All readers of "BOXING" will, I feel sure, join in the tenderest vote of sympathy with the relatives of the victims of the "Titanic," and especially with Mrs. Leslie Williams (Tonypandy) and Mrs. Bowen, the aged mother of Dal Bowen (Treherbert).
It seems but a moment ago since the two young boxers gripped my hand in farewell from the train which took them to So'ton. What strange fate! They were, as I have mentioned in an earlier column, definitely fixed up to sail by the "Lusitania." four days earlier, but poor Leslie Williams called on me to say that he wanted to wait for some suits of clothes to be made, as things were rather dear in America. "Very well," I said, "we will go to the shipping agent and see what other boats are going, and I will send another cable to say you are not going by the 'Lusitania.'" We immediately went to the agent's office, and when Leslie heard that the world's largest liner was going to make a maiden trip on the following Wednesday he was simply delighted. "That will give me a few days over the holidays," he remarked to the manager of the office, and then he left for home.
On the very day the news of the disaster came through I received a letter from Mr. Frank Torreyson, who held the contract, saying that he was hurrying from Braddock to New York to meet the lads. "I will keep them in New York for a couple of days," he said, "so that they shall enjoy the sights. The season here is drawing to a close, but even if they fail to get a match I will look after them." That brief epistle will give you some idea of the sport Mr. Torreyson is, and I can assure you that I am deeply pained by the tragic occurrence. I treat it as a personal blow, for I had hoped for great things being accomplished by these poor fellows, and the relatives and friends of the pair were equally confident.
As soon as the fate of the poor lads was known beyond doubt, Mr. Ralph Lile came to me with the suggestion that a benefit assault-at-arms should be organised for Leslie's wife and child and for Dai's aged mother. I heartily agreed, and I would suggest that it be held in Porth or Tonypandy, and that the good people of the latter town and Treherbert should at once form a committee to make the local arrangements which are almost out of our reach. We will get the boxers and other turns. Jim Driscoll, Jack Harrison, Eddie Morgan, and many others have already assured me of their readiness to join in, and Dave Peters will also again enter the ring to swell the funds. It is, of course for the committee to fix upon a suitable hall and date, as they know the local conditions. Let them start at once.
4 May 1912
Helping the Bereaved
One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
Every sportsman in South Wales is looking forward to success of the benefit for the relatives of Leslie Williams and Dai Bowen, two of the "Titanic's" victims.
It is to take the form of a mammoth Gymkhana and assault-at-arms, to be held on June 20th at the Mid-Rhondda Athletic Grounds.
Should the weather be unfavourable, the affair will take place in Tonypandy Empire, and I am pleased to announce that the use of the Empire and athletic grounds have been offered free of charge.
Two meetings have been held at the Miskin hotel, trailer, in connection with the affair, and both were not only largely attended, but many of those present came from far off district, in itself a sign of the interest displayed.
Most of the best amateur boxes in Wales have volunteered to take part, and, as far as I have already mentioned, all the top professionals have been equally kind. If I have unconsciously admitted to ask others, I would like to hear from them.
11 May 1912
Fate of Leslie Williams.
The White star company has notified me by wire that the body of Leslie Williams has been buried at sea. The news caused a profound sensation in south Wales, as all had been led to believe that the body, having been identified, would be brought home by the company. There is now just one thing to be done, and that is for the general public to show their sympathy, as I feel sure they will, by attending the benefit assault-at-arms at the mid-Rhonda grounds on June 20.
14 September 1912
" Titanic " Benefit Result.
At last I am able to give my readers an idea of what was done by the good people of the Rhondda for the relations of Leslie Williams and Dal Bowen, the victims of the 'Titanic" disaster. A sum of £306 19s. 3d. was realised, which included £128 17s. 9d. for tickets. £95 12s. 6d. gate receipts, and £57 4s. 6d. subscriptions. The net profit was £187 15s. 7d. I trust that the widow of poor Leslie and Bowen's aged mother will also receive a substantial sum from the Mansion House Fund.