FRANK Richards’ title of his Library of Wales classic ‘Old Soldiers Never Die’ has proven a prophetic one.

His legacy endures with a new play inspired by his experiences, called ‘Old Soldier’ which had its premiere at The Melville Centre in Abergavenny earlier this year and will now be staged at Rhosygilwen on Wednesday, November 14 (8pm). Tickets are £8.

The play, directed by Richard Lewis Davies, revolves around the experiences of Frank Richards — played by Andrew Lennon – during the First World War and thereafter, when he was a Royal Welch Fusilier.

The difficulties and rare moments of beauty he finds in the trenches are explored through the lens of both him and his daughter, Margaret, played by Alison Lenihan.

Frank Richards joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers as a 17-year-old in 1901. He’d left school at 12 to work down the pit in Blaina. He served in India and Burma for a number of years before returning to Wales.

He re-joined the regiment in 1914 and served throughout the First World War on the Western Front.

Encouraged by Robert Graves, one of his officers, he wrote two memoires of his army experiences – ‘Old Soldiers Never Die’ and ‘Old Soldier Sahib’ that were first published in the 1930s and have recently been republished by Parthian/The Library of Wales.

‘Old Soldier’ is a compilation of some of the stories he tells in these books, from barrack life in India to the Welsh Brigade’s attack at Mametz Wood, from fellow squaddies to Staff Officers, from the ‘Bacon Wallah’ to ‘the largest rat I ever saw in my life’.

There’s humour, the supernatural, the horror of war and some trenchant comments about racism and class.

Additional biographical material provided by Frank’s daughter, Margaret Holmes, is also presented. Margaret’s observations about her father provide fascinating background to his army experiences.