Sunday, 30 May 2021

Reverend Sir Albert Evans-Jones – Bardic name Cynan - (1895 - 1970) –Welsh Poet, writer and playwrite


Albert in WW1
Albert was born in Pwllheli on 14th April 1895. His parents were Richard Albert Jones andhis wife, Hannah Jane (née Evans). His father, Councillor Richard Albert Jones, ran the Liverpool House confectionery shop and Central Restaurant in Pwllheli. In 1917 Albert's mother opened a women’s labour exchange, to supply “Ladies requiring superior Maids” as far away as Manchester, Blackpool and Aberystwyth. She also found work for shop workers, waitresses, cooks and kitchen maids.

Educated at Pwllheli Grammar School, Albert went on to study at the University College of North Wales in Bangor, graduating in 1916.  During the First World War, Albert joined the Welsh Student Company of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), serving in Salonika and France, initially as an ambulance man and then, from 15th September 1917, as the Company's temporary military chaplain.

After the war, Albert went to college in Pwllheli to train for the ministry of The Presbyterian Church of Wales. He was ordained at Penmaenmawr Caernarfonshire in 1920, and served there as minister until 1931.   His poem Mab y Bwthyn, describing a young Welshman’s life while serving during WW1, won Albert the crown at the National Eisteddfod in Caernarfon in 1921.  

From 1931 until his retirement, Albert was a university tutor in Bangor, living in Menai Bridge, Anglesey, Wales. He won the Eisteddfod crown again in 1923 and 1931 and the chair in 1924. He was also a dramatist and directed many plays, sometimes playing an acting role.

He was the National Eisteddfod’s Cofiadur (Recorder) from 1935 to 1970, and also served as thier Archdruid.   Made a freeman of Pwllheli in 1963, Albert was knighted on 18th November 1969.  He died on 26th January 1970 and was buried in the churchyard of St Tysilio's Church, Menai Bridge, Church Island, Menai Strait, Anglesey.

Translation of Ballade by the War Memorial. (A Speech that would not be heard on Armistice Day). By Alfred Evans-Jones.  Translated by Alan Llwyd.

From ghostly realms I come, a shade,

On your dead sons' behalf, to see

What honour, praise, or accolade:

We would return to, not that we

Would wish for your false eulogy.

But what is this? -- the old, old lie

On stones to shame our memory:

"For one's own land, it's sweet to die."

When the wild heart of youth was made

Tame by the clumsy artistry

Of some rough blacksmith's bayonet blade

Or the hot bullet's ecstasy,

Or when the shells whined endlessly,

And then became a colder cry,

Would you still sing so joyously:

"For one's own land, it's sweet to die?

But it is sweet to be dismayed

On seeing those whom we made free

Through war grown wealthy, while, betrayed,

My friends who fought for victory

Now starve: I'd break these stones to be

Bread for old comrades of days gone by

While you still sing with so much glee:

"For one's own land it's sweet to die."


Friend, in the colours of the O.T.C.,

One day you will remember why

I challenged such hypocrisy:

"For one's own land, it's sweet to die."

Albert's Works:


Telyn y Nos (1921)

Caniadau (1927)


Hywel Harris (1932)

Absalom Fy Mab (1957)


Ffarwel Weledig (1946)


Mosquit Magazine, Magazine of the Salonica Campaign Society, December 1954

The London Gazette, 2 October 1917

Find my Past,Welsh%20war%20poet%20and%20dramatist.