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Tribute paid to former Trinity lecturer

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PROFESSOR JOHN ROWLANDS, former Professor at Aberystwyth University’s Department of Welsh, has recently died aged 76.

Originally from Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd, Professor Rowlands graduated with first class honours in Welsh from the University of Bangor in 1959. He continued in Bangor for another two years where he completed an MA on ‘Delweddau Dafydd ap Gwilym’ (The Images of Dafydd ap Gwilym).

He received a University of Wales Fellowship for further study at Jesus College Oxford between 1961 and 1963, and he was awarded his DPhil (Oxon) for ‘A Critical Edition and Study of the Welsh Poems Written in Praise of the Salusburies of Llyweni’, which was published 1967.

Between 1963 and 1974 he lectured at Swansea University, Trinity College Carmarthen, and St David’s University College Lampeter, and in 1975 he was appointed lecturer for the Department of Welsh at Aberystwyth. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1976, to Reader in 1992 and Professor in 1996. He continued to work at Aberystwyth University until his retirement in 2003.

Between 1960 and 1978, Professor Rowlands wrote six Welsh language novels, of which the best-known was Lle bo’r gwenyn, or Where Bees may Be.  He also translated Federico Garcia Lorca’s play Blood Wedding into Welsh.

Paying tribute to Professor Rowlands, Dr Robin Chapman, Acting Head of the Department of Welsh said: “Everyone in the Department has been shaken by the news of John’s death, and we have spent the day recalling our own personal memories of him. We are agreed on one thing; we have lost a friend as well as a colleague. Many could be justly proud of having achieved just a fraction of what he did.  He was a talented musician (we will long remember his piano accompaniments in departmental Christmas parties). He knew and wrote with insight on food and wine. He was a ground-breaking novelist – almost the only example of an Angry Young Man in Welsh literature – at the beginning of his career, and a master of tragic and comedic fiction in later years. As a critic, he taught generations of students to look beyond the personality of writers to concentrate on texts and contexts. He was a painstaking, creative editor who enhanced every piece of writing he touched. As a lecturer and professor, he had a profound influence on dozens of Wales’s leading writers and academics. And he was, of course, a loving husband and father. We extend our sympathy to Eluned, his children and grandchildren.”

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Watch out – Iolo Patrolo is about

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MEET Iolo Patrolo – on road safety duty to help keep our children safe!

The camera enforcement car is on patrol across Carmarthenshire to help tackle the problem of dangerous parking outside our schools.

Ysgol Brynsierfel year two pupil Osian Davies won a schools competition to name the car and won a £50 gift voucher and certificate for his efforts.

The vehicle, which uses CCTV automatic number plate recognition to catch inconsiderate drivers who park their cars illegally, has also been branded with its new name.

It will be targeting school ‘keep clear’ zones and yellow zig-zags, bus stops, pedestrian crossings and other areas that put children at risk.

The car only needs to drive past to do its job and drivers caught parking illegally will receive a penalty charge notice in the post for £70 (reduced to £35 if paid within 21 days).

Osian Davies named the car.

As well as running a competition to name the car, the council also asked pupils to design a banner which was won by Kai Davies, also from Ysgol Brynsierfel. Kai, from year five, too received a £50 voucher and certificate and will see his design made into a huge banner and placed outside the school for everyone to see.

Road safety mascot Gari Gosafe and council executive board members Hazel Evans and Philip Hughes surprised both pupils at a special school assembly to announce the winners.

Cllr Evans said: “The safety of children outside the school gates is a major concern despite our continued efforts, particularly those that walk or cycle to school. Hopefully the camera car will encourage drivers to think more carefully about where they park and help to create a safer environment for everyone.

“Congratulations to both Osian and Kai, it was a tough choice as we had some great ideas for both the name and the banner design.”

Cllr Hughes added: “The camera car will help us to tackle those drivers who are putting our children’s lives at risk by continually parking their cars in places which make it difficult to see the traffic. This is not only dangerous but in most cases this is illegal too, and those that break the law will be recorded on camera and fined.”

The camera car has already been used to target parking issues in the county with much success, including the enforcement of the pedestrian zones in Nott Square and Guildhall Square in Carmarthen, with a clear reduction in the number of parked vehicles, improving the environment for pedestrians as a result.

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The tale of the WW2 Luftwaffe pilot who mistakenly landed in west Wales

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IT WAS this time of year, 1942, that a bizarre series of events led to a German fighter pilot landing at RAF Pembrey in South Wales, unintentionally aiding the war effort of The Allied Forces in the process.

On June 23, 1942, Oberleautnant Armin Fabar was ordered to a fly a combat mission along with his squadron, in response to an Allied bombing raid of northern France.

Armin Faber mistakenly flew to South Wales after the dog-fight

Fabar’s squadron (the 7th Staffel) all flew Focke-Wulf 190 fighter planes. These planes were seen as superior to the then current Spitfires of the Allied Forces, and in the subsequent dog-fight that developed over The English Channel seven Spitfires were shot down, compared to only two Focke-Wulf 190s (FW-190s).

One Czechoslovakian Spitfire pilot, Alois Vašátko, dramatically lost his life when, in the fray of combat, he collided head-on with an FW-190. The German pilot bailed out and was later captured by Allied Forces.

Spitfire pilot Alois Vašátko lost his life in the battle

In the ensuing battle, Faber became disorientated and was separated from his squadron. He was attacked by a Spitfire manned by Seargent František Trejtnar. In a desperate attempt to shake off his pursuer, Faber fled North over the skies of Devon. He pulled off a brilliant ‘Immelman Turn’, a move in which the sun is used to dazzle a pursuer on your tail. Now flying directly from Trejtnar’s view of the sun, Faber shot him down.

Trejtnar crashed near the village of Black Dog, Devon suffering shrapnel wounds and a broken arm.

The victorious Faber had another problem entirely, though he was unaware of it at the time. He had mistaken The Bristol Channel for The English Channel, and flew north into south Wales, thinking it was northern France!

Finding the nearest airfield – RAF Pembrey, in Carmarthernshire, Faber prepared to land. Observers on the ground ‘could not believe their eyes’ as Faber waggled his wings in a victory celebration, lowered the Focke-Wulf’s undercarriage and landed.

Faber expected to be greeted with open arms by his German brothers, but was instead greeted by Pembrey Duty Pilot, Sgt Matthews, pointing a flare gun at his face (he had no other weapon to hand).

As the gravity of the mistake slowly dawned on him, the stricken Faber was ‘so despondent that he attempted suicide’ unsuccessfully.

Faber was later driven to RAF Fairwood Common for interrogation under the escort of Group Captain David Atcherley. Atcherley, fearful of an escape attempt, aimed his revolver at Faber for the entire journey. At one point the car hit a pothole, causing the weapon to fire; the shot only narrowly missing Faber’s head!

Fabers mistaken landing in Wales was a gift for The Allied Forces, a disaster for The Third Reich.

He had inadvertently presented the RAF with one of the greatest prizes of the entire war – an intact example of the formidable Focke-Wulf 190 fighter plane, an aircraft the British had learned to fear and dread ever since it made its combat debut the previous year.

Over the following months Faber’s plane was examined in minute detail, the allies desperately looking for any weakness in the FW-190. There were few to be found.

They did find one, however.

The FW-190s became relatively sluggish at higher altitudes. This knowledge aided the Allied Forces and saved countless lives, as the aerial battles turned increasingly in their favour.

Faber was taken as a prisoner of war, eventually being sent to a POW camp in Canada. Towards the end of the war he was sent home to Germany due to his ill health.

49 years later Faber would visit the Shoreham Aircraft Museum, where parts of his FW-190 are displayed to this day, along with parts of the Spitfire that he shot down in the skies over Devon. He presented the Museum with his officer’s dagger and pilot’s badge.

This little-known but important piece of Carmarthenshire history illustrates not only the high-stakes arms race between The Third Reich and The Allied Forces during WW2, but also the cost of human error.

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Cruise Culture returns to Carmarthen

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WALES’ biggest modified and performance car show is returning to the Carmarthen Showground this August.
Cruise Culture is a static car show with modified, performance, classic and standard cars. The annual show attracts thousands of visitors each year. On Sunday August 25, the ultimate indoor show hall will have some of the best modified cars from all over the UK on display, as well as an outdoor show and shine section. Growing year on year, Cruise Culture now welcomes over 40 club stands. The entertainment stage will have DJs playing all day. Competitions throughout the day will include: Club of the Show; Car of the Show; Show and Shine Winner; Best Club Stand Car; Best Show Hall Car; Best Wheels of the Show and Best Install. Prizes and awards will be handed out for each of the various competitions. There will also be inflatables and fair attractions, meaning Cruise Culture is a great family day out. There will be a wide variety of food stalls, not just burger vans but hog roasts, BBQ, pizza and much more. The Jamie Squibb Freestyle Motocross Stunt Show will also take place, as the team of riders perform breathtaking jumps and stunts.
Pre-sale tickets are £5 per person, alternatively tickets are available on the gate at £7 per person. Tickets are sent via post and take approximately five working days to arrive from order date. You can book tickets online at http://www.cruise-swansea.co.uk

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