A Guardian tribute to one of Ammanford’s doomed youth – as the poet Wilfred Owen described the fallen of the Great War - has been recorded for posterity by the valley’s greatest acting talent.
John Rhys Davies – who, amongst many other career highlights, has starred in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Indiana Jones films – last week voiced chief reporter Steve Adams’ 2012 Remembrance Day piece commemorating the death of Arthur Williams, who died on September 27, 1915, after being shot at the Battle of Loos in northern France.
Steve first contacted the Amman Valley-born actor two weeks ago and was stunned when the star, who played Gimli the dwarf in the blockbuster big-screen adaptations of JRR Tolkien’s epic tale, phoned him back almost immediately.
“I was absolutely amazed when John called me to say he’d be delighted to record the tribute,” said Steve.
The two met at the BBC Studios in Cardiff last week where the Hollywood veteran, who now spends most of his time with his wife and young daughter in New Zealand, was working on a top-secret project to mark the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth.
“It was fabulous to spend the day with John and to see him in action, but then to have him take time out from his demanding schedule to record a tribute to the fallen of Ammanford was fantastic,” said Steve.
“From speaking to him I know that despite his jet-setting movie-star lifestyle, the Amman valley remains close to his heart.
“When I first approached him about recording the piece I had little hope that such a big star would be interested, but how wrong I was.
“John was determined to get the piece recorded and we were in the BBC studio less than two weeks later.”
The article – entitled Misery makes Heroes of us All – can be read on Steve’s blog investigating the unsolved murder at Star Stores in Garnant – www.murderatthestar.wordpress.com
John’s recording will be posted online in the near future.