It should be remembered that D Day occurred on 6 June 1944 and a diary entry at 17:00 hrs on 28 October 1944 advises that despatch instructions were received for 5 trains which were to be loaded for despatch. It would appear that the bulk of items were 33 gallon jerri-cans. This task took a week or so to accomplish and was hampered by having only one forklift, very high winds and a snowstorm.
During this time it is evident that a lot of rail traffic was on the move and some confusion arose amongst the dispatchers as to where certain trains should be sent, the Commanding Officer of 219 Petrol Depot having to telephone the dispatchers to prevent any more rail traffic entering the depot and the Station Master, station unknown, rang to request that congestion be kept at Cynon B.
S.T.2 phoned requesting that more stock be taken at the depot but this was considered by the Commanding Officer to be impossible unless the existing safety dispersal limits were reduced, which they were.
My childhood memories recall the bases of the army accommodation at pithead level immediately in front of Pit Row, which was located at an elevated position of about 10 to 15 feet above. Then, proceeding in a northerly direction, were the sidings which were in the vicinity of the Gwryd Pit (windge) between which were piles of rusty slag filled cans which, presumably were the remnants of fire barriers left from the old petrol depot.
It was only on one occasion that I recall seeing any railway stock presence and this was a tank engine and brake van in which ‘the gang’ were given a short ride on its way to Cwm Bargoed.
As a child, I can remember many “foxholes” being in evidence which used to add a little realism to our army games and the picture opposite shows my brother Philip in such a “foxhole” during 1950
One potentially dangerous legacy of the military activities in the village occurred when they ceased, which was during the mid 1950’s, and a coal tip reclamation company called Ryans, occupied the site with machinery which processed the old coal tip material in order to abstract small coal. This was burned in power stations to generate heat to produce steam which, in turn, drove the turbines which produced electricity.
This activity was profitable only because the coal screening processes of the colliery were not designed to process small coal, since the requirement was for lump coal, and, as such, the small coal found its way to the tip. In some locations tips were found to contain as much as 40% coal and, generally, the older the tip the higher was its coal content.
A large amount of water was required and its source was Pond Feeder. During one summer, Pond Feeder was drained dry and this uncovered hundreds of rounds of ammunition, from small bore bullets to small shells, as well as creating a nauseating smell which reached the village and was produced by the decomposing fish.
These munitions were considered to be prize items for trade and I recall the Head Master of Bargoed Grammar School announcing, during a morning assembly, that this trade was to cease immediately on pain of detention and/or police action, should the perpetrators be caught. I was one of them.
The army camp at Cwm Bargoed ( see photo opposite which was taken by the RAF on 3 August 1945) comprised 20 Nissen huts together with a “toughening–up” course and during 1939 a group of Marines was posted there but they did not stay for long.