FROM PEMBROKESHIRE TO PASSCHENDAELE AND PERTH – MY FAMILY IN THE GREAT WAR
In this the centenary year of the ending of the First World War Tony pays tribute to the memory of those who served and suffered in this most terrible of conflicts.
What connects a Pembrokeshire village, the First World War trenches, Australia, Kenya and Hollywood? Professor and prize-winning author Tony Curtis reveals all in a fascinating history of his family and the 1914-18 war. This illustrated talk draws on some of the great literary and art works of the period, as well as sharing remarkable family photographs.
2pm – 3pm
Wales to Nagasaki
A talk by Greg Lewis.
Greg’s talk last year about the women of the SOE in World War II was immensely successful and popular. He is back this year to tell the story of the Welshmen who witnessed the horror of the Nagasaki bomb. Greg has edited the diaries of one of these men, Les Spence. Les was a rugby player who would go on to become President of the WRU. After the war Les appreciated the value of rugby as one way to help heal the conflict’s scars and in particular he led the great Welsh rugby side of the 1970s to Japan. Over a period of four years whilst a POW in a camp near Nagasaki, Les Spence kept this secret diary chronicling the prisoners’ lives in captivity. The edited diary is published in book form under the title “From Java to Nagasaki”. The tale told is a first hand account of war, suffering, courage, sport, and subsequently reconciliation.
Greg Lewis is a radio and television writer and producer. He has written a number of non fiction books and has produced more than sixty documentaries for radio and television. Greg lives in Cardiff. He grew up in nearby Saundersfoot.
4pm – 5pm
A Fluellen Theatre première
By Derek Webb
This new play being premièred at Tenby Arts Festival commemorates both the ending of the First World War and the creation of the Royal Air Force in 1918, which was formed by merging the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.
The play follows the fortunes of three young men (based on real characters) who eagerly joined the fledgling Royal Flying Corps, formed a couple of years before the outbreak of war in 1914. This was at a time when the world was changing rapidly, and fascination with new technology was evident everywhere. And nothing symbolised it more than the wonder of the age – the aeroplane. For many the heady combination of speed, technology and excitement must have seemed irresistible.
But as the war dragged on, youthful exuberance was replaced by harsh reality. By the spring of 1917 British air squadrons were losing 200 pilots a month, and life expectancy for a pilot was a pitiful eleven days. Flying in flimsy, primitive machines without a parachute, the unimaginable bravery of these extraordinary pioneering airmen was pivotal in determining the outcome of the war. And, while the way that wars are fought has changed dramatically, the human story at the heart of the play is no different today.
De Valance Pavilion