In the days of old,long ago, with ts coastline of natural bays,coves and sheltered harbours,
Wales became renown for shipbuilding and maritime trade. So it was only a matter of time before some sympathetic seamen,seeing the potential for profit, precipitated to piracy.
Producing in the days of the Spanish Main the likes of the buccaneer, Hari Morgan( a pirate by another name) Black Bart,John Evans,Howells Davis,RobertEdwards,John Callis to name but a few. Historically it is said that more pirates came out of Wales per mile of coast than any other country in Europe.Then in more recent times, there was Potato Jones, A seamanwho found danger to be his comfort zone.
From this issue, the most noted are Black Bart who plundered the seas of the Spanish Main and Potato Jones who sought satisfaction from running the blockade of the fascist Franco during more contemporary times.
BARTHOLOMEW ROBERTS, known as BARTI DDU or BLACK BART was born in 1682 in Pembrokeshire and went to sea when he was 13. It was on the slave ship Princess that he was captured and forced to join the pirates by fellow Welshman pirate Howells Davis also from Pembrokeshire. Having been forced into piracy he give as good as he got capturing more than 400 ships.
His nickname was given not just because of his black locks and dark eyes.When this swashbuckling buccaneer had to fight for his prized he was merciless. Opposing crews were cut down and those surviving were hung from the yard arm or lashed at the masthead. Captain’s ears were cut off and presented to them as a reminder to listen harder when Black Bart told them what to do. The torture and butchery did not end until the last man had been dragged up and carved up in similar fashion.
His Jolly Roger flag featured him drinking with a skeleton and it is said that the film Pirates of the Caribbean 3 is based on his life.
David POTATO JONES was one of three Welsh sea captains who run the blockade of Northern Spain by Franco. All three were named David Jones, nicknamed Potato, Corn Cob and Ham ‘n’ Chips Jones to distinguish them. Potato Jones was the dominant character among them.
Skippering the Marie Llewellyn he ran potatoes under which was hidden guns, motor bikes and any other useful needs for the republicans. He also took part in moving thousands of refugees from Spain to safety in France.
He is reputed to have always worn a bowler hat when at sea.
Potato Jones Although now retired, 67 years old could not resist the chance once more and face the dangers, he brought many troops off the beaches of Dunkirk. He suffered a broken shoulder when German bombers attacked his ship. Although scarcely recovered he continued to cross the channel rescuing troops from the beaches.
He died in 1961, aged 91 years and will always be remembered by the people’s of Bilboa And the troops rescued from Dunkirk.