Monday, November 16, 2009

Bringing Gareth Jones Home

Last week saw the launch of a new display at Cambridge's Wren Library of the diaries of Gareth Jones, a Barry-born journalist with an international reputation.

He was the son of Major Edgar Jones, the headmaster at Barry County Grammar School, and was a highly-regarded international affairs journalist who worked for David Lloyd-George amongst others.

Gareth is best remembered in the Ukraine as being the only Western journalist to visit the country during the Holodomor in 1932-33, a deliberate starvation of the Ukrainian population by Stalin, and where Gareth has been posthumously honoured, but interviewed Goebbels amongst others.

He was killed under suspicious circumstances by Mongolian bandits in 1935, still aged only 29.

It seems a shame to me that the story of Gareth Jones isn't better known in Wales, especially as it is intertwined with another Welsh urban myth - the Welsh colony at Hughesovka, now Donetsk, in the Ukraine, but especially that it's not better known in Barry itself.

Now that we have an excellent exhibition space in the heart of Barry at the new library, wouldn't it be great to see an exhibition of Gareth's work and its international importance in his hometown - and then in the new town museum, when we finally persuade the authorities that it's necessary!

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