|Hedd Wyn is buried in the Artillery
Wood war cemetery near
Boezinge, Belgium, Europe.
Photo © Gareth L Evans
Hedd Wyn, whose real name was Ellis
Humphrey Evans, was born in Trawsfynydd in Wales - the
eldest son of a farmer. He received little formal education but
developed a skill for poetry at an early age. At the age of
19 he won the chair at the Penbedw Eisteddfod.
1910 he took the bardic name Hedd Wyn - meaning 'blessed
peace' in Welsh - inspired by the sunlight in the Meirionydd
In 1917 he joined the 15th Battalion of the
Royal Welsh Fusiliers and was sent to the Western Front. He fought
in the Battle of Passchendaele - where he was seriously
wounded and died shortly afterwards from his injuries on the
31st July. He was 30 years old.
He was posthumously awarded the chair at the 1917
National Eisteddfod for a poem he had submitted under the
pseudonym 'Fleur de Lis' before reaching the front line. The
Black Chair he won can now be found at his home farm of
After the war, a petition was
submitted to the War Graves Committee to allow extra words
to be added to his gravestone - namely: Y Prifardd Hedd
Wyn (The Chief Bard, Hedd Wyn).
Wyn was an expert
in Welsh forms of poetry of which there are 24. The most
complex of these is the awdl form - which is similar in some
ways to an ode. Hedd Wyn's poetry was also influenced by the
Romantic poets and in particular
Shelley. However, some of his best work was inspired by
There is a commemorative statue of him in Trawsfynydd, Gwynedd, Wales.
Pan deimlodd fyned ymaith Dduw
- Cyfododd gledd i ladd ei frawd;
- Mae swn yr ymladd ar ein clyw,
- A'i gysgod ar fythynnod tlawd.
- From 'Rhyfel'