Mr. Griffiths Thomas was appointed in Jan 1917 after the untimely death of Mr. William Lewis M.A. in Oct 1916.
Mr. Thomas was an Oxford scholar with degrees in Modern Languages and the Classics, always impeccably dressed , Victorian in upbringing, most courteous and considerate with a resonant Oxford accent and fulfilled his office nobly.
The School had 240 pupils and it’s reputation stood high. Among the staff were 4 who were on active service : E H Foster, Sydney Brown ( who won the military cross ), D T Roberts and Afan Jones. Sadly E H Foster was killed in action just before the Armistice, his death a great loss to the School, – see ” Military History ” for full details of those 47 former pupils including two members of staff who fell in the Great War ( 1914 to 1918 ) .
Mr. Griffiths Thomas wrote that :- The war was a turning point in educational history, It stimulated a demand for wider educational opportunities – especially good secondary education. Good education was necessary to develop social and economic life and provide the skills for adequate national defense, and before the end of the war there was an unprecedented rush for admission to the County School. Accordingly new classrooms were built – two over the old Fives Courts, the dining hall became two classrooms, a temporary hut was built. New staff were appointed including three mistresses , until the end of the war , when the master on active service returned, seven ex -servicemen were appointed as need arose, including Lewis Griffiths ( the first old boy to become a master ) and T V Shaw ( who was to become the third Headmaster).
The increase in staff made possible a considerable extension of the curriculum ,and it could be claimed with some confidence that provision was now made for the teaching of most subjects ordinarily taught in a University or Technical College.
The activities, outside the classroom and official hours of teaching also increased and developed to include :- fine football teams, cricket teams, School Choir and Orchestra, School Magazine, Debating Societies, English and Welsh, the Dramatic Society produced many plays – especially those produced jointly with the Dramatic Society of the Girls’ School.
Mr. Thomas wrote after his retirement that ” looking back on the distant past I feel a deep sense of gratitude to my former colleagues ( some still in School, some, alas, no longer with us, but remembered with affection ) for their great service to education in Llanelly, and my happy association with them all. I remember also the great number of boys in School, who passed through the School during the years 1917 -1937,their achievements as boys in School, and the honour they have brought to the School, by their work as men.
Mr. Thomas was followed in 1937 as Headmaster by T V Shaw, ( English teacher in the School ) .
Mr. Shaw stated that Mr. Griffiths J Thomas M.A. whilst Headmaster for 20 years continued and amplified what had been done by his predecessor ( William Lewis M.A. 1895 – 1916 ). After those 20 years – in which the School was the main interest of his life – he left behind a name ever revered in the hearts of his colleagues and of his pupils.
Mr. Griff Thomas died Oct.1st 1966,aged 95. he was always spoken of by Old Boys of the time with real affection and there was universal appreciation of his fine qualities. During his long retirement he never lost touch with the school and it’s activities. He left many valuable books and the sum of £200 to the school.