Swansea and Port Talbot Docks History

Docks at War -

Albert Williams

Albert Williams senior lived with his family in Lambert Cottages, Kings Dock, Swansea. He had three sons, two of whom were Dockers (Vivian & Arthur) and also Albert. There were also cousins whose fathers were the twins Tommy Grey & George Grey. Tommy and George worked on the Irish Ferry until The service ended. At the outbreak of WW2 Albert (junior) joined the Merchant Navy and ended up on the Russian convoys, and on one trip on the ss Thornlea he was torpedoed. Sailing with Convoy OB-206, the ss Thornlea, a British ship, was torpedoed and sunk by the German U Boat U-46 commanded by Kapitanleutnant Engleburt Endrass on the 2 Sept 1940. The ssThornlea was sunk 200 miles west of Ireland in the north Atlantic Ocean. Of the ship’s complement, 3 died and 33 survivors were picked up by the destroyer HMCS Skeena (D 59). The 4,261 ton Thornlea was carrying coal and was bound for Montreal, Canada. Albert sailed on a number of vessels, one in particular was the ss Empire Pickwick.

Empire Pickwick

In 1945 his father, according to the Dockers tradition, nominated him for the vacancy of a docker. He was given the nickname of Young Stackum by the rest of the workforce because that was the nickname of his father (my Grandfather) said to be for his prowess in handling a pack of playing cards. Albert Williams daughter-in-law found out that there were medals to be issued to the crews of the Russian Convoys and applied for one for her father-in-law.

Above is a photo of the presentation of the medal by the Russian Ambassador to John Williams. John who was kind enough to send us all this information, stated that "the reason for the Wiltshire presentation was that my wife applied on behalf of my father for the medal to the Russian Embassy, and their completion of the paper work made it easier to use our home address in Wiltshire. The logistics of giving the Swansea address were not possible and all the correspondence was sent to my Wiltshire address. Albert was not able to attend it would have been too much for him to travel all that distance".

The photo above is of the Wiltshire mayors. John was lucky enough to be with this select group at the awards so grabbed the photographic opportunity. They were so pleased, the Chippenham mayor, a journalist, took a note of Albert's address etc to be in that weeks gazette.

Above is the medal presented to John Williams on behalf of his father Albert Williams. It was named in honour of the Russian Admiral Fyodor Ushakov.

Albert Williams Senior, Albert's father, lost 4 brothers in the 1914-1918 war. Two, Edward and Arthur, were killed in the battle of the Somme. They all lived in Lambert Cottages.

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