Village life in World War 2 / Bwyd Pentref yn ystod yr Ail Ryfel Byd

Recollections of Tom Theophilus. (scroll down for English)

ATGOFION PLENTYNDOD AM FYWYD PENTREF YN YSTOD YR AIL RYFEL BYD

YN RHANDIR-MWYN A CHIL-Y-CWM 

Atgofion Tom Theophilus

Roedd y Gwirfoddolwyr Amddiffyn Lleol, a ddaeth yn Warchodlu Cartref yn ddiweddarach, yn cael eu cydlynu gan yr ysgolfeistr yng Nghil-y-cwm ac roedden nhw’n cynnwys hen filwyr o’r Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, ffermwyr lleol a phobl ifainc dros 18 oed a oedd wedi gadael ysgol. I ddechrau, y dynion â phrofiad yn y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf a gâi eu dyrchafu i wisgo ambell streipen.  Doedd yna ddim gwisg swyddogol yn ystod y flwyddyn gyntaf, dim ond y llythrennau ‘LDV’ ar rwymyn braich, a byddai’r dynion yn defnyddio eu drylliau eu hunain hyd nes i reifflau gael eu dosbarthu.  Hyd yn oed wedyn, dim ond pum rownd a gâi pob dyn i’w tanio.  Roedd yr holl beth yn cael ei gymryd o ddifri, gydag ymarfer dril bob wythnos ar brynhawn ddydd Sul.  Ac roedd plant yn cael eu cymell i wylio.

Byddai dau wirfoddolwr ar ddyletswydd bob nos yng nghyffiniau Tŷ Te Twm.  Prif bwrpas hyn oedd cadw llygad ar symudiad unrhyw un a allai fod yn ysbïwr. Roedd yr Almaenwyr yn gwybod yn iawn am yr ardal oherwydd roedd y propagandydd William Joyce, (Arglwydd Haw Haw), yn sôn am Reilffordd y Canolbarth a sut oedd yn cael ei defnyddio i gludo milwyr, nwyddau a gwasanaethau i Ganolbarth Lloegr a thu hwnt.  Roedd wedi sôn yn un o’i ddarllediadau propaganda am y bwriad i fomio Traphont Cynghordy.  Roedd y rheilffordd yn brysur iawn yn ystod y rhyfel, gyda thrên bob chwarter awr.

Mewn cymuned wledig, doedd prinder bwyd ddim yn gymaint o broblem ag oedd yn y trefi mawr a’r dinasoedd.  Roedd gan y ffermwyr ddigon o laeth, menyn a chaws, yn ogystal â chig eidion.  Fodd bynnag, roedd y pentrefwyr yn teimlo caledi dogni bwyd a dillad drwy gydol y rhyfel ac yn wir tan ddechrau’r 1950au.

Roedd rhaid i’r plant fynd â mygydau nwy gyda nhw i’r ysgol, lle roedden nhw’n ymarfer yn gyson i’w defnyddio’n iawn.  Gwnaed gwelliannau i’r mygydau cynharaf i’w gwneud yn fwy effeithlon rhag unrhyw nwy.  Byddai cystadlaethau’n cael eu cynnal yn yr ysgol i wobrwyo’r plant a fyddai’n casglu’r llwyth gorau o sbwriel defnyddiol.  Roedd y plant yn ennill pwyntiau tuag at wobr aur am gasglu tuniau, papur ac esgyrn.  Yn y dyddiau hynny, y ffermwyr eu hunain oedd yn penderfynu sut i waredu cyrff  anifeiliaid. Yn Rhandir-mwyn, roedd y plant yn cael hanner awr amser cinio i fynd â’r eitemau a oedd wedi’u casglu i sied y Capten Carr.

Daeth faciwîs o Abertawe a Llundain i’r pentrefi.  Er nad oedden nhw yn yr un dosbarth ysgol â phlant lleol, am fod rhaid iddyn nhw gael addysg drwy gyfrwng y Saesneg, roedden nhw’n cymysgu’n dda â phlant lleol yn eu cartrefi.  Roedd yna ddau wersyll carchar rhyfel, y naill ar gyfer Eidalwyr a’r llall ar gyfer Almaenwyr.  Roedd y gwersylloedd hyn – yn Henllan a Llangadog – yn ddefnyddiol i ffermwyr oherwydd byddai’r carcharorion yn gweithio ar y tir.  Pan ddaeth y rhyfel i ben, arhosodd rhai o’r Eidalwyr ac Almaenwyr a phriodi merched lleol.

Bob blwyddyn cynhelid wythnos codi arian ynghyd â menter Saliwt i’r Milwyr, Wythnos Arfau Rhyfel a rhaglen Ariannu Llong Ddistryw.  Pan fyddai aelodau o’r lluoedd arfog yn dychwelyd i’r pentrefi am seibiant cynhelid partïon llawn hwyl i’r plant, ond roedd y tristwch yn llethol pan ddeuai’r seibiant i ben a’r dynion yn gorfod dychwelyd i faes y gad. Roedd y cyngherddau ar gyfer achlysuron fel hyn wedi’u trefnu’n dda ac yn boblogaidd dros ben.  Byddai’r plant wrth eu bodd yn canu ac adrodd i aelodau’r Fyddin, y Llu awyr a’r Llynges.

Roedd Abertawe yn darged mynych i awyrennau bomio’r gelyn a gellid gweld y chwiloleuadau yno yng Nghil-y-cwm.  Yn ystod un cyrch awyr a barodd am dridiau, denwyd sylw’r peilotiaid at fferm Neuadd Fawr.  Roedd yr hen blasty, a oedd bryd hynny’n cael ei ddefnyddio i letya plant o Weston-super-Mare yn defnyddio’i eneradur ei hun i gynhyrchu trydan, a gwelwyd y golau o’r awyr.  Gollyngwyd ychydig o fomiau ar Fynydd Malláen, ond heb fod yn ddigon agos i achosi unrhyw ddifrod na niwed yn Neuadd Fawr.

Galwyd ar aelodau’r Gwarchodlu Cartref yn ogystal â gwirfoddolwyr eraill i ymchwilio.  Pan gyrhaeddon nhw’r fan a’r lle, roedd yna ambell dwll i’w weld, ond doedd yna ddim perygl o fomiau heb ffrwydro.

Cyn glaniadau Dydd D, roedd milwyr America wedi bod yn ymarfer yn yr ardal.  Mae yna sôn am ddau filwr Americanaidd ar y mynydd am dridiau heb fwyd ac yn manteisio ar laeth y buchod yn y cyffiniau.  Roedd y milwyr o America yn boblogaidd gyda’r plant lleol oherwydd pan fydden nhw’n teithio drwy Lanymddyfri ar y trên bydden nhw’n taflu melysion i’r plant.  Roedd yna ddau wersyll i’r milwyr hyn yn Llanymddyfri –  y naill, ger eglwys Llandingad, i’r milwyr gwynion a’r llall, yr ochr arall i’r dref lle mae’r maes carafannau ar hyn bryd, i’r milwyr duon.    Roedd yna heddlu milwrol ar ddyletswydd yn Llanymddyfri, ac ni fu unrhyw helynt.

Byddai’r pentrefwyr yn defnyddio setiau diwifr â falfiau a oedd yn derbyn pŵer o fatris i gael y newyddion diweddaraf.  Roedd rhaid mynd i Lanymddyfri i newid y batris. Hefyd câi papur newydd ei ddosbarthu unwaith yr wythnos i’r pentrefi ar ddydd Sul.

Er na ellid goleuo’r strydoedd na chaniatáu unrhyw olau i ddianc o gartrefi, yn wahanol i’r dinasoedd mawrion, doedd dim angen cael llochesau cyrch awyr.  Roedd y ‘blac-owt’ yn anodd i bobl ar gefn beic oherwydd dim ond trwy holl cul dros ben y câi’r golau ddod o’r lamp.

Wrth i’r rhyfel fynd yn ei flaen, fe welwyd ei effaith fwyfwy yn Rhandir-mwyn a Chil-y-cwm, wrth i filwyr ddod adref wedi’u clwyfo, rhai yn ystod gwarchae Ynys Melita (Malta).  Pan fu farw dyn lleol yn Bwrma ailenwyd cartref ei berthnasau yng Nghil-y-cwm yn ‘Burma’. Pan ddaeth y fuddugoliaeth yn Ewrop, dathlwyd yr achlysur gan bartïon stryd.  Ac wrth i’r milwyr ddychwelyd i ailgydio mewn bywyd teuluol unwaith eto, dechreuodd y pentrefi adeiladu ar yr ysbryd cymunedol a fu mor bwysig yn ystod blynyddoedd tywyll y rhyfel.

 CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF VILLAGE LIFE DURING WORLD WAR TWO IN RHANDIRMWYN AND CILYCWM

The Local Defence Volunteers, who later became the Home Guard, were coordinated by the Rhandirmwyn school master and were made up of ex First World War service personnel, local farmers and school leavers over 18. Positions of rank, such as lance corporal and corporal, went initially to men with First World War experience. There were no official uniforms for the first year, just LDV on an armband, and they used their own shotguns until rifles were issued albeit with only five rounds being allowed per man.  The role was taken very seriously with drill weekly on a Sunday afternoon.  Children were not encouraged to watch.

A rota system kept two of the volunteers on duty each night in the area of Ty Te Twm.  The main function of this duty was to monitor night movements of any potential spies. The area was well known to Germany as the propagandist William Joyce, (Lord Haw Haw), spoke about the Central Wales line which was used for transport of troops, goods and services to the Midlands and beyond.  He had mentioned in one of the propaganda broadcasts that they were going to bomb the Cynghordy Viaduct.  The Central Wales line was extremely busy during the war with train movements every fifteen minutes.

Being a rural community shortages of food were not such a problem as they were in the major towns and cities in the UK.  Dairy farmers were able to have their own milk, butter, and cheese and meat was also available from their stock.  Villagers however were clearly not totally immune from food and clothing rationing both during the war and into the early 1950’s.

Children received their gas masks, which they had to carry to and from school, where they received training and regular drill in their use.  Early models were later upgraded with an extension to the mask and bands to make them more airtight.  There were competitions organised by the school for the collection of salvage.  Children earned points, the winner getting a ‘gold’ award for the most tins, paper and bones.  In those days farmers made their own decisions about disposal of animal carcases. In Rhandirmwyn, the school gave the children half an hour at lunch time to take the items collected to Captain Carr’s shed.  Evacuee children from Swansea and London came to the villages and although they were not in the same classes, because they had to have English speaking teachers, they mixed well with local children in the homes.  There were two prisoner of war camps, one for Italian personnel and one for Germans.  The camps in Henllan and Llangadog provided useful workers for the many farmers.  Some ex-prisoners stayed on and married local girls.

There was a fund raising week every year plus a Salute the Soldiers initiative, as well as a War Weapons Week and a Fund the Destroyer program.  When service personnel returned to the villages on leave there were happy parties for the children but sadness when leave was over and the men had to return particularly when they were on embarkation leave and going off to the front. Concerts were always organised and very well attended for these occasions and the children always entertained the returning soldiers, airman and naval personnel.

Swansea was a popular target for the enemy bombers and during raids searchlight beams from there were visible in Cilycwm.  During one such three night raid, Neuadd Farm, which was then a school housing children from Weston Super Mare, and operating its own generator, was clearly spotted from the air.  A few bombs were dropped on Mynydd Mallaen but none near enough to cause any damage or casualties.

The on duty home guard plus additional volunteers were called in to investigate.  They walked up to carry out a check for damage and found only large craters where the bombs had all fortunately exploded.

Prior to the D Day landings, American soldiers carried out mock invasion training in the area. There is a story of two GI’s on the mountain for three days without food being offered, and gratefully drinking the farmer’s milk yield for the morning.  The American forces were popular with the local children as when they passed through Llandovery station they would throw sweets to them from the train.  The GI’s were based in two camps in Llandovery, one near Llandingat church for white soldiers and one for coloured soldiers near the current campsite at the other end of the town.  There were Military Police on duty in Llandovery but never any problems.

The villagers kept up to date as far as possible with news from their battery powered valve radios and the once a week newspaper which was dropped off in the villages on a Sunday.  Trips had to be made weekly to Llandovery to have the batteries recharged.

The villages had blackout in houses and streets, but unlike many other areas in large cities or areas on route to them they did not need air raid shelters.  Blackout for cyclists was a particular problem as the headlamps were only allowed to display a very narrow slit of light to show the way.

As the war progressed the villages began to experience how intense it was and how close to home as servicemen retuned injured, some from the siege of Malta.  A local man had died in Burma and his relatives renamed their Cilycwm home BURMA. As elsewhere in the UK, V.E. day brought a feast of wonderful street party celebrations and as the serviceman returned and were able to take up family life once again, the villages began to build on the community spirit which had been a great part of their war experience.

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