Next year marks the fortieth anniversary of ‘Operation Tân’ a notorious police crackdown in Wales in 1979/80 which was targeted indiscriminately at nationalists because police were totally in the dark about a Welsh Nationalist direct action campaign which involved the targeting of holiday homes.
Attacks by Meibion Glyndŵr (Sons of Meibion Glyndŵr) started in 1973 and spanned more than a decade and by 1979 police were totally in the dark and despite a large reward (£50,000) and appeals on programmes like BBC Crimewatch no one in Wales was talking indeed there is evidence that even in English speaking areas of Wales the sympathy was with the militants.
In an operation very similar to the British arrests in N Ireland a decade earlier when arrests came they were targeted indiscriminately and even being a supporter of the Welsh language was enough to get you and your family rough treatment.
One man who suffered was the owner of the Welsh publishing house Y Lolfa, Robat Gruffudd, who was detained with his wife Enid. He wrote an account of the disgraceful treatment he endured and later published it. (Link here non Welsh speakers will have to use Google translate):
Indirectly Celtic League Mannin and AMA became involved in this. When it was discovered that a phone box at Talysarn near Caernarfon was bugged the United Kingdom government said that ‘police did not bug telephone boxes’. However we had been researching metering and bugging in the Isle of Man by the Constabulary and we forwarded a copy of guidelines we had obtained issued by the Manx Chief Constable – based on a Home Office directive – to Dafydd Wigley MP (Plaid Cymru). The original file and document on our research is now lodged for the public record with MNH Library.
It was eventually admitted that bugging had taken place. However ‘bugs’ and threats were to no avail and no one was ever convicted in connection with the campaign by Meibion Glyndŵr which is unresolved to this days.
There were a total of 228 actions which later escalated to encompass estate agents’ offices including some in England, those working in the tourist industry, the police, and representatives of the governing Conservative Party.
The action by the domestic Welsh police force which began in October 1979 and culminated with early morning raids on Palm Sunday 1980 however left a bitter legacy that has not been forgotten by some Welsh Nationalists.
Enid Gruffudd with her children. She had to leave them at the houses of villagers when she was summarily arrested with her husband in a dawn raid by police.
Holiday home targeted by Meibion Glyndŵr
Welsh police made themselves no friends with heavy handed and intimidating tactics
Submitted by Bernard Moffatt, Celtic League Military Monitoring