Friday 26 December 2014

Dialectics 1991 by the late Dr D Ceri Evans from Whispers of a Forgotten Nation

Yr  Aflonyddwch Mawr has recently been sent a copy of a Whispers of a Forgotten Nation by Dr D Ceri Evans and has decided to publish his article on Dialectics has a prelude to the work we are undertaking in 2015 on a People's History of Wales.

Like Gwyn Alf Williams, Dr D Ceri Evans understanding of Wales and Welsh problems was seen through the prism of Marxism and the materialist dialectic.

For Hegel and Marx the dialectic was about becoming and not just being, for Lenin and Mao Zedong it was very much about knowing through doing.

Although Dr D Ceri Evans was from a different Marxist tradition than Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr we both agree with and affirm his writing on the materialist Dialectic..


[1991; written for a south Wales International Socialist Group education meeting]

It is said that men are the logical sex, whilst women possess greater intuition. Intuition is an inexplicable hunch or feeling, whilst logic is a system with definite rules and outcomes.

In this way bourgeois ideology attempts to label women as emotional and irrational whilst men are controlled and methodical.

At the same time, this myth implies that there is something lacking, something lifeless and unfeeling, in the so-called logical approach.

So what is logic?

There are three fundamental laws of formal logic :


- an object is always equal to itself

Formal contradiction

- objects of one type are distinct from objects of another type

Excluded middle

- no object can belong to two opposing categories at the same time These laws are used by all of us, women and men, every day.

They are the axioms, or basic assumptions, of most mathematics and of digital computing. They are very useful for many practical purposes and all correspond to reality - if we omit motion

 However, if we look around us we see that in reality everything is in perpetual motion

All things, be they plants, animals or social systems, are born, develop, age and die.

We therefore need laws that reflect this and approximate to reality more closely than formal logic.

This is what dialectical logic attempts to do, though matching laws totally to reality is impossible, precisely because reality is in continuous motion.

Dialectics is therefore an open and continually developing system, part of the endless process of acquiring and refining knowledge.

 It does not reject formal logic but absorbs it as a useful tool, whilst being clear about its limits.

Dialectics can be summarised as: The great basic thought that the world is not to be comprehended as a complex of ready-made things, but as a complex of processes, in which the things apparently stable [...] go through an uninterrupted change of coming into being and passing away. [...] If [...] investigation always proceeds from this standpoint, the demand for final solutions and eternal truths ceases once and for all; one is always conscious of the necessary limitation of all acquired knowledge, of the fact that it is conditioned by the circumstances in which it was acquired. (Engels)

Everything comes into being and exists as a result of definite, or determinate , conditions and causes. But this is only half the truth: things also develop and pass away, a process called negation

 All things... meet their doom; and in saying so, we have a perception that Dialectic is the universal and irresistible power, before which nothing can stay, however secure and stable it may seem itself. (Hegel)

The fundamental cause of all motion, or self-movement , is the internal contradictions of the changing thing.

Contradiction is the co-existence of elements opposed to each other, called opposites

The unity and interpenetration of opposites is a keystone of dialectics.

 There is a struggle within everything, between that which exists and that which is coming into being. This struggle gives rise to change and is eventually resolved by negation, whereby the previously subordinate qualities become dominant.

Contradiction, above all things, is what moves the world: and it is ridiculous to say that contradiction is unthinkable.

The correct point in that statement is that contradiction is not the end of the matter but cancels itself. (Hegel) Negation is not simply about destroying, it is also its own opposite. It is sometimes termed transcendence , to signify elements of conservation and development as well as destruction.

Out of a negation comes a new affirmation , which in turn contains the seeds of its own negation.

Negation of the negation implies returning, via two negations, to the original affirmation, though at a higher level. Changes which maintain the structure of a thing are called quantitative

At a certain point these changes transform the object: a qualitative change has occurred. This is called the transformation of quantity into quality.

The coexistence of opposing elements within a structure is not random but forms a structured totality or whole, governed by specific relations. These elements at the same time struggle to break up that whole.

When studying an object it is necessary to not only analyse its contradictory elements but also how these synthesise to form a totality

Dialectics attempts to look at an object in all its aspects and understand its movement in its totality.

We must look at things not in isolation but in all their interconnections and indirect connections, or

The truth is always concrete, never abstract. (Lenin) How well any theory corresponds to reality can only be determined by practice. In the beginning was the deed. [...] The proof of the pudding is in the eating. (Engels)

Friday 19 December 2014



Why no  big Welsh Promotion of this popular Novelist, is it because he was too over 'popular and widely read by the 'Masses' and had an international following as much as Dylan Thomas if not more so. 

Maybe it was because he did not write poetry and hence not one favoured by our 'Intelligensia' and 'Cultural' Establishments not least 'Y Crachach Newydd' of the Cardiff Media Establishment who have this year doled out any number of Dylan Thomas Documentaries and now three films are on line to boot.

Amazes me they can find money for all this along with paying for three versions of 'Hinterland, one Cymraeg, one in English and one biligual but cannot find the money this year to give us at least Cordell's 'Rape of the Fair Country', why not? 

Maybe because it put forward as did most of his books in this series, a Socialist version of Welsh History, ironic then in the 'Sixties' his books greatly contributed to my Welsh Identity and as much made me then, now i see as mistakenly a Welsh Nationalist.

Do not think I do not like Dylan Thomas Poetry, and I love Under Milkwood but what did Dylan say 'The Land of my Fathers and my fathers can keep it!'.

I somehow think he his rolling around in his grave laughing to high hell with all the 'Cultural Establishment' adoration, maybe hypocritical.

What ever, one and all write to the Cardiff TV Media and 'Film Cymru and demand a film is made of the three books in the Mortymer Triology, sure to gain huge international acclaim and pubums across the World.

Not least hopefully advancing a Wales Socialist Radical Struggle!
The Mortymer Trilogy is the story of the Mortymer family, commencing in 1826, and tells of the trials of several generations of the family, set against the background of the coal mining and iron industries.

In 1985, at the suggestion of fellow South Wales author, Chris Barber, Cordell wrote a prelude to the trilogy, This Proud and Savage Land, which starts in 1800 and tells the story of sixteen year old Hywel Mortymer, who comes from rural Mid Wales to work in the coal mines and ironworks of the industrial South Wales Valleys, owned by early ironmasters and coalowners.

It ends with the birth of his son Iestyn, with which the next book commences.

Cordell was born in Ceylon in 1914 to an English family.[1] A major in the Royal Artillery, he retired from the British Army to civilian life as a quantity surveyor for the War Office and moved to Abergavenny with his wife Rosina and daughter, Georgina.

It was from here that his obvious love for Wales began to grow; in later life he referred in his writings to his mother being from the Rhondda Valley.

Cordell left Wales for spells in Hong Kong and the Isle of Man. Yet he kept coming back to Wales.

He settled at various times in Abergavenny, Chepstow, Milford Haven and Wrexham.

Before he died he lived on Railway Road in Stansty near Wrexham.

He collapsed and died while walking near the Horseshoe Pass in Denbighshire.

It has been suggested that he had gone there with the intention of committing suicide with brandy and anti-depressants, but he died of a heart attack.

He is buried at Llanfoist, Abergavenny.

A personal note from Nickglais Editor of Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr on Alexander Cordell : I remember Alexander Cordell when he lived in Abergavenny  and met him on at least one occasion and my mother read all his books - in fact although they were works of fiction they included much real history - I remember my father telling me about the hiring fairs and discussing with my mother. Cordell's works.

In fact just like Gethin my personal Welsh Revolutionary Socialist identity owes much to Alexander Cordell and his impact on my parents as well as myself.


Monday 15 December 2014

Pound Shop Enoch Powell from UKIP Toys

Whatever criticisms of Russell Brand comrades may have his line on Any Questions that Nigel Farage was a POUND SHOP Enoch Powell was wonderful ! 

Good to see the quick response above of Farage Dummies from UKIP Toys..
Nicholas Glais For those that do not know Enoch Powell was a racist Tory - long since gone to meet the devil and Farage is in the que for Hell to meet Enoch Powell his mentor..


Saturday 13 December 2014

What a real Land Movement Looks Like - MST Brazil - Movement of Rural Landless Workers

MST has been successful in establishing 96 small and medium-sized cooperatives, 1800 public schools, literacy and health programs.

The MST is expanding their reach in their fight for agrarian reform, a free, sovereign, egalitarian Brazil and a continent free from the FTAA (MST, 2010).

Along with La Via Campesina, they have been one of most influential, highly organized peasant movements that have been a cause for real change in agrarian societies.

The MST  have won land titles for over 350,000 families in 2000 settlements and have gained prominence and legitimacy in state affairs

Brazil’s Landless Worker's Movement was born from the concrete, isolated struggles for land that rural workers were developing in southern Brazil at the end of the 1970's. Brazil was going through a politically opening process towards the end of the military regime. Brazilian capitalism was not able to alleviate the existing contradictions that blocked progress in the countryside. Land concentration, the expulsion of the poor from rural areas and the modernization of agriculture persisted, while a mass exodus to the cities and the policies of colonization entered a crisis period. In this context, various concrete struggles slowly began to surface. From these developments, the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, or the Movement of Rural Landless Workers was born and structured with the Encruzilhada Natalino encampment in Ronda Alta, Rio Grande do Sul and the Landless Farmer Movement of Western Paraná (Mastro) as its origins.
The MST was officially founded in 1984, during the 1st Meeting of the Landless Rural Workers in Cascavel, Paraná. The following year, the MST officially organized itself at the national level at the 1st National Congress of the Landless.
This version of the story makes the MST's beginnings seem simple, but the vision for an MST goes back before 1984 and involves much more than just one person’s ideas. This history begins during the end of the 1970s, when a military dictatorship ruled Brazil. The country lived under the manner of the “Brazilian Miracle", but for the rural poor, it was more like the “Brazilian Plague": unemployment and migration of workers from rural to urban areas. The intense mechanization of agriculture, which was introduced under the military governments, left no place for salaried farmworkers, renters or sharecroppers. There were rural workers, however, who believed that they could organize themselves and defend their rights to work the land. As a result, on October 7, 1979, landless farmers from the state of Rio Grande do Sul occupied the Macali land in Ronda Alta. At the same time, similar struggles were taking place in other Southern states such as Mato Grosso and São Paulo. In each state, rural workers were carrying out occupations and news of these occupations spread across the country.Brazilian society supported these actions and the landless occupations became part of the push for democracy throughout the country.
The MST, however, is not the first movement in the struggle for land in Brazil, nor is it the first in Latin America. Much earlier, farming families had organized themselves in search of land and better living and working conditions. We can cite the following examples: from 1950 to 1964, the Peasant Leagues (Ligas Camponesas) and MASTER (Movimento dos Agricultores Sem Terra or the Landless Farmers’ Movement); and at the end of the 19th century, Canudos and Contestado. The Mexican Revolution during the beginning of the 20th century and the Cuban Revolution of 1959, both of which carried forth the idea of “land for those who work it.These and other struggles inspire the MST to continue fighting for a Brazil with more equitable land ownership - "A Brazil Without Latifúndios" (large land tracts with a single owner).
Little by little, the MST began to understand that winning land was important, but not enough. They also need access to credit, housing, technical assistance, schools, healthcare and other needs that a landless family must have met. Somehow landless families needed to survive without very much to start with. In addition, the MST discovered that the struggle was not just against the Brazilian latifúndio, but also against the neoliberal economic model. From this initial work, the MST went on to organize more encampments and occupations of large farms (or fazendas) and headquarters of public and multinational entities, as well as to eliminate fields of genetically modified crops, to carry out marches, hunger strikes and other political actions. One such event was the National March for Employment, Justice and Agrarian Reform, where marchers simultaneously left various states and arrived in the capital city of Brasília on April 17, 1997 (exactly one year after the massacre of 19 workers in Eldorado dos Carajás, Pará). Another example is the 4th National Congress also held in Brasília, where 11,000 landless Brazilians participated in August 2000. These events are still in the minds of the Brazilian people, in a time when agrarian reform is associated with the false promises of the federal government.

Scotland swings decisively behind the SNP and independence in amazing new YouGov poll

The headline results from a new full-scale Scottish poll from YouGov have been released by the Sun on Twitter.  So far I haven't been able to track down the fieldwork dates, but Calum Findlay mentioned yesterday evening that he'd just taken part in this poll, so it's presumably bang up to date.  Let's hope so, because the results are very much at the extreme upper end of what my expectations would have been.

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 47% (+4)
Labour 27% (n/c)
Conservatives 16% (+1)
Greens 3% (-1)
UKIP 3% (-3)
Liberal Democrats 3% (-1)

There have of course been two post-referendum polls from other firms that were even better than this for the SNP (Ipsos-Mori gave them a 29-point lead and Survation gave them a 22-point lead).  But to see a gap of as high as 20 points from YouGov is still a bit startling, because that firm's previous estimate of a 16-point lead was more in line with the average results of their daily subsamples.  In fact, the SNP's subsample lead both today and yesterday was exactly 16 points.  And perhaps more significantly, the party's raw share of the vote in the subsamples has more often than not been quite a bit lower than 47%.  So this poll raises the serious possibility that the daily GB-wide YouGov polls have been understating the SNP's strength, in spite of the party performing outstandingly well in them.  To be fair, there's always been a straightforward reason for supposing that might have been going on - in GB-wide polls YouGov use Westminster-oriented weighting by party ID.

The other point that leaps out is just how dreadfully badly the smaller parties are doing.  I had assumed that the Liberal Democrats' 4% share in the last YouGov poll was a freakish result, but the chances of them being significantly underestimated by random margin-of-error effects in two consecutive polls is obviously pretty low.  The jury is still out on UKIP, though, because they fared a bit better in the last poll.

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 48%
No 45%

It's impossible to know the exact significance of this result until we see the datasets, or find out whether there have been any methodological changes.  The last YouGov poll (which was the only other post-referendum poll from the firm to ask the independence question) produced almost identical results to this, putting Yes on 49% and No on 45%.  However, it was immediately criticised by John Curtice and one or two others for not weighting by recalled referendum vote, which would have had the effect of keeping No in the lead, albeit only very narrowly.  I was slightly cynical about that intervention, because I don't recall Curtice making similar unofficial adjustments to the many pre-referendum polls that failed to weight by country of birth, and which therefore underestimated the Yes vote.  However, it's possible that YouGov will have heeded his complaint, in which case tonight's result is even better for Yes, because it suggests there has probably been a further swing in real terms since the last poll.

If they haven't made any methodological change (which is also perfectly possible - they may want to keep the trend figures meaningful) then it means there hasn't been a further swing, but also that the headline numbers remain directly comparable with pre-referendum YouGov polls, which in all but one (legendary) case had No ahead.  So either way there is no real doubt that a significant number of voters have been converted to independence since September 18th.

Views on the Smith Commission and its proposals for further devolution :

It doesn't devolve enough powers : 51%
It gets the balance right : 23%
It goes too far : 14%

And there, in a nutshell, is the explanation for why the SNP have either maintained their advantage over Labour or increased it somewhat - it appears that they've comprehensively won the battle of perceptions over Smith.  It's all very well for Michael Portillo to sit on a BBC sofa in London, smirking at Alex Salmond like an overgrown schoolboy while tittering : "The Vow has been delivered!  You know that!  You're just playing games!"  But unfortunately for the London establishment and the Daily Record (is there a difference between the two?), it turns out that Scottish voters are not half as stupid as Portillo takes them for.  They know what they heard Gordon Brown promise - and they also know that what the Smith Commission has come up with is quite simply not "Home Rule".  Nor is it "near federalism".  Nor is it the "Devo SUPER Max" promised by Better Together's official representative at the TV debate in the Hydro.

Assuming that YouGov only offered respondents the three options listed above, roughly 58% of people who gave a view said that the Smith proposals are inadequate.  It's also fascinating to see how few people thought the proposals go too far, because that must encompass the evidently dwindling group who are opposed to devolution/self-government altogether.

I've been slightly bemused over the last few days and weeks by the number of London commentators who appear to think that Scottish Labour's problems are being caused by a "leadership vacuum" and that some sort of "honeymoon period" for Jackanory Jim is about to provide a quick fix.  In reality, the Scottish media have been shamelessly treating Murphy as the unofficial leader for weeks now, so that's already factored into the polling results.  To be fair, that doesn't necessarily mean that what's going on is Murphy's fault.  The electorate know that Miliband is the real leader, and above all else it's him that they don't like, rate, trust, or respect.

*  *  *


Tonight's Poll of Polls update is based on the full-scale YouGov poll, plus Scottish subsamples from five GB-wide polls - four from YouGov, and one from Populus.  That means fourteen-fifteenths of the sample comes from YouGov, which is plainly less than ideal!

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 45.0% (+2.4)
Labour 26.5% (-0.4)
Conservatives 16.7% (+0.6)
Liberal Democrats 4.5% (-1.8)
UKIP 3.5% (-1.1)
Greens 2.9% (+0.5)

(The Poll of Polls uses the Scottish subsamples from all GB-wide polls that have been conducted entirely within the last seven days and for which datasets have been provided, and also all full-scale Scottish polls that have been conducted at least partly within the last seven days. Full-scale polls are given ten times the weighting of subsamples.)

Monday 17 November 2014

We endorse the call of Welsh National Rights Movement and Support the Convoy Against Colonialism

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr  will unite with and support any organisation that highlights the Land Question in Wales and we call for maximum support by Patriots and Partisans for the convoy Against Colonialism.

We also call up you to sign our petition for a Welsh Land Act  here.

Saturday 15 November 2014

Lift the Ban on the Kurdish Workers Party - The PKK


Memed Aksoy writing on, 2 September 2014. ‘Why the PKK needs to be taken off the terror list’.
The PKK’s listing as a proscribed organisation around the world endangers a potential solution and peace. This became evident when in 2012 three PKK militants were murdered in Paris in what was certainly a provocation to stall peace talks. The assailant was an agent of the Turkish Intelligence Agency who had links to other intelligence groups. Delisting the PKK would ease the discussions between the PKK and Turkish state and also mean that the EU and USA could play their role in bringing a lasting and just solution.

Fr. Matthew Esau LLM, Kurdish Human Rights Action Group (KHRAG) Newroz Message 2012:
The last outstanding matter in the Middle East is the Kurdish question in Turkey. We call on the EU and the US to play a more animated role in resolving this problem. The EU and the US should also remove the PKK from the Terrorist List. The PKK is not a terrorist organisation, it is a liberation movement and keeping the PKK on terrorist list makes it possible for Turkey to accuse and jail thousands of people in Turkey.

Sebahat Tuncel, Vice Co-chairperson and Istanbul Deputy of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), writing in Jadaliyya, 13 May 2013:
For Turkey to manage this process by itself, for there to be no yielding to internal factions who oppose a democratic peaceful resolution, international powers also have a part to play in terms of duties and responsibilities, especially the United States and the European Union. It would be a contribution to the process of peaceful resolution in Turkey if the United States and members of the European Union were to review their “terrorist organizations” list and remove from it the PKK, which has taken strategic steps to transition from armed struggle to democratic struggle in response to the call by the Kurdish people’s leader Abdullah Öcalan.

David Phillips, Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, writing inHuffington Post, 21 May 2013:
Delisting the PKK would open the door to discussions with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the PKK’s affiliate in Syria, about joining the opposition to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. It would also boost the peace process in Turkey by rewarding the PKK for its recent decision to cease hostilities and withdraw fighters from Turkish soil, maintaining momentum and setting the stage for negotiations aimed at a full final solution to Turkey’s Kurdish question [...]The United States has delisted FTOs before to incentivize peace. Other groups removed from the list during a peace process include the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Groups have also been delisted when circumstances change. Even the Mujahedin Khalq, which was responsible for hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, was recently delisted.

Ahmet Turk, mayor of Mardin and former chair of the DTP speaking with news outlet Rudaw on 23 May 2013:
In my view, keeping the Kurds on the “terrorist list” will only encourage those who do not want a solution, and serve solely their interest. It is a must that this attitude toward the Kurds should change, and the PKK should be de-listed. What will those, who labeled Kurds as “terrorists”, say about this in the future? How will they defend their incorrect decision? This will certainly not remain as it is, and the international community will discuss this issue. Everybody will see clearly who wants this issue to be solved, and who wants the opposite. Kurds do not have any concern about this issue because they trust themselves. It is time for world to see that Kurds are not an obstacle to peace. We know this very well, and achieving true peace will make us very happy. But, it is equally important to expose the true face of those who do not want peace!

Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), quoted in ANF in November 2013:
The EU should definitively review its list of ‘terrorist organisations’ because of the fact that it provides no contribution but constitutes an obstacle to the peace process in Turkey to keep an armed organization which guarantees disarmament in the list of terrorist organisations.

Dr Vicki Sentas, lecturer in Law at UNSW Australia writing in The Conversation on 13 May 2014:
What does this look like when the support base for an armed conflict demands recognition of minority cultures and languages, accountability for state crimes and an end to conflict? Let’s take the example of how the Kurdish struggle for self-determination in Turkey has been transformed into “terrorism”.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is listed by Britain as a terrorist organisation, yet the PKK is currently engaged in fragile negotiations for peace with Turkey. Meanwhile, listing of the PKK as terrorist by the international community has given Turkey the confidence and legitimacy to embark on a mass criminalisation of Kurdish civil society. Between 2009 and the start of 2013, almost 40,000 people were prosecuted for “membership of a terrorist organisation” in Turkey, according to government statistics [...]
Proscription creates an international regime in which some states are empowered to use more repressive tactics against movements for self-determination. The British state, among other states who ban armed conflicts, deserves sustained attention for its role in depoliticising self-determination movements and legitimising and therefore extending state violence elsewhere.

Michael M. Gunter, professor of Political Science at Tennessee Technological University and Secretary General of the EU Turkey Civic Commission, in a piece published in Peace in Kurdistan Campaign on 25 July 2014:
 However, the situation is worse because the United States continues to list the PKK as a terrorist movement. This unfortunate designation hinders the on-going Turkish-PKK peace process. The United States continues to so list the PKK out of deference to its NATO ally Turkey, but since Turkey is negotiating with the PKK the terrorist appellation is no longer appropriate and even hinders the negotiations. If the United States delisted the PKK, Turkey and the European Union (EU) would probably follow suit and the peace process benefit. Instead the United States even continues to denounce falsely such PKK negotiators as Sabri Ok, Remzi Kartal, and Adem Uzun, among others, as drug kingpins.

Sunday 9 November 2014

What do British Nationalists and French Nationalists have in Common with Spanish Nationalists - Fascist Pasts and Fascists Present

Spanish Nazis burn the Catalonian Flag on Referendum Day 
on Catalonia has 2 million people vote in referendum.

The Nationalism of the oppressor means Fascism

The Nationalism of the Oppressed means 
National Liberation and Socialism 





Friday 7 November 2014

Partisans of Great Unrest salute Kurdish Struggle in Kobane


 We Call for  Sanctuary in Wales to Kurdish Refugees stuck on th Turkish Border over Winter will be fatal to Children. 

Plus request Aid is sent to the Refugees in the Camps immediately.

Shot at Dawn : The 15 Welshmen executed during the First World War by their own side by Rachel Misstear

                                                                           William Jones is on Left of Picture

Yr  Aflonyddwch  Mawr says its is time to  have a monument in Wales to those who heroically resisted the First World War on the Western Front as well as at Home.

We are aware of mutinies in three Welsh Regiments on the Western Front  which have been edited out of regimental histories.

The executed and dead will have their say and will not remain excluded from history for  ever.

Private William Jones was probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) induced by the horrors of the Great War.

But after deserting the young solider turned himself in – and later found himself blindfolded and put before a firing squad.

The young solider from the Vale of Neath was one of 306 young British soldiers – 15 of them serving in Welsh ranks – who received the ultimate punishment for military offences such as desertion, cowardice, falling asleep or striking an officer.

They were all shot at dawn.

In 2006 a blanket pardon was issued for the men who died this way following a petition in the years after the First World War.

Now a new book by Neath author Robert King, who campaigned and supported the petition, portrays the brutality faced by the 15 Welshmen who all faced this terrifying end.

Shot at Dawn looks at how during the First World War the concept of ‘shell shock’ – now known as PTSD – was not known and was not accepted as an excuse for desertion or any of the other offences which resulted in men being shot..

Pte Jones’ name has since been inscribed on Glynneath war memorial nearly 90 years after he was executed.

Suspected to have been too young to join the army, Mr King thinks Pte Jones was one of the many hundreds of volunteers who lied about their age and signed up by a desperate army.

“Private William Jones, 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was a Kitchener volunteer who hailed from Glynneath,” said Mr King.

“Jones was a stretcher bearer in France who went missing on June 15, 1917, after taking a wounded soldier to the dressing station.

“The job of a stretcher bearer entailed going out into no-man’s-land collecting wounded and dead soldiers and their body parts and returning them to the dressing station.

“It was a horrendous duty for such a young man and it could have unhinged him, causing him to desert.”

During the early days of September 1917, having been away from his battalion for about three months, he handed himself in to Neath Police Station – possibly encouraged by his family – and the officers there promptly sent him to the assistant provost marshal in Bristol.

“If he had not made the decision to surrender it is probable that he would have been undetected for the duration of the war,” said Mr King.

Pte Jones was executed a month later. In a foreword to the book Neath MP Peter Hain said the men who died had been victims of war rather than failures at war.

Mr Hain supported a proposal in the House of Commons to grant a blanket pardon to the men.

“The terrible injustice suffered by 306 British men executed under the Army Act has been like a deep festering sore,” he said.

“Their ‘offence’ was quite likely to be suffering from shell shock – now called post-traumatic stress syndrome. Through no fault of their own they downed arms and could not serve, so breaching the regulations stipulated by the Army Act.”

In the years following the First World War the executed soldiers’ cause was raised with great passion in the House with Labour MP Ernest Thurtle being one of the first to do so in the early 1920s.

He argued that the executed soldiers should be laid to rest in graves alongside those men who fell in action after responding to a petition submitted by a soldier who felt that they should be honoured in the same way.

Mr King, a local history author from Neath, has been campaigning since the 1970s to have the soldiers pardoned and placed on memorials to those who died in the First World War.

“My attention focused on those Welshmen who had been regulars, volunteers or conscripts and then faced a firing squad for committing one of the variety of offences either through, in some cases, alcoholic inebriation or shell shock (now called post-traumatic stress syndrome).”

Mr King said soldiers who made up the firing line were also mentally scarred by the dawn shootings.
“It must have been horrendous to be instructed to carry out this duty – in some cases the members of the firing party would have known the condemned. To be involved in a firing party would often leave a mark on a man who had knowingly shot someone who had been fighting on the Allied side.”

Four of the 15 Welshmen executed by the British Army had been convicted of murder and were not subject to the blanket pardon that was granted for other offences.

However the court martials they faced were nothing like a civilian murder trial and did not take into account any of the mitigating circumstances surrounding the killings.

Corporal George Povey, from Flintshire, became the first Welshman to be executed and the first soldier to face the firing squad for the offence of leaving his post. He was just 23.

He was executed at Saint-Jans-Cappel in France on February 11, 1915. His immediate grave was lost during the confusion of the war and his name is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

Private Major Penn and Private Albert Troughton, both regular soldiers and single men serving in the 1/Royal Welsh Fusiliers, became the fifth double-execution of the war.

Both had been involved in the fighting around Ypres when the battalion of 300 or so soldiers came under an intense attack from the Germans who, it seemed, had almost penetrated the Allied line. The commanding officer, according to Troughton, told him his brother had been killed along with hundreds of others in the attack.

Troughton said his commanding officers shouted ‘Everyone for himself’ so Troughton and, one assumes, Penn wandered off.

Troughton, along with Penn, was found guilty of deserting his post and executed on April 22, 1915.
Private James Grist Carr was a regular serving in the 2/Welsh 1 Division and was executed for desertion on February 7, 1916.

The circumstances surrounding his alleged desertion are vague. Reasons that led to his desertion are sketchy or nonexistent.

Private Anthony Victor O’Neill (some documents spell his surname as Neil) was a Kitchener volunteer serving with the 1/South Wales Borderers.

The reasons that led to his desertion are, again, sketchy or nonexistent. He was executed on April 30, 1915.

Private John Thomas, a reservist with the 2/Battalion Welsh Regiment 1 Division, was executed for desertion.

The 44-year-old from the Pembrokeshire village of Lamphey was married with three children.

In his defence he argued that, being much older than the majority of soldiers in the ranks, he found it difficult to keep up with them and had expected to be given a job behind the front line.

The argument was not received sympathetically – nor was his marital status nor that he was the father of three children.

He was executed on May 20, 1916.

Private George Watkins was a reservist with 13/Welsh Regiment who was twice wounded and then returned to the action following a period of convalescence.

He deserted his battalion, which was resting behind the lines, during December of 1916. The 32-year-old was shot on May 15, 1917.

Private William Jones, 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was executed on October 25, 1917, for desertion.

Private Thomas Henry Basil Rigby – known as Harry – served with the 10th Battalion South Wales Borderers.

He was a brigade runner on the front line when he absconded from the recently-captured enemy trenches on the Ypres Salient in August 1917.

He was a recidivist already serving a three-year suspended sentence for desertion. The 21-year-old was executed at Armentières on November 22, 1917.

Private William Scholes, 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers, was a conscript born in 1893.

He became the last man serving in a Welsh regiment to be executed for desertion or any other offence during the war.

He was executed on August 8, 1918, for desertion.

Sub-Lieutenant Edwin Leopold Arthur Dyett of Albany Road, Cardiff, 21, was shot dead on January 5, 1917 for desertion.

Another four soldiers were executed for murder.

Private Richard Morgan and Lance Corporal William Price were both serving with the 2/Welsh Regiment and were both from Rhondda. They were aged 32 and 41 respectively.

The two soldiers got drunk on the evening of January 20, 1915, and shot Company Sergeant Major Hugh Hayes.

Reports say Hayes had been victimising the pair. Both were executed on February 15, 1915.

Private Charles William Knight 28, was a Kitchener volunteer from London, serving with the 10th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

He killed Private Alfred Edwards when he shot at his platoon while drunk. He was executed on November 15, 1915.

Private James Skone was a Kitchener volunteer from Pembroke attached to the 2/Welsh Regiment. He was placed on arrest for absence from duty got drunk and shot a man.

He was found guilty of murder and shot on May 10, 1918.