Meanwhile in Wales Part 1
(This is the first of a 3 part series I'll be posting on the events in Wales during the 50's and 60's )
Despite being an ancient Celtic nation (the original "Britons" were in fact, the Welsh) with its own language and culture still very much alive to this day, Wales has long been subject as a backyard of the British Empire.
Armed resistance had effectively ended with the defeat and disappearance of Owain Glyndŵr in the 1400's; it was the conclusion of almost 3 centuries of war and the Welsh were unable to make a major resurgence afterwards.
This timeline covers the events and campaigns which were begun in the late 40's and 50's to protest British rule and stir people into action against London's policies in Wales.
It was put together by veteran Welsh campaigner Gethyn Gruffydd on his blog:
Be sure to give the blog a look, some great info, past and present.
Welsh Republican Movement 1946 – 1956: Time Line.
By Gethyn Gruffydd
1946: WW II ends, Welsh Service Men return home some with new political ideas and Ideals.
(Compare with Algerian Insurrection; Old Nationalism and post war new young nationalist radicalism).
1947: Cliff Bere Writes and publishes “The Welsh Republic” - “Welsh Republicanism” is born?
1948: An “English speaking” (Republican Sympathising) Branch of Plaid Cymru is formed in Caerdydd.
· On 23 October 1948 at the Cory Hall in Caerdydd organises “Republicans” within Plaid Cymru.
1949: Ithel Davies produces a document on proposed “Welsh Republican Policy” later their “manifesto”.
· On 30th April 1949 at Rhydaman: “Welsh Republicans” heckle meeting of James Griffiths MP.
· At the annual conference of Plaid Cymru in Dyffryn Ardudwy Republicans attempt policy change.
· 24 – 25 September 1949 at Castell Nedd: The Welsh Republican Movement was founded.
A Green, Red & White Tri Colour is adopted as flag of the newly formed W.R.M. launches an all Wales Union Jack burning campaign that leads to a number disturbances, arrests and court appearances. Welsh Republican flags are tied to tops of lamp posts and trees – imitating successful Irish anti – English Monarchist campaigns.
1950: The Council of the WRM determines to stand a Republican candidate at Ogwr in the B.G.E.
· Trefor Morgan a “Republican” stands for election as an Independent Nationalist ‘in Merthyr Tudful.
· At Eisteddfod Abertawe Republicans launch their paper ‘Y Gweriniaethwr’’ also at this Eisteddfod appeals are made to Welsh Republicans not to burn Union Jacks.
1951: Links made with the Irish R.M and WRM Branches start to be established in areas of rural Cymru.
· 28th April 1951 WRM meeting at Creunant hears speech warning against ‘Pacifism’.
· 16th June 1951 at Neath a WRM Union Jack Burning rally is disrupted by police action.
· 25th July 1951 appears at Magistrate court in Caerdydd making WRM case against conscription.
1952: Welsh Republican Movement instigates various campaigns through out the land.
· .Against Forestry Commission land grabbing in Ystrad Tywi.
· 17th June 1950 Republicans launch Anti – Conscription Campaign at street rally in Aberdar.
· Union Jack flag burning campaign continues.
· Campaign in support of imprisoned Bretons.
· Campaign for restoration of lost lands ‘Blaenau Diroedd’. (We need to revive this campaign)
· Call for a Welsh Trade Union Congress and independent Welsh Unions.” Republican Trade Unionism”
· 5th October 1952: Celtic Alliance Campaign Rally in Trafalgar Square.
19th October 1952: Bomb attack on the Fron Aqueduct in Central Cymru as protest against water theft. By England in building of the Claerwen Dam project, also viewed as a protest against the English Monarchy with it being known that Elizabeth of England would open the dam.
1953: Coronation Year Celebrations in Wales reminds Republicans just how servile the Welsh are.
· 13th March 1953 Republican Beriah G. Evans on trial for being in possession of Explosives.
· 20th March 1953 Peter Rhyswil Lewis in custody for possession of detonators later imprisoned.
· Welsh Republicans express their discontent with the ‘Parliament for Wales Campaign’.
1953: Witnesses the fourth year of publication of ‘Y Gweriniaethwr’ and in Oct – Sept issue of the paper, boldly printed on the front page was celebration of the 19 October 1952 first anniversary of the Fron Aqueduct bomb attack and birth of contemporary “Secret Underground Welsh Resistance Movement’’
1954: Signs appear of a crisis within the Welsh Republican Movement?
· June 1954 Pedr Lewis is released from Stoke on Trent Prison.
WRM ‘Y Gweriniathwr’ continues to be published and distributed, no doubt the best ‘’nationalist publication’’ ever and only seconded by its reissue in the late 1970’s by a new generation of ‘Welsh Republicans’’ led by Niel ap Siencyn and Gareth ap Sion representing a form of ''Cultural" Radical Cymric Republicanism (See Padreag Pearse and Irish Republicanism).
1955: Republicans despite issues with, foolishly I believe supports the ‘Parliament for Wales Campaign’, ‘Y Gweriniaethwr’ continues to be published but there is little evidence of usual campaigning?
1956: The Welsh Republican paper continues to be published but little to record of any activities.
interestingly an editorial in ‘Y Gweriniaethwr’ states REMEMBER AND BE PROUD – The Lessons of our National Struggle…Editorial goes on to say….I quote in full: "In this year of 1956, Wales celebrated a number of significant anniversaries. First in point of time, it is a century & a quarter this summer since Lewis the Huntsman and Dic Penderyn rallied their men on the windy heights of Twyn – y – Waun, above Dowlais, and raised for the first time in our land, the Red Flag” NB: historically this is wrong, it was Hirwaun Common that should have been referred to (see my writings on the 1831 Insurrection) where the Red Flag was raised on 31 May 1831 by Lewis Lewis and Radicals of Penderyn and Hirwaun.
1957: The Cilmeri Cenotaph is unveiled and it seems from reading ‘The Young Republicans’ that editorial of the WRM I paper finds this to be some kind of worthy marker mile stone along the “Welsh Republican Road to Independence’’. I say it is not and I find it very ironic that in this same year it looks as if the first Welsh Republican Movement comes to an end? Which leads me to ask a number of considerations: despite the first WRM as other WRM’s declaring its ‘Socialism’, ultimately all attempts at ‘Republicanism’ in Wales have fallen prey to their ‘Welsh Nationalism’ and this is no better seen and exemplified by the rather pity full sight of professed ‘Welsh Republicans’ meandering about at what may be perceived as "Welsh Medieval Monarchist Commemorations" at Machynlleth, Corwen and not least – what now seems to me to be the death bed of so called ‘Welsh Republicanism’ the Cilmeri Cenotaph. I might beg the question should there not be inscribed upon that ‘rock’ the words ‘W.R. M. 1946/7/8 – 1957 R.I.P.?
My thanks to Cliff Bere RIP and the book THE YOUNG REPUBLICANS by “Gweriniaethwr’’ published by ‘Gwasg Garreg Gwalch’. I strongly suggest that you obtain this book and read it, I remind that many Welsh Republicans of this period have died and few are left and are now themselves growing old. Should not some one set out to record their important ‘WELSH REPUBLICAN RECOLLECTIONS’