The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion

Recognising the contribution of Wales in contemporary society

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Llewelyn Wyn Griffith and the London Welsh, 1914–1918

It is fitting that this Society should begin its programme for the centenary year of the outbreak of the Great War by looking at the London Welsh and one of its most distinguished former members. My credentials for submitting this paper, aside from having commanded The Royal Welch Fusiliers and later been their Colonel, is that I edited the latest edition of Llewelyn Wyn Grif th’s memoir, Up to Mametz, along with its previously unknown sequel, Beyond Mametz.1

Up To Mametz has long been regarded, rightly, as one of the classic texts of the Great War. However, when it was first published in 1931 its showing was rather poor, for it sold no more than one thousand copies, in spite of being well reviewed: it is well-written, easy to read and extraordinarily vivid. But it followed the publication of a series of other war memoirs, all of which received great critical acclaim: Edmund Blunden’s Undertones of War in 1928; Robert Graves’s Goodbye to All That in 1929, and Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs of an Infantry Officer in 1930. It seems that when he first wrote it, Wyn Griffith wrapped the manuscript in paper and put it away for his children to read in later years. It was only when his friends, the novelist Margaret Storm Jameson and the poet Sir Herbert Read, became aware of it that it was published.2

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