John Dawes and the EDCL

Subject: Fwd: John Dawes and the EDCL
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 03:54:37 EDT

Dear Myron,

Please find tbelow the latest page of Crystal Spheres.

At Pontardawe Grammar School Myron is proud to have played rugby once as full back against Gethin Edwards who was in the same class as Myron in the sixth form (1966-68). Gethin did not turn out to be a sporting legend, but his older brother Gareth who attended Pontardawe Technical School and Millfield public school did! Gareth was the inside half of the great Welsh Rugby team of the late seventies which was full of stars from the world of Welsh Rugby.. Considered great at that time, Gareth is now widely believed to be the greatest Welsh rugby player of all time, especially around the town of Pontardawe. Gareth was also a coal miner’s son and was born in Pontardawe in 1947 and at twenty years old became Wales’s youngest ever captain.. He became the only choice for Wales as scrum half between 1967 and 1978 and played many games for Wales with Phil Bennett as outside half. Phil Bennett was a coal miner born in 1948 in Felinfoel (which is near Pontardawe) and played for Llanelli Ruby Club. In 1973 at Cardiff Arms Park Bennett and Davies were playing for the Barbarians against the all blacks when Bennett caught the ball from a New Zealand kick near his own line. Bennett quickly side-stepped the New Zealand opposition and passed the ball to J. P. R. Williams and on to Pullin, John Dawes (Captain), Tommy David and Quinell, before Edwards dived to score in the left hand corner. The try is often considered to be the greatest try in the history of the game and John Dawes went on to become one of Wales’s greatest ever coaches at a time when Wales was at its zenith in the game between 1974 and 1979.

John Dawes was born 1940 in Abercarn at the other side of the coalfield in the Eastern Valley of Monmouthshire (which later became Gwent), near where Kerry Pendergast and Gareth Evans also originated. Dawes studied for his degree in chemistry at the Edward Davies Chemical Laboratories in Aberystwyth and went on to Captain the British Lions team that won the series in New Zealand in 1971.

Myron as a boy also took the usual interest in the rough and ready village soccer and cricket and his father often took him to see ‘The Swans’- Swansea Town, later called Swansea City. At the time they included Mel Charles, the younger brother of the great John Charles and also Herbie Williams.

Myron studied for his degree in chemistry at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth from 1968 to 1971 at the Edward Davies Chemical Laboratories and then continued there as a postgraduate student till 1974. At Aberystwyth Myron developed a love for athletics and started regular distance running when he was nineteen in order to keep fit. Eventually Myron took to using the university athletics track at Aberystwyth at weekends at first, then gradually every day. Initially his routine was ten thousand metres (25 laps) on a Saturday, and a five thousand on a Sunday. His times were nothing to write home about however, so he switched to sprinting over 100 and 200 metres, which he eventually did daily at the athletics field next to the Edward Davies Chemical Laboratories. Myron continued at the Edward Davies Chemical Laboratories (EDCL) for his Ph. D. with Professor Mansel Davies (1913-1995) as his supervisor from 1971 to 1974.


Many thanks indeed to Kerry Pendergast for this extra information about Gareth Edwards and Phil Bennett. Kerry’s book “Crystal Spheres” is preprinted on _www.aias.us_ ( and is to be published by Abramis. It contains a wealth of information about the EDCL at Aberystwyth, where several of us here were undergraduate and post graduate students. I think that a new coal mining industry could be developed in South Wales, but with stringent safety precuations, notably the removal of CO2 emissions by magnegas, and of course anti-dust precuations and steel lined galleries. It was a delight to be shown around the coal miners museum and art exhibition in the University of Glamorgan at Pontypridd. If one travels along the Heads of the Valleys road one can see specatucalr views of the legendary South Wales Valleys on one side, and the wild moorland over to Brecon on the other. Kier Hardy was elected the first Labour MP for Merthyr Boroughs, and Aneurin Bevan, Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock over in Gwent. The first steam engine ran from Merthyr to Abercynnon, designed by Richard Trevithick of Cornwall. That engine still runs today, as can be seen on the programmes of the late Dr Frederick Dibnah, MBE.

cc Priem Minister’s Office and Welsh Assembly

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