Welsh Branch Secretary, Adam Philips, addressed the people of Llanelli last month to commemorate the centenary of the Llanelli Railway Strike of August 1911 and the riots that followed.
The week long commemoration was held in Llanelli in the south of Wales and culminated in a march and rally in Llanelli on the day of the anniversary on 20th August 2011, which marked the murder of two Welsh workers by British soldiers during the strike. A 1911 enquiry into the death of the two men concluded that the cause of death was “justifiable homicide”, but a petition has been created to ask the UK Government to apologise to the families of these men and to the town for this dreadful incident.
In the Llanelli Mercury newspaper of August 24 2011 the Chair of the Llanelli 1911 Rail Strike Committee, Tim Evans, said that the first time he heard about the strike and riots was from his grandmother and that it was as though the events had been hidden from history. Mr Evans said that the strike and riots were part of a much wider movement of discontent – the `Great Unrest’ – that affected all of the Celtic countries under the control of the British, including what Éire (Republic of Ireland). Mr Evans added:
“The Great Unrest was like a small version of the Arab Spring. This was also the last time the Liberals controlled the government. We’re going to see more and more of this in the future, I think.”
Branch Secretary Mr Philips is active in promoting commemorating a number of historical events throughout Wales, including the annual Abergele Martyr’s event in June and the Cilmeri Ralli December. An edited version of the speech Mr Philips gave on 20th August is set out below.
“Ar rhan yr undeb Celtaidd, Balchder Cymru a Cambria Band – dwin falch iawn o cael sefyll yma efo chi heddiw.
“Mae’on bwysig iawn fod ni ar genhedlaeth sydd I ddod ar ein hol ni yncofio ein hanes ac yn enwedig beth nath ddigwydd yn y dref yma 100 mlynedd nol!
“On behalf of the Celtic League, Balchder Cymru and Cambria Band I’m honoured to be standing with you here today.
“It’s vitally important for us and the generations that will follow us remember the history of our nation and the events that took place in this town 100 yrs ago!
“I’ve heard the word “shame” and the phrase “wiped out of history” when the Llanelli strike and subsequent riots are mentioned, well I say the Shame lies with Winston Churchill and Lloyd George, men who were hell bent on furthering their political progress at the expense of the common man.
“And blame lies with those responsible for bringing the military into the town to use it as a tool against civilians.
“This topic could be debated endlessly, the point is Two men lay dead after being murdered by the British Army, and that’s what sparked the uprising.
“I think now is the time for an apology from the commander in chief of the Armed forces.
“Today marks an important milestone in the history of this town –You must make sure that the telling of this story does not end here…….”
This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League in conjunction with Cymru branch. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information