Edward “Ted” Jones Whitehead, now 94, was born in the Rhondda Valley of South Wales in 1923. Orphaned at nine he spent time with older brothers and sisters until he left school at sixteen. While attending secondary school, his English master would give him the day off for superior essay writing – a talent he has maintained throughout his life.
At eighteen after leaving a literally rubbish job in England, Ted found himself at the Swansea sea port in South Wales. There is where his ocean going began during World War II in the dangerous engine rooms down below and his globetrotting journeys lasted for the next forty years. Ships took him to every continent except Antarctica and as a senior his wanderlust has not stopped. Through the years some of his adventures have included the French Foreign Legion and service on the Queen Mary I.
For the last thirty years, Ted has lived first in Australia and now has made his home in the tropics of Bangkok, Thailand. He has been profiled in Perth (The West Australian) and Fremantle (Herald) Australian newspapers while also writing several of his wartime experiences for them. As early as 1942, his local Welsh newspaper, Peglers, in the Rhondda Valley, reported several ship mishaps that had already plagued the young seaman.
On his first transatlantic crossing on the ship S/S Lilly (Greek) he was torpedoed off the coast of Halifax and rescued by the Canadian Navy. He spent some time recuperating in a local hospital with scores of other merchant seamen..
Hello- I’m Ash. I have been spending time in Bangkok Thailand for a number of years. About three years ago I met an old guy called Edward Jones whitehead from Wales, UK, also known as “Taff or Ted” who is now 94 years old. 95 in July. Myself and my wife take care of him here in Bangkok. When I first met him he told me of a book he has written about his life as a merchant seaman. He gave me the manuscript written in type and I took on the job of copying it all on a digital document in the hope of publishing. As soon as I started writing it I could tell he was a very talented writer. Then he told me he had numerous articles published in the West Australian newspaper and The Fremantle Herald where he lived for a number of years. I have recently published his book on createspace the Amazon self publishing section and on Kindle. The book is titled “Down Below, Reminincences of a world war 11 merchant seaman.