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Joseph Morgans was born on 23 July 1891 at Tylagwyn in the Garw valley. After being educated at Bridgend County School he was studying before the war at St Luke's College, Exeter, where he also joined the Territorial Army. At first he was with the Devonshire Regiment: this photograph shows him standing on the right, with some of his comrades from the Devonshires. By 1916 Joseph was serving with the Gloucester Regiment, and he was sent to France in March 1916. He fought with the Artillery in the trenches and was shot on 2nd December 1917 at La Vaquerie, during the Battle of Cambrai (the first battle in which tanks were used in significant numbers). Joseph, wounded in his right knee, was left behind by his comrades and was captured by the Germans on 3rd December. Skilled German surgeons saved his life. Joseph was sent to a POW camp at Altdam, Stettin, (a camp affiliated to the German battalion which captured him), and sent home a postcard on 29 December 1917 stating he was still alive. Conditions at the camp were poor, neither guards nor POWs receiving sufficient food. The camp held 18,500 Russian prisoners, and only 55 British POWs. Being literate and numerate, Joseph worked in the camp's busy Post Office. He helped others write/read letters, but no letters got through to him until 18 April 1918 - his family had been informed he was missing, presumed dead. Jo was overjoyed to receive a letter from his cousin Catherine in April 1918. He saved grains of tea from Red Cross Parcels received at the Post Office. At the end of the war, the gates of the camp were opened, and prisoners told to fend for themselves. Joseph walked to Denmark, where he and others received a rapturous welcome. He sailed to Leith on 14 December 1918, and then went to a POW Reception Camp at Ripon. He was de-briefed there and made it home to join his family for Christmas in 1918. Joseph never spoke to his children about his war experiences but his daughter, Nest, remembers that he couldn't walk in cold weather due to frostbite suffered at the camp. She and her brother would collect wool left by the sheep on the mountain behind his home so that he could put it in his shoes, enabling him to walk. He died in 1953 from a brain haemorrhage.

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