Brigadier GLYN HUGHES CBE, DSO, MC (1892-1973)

Hugh Llewellyn Glyn-Hughes This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 89
  • Subject No: 89
  • Broadcast live: Mon 9 Mar 1959
  • Broadcast time: 7.30-8.00pm
  • Venue: BBC Television Theatre
  • Series: 4
  • Edition: 24

on the guest list...

  • Harold Le Druillenec
  • Capt Stanley Parker
  • Lt Col Reginald Hayward
  • Gen Basil Coad - live link
  • troops of 1st battalion The Wiltshires - live link
  • Rex Palmer
  • Lilian Thorn
  • Ray Thorn - in audience
  • Lord Cranborne
  • George Turkentine
  • Meg Crawford
  • Dr Jack Kyle
  • Lt Col George F Woolnough - live link
  • The Band of the Wiltshire Regiment - live link

production team...

  • Researchers: Ken Smith, Liam Nolan
  • Writers: Ken Smith, Liam Nolan
  • Director: Vere Lorrimer
  • Producer: T Leslie Jackson
related pages...

Military Life

saluting the armed forces

The Big Red Book

the programme's icon

This Is Your Life

Radio Times editorial

Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life Hugh Llewellyn GlynHughes This Is Your Life Big Red Book

Photographs of Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes This Is Your Life - and a photograph of Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes' big red book

Britain and the Holocaust book cover

James Jordan recalls this edition of This is Your Life in the book, Britain and the Holocaust...

Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes, tx. 9 March 1959

Brigadier Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes was travelling in the same jeep with Richard Dimbleby when he first entered Belsen. As chief doctor of the Second Army, he was subsequently in charge of supervising the medical treatment in the camp. It is that role for which he is probably best remembered, but Belsen was, of course, just one part of Glyn Hughes' life. He was, Andrews said to him on the evening of 9 March 1959, a man with 'decorations too numerous to mention'.

And the trouble is where to begin to spring surprises on you. Perhaps a place you might least like to remember. A place whose very name implies horror - the dreaded concentration camp at Belsen, whose very existence shocked the civilised world.

As Andrews finished speaking, footage of liberation was then shown, with a Grams track (the soundtrack accompaniment) indicating the effect as simply 'Horror'. Afterwards, Andrews continued: 'On April 15 you became the first British medical officer to set foot inside the camp. There you find only one British subject alive.' There then came a mystery voice:

Voice (off-stage): I was that prisoner.

(Might not recognise)

ANDREWS: You haven't met since you both gave evidence at the Belsen Camp trials in Luneberg in 1945. He's flown from Jersey where he is a headmaster, to be with you tonight. Come in Harold Le Druillenec.


ANDREWS: Would you like to tell us about the liberation of Belsen.

LE DRUILLENEC: For weeks there had been rumours that the British were coming. But the remainder of my friends and I were sure they would be too late. The death toll had been enormous - over 20,000 victims, and now the guards were shooting whole batches of prisoners. We hadn't eaten for days, and I remember that morning we were pleased because we had found some grass to chew.

ANDREWS: But this time those rumours were true.

LE DRUILLENEC: Yes, the first thing I saw was a truck with some British soldiers in it. I thought I rushed up to them, but they told me afterwards that I crawled there on all fours.

ANDREWS: [To camera]

And no wonder, because this man's weight was down to 90 pounds.

[To Le Druillenec]

What do you remember about Brigadier Hughes?

LE DRUILLENEC: At the first interrogation nothing. You see I didn't really know who was questioning me. It was only at a later interrogation by the Brigadier that I realised it was the same man who had listened to me with such patience, kindness and understanding.

ANDREWS: For making that trip from Jersey to be with us tonight, thank you, Harold Le Druillenec.

Le Druillenec's story is yet again one that had been heard on the BBC before and has been told since. Like Cook, he is now a 'Hero of the Holocaust' and his testimony to liberation appears alongside Dimbleby's on the BBC's archive website. Here his attendance confirms the telling of a particularly British experience of the camps, one that again failed to engage with the Jewish particularity of what the liberators found. Things might, however, have been different. At the end of the surviving programme script, crossed through on p. 33, there is a section that suggests that the programme was originally intended to end where it had begun, with one final guest who would have been another silent survivor, present for symbolic purposes without any agency of his own:

ANDREWS: We began our story in Belsen, the camp of horror from which so few people came out alive. One of those survivors you have met. Our investigators found another. Unfortunately he speaks no English, but when we told him of our plans he not only left a sick bed, but insisted on paying his own expenses to fly from France to pay his tribute to you tonight. Come in Mr Rosensaft.

(Mr Rosensaft enters, greets.)

Thank you Mr Rosensaft for making that trip to be with us tonight.

(Mr Rosensaft exits)

After Cook and Ryder, two people who worked closely with refugees before and after the war, Glyn Hughes' story took the viewer closer to the horror by moving into the camp, but continued to describe that experience as part of a broader narrative of the war. Moreover, it focused on the familiar image of Belsen and its liberation rather than engaging with a survivor, with the Jewish specificity lost as it had been in Ryder's. The final two programmes to be discussed at least seemed to challenge this one-dimensional engagement, but how they did so is unclear.

As with Cook, Ryder and Glyn Hughes, there is no surviving copy of the programme, but in these cases the BBC Written Archives (WAC) has no script or production file either. The analysis is therefore fleeting, but the remaining records and references suggest that survivors were starting to speak for themselves and that people wanted to hear these stories. The first of these, on 24 October 1960, sandwiched between programmes on Clarence Wolfe, Warden of Aberlour Orphanage, and T. E. B. Clarke, the screenwriter at Ealing Studios, was Charles Coward, another subsequent 'Hero of the Holocaust' and 'Righteous among the Nations'.

Series 4 subjects

Jo Capka | Jimmy Edwards | Andrew Milbourne | Bella Burge | Tommy Steele | Ronald Shiner | James Edward Wood
Margaret Rowena Jones | John Griffiths | Freddy Bloom | Bransby Williams | Miriam Moses | Elsie Mullock | John Vidler
Florence Desmond | Noel Duckworth | Alfred Daniel Wintle | Ted Heath | Andrew Macdonald | Harriet Cohen
Willie Hall | Reginald Blanchford | Kenneth More | Hugh Llewelyn Glyn Hughes | Miriam Jowett | Ted Willis
Alfred Southon | Tiger Sarll | Mary Ward | Roy Gill | Stirling Moss | Ethel Goldsack | Tommy Trinder