The Best Swimmer / Y Nofiwr Gorau

Pêl droed yn Yr Ysgol Genedlaethol 1920-1921. Gwelir Tom yn y blaen, ail o’r dde / Football at the National School 1920-21. Tom is seen at the front, second from the right.
Casgliad Kevin Williams Collection
William John Garnon ifanc gyda’i ffrind Tommy Williams / A young William John Garnon with his friend Tommy Williams.
Casgliad Kevin Williams Collection
The Western Mail 6-8-1930
Bristish Newspaper Archive
Tommy Williams - yn derbyn gwobr / receiving an award
Casgliad Kevin Williams Collection
A certificate from The Royal Humane Society commemorating Tommy’s bravery / Tystysgrif wrth y Gymdeithas Ddyngarol Frenhinol yn cofnodi dewrder Tommy.
Casgliad Kevin Williams Collection
Billy as a handsome young man / Billy yn ddyn ifanc golygus
Casgliad Kevin Williams Collection
What a dive! Another Williams ‘Fishguard Arms’ brother in action. This time Bill Williams. / Y tro hon, brawd Tommy, Bill, yn dangos ei sgiliau.
Casgliad Kevin Williams Collection
Tommy (holding a bird cage) with work mates aboard ship / Tommy ( gyda chawell adar) gydq ffrindie ar fwrdd llong.
Casgliad Kevin Williams Collection
MV Innisfallen
Casgliad Kevin Williams Collection

Thomas Williams was born at The Fishguard Arms on the 19th of July 1908. He and his brother Billy, were excellent athletes while still pupils at the National School.

Both decided at a young age that a career at sea would suit them. Whenever Tommy was home on leave, he had the effect of a pied piper on the young lads of Fishguard, drawing a large excited following whenever he set out for Lower Fishguard. They knew that his skills as a diver and swimmer were matchless, and they loved to watch him.
He became a strong, popular young man with a swimming ability that was legendary.

On one occasion, in 1930, he took part in a swimming race between Goodwick and Dinas.
The newspaper cutting above describes how Tommy rescued a fellow competitor and still managed to win the race. Mr Les
Evans of Stop & Call, recalled that when they worked out the distance that Tommy swam, including tidal set and drift, he had actually swam a distance of eight nautical miles. The photo above may be of the award ceremony following this race.

This wasn’t the only time that Tommy would save life at sea. The Royal Humane Society awarded him 40 shillings for rescuing  two men in a Liverpool dock in 1942. The story goes that a diver, operating from a small boat was in distress. Simultaneously, the man operating the air equipment fell overboard and was drowning. Tommy saw what was happening, dived in and rescued the pump operator. He then swam down and rescued the diver.

Hitler tried twice to kill Tommy, but failed. Tom was part of the crew of the MV Innisfallen when it hit a mine in the river Mersey in 1940. While he was recovering from wounds in hospital at Liverpool, that too was blown up, when it received a direct hit from the Luftwaffe.

By this time, Tommy was a husband and a father to two boys and a daughter, living at Walton, Liverpool. His difficult experiences during the war may have contributed to a change in his nature. Though happy and carefree in his youth, in later life, he became more troubled and depended on a ‘drop of dutch courage’ more than was good for him or those around him.  Today, his condition might be known as PTSD.

At just 64 years, Thomas Williams’ luck ran out. He was killed in the river Mersey in January 1973, when he was hit by a ship and dragged through the water screw of the vessel. Why he was in the water is still a bit of a mystery. He was a foreman rigger at Gladstone Basin, Bootle Dock. Unfortunately, his family received no compensation at all for his death, inspite of a case being brought against The Mersey Docks and Harbour Association.  Such a sad end for such a popular Fishguardian.

Ganed Thomas Williams yn y Fishguard Arms ar y 19eg o Orffennaf 1908. Bu ef a’i frawd Billy, yn athletwyr penigamp tra’n ddisgyblion yn yr Ysgol Genedlaethol.

Penderfynodd y ddau yn ifanc y byddai gyrfa ar y môr yn addas iddyn nhw. Pryd bynnag y byddai Tommy adref ar wyliau, câi effaith pibydd brith ar grwts ifanc Abergwaun, gan ddenu cynffon o fois bach i’w ddilyn i waelod y Cei. Roedden nhw’n gwybod yn iawn am ei sgiliau fel deifiwr a nofiwr, ac roeddent wrth eu bodd yn ei wylio.
Daeth yn ddyn ifanc cryf, poblogaidd gyda gallu chwedlonol yn y dŵr.

Ar un achlysur, yn 1930, cymerodd ran mewn ras nofio rhwng Wdig a Dinas.
Mae’r toriad papur newydd uchod yn disgrifio sut yr achubodd Tommy gyd-gystadleuydd a dal i ennill y ras. Cofiai Mr Les Evans o Stop & Call ei fod wedi nofio pellter o wyth môr-filltir pan wnaethant gyfrifo y pellter y nofiodd Tommy, gan gynnwys y llanw a drifft. Gall y llun uchod fod o’r seremoni wobrwyo yn dilyn y ras honno.

Nid dyma’r unig dro i Tommy achub bywyd ar y môr. Dyfarnodd y Gymdeithas Ddyngarol Frenhinol 40 swllt iddo am achub dau ddyn mewn doc yn Lerpwl ym 1942. Mae’r stori’n mynd fod deifiwr a oedd yn gweithredu o gwch bach mewn trafferthion. Ar yr un pryd, syrthiodd y dyn oedd yn gweithredu’r offer aer dros ochr y cwch ac roedd ar fîn poddi. Gwelodd Tommy beth oedd yn digwydd, plymiodd i mewn ac achub gweithredwr y pwmp. Yna nofiodd i lawr ac achub y deifiwr.

Ceisiodd Hitler ei orau i ladd Tommy, ddwywaith, ond bu’n aflwyddiannus. Roedd Tom yn un o griw’r MV Innisfallen pan drawodd ffrwydrun yn Afon Merswy ym 1940. Tra’r oedd yn gwella o’i anafiadau yn yr ysbyty yn Lerpwl, trawyd hwnnw hefyd, o’r awyr, pan gafodd ergyd uniongyrchol gan y Luftwaffe.

Erbyn hyn, roedd Tommy yn ŵr ac yn dad i ddau fachgen, yn byw yn Walton, Lerpwl. Mae’n bosib fod ei brofiadau anodd yn ystod y rhyfel wedi cyfrannu at newid yn ei natur. Er ei fod yn hapus ac yn ddiofal yn ei ieuenctid, yn ddiweddarach yn ei fywyd, daeth yn fwy difrifol a sur, gan ddibynnu ar ‘ddiferyn’ yn fwy nag oedd yn dda iddo ef na’r rhai o’i gwmpas. Heddiw, efallai mai PTSD fyddai’r enw ar ei gyflwr.

Yn ddim ond 64 oed, daeth lwc Thomas Williams i ben. Cafodd ei ladd yn Afon Merswy ym mis Ionawr 1973,wrth iddo gael ei daro gan long a’i lusgo drwy sgriw dŵr y llong. Nid yw’n glir pam yr oedd yn y dŵr ar y pryd. Roedd yn gweithio fel ‘foreman rigger’ yn Gladstone Basin, Dociau Bootle. Yn anffodus, ni chafodd ei deulu unrhyw iawndal o gwbl o ganlyniad i’w farwolaeth, er i achos gael ei ddwyn yn erbyn Cymdeithas Dociau a Harbwr Merswy. Dyna ddiwedd trist i un o feibion hoff Abergwaun.

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