Wynford Vaughan-Thomas
Lewis John Wynford Vaughan-Thomas CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (15 August 1908 – 4 February 1987) was a British (Welsh
Welsh people
The Welsh people are an ethnic group and nation associated with Wales and the Welsh language.John Davies argues that the origin of the "Welsh nation" can be traced to the late 4th and early 5th centuries, following the Roman departure from Britain, although Brythonic Celtic languages seem to have...

) newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...

A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 and radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 and television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

A presenter, or host , is a person or organization responsible for running an event. A museum or university, for example, may be the presenter or host of an exhibit. Likewise, a master of ceremonies is a person that hosts or presents a show...

. In later life he took the name Vaughan-Thomas after his father.

He was born in Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

, in south Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, the second son of Dr. David Vaughan Thomas, a Professor of Music, and Morfydd Lewis, the daughter of Daniel Lewis who was one of the leaders of the Rebecca riots in Pontardulais .

He attended the Bishop Gore School
Bishop Gore School
The Bishop Gore School is a secondary school in Swansea in south Wales, founded on 14 September 1682 by Hugh Gore , Bishop of Waterford and Lismore...

, Swansea, where the English master was the father of Dylan Thomas
Dylan Thomas
Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer, Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 11 January 2008. who wrote exclusively in English. In addition to poetry, he wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, which he often performed himself...

, who was just entering the school at the time that Vaughan-Thomas was leaving for Exeter College, Oxford
Exeter College, Oxford
Exeter College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England and the fourth oldest college of the University. The main entrance is on the east side of Turl Street...

. At Oxford he read Modern History and gained a second class Academic degree
Academic degree
An academic degree is a position and title within a college or university that is usually awarded in recognition of the recipient having either satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study or having conducted a scholarly endeavour deemed worthy of his or her admission to the degree...


In the mid 1930s he joined the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 and in 1937 gave the Welsh-language commentary on the Coronation
A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

 of King George VI. This was the precursor to several English-language commentaries on state occasions he was to give after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. During the war he established his name and reputation as one of the BBC's most distinguished war correspondent
War correspondent
A war correspondent is a journalist who covers stories firsthand from a war zone. In the 19th century they were also called Special Correspondents.-Methods:...

s of World War II. His most memorable report was from an RAF Lancaster bomber during a real bombing raid over Nazi Berlin. Other notable reports were from Anzio
Anzio is a city and comune on the coast of the Lazio region of Italy, about south of Rome.Well known for its seaside harbour setting, it is a fishing port and a departure point for ferries and hydroplanes to the Pontine Islands of Ponza, Palmarola and Ventotene...

, the Burgundy vineyards, Lord Haw Haw's broadcasting studio and the Belsen concentration camp. In 1953 he was one of a team of BBC commentators on the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It was fitting that he commentated on the funeral of his fellow wartime BBC correspondent Richard Dimbleby
Richard Dimbleby
Richard Dimbleby CBE was an English journalist and broadcaster widely acknowledged as one of the greatest figures in British broadcasting history.-Early life:...

 who died in 1965.

In 1967, after leaving the BBC, he was one of the founders of Harlech TV (HTV), now ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 Wales, being appointed Director of Programmes, as a frequent TV broadcaster himself throughout his early career with the BBC he had adopted the required BBC accent of the time but employed his more natural native Welsh accent to even better effect in his later career. He wrote numerous books, many on Wales and a favourite subject of his, the Welsh countryside, he officially opened the Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Pembrokeshire Coast Path
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is a National Trail in southwest Wales. It was established in 1970, and is 186 miles long, mostly at cliff-top level, with 35,000 feet of ascent and descent. The northern end is at Poppit Sands, near St...

 in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park is a national park along the Pembrokeshire coast in West Wales.It was established as a National Park in 1952, and is the only one in the United Kingdom to have been designated primarily because of its spectacular coastline...

 at its start in Amroth, Pembrokeshire
Amroth, Pembrokeshire
Amroth is a holiday resort village, east of Tenby, Pembrokeshire in West Wales, noted for long sandy beach.-History:The name is Welsh, and probably means "On Rhath".The beach stretches the whole length of the village...


His wartime overview and experiences, and his successful broadcasting career later, enabled him to view life and its vagaries with what he called 'pointless optimism' - a perspective that certainly served him well.

He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (OBE) in 1974, and raised to Commander (CBE) in 1986.

He died in Fishguard
Fishguard is a coastal town in Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales, with a population of 3,300 . The community of Fishguard and Goodwick had a population of 5043 at the 2001 census....

 in 1987.

A memorial was constructed after his death, completed and unveiled in 1990 near Aberhosan
Aberhosan is a village in the Welsh principal area of Powys, located between the historic town of Machynlleth and village of Dylife.There is memorial nearby unveiled in 1990 to the BBC broadcaster Lewis John Wynford Vaughan-Thomas CBE, constructed after his death in 1987.- External links :*...

 in the form of a toposcope
A toposcope or topograph is a marker erected on hills, mountains or high places which indicates the direction, and usually the distance, to notable landscape features which can be seen from that point...

 looking out over the rolling hills and mountains of Wales, with a depiction of Vaughan-Thomas pointing towards Snowdon
Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales, at an altitude of above sea level, and the highest point in the British Isles outside Scotland. It is located in Snowdonia National Park in Gwynedd, and has been described as "probably the busiest mountain in Britain"...

, Wales' highest peak, which is just visible on a clear day.


  • Anzio (1961)
  • Madly in All Directions (1967)
  • The Shell Guide to Wales (1969, with Alun Llewellyn)
  • Portrait of Gower (1976)
  • Trust to Talk (1980)
  • Wynford Vaughan-Thomas's Wales (1981)
  • Princes of Wales (1982)
  • The Countryside Companion (1983)
  • Dalgety (1984)
  • Wales: a History (1985)
  • How I Liberated Burgundy: And Other Vinous Adventures (1985)

External links


  • Trust to Talk, an autobiography.
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