Jones, Jack, 1884-1970

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Jones, Jack, 1884-1970

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Jack Jones (1884-1970), author and playwright, was born at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, the eldest son of David and Sarah Anne. He was educated at St David's elementary school, Merthyr Tydfil. Between 1902 and 1906 he served in the Army in South Africa and India. In 1908 he married his first wife, Laura Grimes Evans (d. 1946), of Builth Wells, Brecknockshire. They had five children. After the First World War he became active in left-wing politics. In 1921 he was sent by the Miners' Federation Lodge, Pontypool, Monmouthshire, to the Conference of the British Communist Party in Manchester, where he was elected temporary corresponding secretary for the South Wales coalfield. In 1923 he was appointed full-time secretary-representative of the miners at Blaengarw, Glamorgan, and later joined the Labour Party. He was forced to resign in 1927 after the publication of his controversial article, 'The Need for a Lib-Lab Coalition'. He moved to Cardiff and became one of Lloyd George's speakers on the Liberal platform, and stood unsuccessfully for Neath in the 1929 general election. He began writing seriously during a period of unemployment. His first novel, 'Saran', was never published, but a reduced version of it appeared as Black Parade (1935). By 1939, he had written the novels Rhondda Roundabout (1934), and Bidden to the Beast (1938), a play, Land of my Fathers (1937), and his first autobiography, Unfinished Journey (1937). The London stage version of Rhondda Roundabout was acclaimed. He wrote the dialogue for the film 'Proud Valley', in which he also had a minor acting role. During the Second World War he was a speaker for the Ministry of Information and the National Savings Movement. He wrote The Man David (1944), a life of David Lloyd George. In the 1945 election he supported Sir James Grigg of the Conservative Party. After the war he wrote two volumes of autobiography, Me and Mine (1946) and Give Me Back My Heart (1950), three novels, Off to Philadelphia in the Morning (1947), Some Trust in Chariots (1948), and River out of Eden (1951), and a play Transatlantic Episode (1947). He was made a CBE in 1948. His later works, Lily of the Valley and Lucky Year (1952), Time and the Business (1953), Choral Symphony (1955) and Come, Night; End, Day (1956) were less well received. In 1954, he married his second wife, Gladys Morgan. He was elected first President of the English section of Yr Academi Gymreig. Until his death in May 1970 he continued writing; these works remained unpublished, including a biographical novel, 'A Burnt Offering', based on the life of Dr William Price (1800-1893), Llantrisant, pioneer of cremation.

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