Arthur David Thomas was born in Aberdare on 27th October 1902, the eldest of the three sons of Thomas Thomas, a headteacher in a local school, and his wife Jane. The family lived at Bronant in Abernant Road.
Arthur attended Abernant Elementary School, followed by a year at the Gadlys Higher Standard School before entering the Boys County School in Trecynon in 1915. He took his junior Certificate in 1918, and at the Senior Certificate in 1919 and 1920.
Then followed Bangor Normal College, a teacher training college, from 1921–1923. His first teaching appointment was at the Church in Wales School in Cwmbach; he was there for 4 years until 1927, serving under two headmasters, Mr. A.T. Jenkins and Mr. W.J. Evans. In 1928 he moved to Hirwaun Boys’ School, again serving under two headmasters, Mr. H. Morris and Mr. F. Morgan.
In 1942 he joined the staff of Cwmbach Senior School, where he taught the Scholarship Class for nine years under headmaster Mr. Gwilym Parry. In 1951 when the schools were reorganised he was appointed Head of Cwmbach Junior School, where he remained until his retirement 15 years later on 30th July 1966.
His splendid relationship with staff, parents and pupils during his 24 years at Cwmbach earned him deep respect and affection. He was President and minute secretary of the N.U.T. for many years and was a playing member of the highly successful Aberdare Teacher’s Dramatic Society from its inception. He was also a Deacon and secretary of Bethania Welsh Presbyterian Chapel in Wind Street for many years. His hobbies were woodwork, gardening and bee-keeping.
He married teacher Miss Menna Jones in Bethania Chapel, Aberdare on 2nd March 1957, and they made their home at Parcglas in Abernant Road. Sadly Menna died on 24th August 1966, after only 9 years of marriage, just after Arthur had taken early retirement because of her ill health.
By 1996 he was a resident at Ysguborwen Nursing Home, Llwydcoed, after living all his life in Abernant Road, Aberdare. In 1996 he was part of the School’s centenary celebrations when he was thought to be the oldest of the school’s past pupils. Arthur died in the autumn of 1996.
Arthur’s two brothers also attended Aberdare Boys’ County School. Thomas Watkin Thomas was born 29th October 1904, and died in 2004 aged 99. He lived in Rhiwbina, Cardiff, and was a hospital pharmacist who was awarded the MBE in 1968. He attended the County School 1919–1921.
Their younger brother Ifor Morris Thomas, (1909–1985), was a pupil at the County School 1921–27. He emigrated to Australia and became a lecturer in Zoology at the University of Adelaide in 1947 and was promoted to senior lecturer in 1950. He married Patricia Marietje Mawson, the daughter of the Professor of Geology who was one of Australia’s national heroes. He was the Yorkshire born geologist and polar explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, Kt., O.B.E., B.E. (Svd.), D.Sc., F.R.S.; Lecturer 1905–1920; Professor of Geology and Mineralogy, 1921–1952, (Emeritus, 1953). Mawson was granted a Commonwealth State Funeral in Brighton, a suburb of Adelaide.
These three brothers distinguished themselves in their careers, and were all products of Aberdare Boys’ County School.
31 May 2017