Information kindly supplied by Mrs D.Stanley (neé Hayes)
William James was the only son of the five children bom to Catherine and James Stennings. He was born in Wick (Glamorgan) in 1885.
He worked in the mines until the outbreak of World War One. On the 4th of September 1914, when he was 28, he enlisted in the Kings Royal Rifles on a Short Service enlistment (3 years) in Bridgend. A description of him can be found on his enlistment form.
On his Attestation form (Attestation meaning sworn on oath) he states he is not married and gives his address as 32, The Avenue, Pontycymmer. This is the address of his sister, Catherine Stock, so William was living with Catherine at the time he enlisted.
The 1911 Census shows him living with the Stocks – Isaac Stock as Head of the family, with Catherine (William’s sister) and Stanley, their son, aged 8, in 32 The Avenue. Isaac Stock came from Ogmore Vale.
On his Military History Sheet it shows that William was in France from 1915 to 1916. He was wounded on 4th September 1916, (which was two years to the day he signed up) and sent back to this country. He was discharged on 8th June 1917 as being no longer physically fit for war service. Also on this sheet he gives his next of kin as Catherine, his sister.
The Statement of Services sheet is similar to the above, listing his military actions.
On his Medal Index Card it states that he was awarded three medals, the British Defence medal, the Victory medal and the 1914/15 Star. It is believed that these medals are still within the family, together with postcards William sent from France. It seems at some point that they had William’s name as “Stinnings” as shown in the Correspondence Section of the Medal Index Form.
William returned home and eventually went to work in the mines once again. He died on the 10th March 1945 at the age of 59 in 80, Bridgend Road, Pontycymmer. He died of mining related illnesses, so it seems he had recovered from his war injuries. His nephew James Beynon was with him when he died.
There is no record of William ever marrying, so the Stennings name in the Garw Valley died with William. The family then used the name Stenning (minus the s) as a middle name for William’s nephew, who was also called William, and as a first name for another nephew. It was then passed on as a middle name to the great nephews, and a great niece.
William must have had lots of stories to tell about the war but none of them are known by his surviving relatives. The postcards would make interesting reading.
Information kindly supplied by Mrs D.Stanley (neé Hayes) who used to live in Blaengarw and Pontycymer. William Stennings was her Gt.Uncle. One of her Great Grandfathers was a Thomas Jones (of the family known as “Jones Brakes”), who lived at 110, King Edward Street, Blaengarw. Her other Gt. Grandfather was James Stennings who died in an explosion in the Darren Colliery on 4 March 1903.
(Copies of William’s Enlistment and discharge papers are in the Heritage Society archives.)