The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion

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home > Transactions > Volume 27 - 2021 > GRUFFYDD DEWI ROBERTS: A LOST WELSH POET AND WRITER FROM THE GREAT WAR

GRUFFYDD DEWI ROBERTS: A LOST WELSH POET AND WRITER FROM THE GREAT WAR

Wales’s oldest infantry regiment, The Royal Welch Fusiliers, is famous for many accomplishments; but perhaps the thing that most people recognise about the regiment is its artistic, poetic and literary tradition. This has been a feature of its history since the American Revolutionary War and has continued into the present time but was particularly marked during the Great War. Between 1914 and 1919, the regiment’s ranks boasted the English language poets Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, Vivian de Sola Pinto and David Jones – the latter was also a calligrapher and artist. The English language prose writers Frank Richards, J.C. Dunn, Bill Tucker, Bernard Adams, Edward Vulliamy and Wynn Powell Wheldon; and the Welsh-speaking bard Ellis Humphrey Evans, or Hedd Wyn; the Welsh poet and prose writer Llewelyn Wyn Griffith; and the painter Richard Lunt Roberts also served in its ranks. This is such an extraordinary concentration of talent that it is almost easier to list the writers and artists of the Great War who did not serve in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, than those who did. The canon is not, it seems, complete, for one of its number has been lost. This is the poet and writer Gruffydd Dewi Roberts – or Dewi as he was usually known.

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