Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , IESTYN RHYS ( 1892 - 1955 ), Director General Labour Relations Department, National Coal Board ;

b. 1892 at Cardiff , son of Augustus Frederick Williams , mining engineer , he was educated at Roath Park Elementary School . In 1913 he joined the staff of the South Wales and Monmouthshire Coalowners' Association and was appointed as chief assistant to its Secretary , Finlay A. Gibson , in 1922 , and as its Assistant Secretary two years later. In 1936 he became Joint Secretary , the first Welshman to occupy such an office with this organisation.

Widely regarded as being one of the most knowledgeable figures in the coal industry of his time, he earned his greatest reputation in the field of labour relations . He was an outstanding negotiator , much respected by coalowners and union officials alike, and served as joint secretary of the South Wales Conciliation Board . He was also either secretary or a member of numerous other mining organisations , notably the South Wales Committee of the Safety in Mines Research Board . His involvement in the industry in south Wales was matched by his championing of it during the inter-war depression. He wrote numerous promotional articles in the coal trade press and was joint honorary secretary of the south Wales ‘Back to Coal’ Movement .

Following the nationalisation of the coal industry in 1947 he was appointed chief executive officer of the Labour Relations Department of the National Coal Board . Later that year he became the department's Director-General , a position he held until his retirement in June 1954 .

In 1917 he m. (1) Edith Ellen Diamond (d. 1934 ) and in 1935 he m. (2) Barbara Stamp . The father of three children, he d. suddenly while on holiday in Cornwall on 26 Aug. 1955 .


  • Colliery Guardian , 1 Sept. 1955 ;
  • Western Mail , 30 Aug. 1955 ;
  • Who's who in Wales . (1937) .


William David (Bill) Jones, Cardiff

Published date: 2001