Thursday, 4 August 2011
Cofio Twm Sbaen - remembering Tom Jones, Rhosllannerchrugog
A new plaque to commemorate the extraordinary life of Rhosllannerchrugog miner and anti-fascist Tom Jones was unveiled today on the Eisteddfod Maes by his daughter Jill Neild.
The bilingual plaque, designed by Huw Jones, gives a brief history of the young man who left Wales to fight Franco's fascists in the Spanish Civil War. The ceremony opened with a short musical interlude from Band Cambria - thanks Adam and Harri - before Sel Williams welcomed everybody to the Cymru-Cuba stall.
Plaid Councillor Marc Jones spoke briefly about Tom Jones's life and how he was injured fighting in Spain and left for dead. He was captured by the fascists and imprisoned in the notorious Burgos prison. He was sentenced to death twice and only released when a £2m ransom was paid by the UK Government - a huge sum at the time.
His daughter, who lives in Hawarden, also spoke movingly about her father - who died in 1990 - and how the family were sent a telegram reporting his death. His parents died not knowing Tom was still alive as he was not released until 1940.
Tom, a passionate Welsh speaker, later became a leading trade unionist in Wales and was a driving force to establish the Wales TUC. He was known forever as "Twm Sbaen" or Tom Spain for his exploits.
Marc also spoke of the importance of Twm Sbaen in today's Wales, saying his militant anti-fascism was an example to us all in a Wales where the EDL marches along the streets of Shotton and mosques are targetted by this new breed of fascists. There are plans to put on a small exhibition to commemorate Twm Sbaen as a fitting reminder of how fascism must be confronted wherever it rears its ugly head.