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Date: 20 May 1916



There has just arrived home at Aberavon Fireman Leyshon Williams, who was the only Welshman on the s.s. Cymric when she was torpedoed by a German submarine 140 miles off the Fastnet on Monday last.

The rescued man is a member of a well-known local family, being the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Williams, 131, Water-street, Aberavon. After being a sailor for many years he had worked ashore in America for the past year, but signed on as fireman on the Cymric on her last voyage.

Williams had gone on duty at noon on Monday, the 8th inst., and at twenty minutes past that hour heard a terrific report, and in company with the others made a dash for the deck. A few minutes before the torpedo struck the third engineer remarked to Williams, "Well, Taff, we are nearly home again!"

When the Cymric was struck this engineer was killed through an explosion in the engine-room, being one of the five who lost their lives. As Williams reached the deck signals were being sent out, and the boats ordered to be launched. Peculiarly, the submarine was not seen before or after the attack, but there was no doubt as to the nature of the enemy, as the torpedo struck clean mid-ships.

[portrait of Leyshon Williams]

There was no warning whatever given to enable the crew to take to the boats.

The ill-fated liner sank to within six feet of her bulwarks almost immediately, and remained in that position for several hours. All the crew, with the exception of the four presumably killed and the chief steward, who was drowned, got safely off, but the boat in which Williams found himseif was sunk, and the ocupants had to swim ahout until picked up by another boat.

Eventually, and very promptly, a patrol boat arrived and took the crew on board.

Williams himself was attired only in a pair of dungaree trousers and vest, as shown in the photograph.

'Only Welshman on Cymric.' South Wales Weekly Post. 20 May 1916. 3.

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