Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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PHILLIPS, CLIFFORD (1914-1984), journalist.

Cliff Phillips, the son of William Phillips, a steel worker, and his wife Maria Davies, Glanaman, was born 17 September 1914 in Glanaman, Carms. and educated at the local primary school and Amanford Secondary School. Encouraged by his uncle, William Anthony Davies (‘Llygad Llwchwr’), Cliff Phillips turned to journalism as a career, first as the Amanford correspondent for the Amman Valley Chronicle before moving to the office of the South Wales Press in Llanelli in 1932. He joined the staff of the South Wales Evening Post in 1934 as area correspondent in Aberavon and the Neath and Swansea valleys. After serving for five years in the Royal Air Force he returned to work in the newspaper's central office in Swansea. He was appointed chief South Wales correspondent for the Press Association in 1955 and later for the whole of Wales. He retired in 1976. He was a major supporter of the National Eisteddfod, writing accounts of the festival annually from 1946. His name became well known in the 1950s for his press reports about two murders in west Wales when Ronald Harries from Llangynin was found guilty of murdering his uncle and aunt and when a Polish farmer Michal Onufrejczyk was charged with the murder of his partner Stanislaw Sykutt on their farm in Cwm-du near Talley and jailed for life. In 1966 Phillips wrote detailed reports for some of the world's leading newspapers on the Aberfan disaster and the five-month enquiry that followed. He was awarded an MBE a year later. He was received as a green-robe member of the Gorsedd of Bards at the Barry National Eisteddfod in 1968 and to the white robe order in the Cardigan National Eisteddfod in 1976. He was an ardent Welshman and a genial companion with a stock of entertaining stories about his life as a journalist and reporter. He wrote up some of these in articles in the monthly journal Barn and in a book of reminiscences, Dilyn fy nhrwyn (1980). He died at his home in Cwmllynfell 9 August, 1984, and was cremated at Morriston Crematorium. He was twice married and had a daughter, son and a stepdaughter.


  • Cliff Phillips, Dilyn fy nhrwyn (1980), Swansea, 1980;
  • Western Mail , 11 August 1984;
  • personal knowledge;
  • further information from his son, Clive Phillips.


Dr Huw Walters, F.S.A., Aberystwyth

Published date: 2008