John Roberts, a Life Member of the The Welsh Society of WA, sadly passed away in July 2018. John made a very large contribution to the Society until he moved to Queensland to live with his daughter and her family in recent years. He was made a Life Member in recognition of his contribution over many years, and in later times he was returning officer and chaired the Annual General meetings. John was a successful entrant in the Welsh Societyâs literary competitions on a number of occasions.
He was, for many years, the Societyâs correspondent to the Wales based magazine, Yr Enfys, which is distributed to Welsh Societies and Welsh people in many countries throughout the world. John had numerous articles published, reporting on the activities of the Society in Perth.Â
His last contribution to the Society, at the age of 90, was to give a talk to members about his early life. John was born in Ruthin, in North Wales in 1924. He did not speak English until he was seven years old, because his parents spoke only Welsh. School was difficult at first because lessons were conducted in English, but eventually he became fluent in the spoken and written word in both languages. He partly taught himself to read English by reading comics.
John trained as a toolmaker but when the Second World War came he was called up and joined the army. His role in liaising with the French Resistance included being parachuted into France, before being wounded and discharged. After the war John married his childhood sweetheart and eventually became a policeman. He had a successful career, but decided, with his wife, to migrate to Australia, first to Melbourne, then to Perth for the better weather, driving across the Nullarbor towing a caravan. They ran a successful restaurant business in Perth.
John was also a member of The Welsh Free Church in Perth for many years, and became its President in 2002.
A Memorial service for John will be held by The Welsh Free Church on Sunday 28th October 2018 at 3.00 pm in Trinity Church, 72 St Georges Terrace, Perth.Â