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VILLAGERS
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Anxious days and nights followed with everyone being most kind and a night nurse whose home town was Bristol being particularly attentive.  News came that the 15th, General Staff were leaving for  Salonica and that I was being transferred to England, so I was sent first to the 21st General Hospital where a buxom Australian Sister told me that she was going to build me up so that I could face the journey in the first Hospital Ship available.  This ship was the Dunluce Castle.  I felt the benefit of her building up until a Chaplain visited me and asked if I was prepared to meet my God.  When I told him I was not, he replied that I was a very sick person and I should be.  This made me feel that the Chaplain had information that I had not been given.  I was in a very shocked state.
My companion on the Hospital Ship the Dunluce Castle was a Londoner named Jolly who had lost both eyes.  How he could be jolly in name and nature was beyond me.  He sang most of the day through the voyage home.
A few days after leaving Alexandria I made an effort to lower myself on to the floor and climb the four or five steps to the deck.  This without the doctor knowing.  Each day brought new life and strength, walking on the deck in the sea air.  The doctor who visited me during my absence was amazed when he discovered me on the deck.  I managed to walk to the x-ray department where the staff enjoyed looking at the bullet ticking away with my heart beat.  One of the doctors advised me strongly not to allow anyone to operate on me.  "Someone might be mad enough to try" he said.  He also advised me to take up my civilian job once I had been discharged from the army and to forget - FORGET - the bullet. 
"Of course" he said "you know where it is". On arriving at Avonmouth, very excited to be back home again, we were given the choice of Hospital trains.  No. 1 and 2 bound for London and Netley.  I chose no. 3 bound for Bristol, this being nearer my home and was taken to the 2nd Southern General Hospital, South Mead.  I tried to telephone home but this liberty was allowed to officers only.  I had to be satisfied with sending a post card to inform them people at home of my arrival.  Pa and Ma and Grandad Ballard arrived the following day a little apprehensive as to what the surgeon would tell them.
Throughout that summer of 1918 I was continually x-rayed, but though I expected to be questioned about an operation, no one suggested it.  One morning Captain Short, the Surgeon, visited me at the hospital and told me that it had been interesting having me at the hospital but there was nothing else he could do for me so I could take my discharge anytime.  I left the army on the 18th August 1918.

Reproduced courtesy of the Cumpston Family Website at
http://www.cumpston.org.uk/#/fochriw-wales/4536550474
Mr John Williams
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Reproduced from A History of Fochriw Volume 2  by Peter Price