Ellis Humphrey Evans
13 January 1887 - 31 July 1917
In 1917, the Welsh poet Ellis Humphrey Evans, 'Hedd Wyn' died at the third Battle of Ypres. He was one of 25,000 British casualties on the first day of the battle to take Pilckem Ridge.
The thirty year old shepherd poet had enlisted into the Royal Welch Fusilers at Blaenau Ffestiniog and was initially sent to Liverpool for basic training. He was there at the same time as another WW1 poet, Siegfried Sassoon. In July, Hedd Wynn joined his battalion at Nord-Pas-de-Calais and on the 31st July he went 'over the top'. He was fatally wounded by shell fire and died later that same day.
This is one of his poems.
Why must I live in this grim age,
When, to a far horizon, God
Has ebbed away, and man, with rage,
Now wields the sceptre and the rod?
Man raised his sword, once God had gone,
To slay his brother, and the roar
Of battlefields now casts upon
Our homes the shadow of the war.
The harps to which we sang are hung,
On willow boughs, and their refrain
Drowned by the anguish of the young
Whose blood is mingled with the rain
Ellis Humphrey Evans is buried at the Artillery Wood Cemetery, near Boezingeat, Belgium.
He was posthumously awarded the bard's chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod.