A guest post by the poet Tony Curtis, the Emeritus Professor of Poetry at the University of South Wales, was published on the Seren Books blog to mark this year’s International Conscientious Objectors Day on 15 May.
In his post Professor Curtis reflected on notable COs within art and literature in Wales, particularly as regards the two world wars. They included the artists John Elwyn, Arthur Giardelli and Jonah Jones and the writers and poets D. Gwenallt Jones, Roland Mathias, Waldo Williams and Emyr Humphries.
The passage concerning Jonah was as follows:
‘In the last decade of his life I became friends with the writer and artist Jonah Jones (1919–2004) whose remarkable life has been celebrated in the Seren books An Artist’s Life and Dear Mona: Letters from a Conscientious Objector (edited by son Peter Jones). Fascinated by John Pett’s illustrations to Dylan Thomas poems in issues of Wales magazine, Jonah followed his fellow Conchie into the army as an unarmed medic in the Parachute Regiment. He described the exhilaration and terror of jumping: “…when I jump, once I’m in the slipstream, I just ride it like a witch riding her broom.” After jumps over occupied Europe in support of the Allied offensive Jonah arrived at the Belsen concentration camp. After witnessing those horrors he said he knew his objection had been wrong.’
The cover of Dear Mona was one of four illustrations featured in the post.
The full post can be read on https://www.serenbooks.com/node/1313