33. Julian Cayo Evans
Leaders (257 votes)
1937 – 1995
Leader of the “Free Wales Army” - charismatic freedom fighter to some, unpalatable poseur to others.
When it was reported that the Free Wales Army had trained dogs to deliver proxy bombs to government targets, it wasn’t just the RSPCA that was up in arms.
The run-up to the investiture of Prince Charles at Caernarfon in 1969 was marked by a degree of political tension. Explosions had caused damage, though not serious injury, in several locations.
The willingness of this shadowy group with scant regard for canine welfare to talk about itself and its revolutionary aims was a headline writer’s dream.
The FWA were a convenient hook on which all manner of outrages- real, threatened or just made-up were hung.
The FWA first surfaced in 1963. Marching in uniforms resplendent with the “White Eagle of Snowdonia” insignia, small groups of members would pop up at the memorial to Llywelyn the Last at Cilmeri and other spots charged with nationalistic significance.
The FWA’s leader was Julian Cayo Evans. Educated at Millfield, he was - helpfully for his media image- a one-time soldier who had seen active service in Malaya. He inherited a pleasant estate in Carmarthenshire from where he became Wales’ leading exponent of paramilitary chic.
As the FWA’s profile increased, so inevitably did the attention paid to it by the authorities. Cayo Evans and several others were arrested and put on trial at Swansea. They were sentenced to fifteen months imprisonment for conspiracy to cause explosions and public order offences.
Hours before the investiture, two men were killed by a homemade device they allegedly planned to use against Prince Charles. Neither, it turned out, had connections with the Free Wales Army.
While some will strongly disagree with his presence in a list of Welsh heroes,
Cayo Evans is warmly remembered by numerous friends.
Among them Rhobert ap Steffan who told the Western Mail: "Cayo was a giant of a man, a genuinely magnetic personality, the kind which you don"t often find readily in today"s bland, consumerist Wales."