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Click below to view the obituaries
  • The story of Harry Evans from the festival to the two Evanses(12 and 13 November 2011) at Liverpool
  • Miss Laura Myfanwy Jones (1890-1993)
  • Thomas Irwedd Vaughan, Birkenhead
  • Mr Trevor Humphreys, Allerton (1917-2009)
  • Hughes, Robert Arthur (1910-1996)
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  • Miss Laura Myfanwy Jones (1890-1993)

    On Wednesday morning 18 August 1993 in Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool after a short illness of fifteen hours, Laura M Jones, 14 Calderstones Road, Allerton, Liverpool 18 died. The funeral took place on Monday morning 23 August in Bethel Presbyterian Church of Wales, Liverpool 15 and then at Springwood Crematorium. In my eulogy to her I emphasised three aspects of her long life, as the oldest Liverpool Welsh citizen of our generation. After all with the assistance of church friends and private nurses she was able to live on her own at her home to the grand age of nearly 103.

    Her roots in Liverpool
    Laura M Jones had deep roots in the Liverpool Welsh community. She was born to Welsh speaking parents at Tiber Street, Toxteth on 2 October 1890. Her father William Jones hailed from Caernarfonshire, as well as her mother who came from Bryncir near Garndolbenmaen. She, Laura Jones Roberts, was a matriarch, in the true sense of the word, and died in 1956 at the grand age of 95. They were a closely knit family, the eldest Richard died on 1956, Nell who died in 1953, Margaret who died in Calderstones Road before Christmas of 1973 and Winifred Ann Jones, an enthusiast for the Heathfield Road Chapel after she joined us from Smithdown Road Welsh Presbyterian Chapel called St Columba’s in 1989. She died on Good Friday leaving Laura to carry on at the welcoming home for another 4 years. They were a family of six children, for Elizabeth Ann died as a baby of eleven months in 1889, a year before the birth of Laura Myfanwy Jones.
    The Welsh Presbyterian chapel of Webster Road (off Smithdown Road) in Wavertree was their spiritual and social home. She received great encouragement from the minister, Reverend William Owen (who was minister from 1896 to 1915), who allowed her to borrow books from his well stocked library. Another good man who gave her a great deal of assistance, was the lay missionary amongst the Welsh, John Evans, Beaconsfield Road, Cromby in Toxteth, who spent his life visiting Welsh patients in Liverpool hospitals, before she went to St Mary’s Church of England Training College in Bangor, Gwynedd. She was a Sunday School teacher on a class which included her younger sister, Winifred Ann. Welsh Presbyterianism was her lifeblood, and she received tremendous substance from the hymns, in particular those written by William Williams (1717-1791) of Pantycelyn. Two of them, ‘Fy Nuw, Fy Nhad, Fy Iesu’ (My God, My Father, My Jesus) and ‘Iesu, Iesu, rwyt ti’n ddigon.’ (Jesus, Jesus, thou art everything) was sung at her funeral. As she grew older she showed more and more allegiance to her Welsh roots, escaping often in the 80’s in her memory to the community of Webster Road and the Welsh heartland of Bryncir where her grandmother lived. She was very much like her grandmother, who lived until she was 99. It was through Nain Bryncir that she met the young politician David Lloyd George, from nearby Criccieth, on Bryncir railway station. He gave her sixpence in her hands. She treasured it through the tumultuous days when Lloyd George led Britain in the First World War.

    Her contribution to the world of education in her native city
    Her contribution to primary education in Liverpool was immense and far-reaching. When she left St Mary’s College in Bangor, her father died. It was 1913, that is on the threshold of the First World War. She and her brother became the breadwinners. In a short period of time she climbed the educational ladder, as a superb teacher, then deputy headmistress, and finally as headmistress. When they opened Finch Lane Primary School in Roby in 193 she was given the task of leading a brand new school. She did it with style. It was of no surprise to those who knew her that Liverpool Corporation appointed her as an Educational Adviser, and she fulfilled her duties in visiting schools, and in recruiting young students from the training colleges of Bangor to teach in Liverpool schools. The end result of this was to enrich the Welsh community of the city for generations.

    Her own resources as a kind, considerate, enlightened and committed Christian
    She had so many resources at her fingertips. A remarkable memory for individuals, historical incidents, and genealogical details. She had a lovable disposition. In her youth and middle age she was an extremely good looking person who dedicated her whole life to the profession, her family, and her Welsh religious community. Everyone of us who spent time in her company felt better after the experience. She was without any doubt the anchor of the family, none of whom got married, which was a loss to the Welsh community Liverpool. She faced the last lonely years of her life with utmost serenity. Laura M Jones had a strong faith. We the Rees family, who only lived a hundred yards from her, was her constant support. One of us would visit her every day of the week. She depended on us to do the arrangements for her helpers. She received help from kind neighbours, old school teachers, and Mrs Marged Jones of Birkenhead like the Merseyside Welsh chaplain, Rachel Gooding took their time at her home. Between us all we had a wonderful network. She died as she lived with dignity. Not often we have the privilege of meeting such a charming, kind, good person as Miss Laura M Jones. We were blessed to have known her in her old age as were those who were taught by her as well as those who were pupils at the primary schools under her care. This is a tribute to a woman who combined so many qualities as I noted in my tribute in Welsh printed in Angor (Volume 15, No 6) November 1993, page 1.

    D Ben Rees

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    Thomas Irwedd Vaughan, Birkenhead

    Thomas Irwedd Vaughan came in 1936 from Llanfair Talhaearn in Denbighshire to work in the Cammell Laird Yard in Birkenhead, and for the next 63 years he became an integral part of the Welsh community on Merseyside.
    A son of a farming family who lived at Melai, Llanfair Talhaearn, he was from his young days interested in engineering. For 45 years he worked as marine engineer and when he retired in 1981 he was a foreman with Cammell Laird. Immediately on his arrival in Birkenhead, Irwedd as he was known became an inspiration to all those who loved music as a tenor and also a conductor of concert parties and choirs. He became heavily involved with the Welsh Baptist Chapel of Woodlands in Birkenhead. Appointed a precentor in 1946, and then in 1853 a deacon, he served the chapel faithfully until it closed its doors in 1982. Then he became a valuable member of Noddfa Welsh Methodist Chapel in Bebington where he again was asked to be a precentor. Irwedd Vaughan gave of his best to the Welsh Free Church Council of Birkenhead as well as to the ecumenical Sunday School movement in the town.
    He was one of the pioneers of the Birkenhead Welsh Society when it was established in 1961, and served on two occasions as President. In 1989 he was honoured for his labour of love to Welsh culture when he became a member of the Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eisteddfod of Wales held that summer at Llanrwst. His wife Megan was a native of Birkenhead. She was a product of Parkfield Road Welsh Presbyterian Church, and they were blessed with three children, Sian, Olwen and Glyn. Irwedd Vaughan died on 22 February 2000 and his funeral took place on 2 March at Salem, Laird Street, Welsh chapel and then at Landican Crematorium.

    D Ben Rees

    (Based on a tribute in Welsh by Walter Rees Jones in Angor, Volume 21 No 21) May 2000, 1-2.

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    Mr Trevor Humphreys, Allerton (1917-2009)

    Trevor Humphreys was the product of the Welsh community Garston, and he was born on 10 May 1917 at 227 St Mary’s Road. His father, Owen Humphreys, hailed from the Beddgelert and Nantgwynant area and his mother from Tregaian in Anglesey. His father’s brother was also an activist in the Welsh Presbyterian Chapel in Chapel Road, Garston. The son was therefore brought up in the Welsh atmosphere of the home in St Mary’s Road and in the Chapel, and through Chapel activities he met his wife to be, Mari. She has recently been in Whiston Hospital for a long time, but has now moved to Arnside, and belonged to Princes Road Welsh Chapel at the time.
    Trevor suffered in his childhood from periods of illness. He contracted pneumonia on three occasions. It meant him having to stay in bed for a whole year, missing schooling at the Gilmore School in Heath Road. He was fortunate in the excellence of his family doctor, Dr Richard Humphreys of Grassendale. Leaving school at 16, he went to work in the Garston Docks Office of Hulton Colliery, which was part

    of the Lancashire Coalfield. The Second World War interrupted his career, and he joined up in 1940, and was transferred to the REME.  He served in North Africa and Italy. His life was saved a second time when a bullet from General Rommel’s men hit his helmet and was deflected away. Like others from Garston Chapel his time in the Army ended in Italy, where he enjoyed the opportunities of seeing operas in Milan and Naples as well as visiting the attractions of Rome. He was allowed home for seven days in 1942 and at this time he married Mari in Princes Road Welsh Presbyterian Chapel. When he came home from Italy, the couple lived for a while with his wife’s family in Aigburth, and their son David, who lives in the Lake District and who has recently retired as a Dental Surgeon, was born. After moving to 68 Melbreck Road, Allerton, where he and Mari lived until last year, their second son John, who has just retired as Vice Chancellor of Greenwich University, was born. The two sons thought the world of their father and were grateful for the chance to provide loving care for their parents in the twilight of Trevor and Mari’s days, and indeed over the years.
    Trevor settled at the same job again at Garston Docks after the war effort, in the same industry, and eventually became, after nationalisation, an important person locally in the National Coal Board. In the early sixties he had to move for the NCB to Doncaster, but refused to leave the city of his birth. He would travel every week, staying from Monday until Friday in Doncaster. He was called, because of his vast knowledge of the coal industry, a ‘Welsh Wizard’, the same term that was given to Lloyd George when Prime Minister. After two years, he was promoted to an excellent post in the India Buildings, Liverpool as Chief Administrative Officer. It was now very convenient for him to travel from West Allerton Station to St James Station in the city every working day.
    Trevor Humphreys was a proud Welshman. S4C was very important to him after his retirement and he thought the world of Wales as a country and nation. After buying his first motor car, a Ford Anglia in 1956, he travelled regularly to Caernarfonshire and Anglesey. His family had been pioneers of Bethania Chapel, Nantgwynant and he was called in the Melbreck neighbourhood ‘The Squire of Anglesey’. Some even suggested that he was going to collect the rents as he visited the old country so regularly! Sometimes he would travel in a day from Allerton to South Ceredigion and back, to visit farming relations.
    He lived to a good age and was proud of his son’s achievements, as he himself placed a great deal of emphasis on education. For all his life he gave commitment to the Trade Union Movement like his father before him. He enshrined the slogan of Darwin – ‘survival of the fittest’ and lived a full life. On a wintry day, 13 January 2010 his funeral was held under my guidance as I had known him for 40 years. The thanksgiving service was held in Garston Park (URC/Methodist) Chapel, Island Road, Liverpool.
    The organist was Ralph Dransfield, and a reading in Welsh as well as two fitting tributes by his sons were given at the Chapel, before he was laid to rest in the Welsh section of Allerton Cemetery, quite near to the graves of his father and that of the Welsh builder, J W Jones. An opportunity for fellowship at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Speke followed where we saw photographs and interesting documents, including a poster that Trevor had designed for a St David’s Day Celebration in the 1930s for Garston Welsh Chapel held at the Masonic Hall!

    D. Ben Rees.

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    Hughes, Robert Arthur (1910-1996)

    A medical missionary in Shillong, India and an influential Welsh Presbyterian Moderator. Born, he and his twin John Harris Hughes at Oswestry on 3 December 1910, the sons of the Reverend Howell Harris Hughes and his wife Mrs Annie Myfanwy Hughes (nee Davies), a native of Garth, near Llangollen who served as a headmistress in Rhosllanerchrugog. The family soon moved to Bangor and in the Garth School, both sons, had most of their elementary education. From Tabernacle Chapel Bangor the father received a call to the Welsh chapel of the Presbyterians at Waterloo in north Liverpool, and they received their education at Christchurch School in Seaforth (1921-1925) before moving to Llandudno and the John Bright School.
    He had a distinguished period as a medical student in the University of Liverpool from 1928 to 1933, and he was one of the ablest students of his generation. He received the Gold Medal for surgery as well as other awards. Appointed a surgeon under Mr (later Professor) O Herbert Williams as well as an assistant to Dr (later Professor) Norman Capon at the Royal Southern Hospital.
    He was invited to be the John Rankin Fellow in Human Anatomy at the University before serving for two years at the David Lewis Northern Hospital as a tutor and surgical registrar, before he offered his services as a medical missionary on the Khasia Hills in North East India. He was accepted by the Missionary Board of his denomination and he decided to equip himself further by gaining a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and further training at the Radium Institute and Mount Vernon Hospital in London.
    At the David Lewis Northern Hospital in Liverpool he met a nursing sister Nancy [Ann Beatrice] Wright of Heswall, who became his wife on 7 January 1939. Both then sailed on 28 January 1939 from Birkenhead to Calcutta. He began his lifework on St David’s Day 1939 at the Welsh Mission Hospital in Shillong as assistant to Dr H Gordon Roberts. He took responsibility for all the wards, with Dr H G Roberts in charge of the administration until his retirement in 1942. Then Dr R A Hughes became the Senior Medical Officer, the administrator, as well as the finance officer. He gave substantial medical assistance to the wounded on the Kohima to Diampur – the famous Burma Road – comforting the refugees who were in desperate conditions escaping from the Japanese soldiers. Between 1942 and 1945 he dealt with thousands of soldiers and officers from all over the world, including a substantial number of Welsh soldiers who had to be treated in the Shillong hospitals. Dr R Arthur Hughes became the liaison medical officer, between the British Army and the local authorities in the Assam region.
    Under his guidance the Welsh Mission Hospital of Shillong became one of the most important hospitals in the Indian sub-continent with patients flocking for treatment. Among these patients there were Government Civil Servants, entrepreneurs from the tea plantations of the Assam plain as well as Cachar including their families, and middle class people from as far as Calcutta. These patients were the chief source of finance for the hospital, allowing him and the staff to offer high medical and surgical care and opportunities for the poor Khasi folk who often would walk on foot 100 miles one way to receive treatment.
    His daily schedule was long, twelve hours a day from Monday and Friday as well as a clinic on Saturday mornings. On Tuesday and Thursday he would be involved in the hospital from 7.30 in the morning until 10.30 at night. His surgical assistants were few, and he never had help from a medical person, while he was on the mission field, belonging to the Connexion though he made a number of pleas. He realised that the only answer as to train the Khasi nation to do the work. This was an important contribution of Dr R Arthur Hughes.
    He was a pioneer in North East India who achieved remarkable change through his pamphlets fro public health and his initiative in tackling diseases such as malaria and typhoid. He began an extensive research to the medical condition of inaccessible villages in the Bhoi area, and persuaded the authorities in Delhi to sustain a campaign to conquer malaria. Dr Hughes established an itinerant pharmaceutical service with a jeep visiting the markets in the towns within reach of Shillong.
    He gave substantial service to the Presbyterians in Shillong, and on Sunday he and his wife were heavily involved. Elected an elder in 1944 he was involved in religious education. In his work he was extremely caring for the needs of his fellow missionaries when they were ill, as well as missionaries belonging to other nationalities and churches. His son John brought joy to the home, and he also followed the footsteps of the family as a medical practitioner and in 2007 was ordained as an Anglican priest in Cheshire.
    A farewell service to him and Nancy Hughes was held on 16 May 1969 when the Khasi hill people came to pay their tribute to one who was known as Schweitzer of Assam. He returned to Shillong in 1984 as well as in 1991 on the birthday of the church (150 years), and he had the opportunity of addressing a huge crowd reckoned to be 150,000 strong.
    Dr R A Hughes made his home in 1969 in Liverpool, a city where his father had been born, and where his grandfather and the family lived in the Dingle in the nineteenth century. Appointed as Academic Sub-Dean of the Medical Department of the University of Liverpool in 1969, he retired in 1976. He gave sterling service to the Presbyterian Church of Wales, elected an elder at Heathfield Road Chapel, Liverpool 15 in 1971, became Moderator of the Liverpool Presbytery, Chairman of the Elders’ Meeting of the North Wales Association in 1982-3, and Moderator of the General Assembly in 1992-3. Considering that he suffered from angina, he never missed a committee during his year of office, or an invitation to visit other denominations and churches. Though he had a weak speaking voice and as he admitted was much more fluent on his feet in the Khasi language than in Welsh or English, he made himself an endearing leader. Like his father before him he was a convinced absolute pacifist who took an abiding interest in the Peace Movement. He served as a trustee of the North East India-Wales Trust, and his contribution was always positive and useful.
    He died on Saturday morning, 1 June 1996 at the Cardiothoracic Hospital, Broadgreen, Liverpool and the funeral service took place at Bethel Chapel Heathfield Road, Liverpool 15 on 10 June 1996 and afterwards in Springwood Crematorium. His ashes were dispersed by St Tudno’s Church on the Gogarth Llandudno. A Robert Arthur Hughes Memorial Lecture was arranged by the North East India-Wales Trust in Liverpool between 1997 and 2007 and six were arranged. The first three lectures were enlarged and published in a volume under the title The Call and Contribution of Dr Robert Arthur Hughes OBE, FRCS 1910-1996 and some of his predecessors in North East India (Liverpool 2004).

    D Ben Rees

    D Andrew Jones, ‘The Mission Understanding of Dr Arthur Hughes’ [in] The Call and Contribution of Dr Robert Arthur Hughes OBE, FRCS 1910-1996 and some of his predecessors in North East India (Liverpool 2004), 42-72; D Ben Rees, ‘The Doctor with a Mission’, The Guardian (14 June 1996); D Ben Rees, ‘The Life and Work of Dr R Arthur Hughes, OBE, FRCS’, [in] The Call and Contribution of Dr Robert Arthur Hughes, OBE, FRCS 190-1996 and some of his predecessors in North East India (Liverpool, 2004), 11-38; D Ben Rees, ‘Robert Arthur Hughes OBE, FRCS’, 75th Anniversary, 1922-1997, Their Vision, Our Legacy. The KJP Synod Hospital, Shillong, formerly known as the Khasi Hills Welsh Mission Hospital (Shillong, 1997), 51-55.

    READ Chapter One of The Call and Contribution of Dr Robert Arthur Hughes OBE, FRCS 1910-1996 by  D Ben Rees