The Dewi David Letters written to his parents and sister while serving in the Near East during World War One are now available to be seen by scholars and other interested parties in the Imperial War Museum, London. Fifty in all and totalling more than 120,000 words they tell those back home of his experiences while serving on Gallipoli, in Egypt and Sinai, and on the march through the Judaean Hills to Jeruslaem, captured by British forces under General Allenby in December 1917.
The letters can also be found in published transcript in Tell Mum Not to Worry: The Letters (ISBN 978-0-9930982-1-5). The letters have also been used in extract form to illustrate an account of the campaigns in the Near East 1915-1919 of the 53rd (Welsh) Division in which Dewi David served, as a sapper in the Royal Engineers. Tell Mum Not to Worry: A Welsh Soldier’s War in the Near East 1915-1919.( ISBN 978-0-9930982-0-8)
Why has devolution caught fire in Scotland but only smouldered in Wales? This was the question I was asked to address at a Centre for Policy Studies seminar at Somerset House earlier this month (October). The issue is now very relevant again. Earlier this month Plaid Cymru sought again to re-establish itself as a strong possible alternative (to Labour) in Wales, after a very disappointing General Election. The way it has positioned itself is now the subject of a renewed debate in Wales. Meanwhile, at Westminster the Government has decided to introduce a veto for English MPs on legislation affecting only England or only England and Wales. This, to the despair of those keen to see a more comprehensive review of Britain’s constitutional arrangements and the introduction of a more balanced devolution settlement, perhaps leading ultimately to the creation of an English Parliament, alongside those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The seminar text can be seen at www.clippings.me/rhysdavid
Other talks given lately have been to Cardiff Castle Probus on the 53rd (Welsh) Division’s campaigns in the Near East (Gallipoli, Egypt, Sinai and Palestine) in World War One. Based on my book Tell Mum Not to Worry (ISBN: 978-0-9930982-0-8) this will also be the theme of future talks to a U3A group (November 18th) and the London Welsh Family History Society (November 21st), and the South Wales branch of the Western Front Association (February 5th, 2016).
My reflections on the difficulties of getting food to soldiers in the Near East in World War One have just been published in Oxford Today Online and can also be seen on the above website, or alternatively at http://www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk/features/cigarettes-bully-beef-and-camel-meat-how-first-world-war-soldiers-survived-near-east