Alun Lewis (1 July 1915 - 5 March 1944), was a poet of the Anglo-Welsh school, and is regarded by many as Britain's finest Second World War poet.
He was born at Cwmaman, near Aberdare in one of the South Wales Valleys, the Cynon Valley, in the South Wales Coalfield. His father was a school teacher and he had a younger sister, Mair. By the time he attended Cowbridge Grammar School, he was already interested in writing. He went on to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and the University of Manchester, Manchester. He was unsuccessful as a journalist and instead earned his living as a supply teacher.
Lewis met the poet Lynette Roberts, whose poem "Llanybri" is an invitation to him to visit her home; but she was married to another poet, Keidrych Rhys. In 1939, Lewis met Gweno Ellis, a teacher, whom he married in 1941. In 1941, he collaborated with artists John Petts and Brenda Chamberlain on the "Caseg broadsheets". Although best known as a poet, his first published work was a volume of short stories, The Last Inspection (1942). In his poem Raider's Dawn Lewis makes a biblical reference to Peter and Paul.
He joined the army in 1940 although he was a pacifist. In 1942 he was sent to India with the South Wales Borderers.
He died in Burma, in the course of the Second World War campaign against the Japanese. He was found shot in the head, after shaving and washing, near the officers' latrines, with his revolver in his hand. He died from the wound six hours later. Despite the suggestion of suicide, an army court of inquiry subsequently concluded that he had tripped and the shooting was an accident.