A Certain Character by Steve Noel

A Valley’s View Digital Story

A Certain Character Digital Story Transcript

This is my grandfather private 18120 Edward Price he was in the 13th battalion the second Rhonddas the Welsh regiment. When war was decared he joined up more or less straight away with a number of his friends from Aberbargoed and so on. After training at Winchester they embarked to France and made their way down to Mametz wood. They arrived there in 1916. My granddad told my mum that he could remember on the 7th of July the Cardiff City battalion were the first to go in and they were practically wiped out as they crossed because they had no chance. That upset the Welsh boys a lot because they saw this from the top of the cliff. On the 10th of July they attacked again. My grandfather’s battalion were on the right near the hammerhead, as they called it, which was held by Prussian Guard the Lehr regiment who were regular well trained troops. Obviously my grandfather and all were all volunteers and most of them were miners. They managed to get into the wood where there was horrendous hand to hand fighting and managed to take the wood on the third occasion. My grandfather he was hit in the hand which closed his fingers up considerably. His hands became virtually useless from then on in. He was taken to Nottingham for recuperation. Because the nature of his injury he was actually invalided out which from his point of view was lucky because the welsh regiment, following the terrible battle at Mametz, were moved up to Pilckem Ridge. With battalion strength of roughly a thousand men I believe, the 13th welsh lost about 400 men. He did have nightmares many years after. He kept referring back to a young German soldier who was begging for mercy and he kept saying “Comrade, Comrade”. You can imagine in the heat of battle and hand to hand fighting in the dense undergrowth I suppose it was looking after yourself. He did say that he haunted him for years after seeing this young German crying out for comrade and unfortunately they had to kill him. It was a tough life in those days in the Valleys and the pits and going to the Western Front and going through the experiences they did I suppose you had to be a certain type of character and I really wish I’d met him but unfortunately he died just before I was born.

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