Hedd Wynn

Hedd Wyn (born Ellis Humphrey Evans), (1887 – 1917) was a Welsh-language poet who was killed on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I. He was posthumously awarded the bard’s chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod. Evans, who had been awarded several chairs for his poetry, was inspired to take the bardic name Hedd Wyn (“blessed peace”) from the way sunlight penetrated the mist in the Meirionnydd valleys. Born in the village of Trawsfynydd, Evans wrote much of his poetry while working as a shepherd on his family’s hill farm. His style, which was influenced by romantic poetry, was dominated by themes of nature and religion. He also wrote several war poems following the outbreak of war on the Western Front in 1914. Hedd Wyn was fatally wounded within the first few hours of the start of the Third Battle of Ypres on 31 July 1917. He fell during the Battle of Pilckem Ridge which had begun at 3:50 a.m. with a heavy bombardment of the German lines (this was the opening attack in what became known as Battle of Passchendaele). However, the troops’ advance was hampered by incoming artillery and machine gun fire, and by heavy rain turning the battlefield to swamp.

back to W – Z

back to Writers A – Z