A WELL-KNOWN figure from a Wrexham village has been commemorated with a special plaque.
Tom ‘Spain’ Jones, who fought in the Spanish Civil War, is a key figure in the history of Rhos and is regarded as a ‘legend’ by locals.
At a service on Friday, a plaque was unveiled at the Rhos/ Johnstown wheel by members of Rhos Community Council and Mr Jones’ family to celebrate his extraordinary life.
More than 40 people turned up for the ceremony.
The memorial came about after historian Damian Evans penned a letter to the community council asking if they would be interested in celebrating the life of Mr Jones.
He was born in Lancashire in 1908, but was brought up in Rhos. He worked for 14 years as a miner in the Hafod, Vauxhall and Bersham collieries.
His experiences of the harsh conditions of the 1920s led him to support the Labour and Communist Parties and in 1937 he joined the International Brigade to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War, joining an elite anti-tank battery.
At the final battle on the River Ebro in July 1938, he was badly wounded in the arm and captured by General Franco’s Nationalists.
His family thought he was dead, but he was among the prisoners kept in harrowing conditions in jails at Zaragoza and Burgos.
At one point he was sentenced to death but this was commuted to 30 years’ imprisonment. When released in 1940, he returned to Rhos, where he became known as ‘Twm Sbaen’ (Tom Spain).
He became a full-time trade union official in the Shotton area, in Flintshire, until his retirement in 1973. He died in 1990.
Rhos Community Council leader Paul Pemberton said: “Tom’s a legend around these parts.
“Tom was a great character and he is a key part of the history of Rhos. This plaque is all about celebrating Rhos’ rich history.”
As well as members of Mr Jones’ family, the event was attended by local politicians Susan Elan Jones MP and Aled Roberts AM.
Mr Roberts said: “There’s been nothing in Rhos to remember Tom so this is a great reminder and recognises his role in the history of the area. Hopefully it will inspire the youngsters and they will be interested to find out more about Tom’s life and the history of their local area.”