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Dai Francis 1911-1981

Red Line

Born Onllwyn, Neath. A fifth generation miner, Dai started work in the local pit at age 14. He worked underground from 1926 to 1937 and then as a surface worker from 1959. He became a great admirer of the principles of Arthur Horner and like Horner became a member of the Communist party in 1936 and remained a Communist for the rest of his life.

From 1943 to 1959 he was a member of the executive committee of the South Wales Miners’ Federation and in 1963 became the general secretary for the South Wales area National Union of Mineworkers, a position he held until 1976. In 1974 he became the first chairman of the Wales Trades Union Congress. Also in 1974 in recognition of the work he had done to set up the Miners’ Eisteddfod and Miners’ Gala he became a member of the Gorsedd of Bards and took the name “Dai o’r Onllwyn”.


Francis, Hywel and Smith, Dai. The Fed: a history of the South Wales miners in the  twentieth century. (Cardiff, UWP, 1998)

Francis, Dai Red banner, red dragon: articles 1960-79 (Y Faner Goch, 1981)

All items listed in the further reading are available for consultation in either the South Wales Miners’ Library or the Library and Information Centre, University of Wales Swansea. Click here to link to the library catalogue. 


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