Obituary: W. Armon Ellis

FOR OVER 40 years W. Armon Ellis was an influential figure in Welsh affairs as a politician and an enthusiastic supporter of Welsh culture.

Born on St David's Day in Licswm, near Holywell, he spent most of his working life in his native county of Flintshire. Educated at Holywell Grammar School, he proceeded to the Law department at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, graduating with First Class honours. He served thoughout the Second World War with distinction in India, becoming Major on the Judge Advocate's staff. When he returned in 1946 he joined the firm of the local Member of Parliament, Llywellyn Jones, at Mold, and for six years ran a legal practice at Rhyl before returning to Mold in 1953, becoming senior partner for the next 33 years of the law firm of Llywellyn Jones and Armon Ellis.

Ellis was a brilliant advocate and in the 1970s became one of the first solicitors to act as deputy circuit judge. The law however was not his only concern, for he gave long and outstanding contribution to local government. From 1950 till reorganisation in 1974 he served on Flintshire county council as councillor, later alderman, and in 1972 was elected chairman. He also served for years as chairman of the progressive education committee which gave the education chiefs Haydn Williams and Moses Jones support in establishing Welsh-language primary and secondary schools. The flourishing Welsh-language primary and comprehensive schools of Mold are a fitting memorial to his vision and initiative.

For three years (1974-77) Ellis served on Clwyd county council and before that, in the Sixties, he had been a prominent member of the Council for Wales. A keen Eisteddfodwr, he acted as honorary solicitor to the National Eisteddfod of Wales, honoured as chairman of the executive committee when the Eisteddfod visited Flint in 1969, and vice-president when it came to Mold in 1991.

In politics he was a staunch Liberal and stood unsuccessfully twice for a Flintshire constituency at the 1950 and 1951 general elections. If he had been successful he would have with his ability and gifts made an international impact, for he had a sharp intellect, natural command of language, and a charismatic personality.

Armon (his bardic name since 1970 among the poets and dignitaries of the National Eisteddfod) was a larger-than-life character. He could never say no, and to the long list of his public commitments one should add vice-president of the Rent Tribunal of Wales and a director of the Commercial Bank of Wales. He was appointed OBE; had he been a Conservative politician, he would have been knighted. Jo Grimond should have had him elevated to the House of Lords.

D. Ben Rees

William Armon Ellis, lawyer and local politician: born Licswm, Flintshire 1 March 1913; twice married; died Holywell, Clwyd 6 July 1994.