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Gwyn Alf Williams
Born in Dowlais on 30th September 1925, Gwyn Alf (as he was known, to distinguish him from several other eminent Welshmen with similar names) saw himself as "a people's remembrancer", which meant that he an unusual academic historian.
During the heady days of the civil war in
He did however become a D-Day veteran and eventually read History at the
In the very late 1940s, and early 1950, he found himself opposing the Party line on Tito. Although he left the Party for the first time, he always saw himself as “an apprentice Communist”.
Williams left Aberystwyth to take up a Readership at
In the 1960s, he joined the Labour Party for a while and then became one of the most notable members of the small Maoist “Communist Organisation in the
He presented the history of
In Madoc: the making of a myth (1979) he critically examined the evidence for the discovery of America by Prince Madog ab Owain Gwynedd in about 1170 and, in particular, for the existence of a tribe of Indians, known as Mandans, who were said to be his descendants.
He returned to these themes and introduced others in The Welsh in their History (1982), a collection of essays which argues for the opening up of new discourses, and in When was
His last book was Excalibur: the search for Arthur (1994). Williams died on 16th November 1995.
Sources include: Morning Star 20th November 1995