Dictionary of Welsh Biography


A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z



EVANS, ALFRED THOMAS (‘Fred ’ ‘Menai ’) (19141987), Labour politician.

He was born at Aberfan, Glam., on 24 February 1914, the son of Alfred Evans, a miner, and Sarah Jane, a midwife. He received his education at Bargoed Grammar School and the University College of South Wales, Cardiff. Evans earned his living as head of the English Department at Bargoed Grammar School, 1937—49, and subsequently as headmaster of Bedlinog Secondary School, 1949—66, and later headmaster at Lewis School, Pengam, 1966—68. He was elected a member of the Gelligaer Urban District Council, 1948—51, and also served as president of the Caerphilly CLP. He had already stood as the Labour candidate in the Leominster division of Herefordshire in the 1955 general election and at Stroud, Gloucestershire in 1959.

In the general elections of 1964 and 1966, Fred Evans acted as political agent to Ness Edwards, the sitting Labour MP for Caerphilly and he was also organising agent to the Caerphilly CLP, 1962—66. Upon Edwards's death in 1968, Evans was elected to parliament as the Labour MP for the division in a by—election in which the Labour majority of more than 21,000 votes was dramatically slashed to less than 2,000 by a powerful challenge from Dr Phil Williams (Plaid Cymru). He was re—elected in 1970 and 1974 (twice). In the last election which he fought, Evans had built up the Labour majority to more than 13,000 votes. He proved to be a dedicated, solid backbencher and totally loyal to the Wilson governments. It was said that he had turned down the offer of a ministerial position from Harold Wilson in order to stay in regular contact with his constituents. Always uppermost in his mind was the welfare of others, including his fellow MPs. He thus urged that their salaries, which in his view were totally inadequate, should be tied to a specific career grade of the Civil Service. He also served as a member of a number of parliamentary committees, among them estimates, statutory instruments, and also served as the treasurer of the British—DDR Parliamentary Group and secretary of the Anglo—Libyan Parliamentary Group. He was elected chairman of the Parliamentary Bills Committee in 1975 and chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party in 1977. He was a virulent anti—devolutionist. He retired from parliament at the general election of 1979. He married on 13 September 1939 Mary Katharine, the daughter of Joseph and Cecilia O'Marah. She had already predeceased him in 1981, and they had a son and two daughters. They made their home at Dilwyn Avenue, Hengoed. Fred Evans died at his home on 13 April 1987. His successor as Labour MP for Caerphilly was Ednyfed Hudson Davies.

Sources:

  • Who was who? ;
  • Etholiadau'r Ganrif / Welsh Elections 1885-1997 (Talybont, 1999);
  • Welsh Hustings - 1885-2004 (Ammanford, 2005);
  • Dod's Parliamentary Companion ,
  • The Times guide to the House of Commons (1929) October 1974;
  • The Times , 18 April 1987;
  • Western Mail , 15 April 1987.

Author:

Dr John Graham Jones, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2008