A Tramp Abroad on Anglesey

Washi Bach - Tramp, Anglesey


Where does his name come from? Quite clearly for us Welsh people, this is an affectionate term or one of pity.

We say, Fy Ngwas i” or here on Anglesey, Fy Ngwash i.

'Gwas' can also mean 'Servant'.

Affectionately, a caring person would say it about someone loved or poorly. It means, “My boy.” Bach means ‘Little’.

Washi Bach has two meanings:

  • A term of endearment/affection/pity,
  • Or, even to discriminate between another. There may be a Washi Fawr (big).

    I remember a dark figure walking past our house in Ucheldre Llangefni and up to the gate of Felin Graig farm that backed onto ‘Y Graig’.

    I can’t have been more than three or four years of age and my memory of him is more emotional than detailed. Even as a child I was intrigued by him, though I have to admit he did scare me quite a bit. He was much taller than me.

    Looking back over all those years, I think ... just think ... that it was the deep silence that he carried with him that concerned me.

    He moved up between the houses, past Mr and Mrs McCloud and Uncle Huw and Aunty Hannah’s through the gate and up the track to the farm.

    Looking at the image seems to put Washi Bach between forty and fifty years of age, though he could be much younger. The life he lived would have aged him considerably.

    To me he appeared outside of age. He was a large dark, brooding, bearded and silent figure lost in thought, pre-occupation.

    I imagine that an assessment of his condition these days would have pointed to dissociation and personality disorder. There was no violence attached to him and neither my parents nor friends have any reports of such.

    My father and mother told me later that Washi bach would knock at the door and receive a warm welcome from Mr and Mrs Williams who owned the farm.

    He would hand over his ‘bacco and matches and then settle down in the barn next to the farmhouse.

    Mr and Mrs Williams were extremely kind people. Their son Owen was at school with my father and a very decent chap by all accounts.

    Mrs Williams was blind and Mrs King’s aunty – for those of you who just might remember. All three are now buried in Llanallgo Church, Moelfre.

    I’m not sure that Washi Bach received as warm a welcome everywhere, but Felin Graig was a guarantee of warm greetings and hot meals. Such places were oases in a desert of distrust.

    Llanallgo Church - Owen, Hugh & Maggie Anne Williams, Felin Graig, Llangefni


    There was no romance attached to the life of a tramp. Life was frequently brutal and inevitably brief because of poor nutrition, illness and violence.

    If you’ve read the book, Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell then you’ll already know that after the First World War there was in the region of 120,000 tramps wandering the countryside of Britain.

    Orwell explains, and it makes sense, that many, if not most, were individuals who had been severely damaged by the Great War.

    Whether it was mental health issues from severe shell shock from the appalling trench warfare, poverty or a broken home, these were incredibly vulnerable individuals.

    Some suffered serious mental health conditions and were dangerous while others were lost, nameless souls who were victimised wherever they wandered.

    Kindnesses were rare. They must have either lived in some alternate world or been in constant fear of attack by bullies and cowards.

    It was mostly older people who remembered the appalling poverty of the turn of the century who would show kindness, while the rest would be fearful and avoid all contact.


    I am informed that Washi Bach was found under bushes riddled with Tuberculosis and died soon after in hospital.

    I do not know his name or where he came from or where he was buried. I find this desperately sad.

    At least we have cemeteries to wander about and acknowledge the existence of those gone before us. We can read the names on the gravestones and maybe learn something of their lives and families.

    18th Century gravestones seem intent on leaving us an essay of the life and qualities of the departed, as if they or their families were even then aware that true oblivion lies in being forgotten by the living.


    I’m sure I could carry out a Google Search and found out some information; however, I have resisted this and ask for your living memories instead.

    I wish for this page to be a remembrance of his existence on the world and ask for your memories.

    Do You Remember Washi Bach?

    As I write above, my remembrance of Washi Bach is that of a four or five year old child.

    I would love to hear your stories. I feel a need to broaden the knowledge of this vulnerable individual so that he is remembered as a three-dimensional person.

    I wish to give significance to his existence. Maybe someone will do the same for us one day.

    There were other tramps but they are beyond my childhood memory. I'm sure that there are many Anglesey people across the world who'd love to be reminded of their presence among us.

    What Other Visitors Have Said

    Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

    Thanks for this story! 
    I don’t know anything of Washi Bach, but I googled Tigín Bach for my mother in Ireland. She had heard of a man who lived in co Cork before she was born …

    Washi Bach  
    Washi bach was a familiar figure when I was growing up in Pentraeth in the fifties and sixties, although his visits were infrequent. As somebody else …

    Washi at Valley Hospital 
    The Archive of Stanley Hospital contains a paper from the erstwhile Valley Hospital referring to Washi Bach as one of it's last patients. https://archiveshub.jisc.ac.uk/s …

    Hi Wil My father came from Anglesey and we made 3/4 visits a year to his parents and brothers and sister. As the returning granddaughter I was probably …

    I have vague memories of my grandfather, Richard Evans (son of Evan Evans / Ifan Ifas) of Gwalchmai, telling stories of how tramps would frequent the farm …

    I remember Washi Bach very well 
    I was brought up in Bryn Refail. Penrhoslligwy and I remember Washi Bach very well. He used to call at our house for hot water and mam used to make …

    Washi Bach in Llanddeusant 
    Hi Wil What a Read! I just stumbled on this site. I was born and raised in Llanddeusant and I would guess that it was in the late '50s that I remember …

    Washi At Pentre Berw 
    Helo Wil, I was born and bred at Pentre Berw. During the 50's Washi would come on his rounds. When I was Headmaster of Ysgol Penysarn I collected …

    Washi Bach - Yr Arwydd, Amlwch 
    Helo Wil. My name is Donald Glyn Pritchard . When I was Headmaster of Ysgol Penysarn, one of the pupils brought me a photo of Washi Bach that his …

    A Calender Dated 1993.  
    Sut Mai Wil, I just popped in to see my Mam and Dad only to find that my Dad had picked up a calender in a car boot sale this morning: 'Yr Arwydd' …

    I Thought Washi Bach Had Died In The Old Valley Hospital 
    Hi Wil I thought Washi Bach had died in the old Valley hospital near Holyhead. It used to be an old workhouse many years ago, just around the Washi …

    Y Bardd Cocos 
    Hi Wil Was it my imagination that my Nain and Taid used to talk about someone called Y Bardd Cocos - I think . I remember them saying he was from …

    Washi Bach : My Nain And Taid Pentraeth 
    Hi there Wil I am 50 years old and now live in Perth Western Australia but I was born in Pentraeth, Anglesey, which is where I remember the name …

    A Man of Mystery 
    Hi Wil I also remember Washi Bach. As a child, I used to cut across Canada Gardens in Holyhead to visit my Aunt. I frequently saw him there and …

    Washi Bach 
    Hi Wil, Yes I remember Washi Bach who often used to visit Penygraigwen and Parc in north west Anglesey when I was a child. He was a harmless …

    Living In Benllech As A Child In The 50s And Washi Bach 
    I lived in Benllech during the summers as a child,1950's into the sixties and stayed with the Fairhursts at the sea shell. Aunty Peggy used to talk …

    Washi Bach  
    Hi Wil This article is incredible, I remember Washi Bach very well and was absolutely terrified of him. Strange seeing his photograph after all of …

    My Anglesey Connection and Washi Bach 
    I have recently returned from a visit to my ancestral area on Anglesey and reflected on the massive changes in Beaumaris so many restaraunts and expensive …

    Living at Nains 1960 LLangoed 
    Hi Wil Well I think I met Washi Bach! I was at Nain's with my brother and Mam from Feb 1960 until the following November, as I was under five I was …

    Washi Bach Memories 
    Hi Wil I left anglesey as a six year old in 1959. It's been so long that until now Washi Bach seemed like a figment of my imagination. My images …

    Wil Responding to Emyr Williams' Story 
    Dear Emyr from Oldham in Lancashire, It was nice of you to write to share your memories of Washi Bach. The sadness you express about Washi Bach is …

    Washi Bach 
    Dear Wil Yes, I remember Washi Bach well. Around 1949 he did his rounds of Anglesey with his stick and a sack on his shoulder. When he came round …

    Washi Bach.. 
    Things seem pretty much affirmed that the man known as 'Washi Bach' received warm welcomes from the "Felin Graig" Farm where ffermwr Williams lived with …

    I remember " Washi bach " 
    I remember "Washi Bach". I must have been about 4 or 5 years old, Living in Ucheldre, Llangefni in the 1960's. I only have memories of him walking …

    Click here to write your own.

    Washy Bach. 
    When did he for a moment cease to think of his late home and the dear friends & familiar faces cannot be told. To prepare the mind for such a heavy …

    He used to sing for a half penny outside Figonies chip shop Amlwch 
    I remember him well and he did no-one any harm. Sometimes he used to stay in the Blue Bell (tramp house in Amlwch Port ) where others like him got …

    The Queens in Bryndu 
    Da iawn. Diolch Wil, Sut mae? The Queens must have been where my old man took me for a haircut. I'm sure the barber/butcher used to cut our hair …

    Washi bach  Not rated yet
    Dear Wil Washi Bach was a familiar figure when I was growing up in Pentraeth in the fifties and sixties, although his visits were infrequent. As somebody …

    Washi Bach. Not rated yet
    Washi Bach walked around Holyhead in the 60s. Never heard him speak to anyone and was always alone.

    Washi Bach in his hey day. Not rated yet
    My claim to fame is that I cut Washi Bach's hair and beard in our cow shed where we farmed on the Parciau estate. I would have been about fourteen at …

    Washi Bach  Not rated yet
    I remember Washi Bach from my childhood in the 1950s. He would call at Bodedern on his travels and I remember my late Dad making a sandwich for him …

    I remember Washi Bach calling at our then home in Mynydd Machell. Sir Fòn. Not rated yet
    Helo Wil I remember Washi Bach calling at our childhood home in Mynydd Mechell. Sir Fòn. He used to carry a 'pisar'a kind of can with a lid. My mother …

    When did Washi Bach Die Not rated yet
    Annwyl Gyfeillion / Dear Friends, In all my conversations I have been unable to discover when Washi Bach died. It seems that many of the people,who …

    Washi Bach in Amlwch Not rated yet
    Hello Wil I remember Washi Bach,as he used to visit Nan and Taid's smallholding near Amlwch. Nan used to give him hot water to make tê tramp (tramps …

    2015 Not rated yet
    Hi Wil Happy New Year to one and all (Yes I know were well into January now). Just spent a few minutes looking through the site to see what's new, nothing. …

    washi bach Not rated yet
    I used to see Washi Bach quite often when he passed lastra on his way to Rhafod where the old ladies used to give him food and shelter. Once every …

    WASHI BACH Not rated yet
    Hi Wil Just touching base with the site this morning. I am amazed at the contributions received regarding Washi Bach - from all corners of the island …

    I do remember Washi Bach very well as a nine year old child when we came to Pencae in Pentrefelin in Amlwch Not rated yet
    Hi Wil Washi came to the door a few days after we moved in. My sister and I were a bit scared of his rough appearance …

    Washi Bach at Holyhead Not rated yet
    There was a row of derelict houses at Garden Place to Blue Bell, Holyhead in the late 1940's early 50's. Washi …

    The mumbling loner.... Not rated yet
    Yes it seems that we all appeared to have been about 5 to 10 years old when Washi was drifting by our homes in the fifties. Somehow he reflects an image …

    Poem about Washi at Lon Dwll,Pentre Berw continued Not rated yet
    Sut mae Wil, oeddet ti yn Ysgol Llangefni 1954 i 1961? I'm sorry I couldn't get the whole poem in when I contacted you a few days ago. Last verse... …

    Pellina Doyle nee Sharp  Not rated yet
    Hello Wil Washi Bach used to stay in the Blue Bell in Amlwch Port with my Nain and Taid (grandma and grandad). They used to share the attic with …

    Washi Bach. An Annual Visitor Not rated yet
    Hello Wil Washi bach was indeed an annual visitor who used to call past Will Howarth's yard in Pentraeth and end up in Tan 'Rallt,/b>. I remember …

    Washi Bach - I Remember the Name and the Face Not rated yet
    Hello Wil As a child in the 1950s I remember visiting my grandparents in Llanffinan and other relatives in Llangefni and other parts of the island. …

    Click here to write your own.

    Return from Washi Bach to HOME PAGE.

    Solo Build It!

    New! Comments

    Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

  • Books by William Jones, author of this web site.

    Now in Paperback

    Have a look inside


    Anglesey Award Winning Beaches


    Anglesey Award Winning Beaches


    Recent Articles

    1. North Stack Fog Warning Station. Beautiful Walk. Fascinating History

      Dec 22, 23 12:35 PM

      North Stack Fog Signal Station, just south of the Port of Holyhead, offers astonishing coastal walk and beautiful views of rugged Anglesey coastline.

      Read More

    2. Holyhead Breakwater Country Park. Award Winning Anglesey Green Space

      Dec 22, 23 12:31 PM

      Holyhead Breakwater Country Park. Astonishing coastal beauty. Award Winning Anglesey Green Flag Country Park. A superb green space for family fun and walks

      Read More

    3. White Beach. Excellent bleached pebble beach, Crazy Horses and Nervy Driving

      Dec 08, 23 05:43 AM

      White Beach Opposite View
      White Beach really, really is a hidden gem. By that, I mean it is really, really well hidden. Dinner plate pebbles, nice picnics, CRAZY HORSES and some pretty good fishing.

      Read More

    Never EVER Stop Chasing Your Dreams.

    Retire To Something


    SBI! Quick Tour

    Reviews 160x600

    BlockBuilder 2