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900 Children saved by headmaster when reservoir burst

Year 1910

Read by Tom Dineen – Supporter, Royal Humane Society

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Williams, R.R., Headmaster,Clydach Vale Council School, Rhondda Valley.

About 4 p.m. on the 11th March, 1910, a reservoir or natural dam formed by some old colliery workings high up on the hillside above Clydach Vale, in the Rhondda Valley, burst, and the torrent of water, together with masses of earth and stone, rushed down the hillside with terrific force, sweeping away everything it encountered in its mad career.

Following the conformation of the ground, it soon reached the village, the first house in its path being completely wrecked and the occupants drowned.

Soon the Clydach Vale Council School, containing some 900 children, was reached, and the playground was flooded to a depth of 6 or 7 feet, the water rushing through the main corridor of the school into the yard. Realising the extent of the danger, the headmaster,

Mr. R.R. Williams made his way to the girls and infants departments, directing what should be done to get the children out in safety. Often waist-deep in water, Mr. Williams passed from place to place, at one time being carried off his feet and with the greatest difficulty saving himself.

In all this he was splendidly seconded by the assistant teachers and by some colliers who came to their help, so that in the end only two of the children lost their lives.

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