Hands Off Wales: Nationhood and Militancy

Wyn Thomas, Author, Historian, Musician, Folk Music, Chalybeate SpringIn 2013, Hands Off Wales was published by Gwasg Gomer.  A comprehensive study and described by Dr John Davies as ‘the established history of the Tryweryn and anti-investiture campaigns’.  Hands Off Wales addresses the campaign of militancy which Wales witnessed in the 1960s and which was predominantly undertaken by Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru.  While the publicity orientated campaign of the so-called Free Wales Army is also afforded significant attention, the more militant campaign of Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru and its position within the pantheon of global terrorism is primarily addressed – as is the phenomenon and rise of international terrorism.

Whether through accident or design, this enigmatic and turbulent period in the nation’s history has been largely overlooked by historians and cultural commentators.  For the first time, Hands Off Wales analysed the events which for too long have been met with historical indifference.  The importance of the subject, its illegality, and the myths which encompass much of the detail demand that the topic is closely examined; while full attention to the motives and thinking of those routinely dismissed by contemporaries and historians as ‘terrorists’ is paid.  This, many believe, is the definitive work; and as such, it gets as close to the ‘truth’ as anything previously compiled.

Throughout Welsh history’s often troubled passage, when the death knell for Welsh nationhood has apparently sounded, patriotism has re-emerged to challenge and protect.  Time and again, that mysterious allure has brought men and women to the fore, all united in the moral cause to safeguard that which defines the Welsh nation.  And so, it was in the 1960s, that same inexplicable force led men to lay explosives in the name of Welsh cultural identity; despite appalling risk, to both themselves and to others.  In writing Hands Off Wales, I believed that it was time that these events were given their rightful place within the rich, lurid pages of Welsh historical writing.

Current writing projects:

John Jenkins’ biography – I am currently writing the biography of John Jenkins, the former director general of Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru.  Having interviewed John many times since 2004, I feel (with good reason) that I know him probably better than anybody – and certainly with regards his orchestration of the militancy as exercised by Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru.  Throughout the period of my somewhat exhaustive research (and most notably in recent months) I have been informed of many fascinating facts – both in relation to those factors which formed John Jenkins’ character but also the MAC protest – which are completely outside the existing public domain.  Further to discussions with Lolfa, it is expected that John Jenkins’ biography will be published in July 2019, to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Royal Investiture.

‘Tryweryn’ – I am also currently writing what I am led to believe will be the definitive account of the ‘Tryweryn’ story.  In unprecedented detail, it addresses (primarily, although not entirely) the judicial process of the Tryweryn Reservoir Bill.  Most notably, however, it addresses the impact that the construction of Llyn Celyn had on those directly affected.  I hope to have ‘Tryweryn’ published in autumn 2020, to coincide with the sixty-fifth anniversary of the opening of Llyn Celyn.