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William, known as Bill, was born in Tonypandy 1890. The 1901 census shows that at the age of 11 years he was working as a door boy at the colliery. In 1911 aged 21 he was boarding with his sister Catherine and her family at 6 Knoll Terrace, Tonypandy. 25 days after the 1911 census (April 2) he left the UK and travelled alone to the USA. Leaving from Southampton on the S.S. Teutonic, (he was the only Welsh passenger) he arrived in New York in April. After about a year working as a labourer, he joined the United States Army, (12th U.S. Infantry) enlisting at Fort Slocombe, New York, and was sent to Nogales, Arizona.After serving for three years, upon discharge he left the USA and returned to England. Here he immediately joined the Royal Artillery and served through the First World War. He was demobilised as a Sergeant Major. He returned to the pits for a while and gained his fireman qualification in 1919. His address at that time was 2, Inverleith Terrace, Llwynypia. After this he joined Pratts Petroleum and moved to Bristol where he met his wife to be, Gladys. He was transferred to Evesham, where they raised their family. Pratts was eventually taken over by Esso and Bill worked for them for the rest of his working life. In the 1920's he became very interested in cinematography. After his death, film rolls found by the family were saved and eventually were transferred to video tape. Much of this footage is now attached to the family tree. Unfortunately his boys got hold of the footage when they were younger and caused considerable damage to it by forcing it through the wrong type of projector. Bill was also a strong union man, after addressing a rally in Evesham he received a letter from Esso warning him that he would be disciplined if he didn't pack it in. Bill died in 1947 from a liver condition. He always retained a strong Welsh accent. The family visited Tonypandy a number of times, In a letter to his cousin, Bill's son Ken described Inverleith Terrace: "It was a small mean looking place. There was a place to pull the car in what looked like a demolition area and their house was the second one in a small terrace. It had a small back garden that sloped up to a mountain behind them".

Comments (1)

Simon Crouch's profile picture
I am currently researching my family tree and can't explain how much this article has blown my mind. So in 1911 my Great Grandfather lived in 2 Inverleith Terrace and also my Great Aunt resided there in 1939. My assumption has always been that they continually held the property. The interesting twist is my Great Grandfather married my Great Grandmother who on the wedding certificate came from Knoll Terrace. The final kicker is the creator of this document is William Joseph Peak. My Great Grandmother was Rosie Peak (daughter of Richard Peak) for the record she married Walter Jones (son of Rees). Both Richard and Rees were colliers. William if you see this please leave a message as I would love to make contact. Many Thanks.

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