Saturday, 5 May 2012
We Shall Fight in the Fields and in The Streets
When Winston Churchill rallied the nation with his most famous speech during Britain's darkest hour in 1940, he could never have imagined it would become a rallying cry for Welsh nationalists, turning local hospital radio presenter Evan Daly into an international hero.
From his vantage point, Mr Daly, 39, has continued to give live coverage of the battle between government forces and the Free Wales Army, it's numbers swelled by local volunteers and civilians, as they struggle for control of the once peaceful market town of Abergavenny. With paratroopers loyal to the emergency government entering the hospital, Daly gave his last broadcast which ended with a scratched and jumpy record of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, Land of Our Fathers. The hymn a rallying call to Welshmen through the ages ended abruptly as shouts in the background of "British Army" could be heard and Evan Daly earned his place in immortality when close to the microphone, despite crashes and bangs all around him he defiantly told the world:
"We're Welsh. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, our beloved hills, we will never surrender".
Some would say, hackneyed. Some would say misguided. But to this group of Free Wales Army soldiers listening to a transistor radio as they rested in a back street, Daly's rally call visibly stiffened their resolve. They carried a new air of confidence and pride as if it were a weapon handed down from Olympus. Only an hour before they had been the scratchings of a number of Welsh regiments and Monmouthshire Territorials. Now following Daly's broadcast they were united in their common bond of blood, a new welsh army.
It only took a look between them without a word being spoken. There was a last draw on cigarettes before stubbing them out and handing back grateful mugs of tea to householders. Weapons and heads held high they left the front gardens and porches where they had slumped exhausted, to advance again towards the sounds of battle, only streets away, with fresh determination.