Further information about the West Mon tragedy in 1947

LATER EVIDENCE ABOUT THE WEST MON TRAGEDY

I recently received an email from Mrs Susan Dove who is the daughter of Mr L.J.Wildash who was the art master at West Mon. Unfortunately my over-enthusiastic mail filter put the email into my junk box where it has been languishing until I discovered it today when looking for another expected email which has not yet arrived.

I always try to include on this blog all points of view and, when looking back over 50 or 60 years, our memories can suffer in the matter of accuracy. The memories of both Eric Smith and myself did in the matter of the site of the Peake’s bus crash which I later corrected. Therefore I print below the full email I received from Mr Wildash’s daughter Susan.

Here is the copy of her letter:

 

    “I refer to the email from an elderly ex-pupil that you have published regarding the unfortunate tragedy at West Mon School in 1947.

    You must be aware that confused and traumatised children will remember different aspects of a tragedy, not always accurately.  Add another 60 plus years, and I must now correct the fiction that you have allowed to be published worldwide on the internet.

    My father, L J Wildash was the very talented Art Master at West Mon School. Contrary to what you have allowed to be published, he COULD swim.  He was a very strong swimmer and also very fit.  Besides being an artist he was a sportsman, with silver cups to his name.  No headmaster would allow a non-swimmer to be in charge of a swimming class! The picture of my father as a non-swimming wimp doing nothing is almost libellous.  If he had not been so fit, both boys would have drowned.  He was exhausted AFTER his attempt to save the lives of the two boys. 

    Before working at West Mon School my father saw active service during the war, and was chosen to go on special assignments.  His nature was always to protect others from danger.  He was a very brave yet sensitive man.  To see him vilified by incorrect memories is deeply unfair. It must not be overlooked that the Coroner said that without my father’s actions, both boys would have drowned rather than one.

    As you can imagine, he was traumatised by the whole tragic accident, and although he was asked to stay on at West Mon School, which he loved, the tragedy was too much for him and he and his family left Wales forever.

    Susan nee Wildash”

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