The following is an excerpt from a website written by David Thomas and reproduced with his kind permission. We hope to have some pictures to post soon but are awaiting clearance form the copyright owners. If you would like to read the full story you can read it on David’s excellent website about Dylan Thomas and his Aunties here.
David Jones, who was married to Dylan Thomas’ Great-Aunt Amy, was born in 1854, the son of a master mariner, Edwin, and his wife Eliza(?). Known as Dai Pilot, Jones was one of the most accomplished of Carmarthen Bay pilots. He had also, since the age of 18, been a member of the Ferryside lifeboat. He had been awarded a Silver Medal by the Norwegian King for the rescue in March 1901 of the Australia, a Norwegian ship carrying coal which had been driven ashore between Laugharne and Pendine in a severe gale. It took two and a half hours “of extremely difficult rowing” just to reach the vessel.
Jones rescued another Norwegian ship, the Signe, in March 1905 from Cefn Sidan sands, in a gale so wild that the Burry Port lifeboat had failed to reach the wreck: “The Cefn was a fury of waters, boiling with the incensate anger of wind and sea.” This time, Jones received the Silver Medal from the RNLI.
On October 30 1925, whilst 71 years of age, he was coxswain on another successful rescue from the sands of the SV Paul, a German ship loaded with timber, driven onto the sands in a severe storm and thick fog. The lifeboat, under sail, reached the Paul in difficult conditions, only to be told that eleven of the crew had taken to a small boat. Jones set off in the fog, and found them a mile away drifting out to sea. After taking them on board, he returned to the Paul and took off the remaining five crew members. “When about to sail for the shore there was a slight delay, as Capt. Bade suddenly remembered that a favourite pet of his -a canary – was left aboard, and one of the men promptly boarded the wreck and brought the bird safely along to its owner.”
David Jones had been a member of the Ferryside lifeboat crew for fifty-six years, of which thirty-six had been as its coxswain or, from 1891, its chief coxswain.