Hedd Wyn: Canrif o Gofio


Hedd Wyn: Canrif o Gofio

100 mlynedd wedi marwolaeth Hedd Wyn, Ifor ap Glyn sy'n olrhain hanes ei fywyd. 100 years after the death of Hedd Wyn in WWI, National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn, tells his tra...


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-Hedd Wyn.

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-The Trawsfynydd poet who became

-one of our country's icons.

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-A man who has become a part

-of our national consciousness.

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-A century after Hedd Wyn's death,

-we look anew at this iconic story.

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-A talented young man who hadn't

-had the benefits of education...

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-..winning

-the National Eisteddfod Chair...

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-..but being killed in the Great War

-before claiming his prize.

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-It's a story that encapsulates

-the sacrifice and waste of war.

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-Small wonder that it was the basis

-for an Oscar-nominated film.

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-The story's appeal continues.

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-In 2014, the Welsh football team

-visited Hedd Wyn's grave in Belgium.

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-But why does Hedd Wyn's story still

-grasp our imagination so strongly?

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-In this programme, we follow Hedd

-Wyn's story during his short life...

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-..in England,

-and in France and Belgium.

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-But at the heart of his story

-lies his home.

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-Yr Ysgwrn farm in Trawsfynydd.

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-You must understand the culture

-and landscape of his home turf...

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-..in order to understand

-his work as a poet.

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-For a century,

-people have been coming here...

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-..to try to get to know

-the man behind the story.

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-For years, relatives of Hedd Wyn...

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-..have guided visitors

-around the house.

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-This is Gerald Williams,

-Hedd Wyn's nephew.

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-If you saw the film Hedd Wyn,

-the people who made it came here.

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-They saw the paper that was here

-originally and said it was too new.

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-He went to the village

-and bought a big pot of coffee...

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-..and painted coffee

-all over the wallpaper.

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-The house

-reeked of coffee for weeks.

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-You come here and you can see...

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-..where Hedd Wyn actually lived.

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-But who was Hedd Wyn?

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-This is a statue of him

-here in Trawsfynydd.

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-Statues like this one,

-commemorating ordinary men...

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-..are very scarce in Wales.

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-When the statue

-was unveiled in 1923...

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-..Hedd Wyn had become a folk hero.

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-Indeed, it was paid for

-by ordinary people.

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-Contributions came

-from across Wales...

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-..and from expatriate communities

-in England and America.

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-In a war that saw destruction

-and loss of life...

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-..on a scale never before seen...

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-..Hedd Wyn came to represent

-a whole generation of lost talents.

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-He's portrayed here

-not as a soldier with his gun...

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-..or as a poet with pen in hand...

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-..but as an ordinary man,

-as a shepherd.

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-Ellis Evans, or Hedd Wyn

-as he would become more familiar...

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-..was a farmer's son.

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-He was born in 1887,

-the eldest of eleven children.

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-It may be ironic that he was

-portrayed as a shepherd...

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-..because in a newspaper

-interview after his death...

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-..his mother said this.

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-He was no shepherd.

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-Indeed, I told him,

-"What if you marry, my boy?

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-"Your wife would starve."

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-But although his mother

-sounded rather harsh...

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-..Hedd Wyn's parents were very

-supportive of his talent as a poet.

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-It was late at night...

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-..between 10.30pm and 3.00am,

-that he worked his poems.

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-The following day,

-he could get up when he wanted.

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-Hedd Wyn's father

-first taught him to write poetry...

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-..when he was eleven years old.

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-Soon, he began to compete

-at the family chapel.

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-Ebenezer chapel

-has now been demolished...

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-..but it was on this site...

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-..at a competitive meeting

-organized by the chapel...

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-..that Hedd Wyn won his first prize

-as a poet, aged just twelve.

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-In 1901, when he was 14 years old...

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-..he left school

-to work at home at Yr Ysgwrn.

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-He still won regularly at the chapel

-and at small eisteddfodau.

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-As a country poet,

-he was constantly in demand...

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-..to write poems

-for weddings and funerals.

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-His love for his community

-is evident in his work...

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-..as is his love

-for the forces of nature.

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-"For only a purple moon

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-"Lights the mountain bare

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-"And the song of the river Prysor

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-"Singing in the air"

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-But despite the beauty

-of the Prysor valley...

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-..life at Yr Ysgwrn was hard.

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-Soon after Christmas 1908,

-at the age of 21...

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-..Hedd Wyn sought work as a miner

-in the South Wales Valleys.

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-He came here, to Abercynon.

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-He lived in this house

-in Glancynon Terrace...

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-..lodging, apparently,

-with Mr and Mrs Robert Morris.

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-Like him, the man of the house

-was a native of Meirionnydd.

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-He was one of 2,500 men

-who worked at this colliery.

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-It was a different world

-for a lad from Trawsfynydd.

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-But he would later attest...

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-..that the same community spirit

-and willingness to share...

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-..was present in Abercynon

-as it was at home.

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-He often repeated

-a favourite miners' quote.

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-"While I have six,

-you'll have three."

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-The collier's generosity

-might have pleased him...

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-..but working underground didn't.

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-After a few weeks

-living down here in Abercynon...

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-..he sent this message

-on a postcard to Jane Williams...

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-..who was in the same Sunday school

-class as him in Trawsfynydd.

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-"Dear Jane.

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-"How are you?

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-"Have you learnt Samuel's story yet?

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-"I'll be coming back there soon.

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-"Regards to Trawsfynydd's

-rain and wind.

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-"Yours, Ellis."

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-He kept his word.

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-After just three months,

-he went home.

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-Only one englyn has survived

-from his time here in Abercynon.

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-The two last lines go like this.

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-"My body may be in the south,

-but my soul's in Trawsfynydd."

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-Gerald Williams was the last of Hedd

-Wyn's family to live at Yr Ysgwrn.

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-But he has no children...

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-..and in 2012,

-he had to make a difficult decision.

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-I was in a terrible quandary

-about what to do with the old place.

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-To keep the place on,

-as it is, as I have done.

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-I was in a fix, then I got the idea

-to sell it to the National Park.

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-I told the Park

-to keep the door open.

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-The Snowdonia National Park

-now owns Yr Ysgwrn...

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-..while Gerald lives

-in a bungalow nearby.

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-In 2014, the Park secured 2.8m

-from the Heritage Lottery Fund...

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-..to enable them

-to protect the house...

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-..and develop the site.

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-This was the day work started.

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-First, the entire contents

-of the house had to be catalogued.

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-Naomi Jones and Jess Enston

-are part of the team...

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-..who look after Yr Ysgwrn

-on behalf of the Park.

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-That's a poem about Hedd Wyn.

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-About Hedd Wyn?

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-A survey shows

-that 95% of the contents...

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-..date back to Hedd Wyn's time.

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-One of the UK's leading experts

-in restoring old furniture...

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-..is Hugh Haley from St Clears.

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-The job this week is to remove

-the chattels and the furniture...

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-..so that the conservation work

-can be done to the house itself.

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-It's a workshop task, really...

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-..to assess how much work

-will have to be done.

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-Once they get back to my place,

-I'll bring them into the workshop...

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-..and be able

-to see behind things, underneath.

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-All the dark and dirty places.

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-How are you bearing up, Gerald?

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-Yes, good question.

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-It's a strange feeling, yes.

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-Removing the old place.

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-It's as if it's being gutted.

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-This is where I was raised.

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-This is what I've seen all my life.

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-The bed won't go down the stairs,

-so we have to dismantle it.

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-The six chairs won by Hedd Wyn

-at different eisteddfodau...

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-..are treated with special care.

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-What do you think? Good idea?

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-What do you think? Good idea?

-

-Specialist treatment!

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-Thank you very much.

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-Are you alright?

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-Hedd Wyn was a keen competitor

-at local eisteddfodau.

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-But the prestige and praise weren't

-his only reasons for competing.

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-His parents couldn't afford

-to pay him a wage...

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-..for working on the farm...

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-..so eisteddfod prizes

-provided an income.

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-After a local eisteddfod win...

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-..he'd sometimes buy beer

-for his friends.

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-Once, after winning three shillings

-at Llan Ffestiniog eisteddfod...

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-..for an englyn

-to the Moelwyn mountain...

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-..he and his friends

-celebrated in a pub.

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-Having drunk the prize,

-about twelve pints...

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-..Hedd Wyn announced thus.

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-"Lads, we've achieved quite a feat.

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-"We've swallowed the Moelwyn

-in 15 minutes!"

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-If Hedd Wyn, like any

-young man in his twenties...

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-..enjoyed his friends' company

-in a pub...

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-..he also enjoyed

-more educated company.

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-He was friends

-with many older local poets...

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-..as well as ministers

-including Silyn Roberts...

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-..who introduced him

-to socialist ideas.

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-Another friend at this time

-was John Morris, a local teacher.

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-I have a vivid memory of an evening

-sitting by the fire with him here.

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-He took a piece of paper

-out of his waistcoat pocket...

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-..put it by the fire

-and then lit his pipe.

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-I realized that there was an englyn

-written on it.

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-I grabbed the paper,

-put out the flame and read it.

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-This was that englyn.

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-"I strolled near melodious streams

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-"As the shy nervous wind

-blew through pastures

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-"And the sunlight's

-white arm embraced

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-"The old neck of the mountains."

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-He may not

-have taken care of his poems...

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-..but their standard

-improved constantly.

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-He won his first chair

-at Bala Eisteddfod in 1907.

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-Many in Meirionnydd's

-poetic circles...

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-..had noticed Ellis Evans,

-the promising Trawsfynydd poet.

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-Of course,

-he was Ellis Evans at the time.

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-It would be another three years

-before he took his bardic name.

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-Ffestiniog area poets

-would gather from time to time...

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-..to accept new members

-into their midst...

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-..and to give them bardic names.

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-Those meetings usually took place

-on the shores of Llyn Morwynion.

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-But in August 1910,

-as the weather was unfavourable...

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-..they decided to meet on this hill,

-just outside Llan Ffestiniog.

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-It was here, with this

-fine scenery as a backdrop...

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-..that Ellis Evans, Yr Ysgwrn,

-was renamed Hedd Wyn.

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-His bardic name would become one

-of the most famous in Welsh poetry.

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-.

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-Subtitles

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-When fighting started

-across Europe in 1914...

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-..the people of Trawsfynydd

-were already more aware than most...

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-..of the war preparations

-that had taken place.

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-Although Hedd Wyn

-had grown up in rural Meirionnydd...

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-..he was no stranger

-to the sound of artillery.

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-Since the start

-of the 20th century...

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-..soldiers had been coming

-to the area to train.

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-By 1914, the War Office

-controlled over 8,000 acres here...

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-..and a permanent camp

-had been established at Rhiw Goch.

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-Trawsfynydd railway station

-was extended...

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-..to deal with growing numbers

-of soldiers and weaponry.

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-It was from this station

-that local army volunteers...

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-..would depart for the battlefield.

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-Hedd Wyn chose not to join.

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-He wasn't a staunch pacifist,

-but war was against his nature.

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-But seeing his contemporaries

-leaving one by one...

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-..he was inspired to write.

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-They weren't poems supporting war.

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-Their purpose, simply, was to let

-his friends in the army know...

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-..how much their families and

-their community thought about them.

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-"Distance cannot

-take away your memory

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-"Children of those dear hills

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-"Heart and heart remain together

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-"Even though you are far away."

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-As the losses increased,

-Hedd Wyn was in growing demand...

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-..to write englynion and verses

-in memory of those killed.

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-This englyn is one

-of the best-known examples.

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-It has been used

-to commemorate numerous soldiers...

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-..including, ultimately,

-Hedd Wyn himself.

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-"His sacrifice was not in vain

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-"His dear face will remain

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-"Although he left a bloodstain

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-"On Germany's iron fist of pain."

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-But he wrote about more than the war

-and its effects on the community.

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-He still wrote on a variety

-of subjects at local eisteddfodau.

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-By 1915,

-he had five chairs to his name...

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-..but his true ambition

-was the National Eisteddfod Chair.

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-He entered the Chair competition

-at the 1915 Bangor Eisteddfod...

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-..but the adjudication

-was sadly rather scathing.

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-In 1916, the National Eisteddfod

-was in Aberystwyth.

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-This time, Hedd Wyn

-came second for the Chair.

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-The following year,

-the Eisteddfod was in Birkenhead.

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-Could Hedd Wyn go one better

-and come out on top this time?

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-He started to write his ode.

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-The competition requirement...

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-..was a poem of no more than

-500 lines on the theme The Hero.

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-But before Hedd Wyn

-could finish his poem...

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-..he was conscripted into the army.

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-In early 1916,

-the Military Service Act was passed.

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-Every man

-between the ages of 18 and 41...

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-..had to offer themselves up

-for military service.

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-But according to his girlfriend

-at the time, Jini Owen...

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-..Hedd Wyn

-wasn't a natural soldier.

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-We were together for three years.

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-It was a crying shame

-that he had to join the army at all.

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-He wasn't a man for the army.

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-He had too gentle a nature.

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-It was possible to be exempted

-from military service...

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-..if you worked

-in certain reserved occupations.

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-Helping to run a farm,

-as in Hedd Wyn's case...

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-..could fall into that category.

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-But you could only be exempted

-for a few months at a time...

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-..before having to appeal once more

-to the military tribunal...

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-..and starting

-the whole process again.

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-According to Enid,

-Hedd Wyn's sister..

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-..he got fed up with this process

-and ultimately chose to enlist.

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-There was so much pressure.

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-My father went to one tribunal after

-another trying to keep him at home.

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-But he had to go.

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-Bob, my brother,

-was getting to that age too.

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-Maybe Ellis thought...

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-..that he was better suited

-to the task...

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-..given that Bob was so young.

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-Although the family could keep

-one son back to help on the farm...

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-..Hedd Wyn knew that the authorities

-wouldn't let them both stay at home.

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-As his brother, Bob,

-was about to turn eighteen...

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-..Hedd Wyn made

-a heroically selfless decision.

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-Despite his own socialist

-and pacifist beliefs...

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-..he joined the army in the hope

-of saving his younger brother.

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-After passing his medical

-in Wrexham...

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-..early in 1917,

-Hedd Wyn was sent...

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-..to join

-the Royal Welsh Fusiliers...

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-..at their training camp

-in Litherland, Liverpool.

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-Conditions were basic,

-but as this next englyn shows...

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-..he settled in well

-to his new life as a soldier.

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-"See a cluster of even huts

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-"And noisy,

-boisterous, red-faced lads

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-"And seeing them, everyone will say

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-"'This is the home of the soldier'."

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-Every now and then, the soldiers

-were allowed to leave the camp...

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-..to enjoy some free time in town.

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-Here, at Bootle's York Hall,

-Liverpool's Welsh community...

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-..held evenings for Welsh soldiers

-every fortnight during the winter.

0:20:350:20:40

-A report of one such evening

-appeared in the newspaper Y Brython.

0:20:400:20:44

-The correspondent referred

-to the soldiers' enjoyment...

0:20:440:20:49

-..of songs like Hwre I Gymru Fach

-and Wil Goes Bren.

0:20:490:20:52

-The man charged with expressing

-the soldiers' gratitude...

0:20:530:20:57

-..on that particular evening

-was Hedd Wyn.

0:20:570:21:00

-He was clearly highly respected

-by his fellow soldiers.

0:21:000:21:04

-But although Hedd Wyn seemed to

-enjoy the evenings at York Hall...

0:21:060:21:11

-..how was his epic poem for the

-1917 National Eisteddfod coming on?

0:21:110:21:17

-This is a letter that he wrote

-from the camp to a friend of his.

0:21:170:21:21

-I haven't written a line

-for The Hero since coming here...

0:21:210:21:25

-..but I might yet get a chance.

0:21:250:21:27

-But Hedd Wyn did finish his poem

-during the spring of 1917...

0:21:300:21:36

-..with the help of a friend at

-Litherland, Jack Buckland Thomas...

0:21:360:21:41

-..who was

-on the camp's administrative staff.

0:21:410:21:44

-A request came

-via battalion orders...

0:21:450:21:48

-..for names of ploughmen

-to work on land in Wales.

0:21:480:21:51

-Everyone knows

-Hedd Wyn was a shepherd...

0:21:510:21:55

-..but I placed him at the top

-of a list of ploughmen in D Company.

0:21:550:22:00

-By 1917, so many men had been

-enlisted into the armed forces...

0:22:010:22:06

-..that, come harvest or ploughing,

-the agriculture industry struggled.

0:22:060:22:11

-One answer was to temporarily

-release men from the army.

0:22:120:22:16

-Not only

-did Jack Buckland Thomas...

0:22:160:22:18

-..get Hedd Wyn's name onto the list

-of soldiers to be released...

0:22:190:22:23

-..he also saw that Yr Ysgwrn was one

-of the farms down to get help.

0:22:230:22:28

-Hedd Wyn was able to go home.

0:22:280:22:31

-This was his chance

-to finish his ode.

0:22:330:22:35

-According to his father, during

-the six weeks he was home...

0:22:350:22:40

-..Hedd Wyn managed to write

-the second half of his poem.

0:22:400:22:43

-Back in Litherland, all he had to do

-was to polish and perfect his work.

0:22:440:22:48

-He left Trawsfynydd

-for the last time in June 1917.

0:22:530:22:58

-His sister, Enid,

-was ten years old at the time.

0:22:580:23:03

-Three quarters of a century later,

-she still remembered the day.

0:23:040:23:09

-I remember he had been home

-on his final leave.

0:23:090:23:13

-He was off that morning,

-and he stood there shouting.

0:23:130:23:17

-"I'm going now."

0:23:170:23:19

-Through the banister, I could

-see him standing in the entry...

0:23:200:23:25

-..from the waist down...

0:23:250:23:27

-..and he strolled out...

0:23:280:23:30

-..as if he hadn't

-a care in the world.

0:23:300:23:34

-But Mam, obviously,

-was very worried.

0:23:340:23:38

-.

0:23:390:23:39

-Subtitles

0:23:440:23:44

-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

0:23:440:23:46

-By 9 June 1917, Hedd Wyn and his

-battalion had crossed to France.

0:23:570:24:03

-He was at the Fifth Infantry

-Base Depot in Rouen.

0:24:040:24:08

-Well, I've never seen

-so many soldiers in my life...

0:24:090:24:12

-..or a prettier country...

0:24:130:24:15

-..despite the curse that befell it.

0:24:150:24:17

-The trees here are as beautiful

-as the dreams of old kings...

0:24:180:24:22

-..transformed into

-quiet and peaceful leaves.

0:24:220:24:26

-After all,

-it is man who creates strife.

0:24:270:24:29

-As that letter shows,

-Hedd Wyn couldn't stop himself...

0:24:410:24:45

-..seeking new poetic possibilities

-in everything new that he saw.

0:24:450:24:49

-His battalion

-had been sent here, to Flechin...

0:24:500:24:53

-..to train for the upcoming battle.

0:24:530:24:56

-It was at the camp,

-not far from here...

0:24:560:24:59

-..that he finally finished

-his epic poem to The Hero.

0:24:590:25:03

-He posted it to the Eisteddfod

-in Birkenhead from here...

0:25:040:25:08

-..on 13 July 1917.

0:25:080:25:10

-As Hedd Wyn and his battalion

-edged closer to the front line...

0:25:180:25:22

-..the filthy trenches

-became part of daily life...

0:25:220:25:26

-..as attested to by fellow soldier

-Simon Jones from Llanuwchllyn.

0:25:260:25:31

-I remember thinking

-that I had the measles.

0:25:310:25:35

-In a field near the village...

0:25:360:25:39

-..I saw about 80 naked soldiers.

0:25:390:25:43

-I looked to see

-what they were doing.

0:25:440:25:46

-As it turned out,

-they were catching lice.

0:25:470:25:50

-I joined them.

0:25:520:25:53

-I caught 82 in a sheet of newspaper.

0:25:540:25:57

-That was my measles!

0:25:580:25:59

-Lice were almost a bigger pain

-than the Germans.

0:26:020:26:05

-When you warmed up to get to sleep,

-they started to march upon you.

0:26:060:26:12

-On 23 July, Hedd Wyn's battalion...

0:26:160:26:18

-..reached the front line

-for the first time...

0:26:180:26:22

-..not far from here, near Ypres.

0:26:220:26:24

-The British trenches at the time

-ran parallel with this canal.

0:26:240:26:29

-It's a lovely place today...

0:26:290:26:31

-..but in 1917, this canal would have

-been full of rubble and rubbish...

0:26:310:26:36

-..and rats feasting

-on the corpses of soldiers.

0:26:360:26:40

-At 6.00pm, the battalion

-paraded in fighting kit...

0:26:450:26:49

-..to march to where the trenches

-for the offensive were to be dug.

0:26:500:26:54

-Gas shells were sent over

-by the enemy during the night.

0:26:540:26:57

-No letter from Hedd Wyn

-from this period has survived.

0:27:030:27:07

-But after a week of coming and going

-from the front line near Ypres...

0:27:070:27:12

-..the Welsh Fusiliers and the rest

-of the British Army were ready...

0:27:120:27:17

-..for the big push

-against the Germans.

0:27:170:27:20

-Zero was timed for 3.50am,

-31 July 1917.

0:27:270:27:30

-Once having got clear

-of canal bank...

0:27:310:27:33

-..it was fairly easy going

-for the battalion as far as Pilkem.

0:27:340:27:38

-When Hedd Wyn's battalion

-advanced that morning...

0:27:390:27:43

-..the weather was favourable.

0:27:430:27:45

-But later heavy rain

-made it hard to move the big guns...

0:27:450:27:51

-..to support the attack.

0:27:520:27:53

-More and more

-were wounded and killed.

0:27:540:27:57

-Sometime during the morning,

-Hedd Wyn was hit.

0:27:570:28:01

-I'm sure that I saw him fall.

0:28:030:28:06

-He got a shell's nose cap

-in his bowels.

0:28:080:28:12

-That was the end of him.

0:28:130:28:14

-A lot of men fell, you see.

0:28:150:28:17

-More fell than moved forward,

-in a manner of speaking.

0:28:170:28:21

-Thousands of men died that day...

0:28:280:28:31

-..as they tried to advance

-from Ypres, over there, to here.

0:28:310:28:35

-Hedd Wyn did get medical attention

-after being wounded, apparently...

0:28:360:28:41

-..but it was too late.

0:28:410:28:42

-He died a few hours later...

0:28:430:28:45

-..probably in the ruins of

-a building that stood on this site.

0:28:450:28:50

-A trilingual plaque

-was placed to mark the spot...

0:28:530:28:56

-..three quarters of a century later.

0:28:560:28:59

-Hedd Wyn's sister, Enid...

0:29:010:29:03

-..vividly remembered the day

-that the bad news reached Yr Ysgwrn.

0:29:030:29:08

-I was tying my shoelaces

-when my father came into the house.

0:29:090:29:13

-He didn't say straight away.

0:29:150:29:17

-He was crying on the doorstep.

0:29:170:29:20

-We realized

-that something was wrong.

0:29:210:29:25

-Out we went, frightened children.

0:29:250:29:28

-Then we came back into the house.

0:29:280:29:31

-My other sister was by the door,

-and we asked her if it was true.

0:29:320:29:36

-She said that it was,

-that he had been lost.

0:29:370:29:40

-As the sad news spread,

-letters of condolence...

0:29:520:29:55

-..began to arrive

-at Yr Ysgwrn by the dozen.

0:29:560:29:59

-Here are a few examples.

0:29:590:30:00

-"Dear family, with a heavy heart,

-I hear of your gifted son.

0:30:010:30:06

-"I never saw such a wave of grief

-affecting this area."

0:30:070:30:11

-"It is a great loss for Wales.

-to lose such a talent as Hedd Wyn."

0:30:130:30:18

-This was a regular theme

-in these letters.

0:30:200:30:22

-The talent that was lost...

0:30:230:30:25

-..and what he could have achieved

-if only he had lived.

0:30:250:30:29

-But there was one remaining scene

-in Hedd Wyn's dramatic life.

0:30:320:30:37

-In 1917, the National Eisteddfod

-was held in Birkenhead.

0:30:380:30:43

-This was a time when the Eisteddfod

-often visited expat communities...

0:30:430:30:49

-..on the banks

-of the Thames and the Mersey.

0:30:490:30:52

-This was the sixth Eisteddfod

-to be held in England in 40 years.

0:30:560:31:01

-This stone was erected

-to mark the occasion.

0:31:010:31:04

-The Pavilion

-for the stage competitions...

0:31:040:31:07

-..was in these fields

-in front of me.

0:31:080:31:10

-WD Williams

-was at the Eisteddfod that year.

0:31:160:31:20

-Sixty years later,

-he remembered the day well.

0:31:210:31:24

-It was a large canvas marquee.

0:31:240:31:26

-The sides were opened up

-for everyone to see and hear.

0:31:270:31:32

-I stuffed in somehow...

0:31:320:31:34

-..to see two things,

-the Chairing and Lloyd George.

0:31:340:31:38

-Thursday was Lloyd George's day.

0:31:380:31:41

-After Prime Minister

-David Lloyd George's speech...

0:31:440:31:47

-..it was time

-to move on to the Chairing.

0:31:470:31:50

-T Gwynn Jones

-delivered the adjudication.

0:31:500:31:53

-After announcing that Fleur-De-Lis'

-ode was worthy of the Chair...

0:31:530:31:58

-..no-one expected

-what would happen next...

0:31:580:32:01

-..when the Archdruid Dyfed

-came to the side of the stage.

0:32:010:32:05

-In a quivering voice,

-the Archdruid said...

0:32:100:32:13

-.."I have very sad news to announce.

0:32:130:32:17

-"The winner himself

-has fallen in the War...

0:32:170:32:21

-"..and lies in a foreign country.

0:32:210:32:24

-"We will not chair

-his representative.

0:32:240:32:27

-"We will merely drape

-a black cloak over the empty Chair."

0:32:270:32:33

-It was seared in my memory

-once and for all.

0:32:370:32:41

-That's how the whole audience felt.

0:32:410:32:43

-Dyfed recited his famous verses.

0:32:440:32:47

-"The fanfare was sounded,

-the sword it was waved

0:32:480:32:52

-"But the Chair did stand empty

-with the poet in his grave."

0:32:530:32:57

-That's the saddest,

-most solemn moment...

0:32:590:33:03

-..I witnessed

-at any Eisteddfod or meeting.

0:33:030:33:06

-Meirion has seldom seen

-a wetter day...

0:33:220:33:26

-..than the day Hedd Wyn's

-empty chair came to Trawsfynydd.

0:33:270:33:31

-Rain fell heavily all day...

0:33:310:33:33

-..until rivers overflowed

-and cornfields became lakes.

0:33:340:33:37

-But despite the storm...

0:33:380:33:40

-..the village hall

-was packed on Thursday night...

0:33:400:33:43

-..when the empty Chair was unveiled.

0:33:430:33:46

-The tradition

-of holding a meeting...

0:33:470:33:50

-..to greet winning poets

-when they come home...

0:33:500:33:53

-...continues to this day.

0:33:530:33:55

-It's a chance for anyone

-not there on the big day...

0:33:550:33:59

-..to share in the joy.

0:33:590:34:01

-It's also a chance to see

-the Crown or Chair won by the poet.

0:34:010:34:05

-Just think how different

-the atmosphere would have been...

0:34:050:34:10

-..at the meeting

-held here in September 1917...

0:34:100:34:13

-..had Hedd Wyn himself been present.

0:34:140:34:16

-But mixed with local people's

-pride in Hedd Wyn's success...

0:34:180:34:23

-..was the desperate sadness

-of knowing that the poet...

0:34:230:34:28

-..was in his grave before

-being able to claim his prize.

0:34:280:34:33

-The Black Chair

-was placed centre stage...

0:34:330:34:37

-..to bear witness to everything.

0:34:370:34:40

-.

0:34:520:34:52

-Subtitles

0:34:560:34:56

-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

0:34:560:34:58

-This is Artillery Wood

-military cemetery near Boezinge...

0:35:080:35:13

-..where Hedd Wyn was buried.

0:35:130:35:15

-If we look

-at the cemetery's visitors' book...

0:35:170:35:20

-..we can see

-that Welsh names feature regularly.

0:35:210:35:25

-In 2014, the Welsh football team

-came here after playing Belgium.

0:35:300:35:36

-Gareth Bale had specifically asked

-to see Hedd Wyn's grave...

0:35:380:35:42

-..after hearing the story

-from his mother.

0:35:420:35:45

-But the tradition

-of visiting this cemetery...

0:35:480:35:51

-..goes back for decades.

0:35:510:35:53

-In 1934, Hedd Wyn's brother,

-Bob, came on a pilgrimage here...

0:35:580:36:02

-..with a large group from Wales.

0:36:020:36:04

-A service was held at the cemetery

-and Cynan addressed the crowd.

0:36:040:36:10

-The thousands of Welshmen who died

-near Ypres during the Great War...

0:36:190:36:25

-..are still remembered to this day.

0:36:250:36:27

-Local businesses are keen...

0:36:290:36:31

-..to welcome Welsh visitors

-who come to the memorial.

0:36:320:36:35

-But there is specific interest

-in Hedd Wyn.

0:36:350:36:39

-A special path

-follows his final journey.

0:36:390:36:42

-Recently, a selection of his work...

0:36:430:36:45

-..was translated into English,

-French and Flemish.

0:36:450:36:49

-But a major factor behind the

-growth in interest in Hedd Wyn...

0:36:510:36:55

-..was the film that brought his tale

-to a new audience in the 1990s.

0:36:550:37:00

-If the poet who bears the pseudonym

-Fleur-de-Lis is present...

0:37:010:37:09

-..may he stand.

0:37:100:37:12

-The film is studied

-as part of the Welsh A level course.

0:37:140:37:17

-It was shown internationally...

0:37:180:37:20

-..and was the first Welsh-language

-film to be nominated for an Oscar.

0:37:210:37:25

-If the film

-raised Hedd Wyn's profile abroad...

0:37:310:37:34

-..it also rekindled the interest

-in his home near Trawsfynydd.

0:37:340:37:39

-By May, the National Park's project

-to safeguard the farmhouse...

0:37:400:37:45

-..and transform the outbuildings

-into a new visitor centre...

0:37:460:37:49

-..was almost ready

-to welcome its first visitors.

0:37:500:37:54

-The tradition of visiting Yr Ysgwrn

-has now lasted a century.

0:37:560:38:02

-How many of these pupils

-on a visit during the 1970s...

0:38:020:38:06

-..have come back here with

-their children or grandchildren?

0:38:070:38:11

-The main attraction,

-of course, is the Black Chair.

0:38:110:38:17

-In 2013, it was scanned in 3D

-in order to create a replica...

0:38:200:38:26

-..just in case something happened

-to the original chair...

0:38:260:38:31

-..which has suffered some wear

-and tear during the passing years.

0:38:310:38:36

-I've tried to keep

-every bit that fell off...

0:38:360:38:39

-..in this little box.

0:38:400:38:42

-I've kept them all.

0:38:420:38:44

-This is a piece

-of the dragon's tail.

0:38:450:38:50

-I didn't know it had come off

-until the people came the other day.

0:38:500:38:55

-I blame them for breaking it!

0:38:550:38:58

-The expert

-given the responsibility...

0:39:010:39:04

-..of restoring this national icon

-to its past glory is Hugh Haley.

0:39:040:39:09

-I went to meet him

-at his workshop in St Clears...

0:39:110:39:14

-..to see how the work

-is coming along.

0:39:140:39:17

-How's it going? Are you on schedule?

0:39:170:39:18

-How's it going? Are you on schedule?

-

-It's going well. I think we are.

0:39:180:39:20

-I first asked Hugh's opinion...

0:39:210:39:23

-..about the standard

-of the carving on the Black Chair?

0:39:230:39:29

-It is extraordinary.

0:39:290:39:31

-All eisteddfod chairs

-tend to be heavily carved.

0:39:310:39:35

-They're all pretty impressive...

0:39:350:39:38

-..but this one

-is definitely a cut above.

0:39:380:39:41

-The chair is carved from oak...

0:39:410:39:44

-..which makes the detailing

-even more remarkable.

0:39:440:39:49

-It was carved in about six months...

0:39:490:39:51

-..which means that more

-than one hand was involved.

0:39:520:39:55

-Here, you get the work of the

-master, who really knew his stuff.

0:39:550:39:59

-Perhaps his best carver

-did the back.

0:40:000:40:03

-There's the apprentice.

0:40:030:40:05

-They're not quite

-as confidently executed.

0:40:050:40:08

-Carvers all over the country

-have studied this.

0:40:080:40:11

-Everyone is agreed

-that it's bordering on impossible.

0:40:120:40:15

-This is clearly the work

-of Eugene Vanfleteren.

0:40:160:40:19

-Vanfleteren was the chief carver

-of the Black Chair.

0:40:190:40:23

-He was a Belgian refugee...

0:40:230:40:25

-..one of 250,000 Belgians

-who fled during the Great War...

0:40:250:40:29

-..as the Germans

-subjugated their country.

0:40:290:40:32

-He settled in Birkenhead, and the

-chair is his greatest masterpiece.

0:40:340:40:39

-The cruel irony

-in Hedd Wyn's story...

0:40:400:40:43

-..is that his most famous chair...

0:40:430:40:45

-..was carved by a man

-who had been forced to flee...

0:40:450:40:49

-..from the country

-where he himself would die.

0:40:490:40:52

-You must be excited.

0:41:000:41:01

-I'm looking forward

-to seeing the old furniture back.

0:41:010:41:05

-A few weeks later,

-I was back at Yr Ysgwrn...

0:41:050:41:09

-..to see the furniture that Hugh

-worked on for a year coming back.

0:41:100:41:16

-The return of the Black Chair

-was a story in itself...

0:41:160:41:20

-..and Gerald was called upon

-to pose for a photo or two.

0:41:200:41:24

-The work of setting up

-the permanent exhibition had begun.

0:41:270:41:33

-As well as Hedd Wyn's story,

-it'll tell the story of Yr Ysgwrn...

0:41:340:41:39

-..and the wider effect of the Great

-War on the community of Trawsfynydd.

0:41:400:41:45

-These are the local men

-who died during the Great War.

0:41:500:41:54

-Every community in Wales

-experienced similar losses.

0:41:550:41:59

-Losing thousands of men in one day

-is very difficult to comprehend.

0:42:000:42:05

-But the story of Hedd Wyn...

0:42:050:42:07

-..does make it somewhat easier

-to understand the wider tragedy.

0:42:080:42:13

-But is there a danger

-that Hedd Wyn's story...

0:42:140:42:18

-..affects our ability

-to appreciate him as a poet?

0:42:180:42:21

-In that respect,

-there's an unexpected similarity...

0:42:220:42:26

-..between him and another

-Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas.

0:42:260:42:30

-Poles apart

-in language and lifestyle...

0:42:300:42:33

-..they do have

-this much in common.

0:42:330:42:36

-That their colourful

-and ultimately tragic history...

0:42:360:42:40

-..can cast a shadow

-over their work as poets.

0:42:410:42:44

-How good a poet was Hedd Wyn?

0:42:530:42:56

-The ode to The Hero

-may have been his biggest success...

0:42:570:43:01

-..but was it his most lasting poem?

0:43:010:43:05

-It's certainly one of the last great

-odes in the Romantic tradition...

0:43:050:43:10

-..but that style would soon become

-extremely old-fashioned.

0:43:110:43:15

-But Hedd Wyn had already

-begun to experiment...

0:43:160:43:20

-..with a sharper, more contemporary

-style in his shorter poems.

0:43:200:43:25

-One of those, Rhyfel...

0:43:250:43:27

-..is the most familiar

-of his poems by today.

0:43:270:43:31

-"Why must I live in this grim age

0:43:420:43:47

-"When, to a far horizon, God

0:43:470:43:50

-"Has ebbed away, and man, with rage

0:43:510:43:54

-"Now wields the sceptre and the rod.

0:43:540:43:57

-"Man raised his sword,

-once God has gone

0:44:000:44:04

-"To slay his brother

-and the roar

0:44:040:44:06

-"Of battlefields now casts upon

0:44:070:44:10

-"Our homes the shadow of the war.

0:44:110:44:14

-"The harps to which we sang are hung

0:44:170:44:20

-"On willow boughs, and their refrain

0:44:200:44:24

-"Drowned by the anguish of the young

0:44:240:44:27

-"Whose blood is mingled

-with the rain."

0:44:280:44:31

-At the beginning of June...

0:44:410:44:43

-..the first school trip was welcomed

-to Yr Ysgwrn in its new guise.

0:44:440:44:48

-This is how they boiled a kettle.

0:44:490:44:52

-No cookers, no electric sockets.

0:44:520:44:55

-Do you see these hooks

-on the ceiling?

0:44:550:44:58

-They used to hang meat from those.

0:44:580:45:01

-After they left, I was keen

-to have another word with Gerald.

0:45:040:45:08

-An important part

-of Hedd Wyn's story...

0:45:090:45:12

-..is his family's readiness

-to welcome visitors.

0:45:120:45:15

-Gerald was raised by his

-grandmother, Hedd Wyn's mother.

0:45:160:45:20

-She taught him the importance

-of always keeping the door open.

0:45:200:45:24

-How did he feel

-about the changes at Yr Ysgwrn...

0:45:240:45:27

-..as the old place embarked

-on a new period in its history?

0:45:280:45:32

-Things have changed

-altogether here, in a way.

0:45:320:45:36

-On the whole,

-it's starting to get back to normal.

0:45:360:45:40

-The wallpaper's new.

0:45:410:45:43

-When I saw it on the roll

-before it went up, I didn't like it.

0:45:430:45:48

-But once it's up,

-the whole place seems warmer.

0:45:480:45:54

-A fire in the grate

-is a welcoming sign.

0:45:550:46:00

-If you come in and see a fire,

-it brightens up the whole place.

0:46:000:46:05

-When they took the furniture away,

-they took the old place's heart.

0:46:070:46:13

-When they started to come back...

0:46:130:46:15

-..every day I came here,

-I warmed to the place a bit more.

0:46:160:46:21

-But it'll take a year or two

-for things to settle down...

0:46:210:46:26

-..and to get used to them again.

0:46:260:46:29

-We remember Hedd Wyn

-not only as a poet...

0:46:330:46:36

-..but also as a symbol

-of Welsh losses in the Great War.

0:46:360:46:40

-Ironically, as it was

-a shell that killed him...

0:46:410:46:45

-..in one of his last letters home...

0:46:450:46:48

-..he talks of how the creative

-instinct can overcome everything...

0:46:480:46:52

-..even a shell.

0:46:530:46:54

-The prettiest thing

-I have seen so far...

0:46:590:47:01

-..was an old shell case

-being used to grow flowers.

0:47:010:47:06

-Isn't that proof

-that beauty is stronger than war?

0:47:060:47:10

-That beauty can overcome anger?

0:47:100:47:13

-But French flowers

-will be sad flowers in the future...

0:47:140:47:18

-..and it'll be a melancholy wind

-that gusts over its acres...

0:47:180:47:22

-..the hue of blood in one,

-the sound of sorrow in the other.

0:47:230:47:27

-Hedd Wyn's words there

-combined sadness and optimism.

0:47:360:47:41

-Maybe that's how

-we should also remember him.

0:47:410:47:44

-With sadness for the way he died...

0:47:450:47:47

-..along with millions

-of his contemporaries...

0:47:470:47:51

-..but also with optimism...

0:47:510:47:54

-..because his poems,

-and his home, are still alive.

0:47:540:47:59

-S4C Subtitles by Testun Cyf.

0:48:270:48:29

-.

0:48:290:48:29

100 mlynedd wedi marwolaeth Hedd Wyn, Ifor ap Glyn sy'n olrhain hanes ei fywyd. 100 years after the death of Hedd Wyn in WWI, National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn, tells his tragic story.