A NEW work by a royal composer from Flintshire about the death of Rudyard Kipling’s son in the First World War will have its world premiere in North Wales.

The poignant piece by Professor Paul Mealor, who was brought up in Connah’s Quay, will be performed in St Asaph Cathedral as part of the North Wales International Music Festival on Saturday, September 15.

It’s been inspired by Kipling’s poem, My Boy Jack, which will be narrated by Welsh poet, author and broadcaster Aled Lewis Evans.

The heart-breaking story was featured in the acclaimed 2007 film, My Boy Jack, with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe in the title role.

It tells how 17-year-old Jack Kipling, the writer and poet’s only son, was initially rejected by the Royal Navy because of his poor eyesight.

After Kipling used his influence, Jack went to war and perished on his 18th birthday leading his platoon over the top during the Battle of Loos – something for which Kipling never forgave himself.

The festival, which runs from Saturday, September 15, to Sunday, September 30, is being supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Tŷ Cerdd.

Appropriately, the theme this year is Reflections which was chosen to remember the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Professor Mealor, who was born in St Asaph, has a long association with the festival and was a protégé of the event’s founder, Professor William Mathias.

He gained global fame after writing a choral piece, Ubi Caritas, for the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and later wrote the chart-topping Military Wives Christmas number one.

According to Prof Mealor, he’s always been fascinated by Kipling’s haunting poem.

He said: “It’s a tragic story. Kipling had a young son, John, who tried to sign up for the Royal Navy at the very start of World War One but was refused as his eyesight was so poor.

“John asked his father to pull a few strings to get him in and he reluctantly agreed and John was eventually allowed to enlist. However, he was killed almost immediately upon arrival at the front line.

“Having My Boy Jack’s world premiere in St Asaph will be a real highlight. It’s an evening I’m really looking forward to.”

Tickets are available online, from Theatr Clwyd, Mold – 01352 701521 To find out more about the North Wales International Music Festival please visit www.nwimf.com.