Hedd Wyn portrait to be unveiled on Armistice Day

November 07, 2018

Private Ellis Humphrey Evans, 15th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers, who lost his life in the First World War, will be commemorated by a large-scale sand portrait for Danny Boyle’s Armistice commission Pages of the Sea this Sunday in Colwyn Bay.

To mark Armistice Day r, the public is invited to assemble at one of thirty-two beaches around the UK and the Republic of Ireland at low-tide for an informal, nationwide gesture of remembrance for the men and women who left their home shores during the First World War.

A large-scale portrait of Private Evans (better known by his bardic name of Hedd Wyn), designed by sand artists Sand In Your Eye, will be drawn into the sand on the beach in Colwyn Bay and washed away as the tide comes in. In addition, the public will be asked to join in by creating silhouettes of people in the sand, remembering the millions of lives lost or changed forever by the conflict. Each of the beaches taking part in the project will commemorate a different WW1 casualty. 

Hedd Wyn (Welsh for Shining Peace) was born in Trawsfynydd on 13 January 1887 and killed during the Battle of Passchendaele, on 31 July 1917.

He was a Welsh language poet who won his first bardic chair in 1907. Whilst in Flēchin, France, waiting to move to the Front at Ypres, he finished writing and submitted a poem, Yr Arwr (The Hero), to the 1917 National Eisteddfod. When the winner of the Bardic chair, with the pen-name 'Fleur-de-lis', was called to receive his prize during the chairing ceremony of the National Eisteddfod in Birkenhead in 1917, nobody rose.

Hedd Wyn, the victorious Bard had been killed a few weeks previously on the battlefield in Flanders. The empty chair was covered with a black veil and from then on, the Birkenhead Eisteddfod 1917 was known as “The Eisteddfod of the Black Chair”. 

The public is invited to explore an online gallery of portraits of some of the men and women who served in the First World War, and select someone to thank and say a personal goodbye to either via social media or as they gather in person on beaches on 11 November at www.pagesofthesea.org.uk.

The images are drawn from the Imperial War Museum’s ‘Lives of the First World War’ which aims to tell 8 million stories of those who served from Britain and the Commonwealth. Visitors to the website can also add their own portraits of members of their family or community who contributed to the First World War. www.livesofthefirstworldwar.org

The full schedule of the day has been now been published. Click on the link below to view it.

Schedule of events Colwyn Bay