Thursday, 16 March 2017

Our poet at Passchendaele 1917


Hedd Wyn
Hedd Wyn 01(a-dg).JPG
Ellis Evans, c.1910.
Frontispiece in Cerddi'r Bugail (1918)
BornEllis Humphrey Evans
13 January 1887
TrawsfynyddMeirionyddNorth Wales
Died31 July 1917 (aged 30)
Pilckem RidgeYpres
Resting placeArtillery Wood Cemetery,Boezinge, Belgium
OccupationPoet
Shepherd/farmer
LanguageWelsh
EthnicityWelsh
CitizenshipBritish
GenreWelsh Poetry
Literary movementRomantic and war poetry
Notable worksYr ArwrYstrad FflurPlant TrawsfynnyddY Blotyn DuNid â’n AngoRhyfel
Notable awardsBard's chair at the 1917National Eisteddfod
Hedd Wyn (born Ellis Humphrey Evans, 13 January 1887 – 31 July 1917) was a Welsh language poet who was killed near YpresBelgium, during the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I
He was a Royal Welsh Fusilier.
He was posthumously awarded the bard's chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod. Evans, who had been awarded several chairs for his poetry, was inspired to take the bardic name Hedd Wyn (Welshblessed peace) from the way sunlight penetrated the mist in the Meirionydd valleys.
His style, which was influenced by romantic poetry, was dominated by themes of nature and religion. He also wrote several war poems following the outbreak of war on the Western Front.

See also the  Oscar nominated 1992 film, Hedd Wyn (film).

For more information:

16th March 1689 – ON THIS DAY IN RWF HISTORY


Henry, 4th Lord Herbert of Chirbury commissioned to raise a regiment of foot, 1689


On 16 March 1689 King William III authorised nine of his supporters to raise regiments of infantry. Lord Herbert of Chirbury was allocated the counties of Montgomery, Radnor and Shropshire. Pressure of political business soon forced him to resign and he was succeeded by his cousin Charles Herbert. The new Regiment, known as Herbert’s Regiment, assembled
at Ludlow.


Monday, 13 March 2017

11th March 1777 - ON THIS DAY IN RWF HISTORY


2nd Lt George Bayntun promoted Lt during the Revolutionary War in America. Bayntun’s service is listed below. The attached portrait of Bayntun was purchased by Brigadier Eric Skaife, in the 1930s and now hangs in the Regimental Museum.
BAYNTUN, George Edward Werden. Born in 1738, the eldest son of Edward Bayntun ( –1777) of the Coldstream Guards, and Susanna (née Werden) co-heiress with her half-sister, the Duchess of St Albans.
He was commissioned 2nd lieutenant RWF, on 22 November 1775 and promoted lieutenant on 10 March 1777. He served in North America during the revolution and is known to have done duty in HMS Centurion from 2 August to 19 September 1778 when the RWF, volunteered for service as marines in the fleet under Admiral Lord Howe.
He is noted as a member of the Officers’ Mess Committee in the minute book signed at Chatham on 25 November 1787 but he transferred to the 2nd Foot as captain on 4 November 1788.
He sold his commission in 1793 and died in 1806.
His portrait in oils by Thomas Beach (1738–1806) was purchased by Brigadier Skaife (q.v.) in ?1937 (see Y Ddraig Goch, January 1937, page 4) and was bequeathed by him to the regiment. Bayntun’s dress in the portrait is discussed in Y Ddraig Goch, March 1961 page 57.
His brother, Admiral Sir Henry Bayntun GCB (1766–1840) commanded HMS Leviathan at Trafalgar.
References Burke, J and JB, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Extinct and Dormant
Baronetcies of England, London 1838, page 561



Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Happy Saint David's Day!

Probably nowhere is the patron saint of Wales, Saint David, so ceremoniously and so regularly honoured as on the 1st of March wherever the Royal Welch happen to be. In peace and war, at home or overseas, leeks are worn, and the day observed, as far as possible, as a holiday.

The ancient ceremony of eating the leek in the Officers' Mess has remained largely unchanged over the years. It is recorded that "…the officers give a splendid entertainment to all their welch brethren ; and after the cloth is taken away… the band playing the old tune of, "The Noble Race of Shenkin", when a handsome drum-boy, elegantly dressed, mounted on the goat richly caparisoned for the occasion, is led thrice round the table in procession by the drum-major…" Although no longer ridden, the Goat is still led around the table after dinner, followed by a drummer, fifers and drum-major carrying a silver salver on which are raw leeks, and the mess sergeant with a loving-cup filled with champagne. They halt by the latest joined subaltern who stands on his chair and, placing his right foot on the table, eats a leek while the drummer plays a continuous roll until it is completely consumed. He is then handed the loving-cup for the toast 'and Saint David'. All those present who have not 'eaten a leek' with the Regiment, including guests, are expected to do so before the party withdraws.
Similar ceremonial takes place in the Sergeants' Mess, and the other ranks' dining hall, where the latest joined soldier in each Company eats a leek. 


"A Dewi Sant"


Friday, 10 February 2017

8th February 1945 – ON THIS DAY IN RWF HISTORY

Operation VERITABLE - Territorial battalions of the Royal Welch Fusiliers enter Germany in the battle for the Reichswald Forest, Germany, 1945

The 53rd (Welsh) Division with the 4th, 6th and 7th Battalions were involved in this bloody and bitter battle which, was one of the most unpleasant of the Second World War. During it, the Commanding Officer of the 7th Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Dickson, was killed. It took many days to clear the enemy from the forest and substantial casualties were suffered in the process.


Sunday, 29 January 2017

27th JANUARY 1920 – ON THIS DAY IN RWF HISTORY


Spelling of ‘Welch’ approved by War Office, 1920

The War Office finally approved the use of ‘Welch’ in the Regiment’s title. The word had been used in the eighteenth century for ‘Welsh’ and had also appeared irregularly in the title of the Regiment. An appeal to the War Office shortly before the First World War to authorise the use of ‘Welch’ was rejected.


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

NEW BOOK REVIEW

Book Review
Michael Crawley "The Unknown Grandfather"
Cawley, Michael Robinson, The Unknown Grandfather. ( Greyhound Self-Publishing: Worcester, 2015). 121p 81 illus 1map. ISBN 978-1-909219-25-0
As the title suggests this is the biography of the author’s grandfather, Robert Robinson Cawley, a Lancashire man, who served with 1 RWF in India, the Boer War and in the UK between 1890 and 1906. He was the battalion Drum Major before leaving the Army. At the outbreak of the First World War he was recalled to the Colours and posted to the 8th (Service) Battalion RWF which formed at Wrexham. As an ex-regular his experience would have been in high demand in this brand new Battalion with very few men with prior military service. He served with 8 RWF in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia before being awarded a Quartermaster’s commission and posted to India to assist in the training of Indian Army units. Tragically he died of Malaria on 30 June 1918 aged 41. This is a useful book as little has been written about 8 RWF and the author makes good use of existing service records and some personal papers to tell his grandfather’s story. A worthwhile addition our knowledge of the Old Contemptibles who fought in both the Boer and First World Wars.