Moy Road, Aberfan. Houses Destroyed in the Aberfan Disaster 1966
When I was looking into the Aberfan disaster, my initial response was that there's little information about any adults who died. Not much about family units, nor relationships. Most of the focus at the time was on "the village that lost its children" as that was "the big story" as the media saw it.
I felt sad for the adults and thought I'd "quickly look them up/see their stories", only to discover that almost nothing's ever been written about them. This took me on a journey of over a month's solid 'research' trying to work out who is who, where did they go .... and some people are simply no more than a name on a "list of the dead".
This page is the result of some of my findings, all done with a budget of £0, which is why some detail has not been ascertained.
I apologise to any family members if I've got anything wrong. My intention was to "give the adults a voice". They died too and they deserve the recognition that they existed and not the anonymity of being just a name on a list.
1-10 Moy Road, Aberfan
If you look on Google Streetview at Moy Road Aberfan, you might notice that the house numbers on one side of the road start at number 11. "Where are 1-10 Moy Road?" you might ask!
On Friday 21 October 1966 a cataclysmic catastrophe overtook this small Welsh mining village, resulting in a terrace of houses being completely engulfed in coal slurry and all the occupants killed. Other houses in the same road were similarly destroyed from the slurry, rendering them uninhabitable and some unsafe.
Numbers 1-10 Moy Road, Aberfan were opposite the school and they were demolished. Some of the land was used to change the road layout a little and the rest to build some new houses.
On that day in 1966, the Aberfan disaster took the lives of many of the residents of Moy Road. From the list of those who lost their lives it can be seen that the following people who lived in those houses died:
- 1 Moy Road: Evelyn Mary Jones, aged 61. Trying to find anybody called Jones in Wales is a thankless task, but it's possible that Evelyn was the mother of Glyn Jones, but as there are 40+ Glyn Jones' born in the span of years possible, it's no simple task to double check that... so this is on the back burner for when I've more time.
- 2 Moy Road: Sidney Russell, aged 53 and his son Graham Edward Russell aged 26. Sidney left a widow, Blodwen May Russell, mother of Graham; Blodwen passed away in 2002. There might have also been two daughters in the family, who would've been survivors.
- 3 Moy Road: Richard Jones, aged 48. Richard was married to Katie Elizabeth Jones (Kitty), Kitty was widowed by the Aberfan disaster.
- 4 Moy Road: Evan George Carston, aged 64 and Margaret Jayne Carston, aged 61. They had a grown up family member who survived them as they'd already moved out and had a family of their own.
- 5 Moy Road: nobody died at this address, I wonder where they were! It is possible that Gerald Tarr lived here. Gerald had just completed a night shift and got into bed when the slurry hit his house and half demolished it. He was rescued in the nick of time before he drowned from the water that was cascading down the street. He was trapped under his door as it caved in, but managed to work really hard to be saved at the last minute. He was a lucky Aberfan survivor who nearly didn't make it to safety. Wife Shirley Tarr was at work, so not at home at the time.
- 6 Moy Road: John Morgan Evans, aged 65, Marjorie Christine Evans, aged 36 and Katherine Elizabeth Evans aged 3. James Arnold Evans was widowed when his wife Marjorie was killed, with his daughter Katherine. It's possible they also had another child who survived.
- 7 Moy Road: William Henry Rees, aged 67 and Andrew Rees, aged 14. It is possible though that Andrew didn't die at home, but at school across the road, or crossing the road to get to school. William Rees didn't die on 21 October with the rest, but six days later, he died of injuries received in the disaster according to his gravestone. William left a widow, Joan. Joan was one of the "happy endings" I was looking for when I started to look into everybody as she lived to be aged 99, dying in 2000! I say "happy endings", as I hope she had a good 34 more years and wasn't simply very sad all that time.
Joan and William were the parents of Leonard Rees, who was the father of Andrew Rees. Andrew's parents being Leonard and Almyn. Almyn died in 1998 and Leonard died in 2005.
Although the residents of 8-10 Moy Road escaped with their lives, the houses were unstable and uninhabitable, so were demolished.
78-84 Moy Road
78-84 Moy Road was a row of terraced houses located next to the school, the back gardens looked up to the coal tips that would one day engulf them.
Today, this space is occupied by the children's play area that's to the right of the Memorial Garden on Moy Road.
77 Moy Road
- 77 Moy Road: This house still exists, I've included it as it is significant. 77 Moy Road was next to the school and was the home of the caretaker, Mr Stephen Andrew. He had two boys at the school and a wife and new baby at home. He'd been that morning to get the heating going and to unlock the school. He'd then popped home and was just returning to the school when he heard the noise on the mountain and realised what was happening - he dashed home and got his wife and baby outside, then dashed to the school as he knew his boys were inside. He was one of the first on the scene digging, but not before he'd shut down the fire in the boiler. His two lads, Kelvin David and Malcolm were buried in the school debris.
78-84 Moy Road, Aberfan
- 78 Moy Road: This is where John Collins' wife Gwyneth lost her life. Their two boys Raymond and Peter were in separate locations, yet still both also died. Raymond was killed by the slurry as he walked to school with his two friends Robert and Andrew. Peter was sitting in his classroom at the Pantglas Junior School when the slurry hit it, burying him alive.
- 79 Moy Road: Frederick Richard Hanson was here, aged 78. Also at this address was Lewis Jones, aged 46 and Glenys Gabriel Jones, aged 46. Glenys and Lewis had married in 1939. Glenys was probably the only child of Frederick Hanson and his wife Annie (nee Gabriel), who married in 1920.
- 80 Moy Road: Here there were three people, Tydfil Jane Taylor, aged 73, with William Charles Thomas, aged 60 and Myrtle Irene Thomas aged 54. A quick look at the records indicates to me that Tydfil is Myrtle's aunt (Myrtle's mother's sister). Tydfil was (probably) a spinster.
- 81 Moy Road: This was the home of Patricia Evans, aged 32 and her two children, Hywel Lloyd Evans, aged 7 and Gareth Evans aged just 3 months. The father, William Lloyd Evans (Bill) was at work when the event occurred. He came home to discover he'd lost his family and his house.
- 82 Moy Road: This was the childhood home of brother and sister Albert Gerald Mytton, aged 54 and Lucy May Mytton aged 64. The house had been their parents' house before them. They had a brother, Edward J Mytton, who had gone to Australia to be a miner, but he was blinded in WW1 and was subsequently being sent home to England when he contracted an illness and died. His mother had attended his funeral and been sent a plaque and medals. So when 82 Moy Road was destroyed, along with it went a lifetime of family treasures and mementoes and brother Edward's medals. This loss of family members and treasured belongings will have been felt by the remaining siblings of Albert and Lucy.
- 83 Moy Road: Catherine Jones, aged 75, lived at this house. Cassie, as she was known, was a widow, her husband having pre-deceased her in 1958. She had at least one child.
- 84 Moy Road: Brian Elvet Harris was aged 24 and lived at this address. It's not clear whether he died at the house, or if he was elsewhere in the village that day. Brian had married Janet just three years before. As the only deceased person from that address, I could make the assumption that the couple were living with other people and maybe he'd just finished the night shift at work and gone to bed. That is certainly the case with a survivor of Moy Road, who was in bed when their house started collapsing around them.
Housing the Homeless
When you have a catastrophic event, the homeless need to be housed. The villagers of Aberfan didn't want to be displaced. They still had family close by, jobs, friends - and there was still a lot of work to be done in the community in the big clear up. Perchance picking over your plot for some small fragments of your life that could be found.... a shoe, a photo .... anything!
A temporary caravan site was set up, with 37 families taking up residence there while they sorted out the next stage of their life. Some people could just move in with family for the immediate days, but ultimately you need to get your life back on track and get back into regular housing. The short-term caravan park solution worked quite well, except for a couple of arguments when the Coal Board, who owned the tip that'd killed the village's children wanted to charge the caravan residents for their electricity and other services!
If you've ever tried to trace people in Wales, you'll have quickly discovered that in a lot of cases there are 4-40 potential people they "could be"! With so many commonly used first names and surnames, even if you get to grips with that you'll discover that a lot of them use their middle name or a nickname if they're interviewed or quoted in the press.
I hope the above is correct, I believe it is. But, I do reserve the caveat of E&OE.
When researching I found one website that found it strange that one particular site didn't give people's date of birth - what they'd failed to realise is that it would cost £10 per individual certificate to get that information - and so they'd have needed nearly £1500 just to put that information in. All my research has been done with a budget of £0 and has taken me 200-250 hours to compile.
- SHARE, DON'T NICK: I'd appreciate it if you didn't copy/paste any of the above (that's theft), but would, instead, link to this page if you found it useful. Thank you.