Obituary: Arthur Rees

ARTHUR REES enjoyed a brilliant career both on the rugby field for Wales, and in the police force, where he served as Chief Constable for Denbighshire 1957-64 and Chief Constable for Staffordshire 1964-77. Capped 13 times by his country, he was the vice-captain and pack leader the day Wales beat New Zealand at Cardiff Arms Park in 1935.

Born in the mid-Wales village of Llangadog, Rees did not learn to speak English until he was seven. A very Welsh Welshman, he attended his country's greatest rugby academy, Llandovery College, where he learned his rugby skills alongside Viv Jenkins and Cliff Jones, two players who were later to join him in victory over the All Blacks.

Rees made the 1st XV at the college at 14 and then went up to St Catherine's College, Cambridge, where he earned two rugby Blues, in 1933 and 1934.

His greatest moment in rugby came on 21 December 1935, when he led the Welsh pack into battle against New Zealand. By the end, two of his former Cambridge colleagues, Jones and Wilf Wooller, had played key roles and his old school pal Jenkins had contributed two conversions to a famous 13-12 victory.

Jenkins said of Rees:

Arthur was a marvellous leader of men, he got the best out of them and they would follow him anywhere - though one once said `it is a pity about the places he takes us to!'

Cliff Jones had been junior to both of us at Llandovery but he was with us both in the Welsh side in 1935 when we beat the All Blacks. I remember thinking how we had started.

Arthur was leading the pack that day and had given strict instructions to his fellow forwards that when he gave the word they should all hit an opponent. Early in the game one of the New Zealander forwards said something to Glyn Prosser, a

blacksmith from Neath, and he shouted, "Now Mr Rees, now Mr Rees?" To his delight, Arthur, or Mr Rees as he was called by his pack, quickly gave the go-ahead to hatch the dressing room plan and the Welsh forwards all got stuck into the New Zealanders.

I was best man at Arthur's wedding and he was best man at mine and we had some great fun over the years. He had a marvellous sense of humour and was always putting himself down in a humorous way.

A man of great humour, Rees was a good leader and his all-round qualities served him in good stead as a pilot during the Second World War; he ended the war as an Acting Wing Commander.

He had begun a career in the Metropolitan Police Force in 1935, and resumed service with the Met after the war, climbing the ranks over the next 11 years before taking over as Chief Constable of Denbighshire in 1957.

He spent six years in his native Wales before moving back to England to take over as Chief Constable of Staffordshire. He held that post between 1964-67 before assuming the new title of Chief Constable of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent between 1968 and his retirement in 1977.

As well as playing for Cambridge University, the RAF, the Metropolitan Police, Surrey and the Barbarians, Rees was also a stalwart of London Welsh and Crawshay's Welsh RFC, where he served as Chairman 1960-92 and President from 1992.

Arthur Morgan Rees, police officer and rugby player: born Llangadog, Carmarthenshire 20 November 1912; Chief Constable for Denbighshire 1957- 64, for Staffordshire 1964-77; OBE 1963, CBE 1974; QPM 1970; married 1943 Dorothy Webb (died 1988; one daughter); died 13 May 1998.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
voicesBryony Beynon: This is something every woman can relate to
Arts and Entertainment
film

News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Arts and Entertainment
Steven, Ella Jade and Sarah in the boardroom
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is reported to be in final negotiations to play Doctor Strange for Marvel although the casting has not yet been confirmed
film
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Life and Style
fashion

World Beard and Moustache Championships held last week

News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Copycat culture: the Chateau Zhang Laffitte in China, top, and the building which inspired it, in Paris, bottom
architectureReplicas of Western landmarks are springing up in unlikely places
Sport
Rolando Aarons watches as his effort finds the corner of the Manchester City goal to give Newcastle the lead
footballManchester City 0 Newcastle 2: Holders crash out on home turf
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Chemistry Teacher - Top School in Malaysia - January Start

£18000 - £20400 per annum + Accommodation, Flights, Medical Cover: Randstad Ed...

Geography Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Geography Teacher - ...

Secondary Humanities, Business and Economics, Jan 15, Malaysia

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Position: Secondary Humanities, Business...

Key stage 1 supply bank

£80 - £110 per day + CPD: Randstad Education Bristol: Key stage 1 & 2 supp...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain