Author: South Wales Miners Library, Swansea University

Provider: South Wales Miners' Library

Rights: Unknown

Interview of Edwards, B. by Francis, Hywel on 23rd July 1973.
The interview forms part of Swansea University’s South Wales Miners’ Library collection.

1 audio file (4 min. 30 sec.)

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Transcription

Francis, Hywel: When did you enlist then?

Edwards, B.: I enlisted in August 1914

Francis, Hywel: Where?

Edwards, B.: I enlisted in Canada and then I came back and I got into the Welsh division as soon as ever I was here. We went to France in 19, early 1915. I was there then I was demobilised in the end of January 1919.

Francis, Hywel: What action did you see then?

Edwards, B.: Beg pardon

Francis, Hywel: Did you see a great deal of action?

Edwards, B.: Oh yes. Well I remember on one occasion there, one of the boys taken bad and they asked me would I go up with the transport, transport with some stuff, and the funny thing was the only trip that I ever had to go up there I had a horse killed and one badly injured and I saved, some of my clothes was torn, but I didn’t have a scratch on me. That was on the Somme, 1916. I saved very good, didn’t have a scratch, only more of a shock, it happened too sudden. I didn’t know then whether it was a bomb or whether it was a shell, it happened so sudden you know.

Francis, Hywel: How did you feel about the war. How did you feel about your experiences?

Edwards, B.: Oh, I was fed up with it. I was dying to come back out of the way. Sleeping out there in all kinds of weather and everything, oh I was fed up with it to the hilt. And then on top of that again, we lost a lot of our boys now through sleeping out in the wet and cold not used to it. They had rheumatic fever, they had to discharge them, send them back. No, I was fed up with it, the weather was killing one. And then during, during the war then, the four years I had four leaves on during the month of December, and not one on the Christmas. I was going back once on a Christmas Eve, well I was heart-broken to think that I was going back then when the jollifications was on here, yes.

Francis, Hywel: What kind of Christmas did you have then, that particular time?

Edwards, B.: Oh we was, we had good Christmas out there. Our Commanding Officer, he was a multi-millionaire, Captain {Leevying} , before Christmas you know, he’d have all the poultry out there alive everything so that we’d have it fresh Christmas day, fair play, oh a thorough gentleman, one of the best. Then we lost him about the middle part of the war, he had to go to Italy and he couldn’t take us with him, we wanted to go with him but no, he had to go to Italy to another corps. He had everything out there.

Francis, Hywel: What about the first Christmas out there, do you remember the first Christmas?

Edwards, B.: Yes. Oh the first Christmas passed, passed all right, quietly.

Francis, Hywel: Did the, there was some fraternising between the German and British troops weren’t there?

Edwards, B.: They tell there was in one part there, yes.

Francis, Hywel: Yes, You didn’t see that at all?

Edwards, B.: No, I didn’t see that. I was told that they was wishing each other Merry Christmas and one thing and the other and that, I didn’t see that.

Francis, Hywel: What did you do when you came back then, when you were demobilized?

Edwards, B.: I was driving the cars, the old tram-cars in Ponty.