4:32pm Thursday 19th September 2013
THE family of a war veteran from the battle of Rorke’s Drift, whose grave was uncovered by volunteers last week, have said they feel there should now be a permanent monument erected in honour of those who served from the Pontypool area.
As we reported in the Free Press last week, chairman of the Pontypool branch of the Veteran Association, Michael Black, 74, came up with the idea to clear the graveyard at St Cadoc's Church to gain access to the grave of Private John Samuel Jobbins who defended Rorke's Drift in the Anglo-Zulu wars in 1879.
The events of the battle were immortalised in the 1964 film Zulu, which shows 150 British soldiers defending the mission station against 4,000 Zulus.
Private Jobbins’ great great grandson, David Allan Cook,70, said he was delighted the grave had been found.
“It was fantastic to see it [his cleared grave] in the paper.
“My sister, Jacqueline Wheeler, used to live on the hill leading up to Penygarn and tried to find the grave a number of times. As a family we knew it was there somewhere.”
Mr Cook’s mother, Sadie Cook (nee Jobbins), had told him all about Private Jobbins.
“My mum used to talk about him. From what I heard he was a very upright man, a gentleman,” he said.
He said one of his great grandchildren, Mr Cook’s uncle Raymond Jobbins, had also been a servicemen dying while fighting in the Second World War.
And Mr Cook said the family believed Private Jobbin’s original medals for his service had also been buried with the Newport-born solider, who moved to Pontypool.
Now he hopes a war memorial, similar to one in Cwmbran erected for service personnel whose graves had been discovered, could be built to honour his great great grandfather and the seven other servicemen’s graves the volunteers had found.
Mr Cook, who is registered disabled, said: “We’d just like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who cleared it and found the grave.”
Mr Cook, who lives in Ty Sign in Risca now, said his family hoped to visit the grave in the coming weeks.
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