Roy Jones

Photo:Photograph of Roy Jones's class taken outside St. Catherine's Church, Pontypridd in 1942. Roy is pictured standing far right on the second row from the top.

Photograph of Roy Jones's class taken outside St. Catherine's Church, Pontypridd in 1942. Roy is pictured standing far right on the second row from the top.

Roy Jones

Wartime memories of evacuation to Wales.

Rochester Mathematical School

During the summer of 1939 Roy Jones was a pupil at Rochester Mathematical School. As the threat of war increased, plans were made to evacuate children on 1st September 1939, from both the Math school and the Rochester Girls Grammar School. Many of those evacuated went to Canterbury, but Roy was not among them. When he returned to school after the summer break, schooling was limited as resources were utilised by the Government as part of the war effort. Although many children had returned home by 1940, developments across Europe resulted in more initiatives for evacuation – those who had previously been sent to Canterbury were relocated to Pontypridd, and those had stayed in Rochester went to Porthcawl.

Porthcawl

Roy left Rochester in June 1940 and travelled to Porthcawl by train. Despite the sense of unease he initially felt he soon settled into a new routine. He attended school on a regular basis and had swimming lessons when not in the classroom. Roy also joined the local Scout Group, attending both indoor and outdoor meetings, and he contributed to the war effort through organised activities. He attended productions at the Grand Pavilion and on one occasion, was invited to participate! Throughout the summer of 1940, Roy’s teachers ensured that their pupils were kept busy with sporting and leisure events.

Pontypridd

In September 1941 Roy travelled to Pontypridd as the boys from Porthcawl joined those evacuated from the Math School in Wales, and the girls from the Grammar school were united in Porthcawl. Roy attended Pontypridd Grammar school full time and undertook his school certificate. He continued with the Scout Troops, and undertook mountain climbing.  Roy was able to participate in many locally organised events within the community, attending conferences, and winning awards and competitions.

Back to Rochester

In 1942 Roy, like many other pupils, returned to Rochester – shortly after the autumn term commenced he left school and began working at Chatham Dockyard. He also volunteered as fire watcher. In January 1945 Roy was called up into the Navy, but the war ended whilst he was undertaking his training. He joined the Pacific Fleet and when the war with Japan ended he spent a period of time in Australia, before visiting many countries in South East Asia. Roy was demobbed in 1947, after returning to Britain.

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This page was added by Malin Lundin on 06/01/2012.
Comments about this page

I too had similar experiences to Roy Jones, who I am afraid I do not remember. I think I was a year younger. I was evacuated to Canterbury which was a fairly enjoyable experience. Canterbury was not far removed from the Medway Towns as a social environment which meant that we were comfortably accommodated. Schooling was reduced due I think to the limited number of Masters available. This afforded us time and opportunities to explore the areas of East Kent by bicycle. To us there were fascinating places like Patricksbourne, Bekesbourne with their splashes, Whitstable and Sturry where there were old watermills. In all an enjoyable time. Sadly this all came to an abrupt end with the German invasion of Holland and Belgium. Pontypridd was the fate of those at Canterbury and this was harder than that for those who went to Porthcawl. Pontypridd was a very different place from the Medway Towns and economically deprived and tiny houses without bathrooms came strange to us. The Welsh people were hospitable and understanding and did their best for us. It was, however, a very hard time when home sickness was always underlying feeling. Looking back I think I behaved very badly towards my hosts at times and carry the guilt still, but, as I said it was a hard time for us. The photo I think shows Shilton Evans, the vicar. Why I should remember the name I cannot think, I was already a committed atheist then and did not got to his church more than twice, much to the dismay of my Welsh hosts. 'Piggy' Thomas was the head of Pontypridd Grammar School. I do not think he liked the influx of seriously unruly Math boys. Summer of 1942 allowed us all to return to Rochester and life improved immeasurably.

By Peter Hill
On 23/03/2014

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