Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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REES , WALTER ENOCH ( 1863 - 1949 ), contractor and long-standing secretary of the Welsh Rugby Union ;

b. 13 Apr. 1863 at Neath, Glam. , son of Joseph Cook Rees , builder and contractor . He was educated at Neath and Barnstaple . He began his very long career as a rugby administrator in 1888 when he became secretary of the Neath club . He was elected to the council of the Welsh Rugby Union in 1889 , and in 1896 he succeeded William Henry Gwynn ( Swansea ) as secretary of the Union . No-one has served the W.R.U. longer than he. His influence and authority were proverbial, particularly in south Wales . He was elected a member of Neath town council in 1900 , and mayor in 1905 . In 1910 he was appointed joint-manager of the British rugby team to South Africa . The War Office granted him the title of ‘ Captain ’ in recognition of his work as a recruiting officer in west Glamorgan in 1916 . Having served as secretary of the W.R.U. for more than half a century, he retired in 1948 . He m., 8 Sept. 1898 , Lizzie Leith Peters of Aberdeen , and they had at least one son and one daughter. He d. 6 June 1949 at Bridgend .


  • David Smith and Gareth Williams , Fields of Praise. The official history of the Welsh Rugby Union 1881-1981 (Cardiff, 1980) (1980) ;
  • Playfair Welsh Rugby Annual 1949-50 (London, 1949) ;
  • Neath Guardian , 10 June 1949 .


Professor Gareth W. Williams, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001