Hedd Wyn (Ellis Humphrey Evans) (1887-1917)

Death: 31st July 1917
Location: Artillery Wood CWGC Cemetery, Boezinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Cause of death: Killed in Action
Photo taken by:  Wernervc
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Welsh language poet who was killed near Ypres, Belgium, during the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I. He was posthumously awarded the bard's chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod. Evans, who had been awarded several chairs for his poetry, was inspired to take the bardic name Hedd Wyn (Welsh: blessed peace) from the way sunlight penetrated the mist in the Meirionydd valleys. His style, which was influenced by the Romantic poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, was dominated by themes of nature and religion. He also wrote several war poems following the outbreak of war on the Western Front.
The Third Battle of Ypres began on 31 July 1917 at 3:50 a.m. The Battle of Pilckem Ridge, in which Hedd Wyn was killed, constituted the opening attack of the main part of the Battle of Passchendaele. Heavy rain turned the battlefield into a swamp. The 15th Battalion captured Pilckem Ridge and then advanced east towards the German "Iron Cross" stronghold, coming under heavy artillery and machine gun fire. Soon after being wounded, Hedd Wyn was carried to a first-aid post. Still conscious, he asked the doctor "Do you think I will live?" though it was clear that he had little chance of surviving. Private Ellis Evans died at about 11:00 a.m. Also among fatalities on that day was the Irish war poet, Francis Ledwidge, who was "blown to bits" while drinking tea in a shell hole. Ellis Humphrey Evans was buried at Artillery Wood Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery. After a petition was submitted to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission following the war, the headstone of E. H. Evans was given the additional words Y Prifardd Hedd Wyn (English: "The Chief Bard, Hedd Wyn").