Diary of W.J. Powell, father of Walter Powell
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|Author||Powell, W. J.|
|Title||Diary of W.J. Powell, father of Walter Powell|
|Notes||Extracts from the diary of W.J. Powell, Cliftonville, Llandrindod Wells 1917. Entries include appointments and deliveries to do with his ironmongers shop, and the Presbyterian Church and the Albert Hall theatre and other everyday matters relating to life on the home front such as coal rations, heavy snow, influenza, his own health etc. Also the entries mention friends and congregation members serving in the forces like dates of letters sent/received from, news - someone captured, or missing, or on leave, or tribunals [for conscription?], or sometimes funerals - as well as news of his two boys (Walter and Cliff) and his brother (Humphrey) serving in the army. Notes about the health of his middle son (Percy) who has been discharged from the army, are particularly poignant as his health is deteriorating from wounds sustained including perforated eardrums “ he died 23 July 1917. The addresses of some correspondents including their regimental numbers and their units are written at the back. For example:|
7 October 1917 Harvest thanksgiving A man's life consisteth not in the abundance [¦] things etc. We have what we are! Luke 12/15v.
19 October 1917 Recd letter from Cliff dated 14th Sent up line to join 8th Somersets. Raid [midlands?]
12 November 1917 2/6 recd from Mr Handley for Xmas Comfts fund¦
22 November 1917 Recd reply from Lt Wood “ Wal to stay at QF [Queen's Ferry]
Memoranda at the back includes a note of Walter's leggings-laced, which he is seen wearing on many of the photos in this collection.
The entry from 22 Nov may be a reference to Walter's father trying to intervene so that he does not get posted overseas on active service.
There seems to be no evidence that Walter had distinguished himself as a soldier. He received punishments for minor offences. According to Walter reminiscing in the 1980s he had once been promoted to Corporal, but after a few days/weeks he went to see his C.O. to ask to be demoted again - apparently he hated being in charge of the guard, enforcing discipline, punishing others for things he had done himself like arrive late after leave etc. Neither was he at the peak of physical fitness. Permanently classed C because of his feet, (he had had two toes removed during childhood in an emergency operation), so could never have marched as an infantryman. Maybe W.J. Powell is trying to protect his youngest son? According to Walter he had managed to get Walter's attestation delayed locally through 1914-1916 - many times Walter had attempted to join up under-age but each time either the JP or Dr realised his age, and who his father was - seemingly his father was well-respected in the town, and they would have known the two older sons were already in peril.]
Part of a collection relating to Walter H. Powell, Llandrindod Wells, (private / driver M2-267205 Mechanised Transport Army Service Corps). Born 1898, Walter tried to join up under-age on a number of occasions, finally succeeding in 1916. He served many months - (more than 2 years?) - in different army units in Britain, before going over to France. He served as a despatch rider for an anti-aircraft battery in 1918-1919. Walter was gassed suffering the effects all his life. He was a founder member of Toc-H in Llandrindod, and a keen footballer - he died in 1994 aged 96. However Walter's older brothers (Cliff and Percy Powell) and his uncle (Humphrey Powell) died of wounds sustained during the war.
|Item Date||September - November 1917|
|Creation place||Llandrindod Wells|
|Copyright||The Great War Archive, University of Oxford / Primary Contributor|
|Digital repository||The Great War Archive, University of Oxford|
|Contributor Name||Alun Edwards (Powys Archives submissions day)|
|Contributed on the behalf of||Bryan and Liz Edwards|