experiences as a member of the Benedictine Order at Ampleforth Abbey, Yorkshire. During the early 1960’s he contributed two talks to the Silver Lining Series on the Homes Service, and was invited to make future contributions. Some of his short stories were also broadcasted and he wrote a play for television. At that time Dr. Thomas also worked on research into the causes of suicide and mental illness in South Wales, and produced a documentary programme on the subject. He also collaborated with Lord Longford in a work on Crime and Punishment.
During the month of May 1962 he gave Radio talks, two of which were of particular interest to local people, however, a talk to be broadcast on all B.B.C. Home Services (except Welsh) on Friday evening (May 18th) formed a sequel to his previous talk on his monastic experiences that was selected for “Pick of the Week” and reprinted in The Listener. This sequel entitled, “Coming Out in Style,” told of his experiences when he left the monastery through ill-health, to return to the world. On Wednesday, May 30th 1962, he gave a talk on the Newport to Brecon railway which, at that time was threatened with closure, and was of outstanding interest to local listeners. (NOTE: The line closed on 29th December 1962) In it Dr. Thomas tried to recapture some of the unique atmosphere of the time and the people and places connected with it. As a result of a talk he gave on the Welsh Home Service feature programme, Hook-Up, in which he spoke of an exhibition of photographic art mounted by the students of Cardiff College of Art, he received a letter from Kensington Palace informing him of Lord Snowden’s ‘interest and delight.’
He continued his contributions to both radio and television, and, in July 1963 appear both on radio and television in connection with research into the “Problems of Failure,” in which he had been engaged. He was interviewed in the Welsh Home Service magazine programme “Focus” on Friday evening, July 19, and appeared in the television series “Standpoint” on Thursday, August 1, to present an interim report on his findings. Dr. Thomas has only recently left hospital after an illness lasting several months. His radio broadcasts continued during the rest of the year.
Compiled from Merthyr Express reports between 1949 and 1963
The following information has been provided by Ian Ballard Oliver, Huw’s cousin
Huw Ballard Thomas
Born 1929, died 1995 after a series of heart attacks.
My cousin Huw's story is of a life full of promise that achieved little or nothing, unfortunately. The snippets from the Merthyr Express on which his story is based up until the late 1950’s consists of items mostly sent in by him. Some are accurate but others are "coloured" somewhat as you might expect. He was 10 years my senior.
Huw was brought up in Aelybryn. As the family moved within the street several times it is difficult to give an exact number; as a small boy I simply knew which house it was and went there if on an errand. I know that the first one