13. The End of the First World War

G. May Evans 1898-1952
G. May Evans (1898-1952) in her Land Army uniform, taken 1916-18. She was born in Port Talbot, and worked as a volunteer in the gardens and grounds of St. Fagans Castle during the War.
Propaganda postcard from the first world war.
Propaganda post cards sent by soldiers during the First World War.
St Fagans Castle, First World War
The banqueting hall at St Fagans Castle, Cardiff, taken during the First World War. The hall was used as a hospital during the War.

What year were you born and where?

May the sixth 1918, here.

In this house?

Yes. My mother moved up here a fortnight before I was born. She gave her house up, she used to live in Basset Street, that’s parallel to this street and my grandmother died and my mother had a bachelor brother who living here, so she gave up her house to come up and look after him. She brought all the tribe up here then.

How many brothers and sisters did you have?

Then we were very poor, you see. My father was a stone mason, a jadder, as they called it. He prepared the stone in Graig-yr-hesg, for the stone mason that dress the stone and piece working. If you had bad weather, you had no money - with all the family. So he joined up then, when Kitchener said, "I want you", for the King’s shilling and he joined up. He joined the Engineers. He was out in France practically, the whole time, digging trenches and what not. Terrible conditions. He used to try and tell us and mother used say, "Shut up. We don’t want to hear that". She didn’t like us hearing too much. Dreadful I think.

Anyway, he was discharged then in 1917 and I think he spent a year in Chepstow Hospital, just by St Lawrence, with being gassed and bronchitis and everything. I think I must have been a weekend leave baby! Because I was born then in the May, before the War finished in the November. He called me Irene, which is - I don’t know if you know the meaning of Irene, Peace!

Irene, born Pontypridd, 1918.

MWL archive no. 8542. Recorded by R. Scadden 1996.