Joseph Costin, Prince of Wales' Light Horse 2 months 2 weeks ago #71609
Joseph's birth seems to have been recorded in the Bedwellty registration district, fourth quarter of 1884. I can't find another Joseph Costin's birth registration in South Wales around that time (between 1873-1887).
The Barcelona referred to in the first article is in Venezuela, not the one in Spain.
TREDEGAR MAN'S STORY.
Value of South African War Medal.….A thrilling narrative has reached Tredegar concerning a young man named Joseph Costin, the son of Mr. John Costin, a tailor residing in Church-square, Tredegar. The stirring adventure is narrated in a Jamaica paper.
….Looking pale and wan, Joseph Costin and Frank Shore, two sailors stranded from the ship Andes, narrated to our representative hard and trying experiences they recently had in Venezuela. The former was a soldier, a private of the Prince of Wales' Light Horse, and saw service in the South African war. He gave it as his opinion that the hardships that he underwent during the war were like being in Heaven in comparison with his late adventures. In his own words, the following is the story of his experiences: -
…."We left Newport on the 6th of September, and reached Venezuela on the 22nd of October. We had a slight difference, which caused us to leave our ship, and we endeavoured to procure work in the country. Being unsuccessful, we had to return to Caracas, and from thence went to Porto Cabello. At this place we went to see the British Consul, to ask him to get us employment or send us to some British Colony or seaport town. He gave us a passage on a Dutch steamer, the Prinz Wilhelm III., to La Guayra, where we were unable to land, being without a passport, which the Consul had refused us."
….The captain took them to Guanta, and they got to Barcelona by train, but the British Consul refused to help them (so the story goes) and they got back to Guanta, where they lived for three days on small land crabs and cocoa-nuts, occasionally obtaining bits of cassava.
Boat "Commandeered."…."We thought we would never get out of this country, but seeing a fisherman's boat, 18ft. by 6ft., we thought we would take charge of this and try to get out of the country. So we made a bag to carry water in, and started on our voyage. The water-bag, however, burst in mid-ocean."
….They landed on a small island, after their craft was smashed, got a few crabs, but no water; caught a lame goat, killed it with a sharp stone, as they had no knife, drank the blood, roasted and ate some of the flesh, and were very ill in consequence.
….On the morning of the fourth day we were hailed by a fishing-boat with four men in it. Two of the men came on shore with knives in their hands, and started to search our pockets, during which time we were trying to make them understand by signs that we wanted something to drink. They told us to wade through the water and come on board. When we did so they gave us a calabash each with water, which we greedily drank. Prior to this our tongues were as hard and as dry as wood. The fishermen intimated to us by signs that they intended to hang us up when we reached shore by fish-hooks on to our top lips, so we planned to take away the boat from them and put them on shore in our place. That plan, however, was not feasible, as they were all armed. After four hours of sailing we came to the small port called Porto La Gruse."
….Here they were received by crowds, they explained how they got to the island, were locked up two days, and sent to Barcelona, where they were put in prison.
Life in Prison.….The magistrate examined us through an English interpreter, and told us we should have to remain in prison until the boat which we had confiscated at Guanta was paid for. The owner, a fisherman of Barcelona, wanted £65 for it. We remained there for 26 days, during which time we got every day a little bammy pancake, with three lumps of sugar, for both of us. This diet never varied in the least. An official of the Government came there, and wanted to claim us as French spies, or otherwise, commissioned by some company to cause a revolution. We were threatened to be shot, but escaped that fate by producing a South African war medal belonging to me, which convinced them that we were Englishmen.
…."On January 6 the Cuban Consul came in, and wanted to know whether we were sailors, as he was very hard for sailors for a German steamer that was trading in Cuba. He, having great influence with the Commissioner of Barcelona, got us our liberty by paying five dollars for each of us to the owner of the boat. This gentleman (the Cuban Consul, Marconi Raffetti) then gave us a letter to the captain of the ship, and we walked back to Guanta, and got aboard the steamer, where we intended to remain, but hearing that they were going to stop our money to the extent of £65 for payment of the boat we made up our minds to get clear as soon as possible, so we asked the captain to pay us off at Kingston. He took no notice of us, and we thereupon, as the only means of getting clear, got into trouble with the police, and succeeded."
….Costin, the narrator of the story, is only twenty years of age.
Evening Express, Wednesday 20th June 1906
ESCAPED FROM GERMAN PRISON.
….Corporal J. Costin, of Blackwood, who went out to France with the Monmouthshire Regiment twelve months last February, was taken prisoner at the battle of Hill 60.
….His wife has received a telegram from him, stating that he escaped from the German prison and is now in Scotland, and will be home as soon as he possibly can.
….Corporal Costin attempted some time ago to make his escape, but was caught, and, as a consequence, was sentenced to imprisonment.
Llais Llafur, 19th August 1916
I posted in the Great War Forum about Costin, hoping to establish a definite link between the Costins in the above articles. It was proved that they are the same man through his report on his escape from Germany, which is in the National Archives. I don't have access to it, but I was told that it's "quite fascinating."
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