Atlantic convoy. Photos are of John and sailor is an old photo of Ffrangcon
Can you imagine what it was like for a mother to have had
a son serving on the North Atlantic Convoys in the second world war?
These convoys were at the mercy of the German U Boats who
could strike at any time. In packs of up to 80 attacking in any
one convoy and took the lives of thousands of sailors and sunk
close to two hundred Allied ships.
On top of mountainous seas the crew had a constant battle with
ice that build up on ships .always mindfull that if the ice built
up it could cause them to become top heavy and could capsize.
One Abercynon mother Mrs Polly Edwards of Park View
actually had two sons serving on the same ship for most of
the war and miraculously both of them came through it to
become well known in our area.
The first one to serve was actually the younger who lied about his
age to serve his country.
Ffrangcon Edwards who sadly passed away 20 years ago was a
well known trade unionist and County Councillor for the
Penrhiwceiber Ward for many years.
His brother John (Wenglish) Edwards joined the same ship but even
though he was legally the elder, the records in fact showed
Ffrangcon to be 20 when in fact he was a mere 18and so
qualified for the rum ration. So the younger brother could have
what his older brother couldn’t, something that still amuses
John even today.
Ffrangcon joined HMS Jamaica as soon as it was built in
Barrow in Furness and at times was doing a convoy every month
in such harch conditions and all this as a 16 year old. A remarkable
feat that took a courage unknown to the youth of today.
When John joined the same ship almost two years later he was
greeted by a sailor asking if he were related to Taffy Edwards?
The brothers were reunited and served together for most of the war.
The Jamaica saw lots of action guarding the convoys and the
Edwards boys were there to witness and partake in the sinking of
the premier German Battleship the Scharnholst.
When the convoys came to an end, Ffrangcon saw out the
rest of the war at Plymouth before returning to civilian life,
while John ended up in warm Pacific waters before his return to
the UK,settling down in Bristol and perusing a notable career in
As yet John and Ffrangcon’s family have only received confirmation
and still await the actual medal.