Friday, 29 May 2020

The Ely Pit Cage Disaster and the Forgotten Heroes

It is 27th August 1909, 5.50 a.m. Hitcher James Vaughn, of 1 Alfred Street, Williamstown, stands near the handle bars of the fangs at the bottom of the Ely Pit shaft in the Naval Colliery, Penygraig. He is waiting for the fifteenth bond of men to be lowered down. Once they reach the bottom of the shaft he will operate the fangs that secure the cage while the men alight. Once the men are safely clear of the cage Vaughn will signal the banksman at the top of the shaft who will alert the winding-engine driver, David Davies, that it is safe to move both cages.  
Men waiting to enter the cage in the Ely Pit, Naval Colliery, Penygraig

The cage is of double deck construction designed to get more men to the work face as quickly as possible thus increasing efficiency, always a priority for general manager Leonard Llewellyn. There are around one hundred men waiting to go down and among them are Philip Pascoe and Frank Wrentmore. Philip Pascoe and his brother George are both avid supporters of Penygraig RFC and have served the club faithfully in many a capacity. Philip has been trained in first aid and George has regularly assisted in auditing the club's accounts. Frank is a former Penygraig RFC player but switched codes when Mid-Rhondda formed a professional side. The previous year he played against the Australian tourists on the Mid Rhondda Athletic Field scoring the first try conceded by the tourists in their opening match. Philip Pascoe was probably disappointed with Frank's decision but would have understood the temptation to bring more wages into the family home. When the empty cage reaches the surface the men rush to clamber inside. Philip secures a place in the bottom deck while Frank gets into the top deck. Suddenly Frank remembers an errand he should have undertaken for his mother and jumps out of the cage. His place is taken by Tom Morris who is also a local rugby footballer. He joins Gideon Chapman, Thomas Henry Brown, Alfred Watkins, Morgan Evans, T. J. Morgan, Henry Marshall and Reginald Jenkins, a young lad beginning his life as a miner. It will be the last ride any of these souls will take down into the darkness. As James Vaughn waits at the pit bottom he realises something is terribly wrong. The shaft is 525 feet deep and the cage is descending too quickly.

Engine-driver David Davies, of 75 Cornwall Road, Penygraig, has already lowered fourteen bonds of men. His is an extremely responsible position, one he has held for the last 25 years. The fate of the men is literally in his hands. Three days earlier he noticed a crack in the spanner-bar and informed Mr Dolman the mechanical engineer. The spanner-bar acts as a break for the winding engine and is a strong and powerful piece of equipment. To make it secure Mr. Dolman fitted a band around the spanner. Now David Davies prepares to lower the last bond of men to the bottom of the Ely Pit shaft. Phillip Pascoe is one of the twenty-eight men inside the cage, three more than regulations allow. As the fifteenth bond descends Davies hears something snap. The spanner-bar has fractured and the cage containing the bond of twenty eight men plunges the last 90 feet to the bottom of the shaft embedding itself in the sump.

The Ely Pit Head showing broken sheaves.
The winding engine operates two cages simultaneously via thick steel ropes. The descending bond of men, and the empty cage ascending to the surface. The empty cage is ninety six feet from the engine room when the speed of the engine increases dramatically propelling it upwards towards the pit head wheel where it smashes into the sheaves and framework. The rope breaks and strikes the side of the engine house sending the empty cage plummeting back down the shaft. The only option open to Davies is to apply the foot brake and shut off the steam that powers the engine.
The waiting James Vaughn hears a “terrific battle and din” that lasts around a minute. It is the sound of the descending cage carrying the twenty eight men impacting and breaking through the wooden platform covering the sump at the base of the shaft. He has no time to react before the empty bond hurtles down striking the side of the cage containing the trapped miners. The chains and the cap of the empty cage, weighing several cwt, jam down through the roof of the upper section housing the imprisoned men inflicting carnage and death. Debris, including fragments of broken sheaves, loosened in the wake of its catastrophic descent, rain down. All is confusion. In the darkness Vaughn can hear men “crying out piteously for help.” The first thing he must do is get lanterns to assess the damage and provide what assistance he can.

The cage is 30 yards from the bottom of the shaft when it jerks and slackens its speed before coming to a sudden stop. Philip Pascoe senses something is not right. The next moment the cage drops like a stone to the pit bottom. Resigning himself to his fate he lets go of the handlebars and allows his body to go limp as he awaits the impending impact. Somehow, he survives relatively unscathed and finds himself in complete darkness. Around him the groans and moans of the injured mingle with the noise made by debris falling from the top of the pit. He is lying on top of another man, Joseph Latcham, whose both legs are broken.
“It’s all over with us now,” says Latcham.
Philip Pascoe attempts to comfort his companion.
“Cheer up,” he responds, “where there’s life there’s hope.”
While they are struggling to process what has just happened the second cage hurtles down, and above them in the upper deck five men are killed instantaneously as the cap and chains smash through the top deck.

There are other survivors in the bottom deck Including Thomas Fry and his son. Fry is brought to his senses by the groaning of the men around him. It has all happened so suddenly and with such violence the men are disorientated, and the inky blackness only adds to their confusion. Fry is beneath a huddle of five men. His son, David, has been thrown out of the cage into the sump and miraculously escapes serious injury. Dan Davies and his brother David are part of the tangled heap of men. Dan has an injured ankle but in the pitch dark he has no way of knowing how badly hurt his brother is. Every time someone moves men cry out in pain. The darkness is total and those not seriously injured cannot see to help their less fortunate comrades.

 “The first intimation I had of anything being wrong was a jerking of the cage. For a few seconds it swung about, and then went down like a stone to the bottom of the shaft. We did not know exactly what had happened but thought the sides of the shaft were falling in. Suddenly, and with a rush the empty bond was taken to the top, then came down with a crash, and was smashed to atoms. It was positively miraculous that any of us escaped with our lives. The horror of being in the pitch darkness was awe inspiring. I thought my end had come, and being a widower, my first thought was for the four children depending upon me, the oldest being not yet fourteen. Lights were loudly called for, but could not be obtained for the moment, owing to the danger of an explosion. When they were procured a terrible spectacle presented itself. Men were scattered about in all directions, some being in such agony that they screamed with pain when touched. The injured called despairingly for water and the whole scene was something heartrending. There were plenty of men in the workings, who, at great risk to themselves, commenced the work of rescue. Dr. Llewellyn, with a rescue party, was soon on the spot, with ambulance and medical appliances, having descended by the shaft of the Pandy Pit. It will be some time, before I can return to work. My back is bad, my hand and foot crushed, and the shock has quite unnerved me." (Survivor, Thomas Thomas, 34 Penygraig Road.)

 James Vaughn returns to the shattered cage with some lanterns. He is well acquainted with the
surroundings at the bottom of the pit and sets about attempting to rescue the trapped men from their predicament. Fragments of sheaves falling down the shaft present a real hazard, but the cries of the injured men spur him on. He enlists the help of David Lewis and Stephen Davies, two colliers who were waiting to “secure their eyesight” near the base of the shaft. Shortly afterwards two more men come quickly to their aid. Edwin Hodge and Thomas Rowlands have been down the pit about ten minutes, “taking a spell” while their eyes also adjust to the lack of light. They hear a terrible crash followed shortly afterwards by another and immediately make their way to the pit bottom. Dense clouds of dust obscure their vision. By the light of the lanterns procured by the resourceful James Vaughn the men begin to clear away the planks and debris knocked down by the cage. They are forced to retreat as dislodged brickwork clatters down the shaft around them but return to their task whenever it is safe to do so.

With great difficulty, Vaughn hands down some lamps through a small aperture to the men entombed inside the lower deck. Philip Pascoe gratefully accepts the lanterns and begins to assess the situation. The youngest, Thomas Fry, is comparatively unscathed. Another youngster, Noah Matthews has a broken leg. The maimed groan and cry out in their pain and distress. Dan Davies is at least able to check his brother’s condition. It is not good news. A bone projects out from David Davies’ leg above the knee. Another man complains his ribs are damaged. There are no dead on the lower deck, but many are seriously injured. Phillip Pascoe sets about applying his skills to help relieve whatever suffering he can while Daniel Davies, who also has a knowledge of first aid, assists in the bandaging of his brother’s leg.

On the surface the pit head is completely wrecked. Some of the stays in the headgear are broken, as are two of the guide ropes and one winding rope. Any rescue or recovery will have to be made from the pit bottom through the Pandy Pit. This will mean negotiating old workings that in many places are inundated with water. Trevor Price, assistant general manager, Mr. Hollister, the manager, and Henry Evans, the under manager are joined early by several doctors from the locality, Llewellyn and Weichart from Penygraig, Gabe Jones, Clydach Vale and Alfred Jones, Tonypandy. They set off to reach the scene of the accident and hopefully bring the injured men to the surface. News spreads quickly and within three hours of the accident hundreds of spectators and relatives of the victims assemble at the pit head anxiously awaiting news in the time honoured mournful ritual familiar to mining communities everywhere.

James Vaughn and the rest of the impromptu rescue party have removed enough of the debris from
Victim Thomas Brown from Penygraig.
the upper deck of the cage to open the gate. They now proceed to get the men out. Among their number is a little boy who remarkably emerges unscathed. Edwin Hodge is handed down the first man to be pulled out of the cage. He recognises the man as Thomas Brown from Penygraig. It is obvious he is dead. As he grasps the body Hodge is horrified to discover only the back part of Bowen’s head remains, the rest has been dashed away. It is only the thought of helping the men who have survived that enables him to overcome the shock and keep focused on the task in hand. So badly mutilated are the men killed in the top cage that Vaughn and his companions quail at the ghastly sight. Throughout this grim process they must keep their wits about them as loosened materials continue to fall down the wrecked shaft with great force. Every moment spent helping their stricken comrades places them in mortal peril.

Having negotiated the difficult passage, Trevor Price, Hollister and Henry Evans arrive at the scene to assist and direct operations. The doctors who have accompanied the party begin dressing the wounds of the survivors released from the upper cage. The dead are the first to be conveyed to the surface by the pit ambulance men who undertake their tasks with the utmost care and efficiency, the cries of the injured men still trapped in the lower cage ringing in their ears. Heedless of his own safety James Vaughn stands on the open shaft to remove the planks from the sump, exposing himself to extreme danger from falling masses of masonry, earth and timber.

The men in the lower deck hear the rescuers above and the spirits of those not seriously injured begin
George and Philip Pascoe.
Philip is seated.
to lift. Daniel Davies has assisted in the binding of his own fractured ankle by Philip Pascoe. One man, John Davies, has been trapped under the gate. Those who are able, manage to free him and Pascoe binds the shattered leg using his own scarf as a tourniquet to help staunch the bleeding. Utilising his ambulance skills to the full Pascoe then moves from man to man offering what assistance he can. In his lunch box he carries the regulation first aid equipment which is put to good use. A badly injured survivor tells him, “You look after the others, I can do all right, and I can wait.” It is a typical response. The aperture through which the lamps were handed down has been widened enabling Pascoe to push the boy Fry through to safety. They also succeed in pushing a youngster named Noah Matthews through the same hole but must proceed with great care because the boy has a broken leg.
“The heart-rending screams were something horrible. We were then at the bottom of the pit, and our cage had passed through some of the timbering, which prevented us being hurled down the sump. At last the shackler (James Vaughn) came, and I was able to hand out man after man, and the experience was one I shall never forget."                                     
                                                                Philip Pascoe

Vaughn and the rescue party work tirelessly seemingly oblivious to danger. Philip Pascoe describes them as, “working like Trojans.” After about an hour’s toil they remove enough debris to reach the men trapped in the lower deck. One by one Philip Pascoe helps his stricken workmates out to the waiting James Vaughn who in turn hands them to his fellow rescuers Tom Rowlands, Edwin Hodge, Idris Roberts, David Lewis, Stephen Davies and Tom Connell. They are transported to safety by the waiting pit ambulance men following the same route as the dead and injured from the upper deck. The rescue party remain in place until the last man is released. Philip Pascoe emerges exhausted by the ordeal and his exertions in ministering to the injured men. He collapses suffering from exhaustion, shock and the minor injuries sustained. When he is sufficiently recovered Edwin Hodge accompanies him home. Only then does he discover he has himself been injured.

Police Inspector Hall is at hand to help manage the thousands who have assembled at the Pandy 
Pit from all over the valley. They watch in reverent silence as the bodies of the dead and injured are brought to the surface. The dead are carried to their homes on stretchers by their comrades as their widows follow helplessly behind. The injured are attended to by ambulance men and the four doctors who had descended the pit with the rescue party. Some of the injuries are considerable and at least one of the men, Harry Marshall who has sustained a fracture at the base of the skull, is not expected to live. Dr Llewellyn explains that four men have been sent to the hospital suffering from compound fractures while amputations would be necessary in three cases. These are performed at Porth Cottage Hospital by Drs. Llewellyn and J. Naughton Morgan. Thomas John Morgan has his arm amputated while Morris’ leg is taken off at the knee and another man also has his leg amputated. William Thomas suffered compound fractures of both legs and an operation is performed to wire the bones. He later succumbs to his injuries. The remaining occupants of the cage have suffered injury either in the form of bruises or shock. Seven or eight cases are more serious.

General Manager Leonard Llewellyn in attendance
 as Mrs D.A. Thomas cuts the first sod of the Anthony
(Pandy) Pit.  The rescuers work their way through the
Pandy Pit levels to reach the men trapped in the Ely Pit.
General Manager and shareholder of Cambrian Combine, Leonard Llewellyn is summoned from his holiday in Scotland. It is too late to help his employees but there is the urgent matter of damage limitation to attend to. Upon arrival he immediately descends the pit to examine the scene of the accident. When approached by a reporter from the Rhondda Leader Llewellyn expresses, “profound regret that such a disaster should have happened but am extremely glad that so many men in the ill-fated cage have miraculously escaped with their lives”. However, Llewellyn firmly declines to discuss the possible causes of the mishap. Mr. Fred A. Gray (Chief Inspector of Mines) is also at the scene in consultation with the officials but, with an inquest impending, states his preference, “Not to give an official report as to the cause of the accident.” However, Mr. T. Price (Assistant General Manager) is not so reluctant and expresses his belief the accident was due to ‘overwinding’ but qualifies this by stating, “what was the originating cause is too soon to say”. Interestingly he wants to make explicit to the reporter that, “. . . twenty four men were involved in the mishap. The other four men who had been injured must have had their injuries through splinters or some debris falling upon them on the surface when the empty cage struck the sheaves.” This will prove a crucial issue as the storm clouds of litigation loom. For Leonard Llewellyn and the Cambrian Combine there will be difficult questions to answer.

Mr. D. Watts Morgan, miners' agent, who was preparing to attend a meeting at Cardiff, hearing of the terrible events immediately leaves Porth for the scene of the catastrophe. Such is the gravity of the situation D. A Thomas M.P. (Chairman and owner of the Combine), together with Mr. T. J. Callaghan (director) and Sir. C. A. Pullin (secretary), hurry from Cardiff to the scene of the disaster. Mr. Thomas, through the ‘Evening Express’, “. . . conveys the deepest sympathy of the directorate with the injured men and the relatives of the deceased workmen.” D.A. Thomas has procured several local newspapers and will put them to good use in shaping public opinion in the days and months ahead.

The following Sunday the total number of fatalities rises to seven when Harry Marshall, Williamstown, succumbs to his injuries. Having sustained a fractured skull, he remains unconscious until the end. His condition always considered extremely critical ultimately proves fatal. Funerals are held on Tuesday afternoon at Trealaw cemetery and Tonyrefail churchyard. In a show of mutual respect and mourning shops are shut and people line the road as the cortege passes. There is no singing only the sound of the Salvation Army band at the head of the procession playing the ‘Dead March’ from ‘Saul’. Workmen from local pits are now able to attend without any disruption to the working of the mines due to the recently passed Eight Hours Act.

A few weeks later the Nazareth Chapel vestry in Williamstown is crammed full of spectators as the inquest into the death of the victims convenes. Mr. R. J. Rhys and Mr. David Rees, coroners, conduct proceedings. In attendance are many of the most influential figures associated with the mining industry both local and national. The Home Office is represented by Mr. W. H. Atkinson (Superintendent Inspector of Mines), Mr. F. A. Gray (Chief Inspector of Mines), and Mr. J. Trump (Assistant Inspector) Mr. Hill-Kelly (instructed by Mr. A. T. James, of  Messrs. Morgan, Bruce, Nicholas, and James) appears for the Miners' Federation; Mr. Charles Kenshole for the Cambrian Combine; Mr. W. Strathen (Northumberland) and Mr. W. A. Armson (Dunfermline) are present on behalf of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, Mr. W. Abraham (Mabon), M.P., Mr. D. Watts Morgan (Agent and Secretary) and Mr. T. Evans represents the Rhondda Miners' Federation; Mr. W. Thomas (Solicitor, Aberdare) appears for the Winding Enginemen's Association, and Police-inspector Hole for the police. Mr. Leonard W. Llewellyn and Mr. Creed are present on behalf of the Cambrian Colliery Company. 
The inquest focuses on several critical issues put before them by the coroners. After all the witnesses have given their evidence the jury retire. When they return foreman Thomas David reads out the verdict of the jury.
" In answer to Point One:Did the deceased persons lose their lives in consequence of the breaking of the spanner forming part of the winding engine?” YES
In answer to Point Two:Was the flaw detected on the previous Tuesday repaired in a reasonably adequate manner?” YES
In answer to Point Three: “Was it reasonable to continue using the winding engine for the purpose of raising and lowering the men in the condition it was in?” NO
In answer to Point Four: “Should the management have replaced the broken spanner with a new one?YES
In answer to Point Five: “Was the method of supervising the machinery at the pit a satisfactory one?”  NO
In answer to Point Six: “Was the brake-power at the engine adequate?”  NO
In answer to Point Seven: “Was the attention of the management drawn to it by the winding enginemen or others before the date of the accident?” YES – When the engine driver found it necessary to renew the blocks.

As a jury we wish to exonerate engine driver David Davies from all blame."

The verdict is a blow for Cambrian Combine general manager Leonard Llewellyn and his officials. Their version of events has been rejected by the jury. Coroner D. Rees also confirms there were 28 men in the cage, more then regulations, allowed. Commenting on the findings of the jury in his Official Report, Mr. Gray, Chief Inspector of Mines’ stated:

“I agree with the answers given by the jury except No. 2. My answer to the Coroner was:
In my opinion the gland should not have been put on, but the engine stopped until the spanner bar was replaced. On a hauling engine a gland would be good enough, but not on an engine for winding men.”

This point was brought home forcibly by Mr Hill-Kelly, representing the Miner's Federation, when questioning mechanical engineer Joseph Dorman.

MR. HILL-KELLY: Was the brake in fact far in excess of what was required for a single deck cage but inadequate for a double-decker?
DORMAN: No, the brake was submitted to tests and proved satisfactory. I heard Thomas Evans (a winding engineman employed at the Ely Pit) say the brake was insufficient for its present purpose and that it could not hold a bond. The spanner bar was, I believe, stronger than it was before it was repaired.
MR. HILL-KELLY: And so strong that it broke a few days afterwards.

During the course of the inquest Coroner Rhys, speaking directly to James Vaughn, said, "I heard of the excellent work you did, and I am pleased to compliment you, and hope there will be further recognition of your bravery." In response Leonard Llewellyn, stated his intention of bringing the gallant deeds of James Vaughn and Philip Pascoe before the notice of the king, declaring that every effort will be made to secure them the King’s Medal. There is no evidence that Leonard Llewellyn kept his word as neither Vaughn nor Pascoe received any further recognition for their bravery. Among those present is Margaret Watkins, widow of one of the deceased, Albert Watkins. With the support of the Miner’s Federation she is determined to hold the Cambrian Combine and its officials to account for the death of her husband.

On the 25th September 1909, local newspapers report that writs have been served by the South Wales Miners’ Federation upon the Cambrian Combine for an action for damages in relation to the cage accident at the Ely Pit, Penygraig. Twenty-three being served yesterday, and the remainder before the end of the week. The action is due to be heard at the forthcoming Glamorgan Assizes the following March. The year 1910 will prove significant in many ways not only for Leonard Llewellyn and the employees of the Cambrian Combine but for the whole of Mid-Rhondda and its citizens. 

On the 26th March 1910 concluding proceedings in the action resulting from the crash of the cage and the death of the seven men at the Ely Pit of the Naval Colliery was reached at the Glamorgan Assizes. The case concerning the claim brought by plaintiff Mary Elizabeth Watkins against the Naval Colliery Company Ltd. for damages in respect of her husband was presided over by Justice Pickford before a special jury. This action was also a test case upon which rested the liability of the company in respect of the six other men killed in the accident. As in the initial inquest the jury are asked to respond to a series of questions.

The point at issue was whether on their answers to those questions judgment should be entered for the plaintiff or the defendants. Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Watkins sued, on behalf of herself and three children, for damages, owing to the death of her husband, due, she alleged, to a breach of statutory duty under the Coal Mines Regulation Act, 1687- 1896. The deceased met his death whilst being lowered into the pit at the Ely Colliery on August 27 last, it was alleged that there was negligence on the part of the defendants. The cage would carry twenty men. Later it raised and lowered safely 36 men, and on the day of the accident there were 28 men in the cage. The defendants denied that they were guilty of any breach of duty or negligence.

There was, said the Judge, ample evidence given by the witnesses called for the plaintiff to indicate that the persons appointed by the defendants were perfectly competent people. Whether they made a. mistake in this particular instance was another matter. The cage for some reason was not stopped, and the plaintiff contended that this was proof that the brake was not competent to do its work. Mr Trump, Mines Inspector, had expressed the opinion that it was not adequate for 26 men but adequate for 20 men. The jury retired at 3 o'clock and at their request the elaborate and heavy model of the colliery was conveyed to their rooms. They were absent two hours and the following is their detailed findings:
1. The brake attached to the winding engine was adequate for lowering 20 but not 26 men.
2. The employment of an inadequate brake was due to the negligence of the manager, and not the mechanical engineer or the defendants.
3. The spanner bar was fit and adequate for its purpose when first fitted but not on the on the 27th August when the accident occurred.
4. The unfitness and inadequacy of the spanner bar was due to an error of judgment on the part of Mr Dolman, the mechanical engineer.
5. The necessary means were not taken to repair the defect in the spanner bar due to the error of judgment on the part of Mr Dolman.
6. Failure to take the necessary means was due to the error of judgment on the part of Dolman.
7. The winding engine on August 27th was in a fit condition to lower 20 but not 26 men.
8. The unfitness was due to the spanner bar and brake together.
9. Such unfitness was due to the negligence of the manager in ordering 26 men down and an error of judgment on the part of Mr Dolman.
10. It was due to the negligence of the manager Mr Hollister to lower 26 instead of 20 men.
11. The I inadequacy of the brake and the spanner bar combined caused the accident.
12. The manager and the mechanical engineer were both adjudged to be competent men.
13. The defendants took all reasonable care to appoint a competent manager and a competent mechanical engineer.
Answering the Judge, the foreman said that the jury felt that the manager had not exercised proper care and efficiency in ordering the 26 men down. 
In June a press report in the Rhondda Leader trumpets the generosity of Leonard Llewellyn under the headline:
Mr. Leonard Llewelyn's Generosity. Injured Workmen Given a Motor Trip
"A party of those workmen injured in the Ely PIt cage accident in August, 1909, were given a trip in Mr. Leonard Llewelyn's motor car. The car left the Butcher's Arms, Penygraig, at 9.15 a.m. on Monday, with a hearty send- off, and proceeded over the Beacons to Brecon and Llandovery, down the Vale of Towy to Llandilo and Carmarthen, thence to Swansea and back to Penygraig. The elements were most favourable, and the trippers, who included Messrs. Morris, Matthews, Davies and another, declared that they had never spent a more enjoyable day. The whole of the expenses in connection with the trip were borne by Mr. Leonard Llewelyn, and they were loud in their praise of his generosity."  This cynical exercise in public relations was a foretaste of how Llewellyn would manipulate the press to gain the support of the general public during the impending strike triggered by the lock-out of miners at the very same Ely Pit. On August 1st the management posted lock out notices following a dispute that had arisen over a new seam called 'the Bute' the management wanted to open.

During the strike, made famous by the so-called 'Tonypandy Riots', Llewellyn himself was to receive a silver medal from the R.S.P.C.A. in honour of his 'outstanding bravery' in rescuing 300 pit ponies he had deliberately left underground to gain public sympathy. The term used today would be 'fake news'.The horses had never been in danger and Llewellyn refused the offer made by strikers to bring them up. The King himself expressed his concern regarding the 'fate' of the horses. The matter of the King's medal for two of Leonard Llewellyn's employees who displayed genuine courage in extreme circumstances was conveniently forgotten. 
NOTE: While researching this topic I was taken aback to discover that Philip Stafford Pascoe was in fact my wife's grandfather. She was completely unaware of his involvement in this disaster and never remembers hearing him talk about it. Her uncle George only had one arm and when he watched his beloved Penygraig in action would throw his cap in the air whenever they scored. Apparently he lost many caps. Neither my wife nor my sister-in-law have any idea how he lost his arm!