Gareth Vaughan Jones may not be a name familiar to many people in Wales in the 21st century, but the Welsh journalist who was killed in Inner Mongolia in 1935 was a prominent figure during the inter-war years and is widely respected in Ukraine due to his reporting of the Great Famine or Holodomor (1932-33). His papers, including diaries of his visit to Ukraine in which he described the famine and now held at the National Library of Wales.On November 23rd, a delegation from the Ukrainian Embassy to the United Kingdom, including Minister-Counsellor Andriy Marchenko and Gareth Jones’s great nephew, Mr Nigel Colley visited Aberystwyth to lay a wreath at the plaque commemorating Gareth Jones at the University, where he had been a student. The delegation then visited the National Library to see the original documents describing the terrible conditions in Ukraine during the Holodomor. Gareth’s description was refuted by the Soviet authorities as well as Western journalists based in Moscow, but he stood by his reports and in a rebuttal noted that they were based on his own observations, rather than the public comments of officials. His diaries are the original record of his visit to Ukraine, which he made at great risk to his own safety.
Other material in this valuable collection includes diaries from Gareth Jones’s Around the World Tour, and his visit to Germany in 1933 in which he describes Hitler’s influence on the country as well as papers related to his suspicious death at the hands of ‘bandits’ in Inner Mongolia in 1935.
Gareth Jones gained a First Class Honours in French from Aberystwyth University in 1926 before going on to graduate in French, German and Russian from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1929. In 1930, he was appointed as a foreign affairs advisor to former Prime Minister David Lloyd George and subsequently wrote widely on international issued for a series of newspapers including The Times, The Manchester Guardian and the Western Mail.