3 against Ebbw Vale - there was a meeting of all Athletic Players, and I put the position quite plainly to them - yes despite this they were unanimous that they wanted to continue as a side - and they was passed by the meeting - no - more - no less.|
|273||More Committee News - out of school may be- a week may be more - or so ago the Grammar School Tour was finalized - practically at any rate - I believe its the first of its kind - anyway that doesnt matter - lads at school are not particularly well off for money and school funds are not that elaborate - so Mr Harvey and Mr Bert together with Dr John - sent of a few letters to local clubs asking for their support - not an entirely new idea - not something out of the way. - believe me more money has been spent on things far less worth white than a seek to a Schools Rugger Tour - what about the £11-00 spent on painting two goal posts - short ???? some have - lets pass on ?? - this was done in good faith - the letters now - not the goal posts and from what I gathered the reponse by second class sides has been favourable - when the letter was read out by the Sec. it was discussed and after a good discussion - it was moved by the treasurer and seconded by the W R A member so I believe - these two both on principle mind you were the chef opponents of grant aid - because of ???? - because they felt it was a ???? - and that teams who could pull the horns in so to speak - and if they has as ???? shouldnt have big ideas of travelling abroad - but only|
so far as their finances allowed. - there were others of us there who thought
other were and it was agreed that something be given - the amount to be
discussed at the rest meeting, when unknown factors would be made known. - some
one suggested that the school had a source of income for things such as these.
Following up this on Monday Dec 9/57 and what a month for arguments.-
It was decided to grant the Neath Grammar School £20-0-0 - like the supporters - again not with out a lengthy debate. - whilst we are on the subject they boys made about £70 on a dance held at the Empire - there must have been almost ?? people present - at 5? per head - a good effort - anyway tour details were finally fixed - after much unseen work - deliberation and cancellation and Sunday Dec 29/57 at 3.20pm they left Neath - 20 Boys - 2 Teachers plus wife - Sunday was chosen instead of the Sat because Brian Morris and Alwyn Morris were in the W S S Final Trials they wanted them to be in the party and not to interfere with the trial - but lo and behold - after both boys had been chosen- and all of us were very pleased - they were informed by the committee that they had to be
back a week Sat morning for a trial match at Cardiff - if they werent there -
they would not be included in the XV - this after there being notified of the
Grammar Schools intention to go to France - anyway despite phone calls on
Sunday by me to various LoSS officials - always no reply - or not on the phone
- its truly amazing that not one single official could be contacted on the
Sunday - the party left and I was to phone the W S S secretary Mr Waning ?? on
the Monday - this I did - but a definite NO was all I had and I had to ???? the
party for both Brian and Alwyn to return on the Thursday morning to get here in
time for the practise.- such official dom a school lay football is to say the
least - well -
Oh the latest up to date fitness remark- ???? Team V Wallarly effort - there were only a few of us out Don Dev -who we are all very delighted at having his first cap- more so me- because he is the first Y M C A player to get a Senior Cap. - Bill Young Terry Thomas and two or three Ath players - anyway - Mr Millet same along his our Chairman this year and said
|276||theres no tea ???? on tonight - there shouldnt have been training tonight anyway - the ???? is to had - here it comes - anyway there isnt a match on Sat, so theres no need to train this week. - imagine that now - just because theres no game - no need to train - balls! but it just goes to show what some committees think - anyway I went up to Toms and back - had a real good sweat and knocked up a good speed and no ill-effect at all. - Still I think now that I'll give up at the end of this season.- probably play a few more games for the Ath - its far better to go out under your own steam than be pushed out. -Ive often thought of the idea of finishing off the season with Aberavon - it would do rugby a lot of good if it were possible|
Monday Evening Jan 6th-58 - Congratulations Aberavon R F C and officials for
being so go ahead in obtaining the services of world famous Danie Cravern to
lecture to Aberavon Supporters at the local sec school - and what a gem of a
talk it was to all rugby followers who attended - the hall incidentally was
packed with Wizard Supporters - plus a few from Neath - and a sprinkling of
players - its a pity that it wasnt the reverse - it would certainly have stood
them in good stead to listen to the advice of a man who not only has played the
game and knows what to do - but is able to tell others how to do it but there -
thats the general ???? of then.
The Aberavon Club and officials must be complimented for the way in which they handled the whole affair from the lecture hall to the ???? dinner held at the Grand Hotel after and as far as I am concerned for inviting me as a person to this dinner. This must be mentioned for what its worth, but as soon
as I was seen at The Hall - I was immediately asked to come along to the dinner
after - I often wander if my own club with its present day committee would have
been so generous in their approach. - but it made me feel as if ???? was
The Dinner was a huge success attended by the Mayor - it was a delight to listen to the various speakers - all full of praise for Danie and he was presented by Mr Haycock- Mr Aberavon - with a club plaque - by a small miners lamp by the Area N C B Manager Mr Walker - and an appreciation by the ???? Tanner- Bankers in the form of a signed address and poem.! - still there it was - a famous club paying tribute to a famous man - I was proud to be connected with rugby football and to be there last night- Danie in his very ???? reply said it was the highest honour paid him - and after all the good things that were said about him - I can quite believe it and and can well imagine how he likes to come back to Wales. - how envious I was. in a sports man like way - Every one in the room. must have been for that matter - still is is deserving
He took us back to his own playing days and how Wales was his first test - how
Berry Osler- the ????. Springbok O H always told him that he wanted the ball
from his navel to his feet and not his navel to his head - because if it went
above his head seconds went in catching it and breaking it down, while if it
was at navel height or lower, he could pass or kick without wasting time.
How Berry Osler never told him which way he was going until the ball was out of the scrum - he - that is Osler said you know where your opponents are before the ball goes in - but what counts is where they are and what they are doing when the ball is your side How Berry Osler - could kick any where and land a ball on a 3rd piece - how he spent countless hours practising his kicking - he even used to hire small boys to retrieve the balls for him and paid them for doing so.
How he would always start off a game by finding how the opposing fall back was - if he was ?? look-out - he spent a very unhappy afternoon chasing un chaseable kicks - kidding the full backs with long ???? kicks to one
|282||side of the field and then apparently with the same sort of action kick back to the other side|
Well the Tour did materialise after all.- and apparently the whole party had a wonderful time - played excellent football- made friends and created a good impression - in fact - people who had never possibly heard of Neath, or for that matter Wales ???? - now do- and say - well they must be nice people - this apart - I'm also glad because - I can quite distinctly remember the meeting at which they were discussing a grant towards this tour - that is the Neath Committee in general - and members of that body
who had gone on the Neath Tour and were disappointed at the ???? were using
their influenced to argue that the place was not one that they could recomment
us an ideal ???? spot for young lads- one even went to say that he had his two
lads in school - he would think twice about allowing them to go on the tour -
the implication of which I resented there and then ???? it out-
Still they've been - come back and are now looking forward to receiving their French friends - here at Easter
Like many writings in this book - this is out of sequence - still - that in
itself, is it very important- anyway - this is a general report of the French
Rugby Tour by the Neath Y M C A Colts together with myself and Ivor Jones - a
party of twenty two persons in all.
Like my other writings- I put down the beginnings of it. After the very successful Grammar School Tour - life wouldnt have been worth living if the Colts, as we will call them hence forth on, didnt have a tour themselves - what is good enough for The Grammar is - good enough for The Colts - so be it - actually The Colts were always first in my thoughts and should have gone over at Xmas - but because of the fact that all were working - The Grammar School went over first and like us became the first ever Under 18 side to go abroad - well done Neath.
I followed this up with Lucien regarding a game for the Colts, but this time apparently my letters didnt reach him - anyway I had to try another source, as time was running out and eventually contacted two Schools in the Paris area - and The Colts tour was on.
There was a great deal of work to be done- passports- money changing- we had a
rate of 1240 francs to the £1- one or two of the lads must have thought they
were going to Mumbles for a trip as four or five passports were only returned
in the nick of time because of late photos and wrongly written permission
forms. however we all collected at Neath Station! The Party was made up of
twenty players self and Ivor Jones
They were Len Jones, Dai Jones Fln Ball Bob Macullum ( he came in at the very last minute) John Roberts Dick Parker, Tony Wright Vw Davies Terry Jenkins Trev Thomas John Davies( Capt) Sil Jones Doug Jones Ian Camron Ken Kunow Peter Davies Len Curtis Mervyn Williams- Wavell Hopkins- Mike Thomas.
We caught the 6-45 from Neath on Monday Morning March and were soon sorted out in out reserved compartments.
Like their senior counter parts- the card sharpers soon found each others company and it wasnt match sticks which were being played for- however the journey to London soon passed and we eventually
reached Paddington Station well on time. The party were then shepherded by tube
across to Victoria - so far no one had gone astay
Reached Victoria well in time for a cup of tea and any other beverages - some of the lads also changed some money into francs - and seemed like big business when they started talking in thousands of francs.
Piled on the London - Folkestone train - still intact and we poor sea farers - praying for calm seas and wey so often checking by looking up into the skies to see if the clouds were flying past - they were!!
Eventually we boarded the X channel steamer - those of us who thought we would be sea sick - layed on the rafts in readiness whilst the 'fit' ones ???? around the ship - but lo and behold before the end of the sea journey - the ones who were prepared for the worst didnt have it - the others at least some of them did.
Anyhow Calais soon came in sight and we were soon aboard
The Paris Express - all the lads excited and jabbing away - with merry and bad
expressions thrown in - it was here that we had our first bit of fun. - before
hand we had singled out the victims. Dai Jones and Selwyn Jones - it all arose
over a press cutting I had seen when Oxford Uny came down to play Cardiff -
included in their side was a young Springbok - making his first journey to
Wales - Just outside the Newport Bowler Peter Robbins the Oxford Capt asked all
the Oxford team for their ???? - of course all had them except this Springbok
who was politely told that he d ???? have to return or be smuggled in - of
course no S A would mess the trip to Wales and not play at Cardiff so he agreed
to be smuggled in - and was put in the boot of the bus and not taken out until
he reached Cardiff - after the game he was telling everyone how he was smuggled
into Wales - no one let ????- and he was smuggled out in the same way.
Well that how it began - we had specially printed ???? before hand
- very official looking - and of course all the ???? except the two ???? had
As soon as the train pulled out - I went around the party asking then for the ???? - so I could give them to the guard and passport officer - Sel and Dai - both said - we didnt have one - and the rest of the Colts backed up well and said they had each had one in the returned passports
Both now were looking really worried so I suggested that I try and bribe the guard to stamp their passports whilst they were hiding in the Toilets - so in they went let it be said that French toilets do not ???? the same room as English ones - so Sel and Dai were eramped in the time spent of the word - we left them for 20 mins - and then decided theyd had enough - called them both out - told them the guard had shut his eyes to them for a 1000 francs apiece - cheap at half the price
Eventually we arrived at Paris about 10:15 dead beat - and looking forward to seeing the sights - M. Victal was
waiting and escorted us ?? a maze of Metros to the Hotel which was to be our H
Q in Paris - not far from The Blanchfontaine - Our Hotel was Suisse - Paris -
Nice - By now we were starving - literally and after being issued our bedrooms
- two up - we went to a back street cafe for our first taste of French looking
and French Red Wines - how the lads lapped it all up - Altho quite late now the
night was still young and we all set off to explore the Parisian nights and
On the Tuesday - I dont think any member of the party got up early after and hectic days party - self - Marc and Trev were awaked by The Dingle Beep shouting across the way - soon every window was open and every Colt up - goodness
||only know what The French thought about us - anyway after the Continental breakfast - what the hell do they live in - we all left for an educational tour of Paris - ???? to say we saw all Eiffel Tour - Arc De Triumph. Champs Elyse - we walked it the whole length - some achievement - we even held up the traffic in the The Place De Concorde - what those French drivers didnt call us - dog tired we all had a drink at a cafe - dead beat|
We all returned to a self service bar for dinner where one could have the joice
of anything - most of us plumped for fried chicken - fried in olive oil -
terrific was how the lads voted for it
Back to the hotel - now to want for the bus - our original plans to go ahead by train had been changed due to another rail strike
The bus from ???? came at 2-30pm - dead on time and ???? ???? who apparently played against me at Paris two Seasons ago - was the person - in fact a teacher at the school - was to conduct us to ????
We sang our way down - this was my first long away trip with youngsters - and they seem to know all the songs and sing equally as well as they senior counter parts.
At the School which is miles from anywhere - indeed it would be hard to find a more remote place - Ivor and self were put in the Chateaux - the boys in the dormitory - apparently - the school is self disciplined by the lads them selves - they are responsible for order - cleaning - serving of ???? - in fact
Interested Spectators at the game which we lost 6 - 0 everything - no masters
partook of this - they were in charge of roll calls - lights out - hence why
Ivor and me were put in the masters quarters.
Its a magnificent school - completely up to date - with a gym that Ive get to see the better of - it must be at least 100 yds long by 30 yds wide and corresponding height - an ???? was that the lines of the cansus courts - eg tennis - basket ball - instead of being painted were lit up electrically - one switch for each.
After supper we were invited to their prize giving ceremony and presentation night - it was their end of term. - and the ???? house were playing off ???? in volley ball
- basket ball - hand ball - we left at 11-0 for bed - dead beat - I couldnt
help but noticing how the French lads played there ball games - hand a volley
ball - both hands and fingers held wide open - always ready for the ball - no
wonder they are such good handlers of a rugby ball
Next day - we were shown around the school - very interesting to those electrically minded - and then had a run out - in fact the run out tour was before the school tour - didnt do much - just enough to get the stiffness off the lads. - we played our stronger side Len Jones Dai Jones Gln Ball. Bob Mac - John Roberts Dai Parker - Terry Jenkins - Doug Jones John Davies ????. Ian. Len Carles - Mike - Sel and Ken Canow
We lost this game to a bigger older team - The game itself wasnt what one would call a cahilition game - we were out weighed in the forwards and instead of playing to their backs the French lads perserlid in going through with it - it suited us - as their strength lay behind - anyway we were by ?? means disgrased by losing to such a side by only 6-0. One thing that stood out was the interpretation of the ref - to me it
seems absurd that altho we all play ? the supposedly same rules - you get so
many different interpretations - its really ?? time that the controlling body
put them out in such a consise and simple way - that they can be only carried
out in the way they were meant to be - the offside in line out had to be seen
to be believed - on both sides
If one can believe all one reads then the same apparently applies in other sports in other countries - surely with sport such ' big business'- it is now time enough for those in charge to sit down seriously and make the rules, so that there can be no edging whenever that sport is played
To continue - after the game we were the best of friends - Neath and French players coming off the field arm on arm - How wonderful it is to see such things - back for a shower - and then an aperetif with the head master - staff and two teams with the minimum of speeches
There was nothing special laid on - we had the usual school dinner and then until 9 oclock - most of the lads
including the French Team went to the only lovely place in ???? - a small cafe
for some French aperetifs and spent most of the time singing French and Welsh
songs - very entertaining at times - especially to see our lads trying to sing
To bed reasonably early - as we are up early next morning - off to Paris
We Left as arranged - quite early despite having to wait for the bus and with time to spare arrived at the Station and after an hour or so's travelling arrived at Paris and reached our hotel which was for tonight. The Lycee King or in other words a French Grammar School of over 1000 boarding pupils - the train were boarded with other French lads in their dormitories whilst myself and Ivor were bedded out in the Sick Room with two lads - one suffering from lock jaw or some what and the other a broken limb - still we didnt spend much time there.!
When picking the Neath Team V Cardiff - John was dropped and Hudgson brought in
- altho only able to play this one game - John has been a most able player - in
any position and in the eyes of most of us - Should have played in this 'plum'
game. Altho perhaps not so stylist as Hodgson - he is a devastating tackler and
gives of his all for the whole game - The Club will miss him - as he is not yet
and investement - we are now in our third season since then and already have a
potential wealth of talent second to none
Quite obviously they cannot all play for Neath - but lots of them will be able to help Neath - out whenever they are short
So far this season already Trevor Thomas Ken Gwyn - Dai Richards and Allun Buller have been called upon - Dai Richards is now the regular side forward
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