A serious crime in April 1915….
Ernest Watts (15), 57 Victoria St, Pontycymmer. David Morgan (16) Amos Wood (15), Prospect Place; Llew Harries, Mount Pleasant, (16),Rees Coles: (15) Garreg Rd; and Daniel Harris (15), Garreg Rd, were each fined two shillings and sixpence ( £10) for having played football in Prospect Place ‘ to the annoyance of pedestrians’
Ernest Watts, appears to have been a ‘delinquent’ as he had previously been sentenced to a term in Truant School, Bridgend.
In May 1915, He fraudulently enlisted in the army, telling the recruiting sergeant in Maesteg that he was 19. As Pte 37012. Watts, he joined the 3rd (Service) Battalion: Welsh Regiment. After completing his initial training he was sent to France on 2/10/1915. He suffered three hospitalisations for ‘Trench foot,’ A very severe fungal infection caused by the waterlogged conditions of the battlefields. He was eventually dismissed from the army on 7/3/1916 after his father, William Watts wrote an impassioned letter explaining his sons immaturity. We will publish a copy of that letter in due course.
Letter for Ernest Watt’s release:
My son is Pte E. Watts, 37012. ‘A’ Company, 3rd Platoon, 2nd Battalion. Welsh Regiment. B.E.F. France. ” He was only 15 years of age in May last and has been in France for over two months. He has written to me appealing to have him at home on account of his age. I have received a letter from one of his comrades stating how excited he was and that every time the enemy fires he pushes his head into view. I enclose his Birth certificate. I quite understand the need of our country, but I hope you can grant me this favour of giving him his discharge, and that you will at least cause him to do Home Service until he is older.