"Catrin Jones's Letters"

Tyn Lon Fawr

to her brother Robert in London

Catrinís wartime letters

Tyn Lon Fawr

November 9th 1942.

Dear Brother and Sister,

                                   I donít recall not having being so long in writing to you, especially as I am in such good health and all my bones in tact and I hope that you are the same. Iíve been very busy with the corn harvest, the weather turned very wet thus creating more work and problems, but by now Iíve got it all in and the thrashing has been done as well. Griff Tyn Lon was very lucky to have got it all before the weather turned, Tyn Llidiart and I were left behind and I was very worried as to whether Iíd be able to get enough men to do the thrashing, but in the end sixteen turned up without my having to ask, all of them willing to work, some others had meant to come but their work at the mines put paid to that. I had a good crop of corn and it was none the worse for being left out in the wet weather. After getting the harvest in the hardest job then was to keep the mice out of the loft above the kitchen, Iíd cemented all the holes, but they still managed to get in from under the window seat, so I put some poison down before cementing and Iíve finally beaten them. I went to help make food for the men on thrashing days at Tyn Lon, Tyn Rhos, Groeslon and Llawenan.

Some man came to see all the farms in the area, to see about how many acres of potatoes each farm could grow. He said that my place would need to grow a quarter of an acre. Since then Iíve had a letter telling me to plough three and a quarter acres, and that half of that should be given over to potatoes. So you see Iím going to get enough food and the corn is just fine for the hens. Itís a great change for me now having to buy milk and eat margarine. The cowís dried up and is expecting a calf at Christmas. Iíve seven cats as well as Mickey waiting for milk every day, the black cat has three black kittens and the other one has a black one and a tabby, sheís a lovely colouring and is really good at catching rats, Iíve seen up to three in the barn some mornings, so I reckon the cats are well worth their keep.

Itís been so long since my last letter that I can barely remember what I wanted to say. A lot of people who worked at the mines have gone away now, especially the people who were staying at the Llwynfor Hostel. One of the menís wife (English) came to stay with her two children to look after the place - she seemed nice enough, all powder and paint. Sheís gone now and has left the place in a real state, according to the people whoíve been there it was absolutely filthy, there were nineteen dirty sheets in one pile in the bedroom and when they went to move them, they found them to be full of maggots and they had to take a pitchfork to carry them out. All the cooking pots were filthy or burnt, not one had been washed, Griff Tyn Lon has been there and seen it all. Theyíre going to have to look for someone else to take care of the place now.

Thereís talk of them starting work at Nant now, theyíre already working on the level near the jetty. Mr Wills and the young lady he married last year have gone to Cornwall and Mr Perry, the lady from Lon Lasís friend has also gone. Dick Lon Las is in Derby now and Lizzie and Gwynfor have gone to stay with him for a weekís holiday. Doreenís gone to work to Abersoch sheís nearly as tall as May now. Wil Tryfan has started work at the mines and his wife Kate is close to giving birth to their fifth child. Well Iíd better go now and have some lunch before going up to Rhiw to post this letter. Best wishes to you both and regards to Ivor.


February 1st 1943.

                         I received the parcel, it was intact and neatly wrapped, and I am more than grateful for the cape, Iíve worn it a lot already. Thank goodness for Ivor for it, I havenít shared out the rest yet, but I know that itíll all be very acceptable, as everything is so expensive and coupons are very scarce and many things canít be bought for love or money these days. Thank you also for the newspaper, I had heard about the raid and I saw and heard about the daytime raid, so many children and people lost in the school, I had been asking what the name of the place was, as it was so close to where you live in London. All these awful things that are happening around you and you still manage to survive. I hope the end is near and that Ivor wonít have to go away to war. Sion Plas Cochís son has gone out to Africa now and Ellen Bodgrigynís son arrived in Africa just before Christmas. Quite a few of the local girls have gone to work to the airforce or to some other service and they are all apparently happy with their situations, itís a worry for some folk round here though as they canít find maid these days.

Thereís a lot of firing round the coast, some of the mines donít go off and thereís one wedged between the rocks at Trwyn Penrhyn, thereís a lot of driftwood there too, but no one dare go near the place for fear of their lives.

Thereís a lot of activity up near Clip Bach and a large building has been erected, there are only two others in the whole of the British Isles, and no one knows what they are for. They even work on Sundays with the lorries carrying stuff up there. Theyíve built a gateway and a road from the Comins road and the men work there even in very wet weather. Itís very wet and has rained heavily day and night, no one can work the land apart from tractors ploughing greenfields where they can but many fields have been left unfinished because itís too wet. Iíve never seen so much water round the house, but none came in near the clock, where youíd been filling in, however it comes in under the tiles in the kitchen. I havenít been such a home bird for years, the weather preventing me from venturing out other than to do the work that has to be done around the farm, and I seem to have the worst colds Iíve ever had.

I havenít yet thanked you especially for the porridge, many, many thanks for it. I havenít seen porridge in a box for months, the points now mean that things are worse for someone like myself, having only the one book and the shopkeepers are very tight with the things when they get them in. They make sure that they set aside some goods to give out to some people, whilst others are given none. But theyíll be sorry when rationingís over and we can shop where we choose, we wonít forget how weíre being treated now.

I forgot to tell you that Wil Tryfan has gone to the soldiers at Sheffield.

All the best for now Catrin.


10th March 1943.

Dear Brother and Sister,

                                     I hadnít heard about the raid until I received your letter, Thank God that you have been spared yet again. The disaster on the tube was awful, I read about it in this weekís Herald. I just donít know how anyone can cope with these raids indeed, hearing an explosion once would be enough to finish me forever. When the planes started to bomb the islands at night I used to tremble with fear and thatís ever since I was frightened by the earthquake, but Iím much, much better now. I hope May doesnít get called up to do anything, and what about you? Mr and Mrs Roberts that came to live at Cadlan Isaf are very worried, he has to go before a medical tribunal to Caernarfon next Friday. Heíd been before some farmerís committee telling him that heíd be called up and that they would put an older man in his place at Cadlan.

I feel sorry for Gyggi having to leave his workplace before he needs to, and Iíve been thinking what would happen if the war ended, as everyone expects it to, would it be easy to get such a good job or would it be the same as it was after the last war. I donít know if they are preparing for the end of the war or is it all talk?

Miss Hughes who was at the school when Trevor was there is getting married at Easter with Griff Ty Canol, and they are going to live at Moelwyn View with his mother. Sheís at Waenfawr at the moment, she lost both her father and mother within a short while of each other.

James Parryís wife has just received news that her husband is missing, The ship on which he was captain was sunk somewhere close to Africa, some of the crew were rescued, but at the time they sent word he was still missing, unless they hear otherwise. Itís dreadful hearing news like this about the boys, itís awful having cared for them and brought them up only to loose them like this. Robert Bryn Mawr has died as well, Iíve sent the Herald so you can read about it.

Griff Tyn Lon Bach

I bought some hay from Griff Iíd gone without for the cow and her calf, Talafon bought it here and itís much better hay than I had. Iíve dug nearly half the garden and have had the papers telling me how much to plough up they want me to give half an acre for potatoes. Griff Tyn Lon wanted me to send a quiet word to some Dr Alun Roberts who is head of the agricultural committee to tell him about my situation and how it was so difficult not to mention expensive for me to get anyone to help with picking potatoes and of course about my age. I sent a letter and got a satisfactory reply telling me not to let it go below a quarter of an acre and to do the best I could. I told him that Iíd ploughed the land as was stated in the regulations, IĎve kept the letter, just in case someone with less authority starts threatening me.

The brick building thatís going up near the Clip can be seen from here now, and the lorries are busy taking up stuff to build a concrete road to the Clip, and there are other men busy at work laying electricity poles to go over Rhiw to Uwchymyndd. They havenít come into my fields, but a big lorryís going to come and bring poles and put them here and there along the roadside. Well youíd better visit me pretty quick, otherwise you wonít know the way or where the road is!! Warmest greetings to you all. Catrin.


Many thanks to Ivor Jones for these  letters.

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