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- Myrtle Horton nee Farmer
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- 27 June 2005
I started work in a Sub-Post Office and then as a clerk in the main office in Tonypandy, a "Crown" office with 10 clerks, 20 postmen and 4 boy messengers and part of my duty was to take telegrams over the telephone. At times we had to take telegrams from the War Office telling people that a relative in the Forces was missing or killed and I found this quite distressing as we often knew the families. When such a telegram was received the Postmaster, who later became my father-in-law, would deliver such sad messages himself, as he felt it was not fair to expect the messenger boys, who would only be 15 or 16 years old, to deliver bad news.
On a much happier note, possibly the best message I ever took was, I think, in 1943 when a message came to tell one of our postmen that his son was one of the first Prisoners-of-War to come home under an exchange scheme which had been arranged with the enemy. If the King had been there he could not have stopped me. I rushed upstairs to the Sorting Office to tell him. He had just come in from delivery and I couldn't speak with emotion. I just thrust the telegram at him and said "Look Look" He just scratched his head and said "I'm off home to tell my missus". The tears were running down my face - it was a very moving moment. His son came home shortly afterwards.
We had to work long hours, often starting at 5.45a.m. and finishing sometimes at 4 p.m. There was a Fire Watch rota and the staff used to take turns to sleep at the office waiting for the air raid sirens to sound. We had no warnings while I was on fire watch duty and fortunately, no bombs were dropped on Tonypandy.
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