Welwyn Garden City Holocaust campaigner and war veteran dies aged 88

A NORMANDY veteran who used his experiences from World War Two to help others, has died aged 88.

Iolo Lewis saw action as a tank crew member across Europe.

He was a part of the British 11th Armoured Division which overran Belsen, and it was here where the witnessing of the Bergen concentration camp would stay with Iolo for life.

Following his efforts in the war (many tales including being injured twice, rescuing comrades from an overturned tank and meeting his beloved wife Gwladys during leave, can be found in his 2002 autobiography Time’s Long Shadows) Iolo was awarded four medals.

A WGC resident since 1938, Iolo was originally from Aberdare, south Wales.

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In 1947 Iolo went back to his post as researcher at ICI.

During this time he played rugby for Welwyn Rugby Club and Hertfordshire. In his later years he was a hugely popular chairman and president of the WGC Royal British Legion.

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He was also renowned for his participation in the Holocaust memorial and for his love of poetry and letter writing – much of which featured in the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

Good friend Anthony Wilder, vice chairman of the Garden City’s Jewish community, said Iolo was “fiercely independent”, a “one-off character”, “impossible not to like” and “always looking forward”.

Iolo died after suffering a heart attack on Wednesday, June 8.

The Daniells resident is survived by son Calvin, grandson Steven, great-grandson Guy and great-granddaughter Clara.

Daughter-in-law Gwenda said: “When you live with your parents and family on a day to day basis you tend to not realise just what an incredible person they are and it’s only when you look back, and when other people approach you, that you fully appreciate what they did and what an amazing person they were.”

She added: “Iolo would not only look back, but always look forward to the future; he kept up with the times – on his 88th birthday he joined Facebook, after that we barely saw him, he was always online!”

The funeral will take place on Monday, 5pm at Harwood Park Crematorium, Knebworth.

All donations and enquiries to JJ Burgess & Sons, 23 Station Road, Knebworth.

* Further tributes to Iolo are due to be in next week’s WHT.

For more on Iolo’s incredible life read his book Time’s Long Shadows, available in local libraries.

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