Gareth Jones

[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]



Stop Press


Complete Soviet Articles & Background Information


Précis of Gareth's Soviet Famine Articles


All Published Articles




Tell Them We Are Starving




Eyewitness to the Holodomor



More Than Grain of Truth



Manchukuo Incident





'Are you Listening NYT?'  U.N. Speech - Nov 2009


Gareth Recognised at Cambridge - Nov 2009


Reporter and the Genocide - Rome, March 2009


Order of Freedom Award -Nov 2008


Premiere of 'The Living' Documentary Kyiv - Nov 2008


Gareth Jones 'Famine' Diaries - Chicago 2008


Aberystwyth Memorial Plaque 2006





Scholarship Fund


Site Map




Legal Notices


Sponsored Links



The Western Mail  16th August 1933

John Buchan Comes to Learn About Wales


“Always Felt at Home With Welshmen” 

What would a distinguished Scottish thinker, writer, politician novelist think of the Welsh people?  I wondered as I drove out from Brecon to Ffrwdgrech to chat with Col. John Buchan, member of Parliament for the Scottish Universities, author of innumerable histories and novels, a man of unrivalled experience of character and places and now a summer resident in Breconshire.

Two qualities in him appealed to me immediately after I had met him and as we strolled up and down the lawn.  These were sturdiness and modesty.  So sturdy does he look that you can imagine him scrambling up those beetling Brecon Beacons which tower over his residence or stalking deer in the Highland, or tramping through the heather.  His modesty lies in his desire to come to Wales as a searcher and not as a teacher. 

He has come to learn about our country and it was in all humility that he answered my questions about his impressions of Wales.  He has, however, the best foundation for the study of Wales in his sympathy for Welshmen and for the Welsh character. 

Friend of Tom Ellis  

“I have always felt at home with Welshmen,” was his first remark, “and have always been great friends with them.  Tom Ellis was my friend, and I am a great admirer of his.  He was a crystal character, so wise.”  Col. Buchan was pleased when I told him that in many Welsh cottages the picture of Tom Ellis hangs to-day in the place of honour. 

Another close friend of Col. Buchan was Sir John Rhys of Oxford, and he still maintains his friendship with Mr. Lloyd George, with whom he had such close connection during the war as Director of Information under the Prime Minister. 

Two characteristics of the Welsh specially appeal to Col. Buchan.  “The Welsh,” he told me, “are imaginative and they are very well-mannered.  Indeed, the Celts as a whole are a well-mannered race.” 

Another thing that pleases him about the Welsh is their enthusiasm for culture.  “I went to the Llanelly Eisteddfod with Mr. Lloyd George and never saw anything like it.  That in a distressed area people should come in such crowds at great expense to hear poetry and music amazed me.” 

Welsh Patagonians

Col. John Buchan’s interest in Welsh character goes back over 30 years, ‘when he was deeply impressed in South Africa by the visit of the Welsh-Patagonian deputation in 1902.  The Welsh had suffered greatly in Patagonia, and had come to see whether they could not move their settlement to South Africa.  “They were fine men,” said Col. Buchan, “and their character was like that of the Scottish Covenanters.” 

The mention of the Scottish Covenanter spurred me to ask Col Buchan whether Welsh history interested him, I saw in his eyes the twinkle of the history stalker - the man who has as much zest in tracking down the quarry of past personalities as he has in hunting deer in the Highlands. 

He replied, “The history of the Princes of South Wales is wonderful.  Think also of the records of the Rhys family, the Dynevors, and of Sir David Gam.  Your Church history is also exceedingly interesting.  Strata Florida must have been a wonderful place.” 

Welsh Nationalism 

“Perhaps there is history being made to-day in Wales with the growth of nationalism,” I suggested. “What do you think of Welsh nationalism?” 

Col. Buchan wanted to learn more about the Welsh Nationalist movement before stating an opinion, but finally he said: “Where nationalism is concerned, as in Scotland or Wales, I think that at the present moment, when things are in the melting-pot, the deepest foundation is not political, but cultural.” 

Col. Buchan was more anxious to talk about the beauties of Wales than of politics, and be showed a remarkable appreciation of our landscapes.  “I am tremendously attracted by Mid-Wales and Breconshire because it is like my home on the upper Tweed, where even the names, such as those beginning with ‘Tre,’ are similar.” 

He is keen on preserving unspoilt the beauty of the Welsh coast.  “The coast from Aberystwyth to South Wales is beautiful,” he said. “I once saw there a hundred seals in one day.  Where else could you see that?”  

When I asked him what would be the best way to save the coast he replied: “The great thing about preserving the coast is to preserve the headlands, and I do hope that they will be protected in Wales.” 

Mine for Novelists 

“With such scenery and such a gifted national character, do you not think that there Is a wealth of material for the novelist?” I asked. 

“Yes.  It is a mine for novelists which has never been worked.  Take Breconshire, for example, where I am staying.  It is a border, and where you have a border, whether a Scottish or a Welsh border, you have an interesting life.  The English side has been well treated by writers, such as Mary Webb; the Radnorshire district has been well done by Brett Young and Hilda Vaughan.  On the whole, you have done everything about your past except write novels about it.” 

I hoped that this remark would inspire some novelist to do justice to our Welsh past. Cot Buchan is at present too busy, for he is hard at work on a big book on Cromwell, which will take some time to complete.

Col. Buchan is staying at Ffrwdgrech, together with Mrs. Buchan, his three sons, John, William, and Alastair, his son-in-law, Capt. Fairfax-Lucy, and his daughter, who married Capt. Fairfax-Lucy within the last three weeks.  Let us wish them all the warmest of welcomes to Wales.

Previous Page

Top of Page


Original Research, Content & Site Design by Nigel Linsan Colley. Copyright © 2001-17 All Rights Reserved Original document transcriptions by M.S. Colley.Click here for Legal Notices.  For all further details email:  Nigel Colley or Tel: (+44)  0796 303  8888