Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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THOMAS , Sir ROGER ( 1886 - 1960 ), pioneer of modern agriculture in India ;

b. 4 May 1886 at Pen-yr-ardd , Clunderwen, Pembs. , the seventh of the eleven children of Lewis Thomas and Sophia (née James ) his wife. He was educated at Narberth County School , and University College of Wales , Aberystwyth , where he gained 1st-class Honours in botany, with geology as a subsidiary subject. He was Victor Ludorum in sports , and ran for the college. Between leaving school at 16 and college, he taught as an uncertificated teacher at Pontyberem Primary and Narberth Board Schools , and at a private school in Taunton . After graduating in 1913 , he was appointed a member of the Indian Agricultural Service and joined the Agricultural College of Coimbatore , South India , later becoming Deputy Director of Agriculture , Madras . In 1917 he went to Mesopotamia (now Iraq ) as Deputy Director of Agricultural Research . He was a member of the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force , with the rank of Captain , to enable him to carry out the work. He later rose to Colonel , and became Director General of Agriculture in 1920 . In 1925 he resigned from government service, and spent some time travelling in the U.S.A. , Egypt , Sudan , and Mexico , studying techniques of cotton growing . In 1927 he joined the British Cotton Growing Association at Khanewal , Punjab , India . In 1931 he bought land in Sind , and commenced farming in the area newly irrigated by the Sukkur Barrage , with the wider aims of improving farming generally, and cotton in particular. In Dec. 1944 he was appointed Minister for Agriculture , Sind Government . In 1945 due to pre-Independence political pressures he resigned, but remained as Advisor . In 1940 he was awarded the C.I.E. , and in 1947 a knighthood . Both before and after World War II he was a member of numerous committees in pre-partition India , and later Pakistan . His published works include: Planning for agriculture in India ( 1944 ); Drainage and reclamation of irrigated lands in Pakistan, including a report on a visit to the U.S.A. and Egypt 1949 ( 1949 ); Report on the draft of the Pakistan five-year plan ( 1956 ).

In 1939 he m. Margaret Ethelwynne Roberts , of Ormskirk , Lancashire . They had one dau. He d. 19 Sept. 1960 and was buried at Blaenconin Baptist Chapel , Llandysilio , Clunderwen .

Sources:

  • Personal knowledge.

Author:

Margaret Ethelwynne Thomas (1906-89), Narberth

Published date: 2001