Explosive exam preparations

Gan Eurof Lewis, Bristol

Benjamin Thomas Jones was born in Camnant Farm, Banwen.

After primary school in Colbren (there was no school in Banwen at that time) he went to Ystradgynlais Grammar School and then to Swansea University to read Civil Engineering.

He saw active service with the rank of Major in the Royal Engineers during WW2, finally ended his working career as a hydrologist for Western Australia.

This story relates to his time revising for his secondary school matriculation exams.

As with most farming/mining homes, explosives were kept at home and Ben, whilst handling a detonator, somehow detonated it and blew off all or part of three fingers on his right hand.

The 'local' doctor, who lived in Crynant, arrived on horseback some time later and as a treatment immersed his hand in a bowl of iodine before dressing the severed or partially severed digits.

To enable Ben to sit his exams, a tube was inserted into the bandages to hold his pen and he wrote his exam papers in this way.

He passed all his subjects and then went to college the following year.

How times have changed!

Incidentally, during this period, he also won the National Eisteddfod in recitation on three consecutive years.

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