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John Albert Gwilliam (born 28 February 1923) was a Welsh rugby union 'No 8' who played international rugby for Wales and club rugby for Cambridge University, Edinburgh Wanderers, Gloucester, Newport, London Welsh, Llanelli and Wasps. He captained the Wales Rugby Union Team when they achieved Grand Slams in 1950 and 1952[1][2][3][4][5].

He played in his first international game on 20 December 1947 against Australia. He went on to win 23 caps for Wales, including notable victories over Australia in 1947 and the All Blacks in 1953; 13 of these games were as captain. His last international game was against England on 16 January 1954. In 2005 he was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame (WSHF)[6][7].

He was born in Pontypridd, the son of Thomas Albert and Adela Audrey Gwilliam. He attended Monmouth School and went up to Trinity College, Cambridge in 1941. After spending a year at Cambridge, he was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment and saw action in Europe. After the war, he returned to Cambridge and then became a teacher. He taught at Glenalmond College, Perth 1949-52, at Bromsgrove School 1952-56, as Head of Lower School at Dulwich College 1956-63 and eventually as headmaster of Birkenhead School from 1963–1988, where he is remembered for his disciplinary standards and his religious views.[8]

He married Pegi Lloyd George in 1949 and has three sons and two daughters. He lives in retirement at Llanfairfechan, Gwynedd.

He is related to West Ham United and Wales midfielder Jack Collison.[9]




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