Thomas Henry Wilfred Pitman
Thomas Henry Wilfred Pitman was born in the Rhondda 17th May 1936.
Named Thomas after his Father and Henry after his Grandfather Wilfred known as Wilf to his friends begun his life as a Cadet with St John’s in 1943 and later becoming a male nurse at Morriston Hospital where he met his future wife Gwenllian Ray. National service took Wilf with the RAF looking after sick and injured personnel but didn’t serve the full term as his mother was taken ill, Wilf returned home and cared for his mother as he continued to work at the hospital and later he married Ray in 1956. Ray and Wilf had a little girl who sadly passed away only a few hours old, they never had any more children after this tragic event.
Wilf got involved with the Mines Rescue service and sadly on the 21st October 1966 116 children and 28 adults perished as coal waste spewed into the village engulfing the school which was full of children at that time, local miners came from work as well as those who were off shift to help pull bodies from the carnage some of them pulled their own children out.
Wilf was awarded the Commander of the Order of St John in 1983
Greatly affected by the trauma at Aberfan Wilf and Ray moved to Loughor in Swansea where Wilf after attending an event on the Estuary heard about a 7 year old boy losing his life to the treacherous tides of Loughor and offered to start up a Rescue Boat Service which was supported by his colleagues at St John’s Rescue Boat at Ferryside who supplied Loughor with a small 2.5 metre inflatable boat with 25 hp engine which had it’s first call out on 4th May 1969 with Wilf as it’s Coxswain..St John’s Inshore Rescue continued until 1993 when Wilf stood down from service to care for his wife Ray who was in ill health.
St Johns Rescue Boat then changed it’s name to Loughor Inshore Rescue after Crew were paying for fuel for call outs from their own pockets and decided to go alone and get Charity status away from St John and start afresh which they did and Wilf as you might had guessed returned regularly to visit the Crew. In 2016 Wilf visited the station and told Crew of his illness and he said he would fight the Cancer in the throat which he did and later in 2017 he picked up a infection in the lungs and returned to Morriston Hospital to have fluid drained and returned home to Ray and getting regular check ups with his doctor which he did until November 2017 when he was taken ill and admitted to Singleton Hospital where he spent the last days of his life until 15th December 2017 where sadly Wilf passed on.
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