Plaque unveiling ceremony (pictured left to right: Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt, Ivor Cavill, chair of Shirenewton Local History Society, Sandy Matthews, Martha Gellhorn’s stepson, and Sue Essex, chair of the Purple Plaques campaign).

Martha Gellhorn’s plaque, the sixth Purple Plaque in Wales, is located on her former home of 14 years, Yew Tree House, in Kilgwrrwg, Monmouthshire, and was unveiled by her stepson Alexander Matthews on July 2, 2021.

The plaque on the home she called ‘Catscradle’ was erected thanks to Shirenewton Local History Society which funded it through local donations. It was made by Chepstow-based potter Julia Land.

Martha was born in St Louis, Missouri, in the United States on November 8 1908 and died in London on February 15, 1998.

She was one of the 20th century’s foremost war reporters and has been described by BBC World Affairs editor John Simpson, a friend of Martha’s in her later years, as simply ‘the best’. He said: “I can’t think of anyone who had a better writing style and I can’t think of anybody who sympathised more with the people she reported on. I think she was the best.”

As a reporter Martha was a “trailblazer” for women journalists – according to Welsh Government Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt – and showed her fearlessness in reporting from the frontline in many conflicts. She also concentrated on the impact of war on ordinary people – particularly women and children.

She covered the Spanish Civil War, the D-Day landings (she stowed away on a hospital ship to become the first woman reporter there) and conflicts in Vietnam and the Middle East.

While living in Wales she covered the Miners’ Strike in 1984. In 1997, aged 88, she was invited by the BBC to report on any subject for a series of foreign writers’ views of Britain. Aged 88, she chose to revisit Newbridge in the South Wales Valleys as the focal point of her last major piece of front-line reporting.

Though best known for her groundbreaking journalism, Martha was also an accomplished fiction writer, author of 5 novels, 14 novellas and 2 collections of short stories.

Mae plac Martha Gellhorn, y chweched Plac Porffor yng Nghymru, i’w weld ar ei hen gartref lle bu’n byw am bedair blynedd ar ddeg, sef Yew Tree House, yng Nghilgwrrwg, Sir Fynwy, ac fe’i dadorchuddiwyd gan ei llysfab Alexander Matthews ar 2 Gorffennaf 2021.

Cafodd y plac, ar y cartref y rhoddodd hi’r enw ‘Catscradle’ iddo, ei roi yno diolch i Gymdeithas Hanes Lleol Drenewydd Gelli-farch a’i hariannodd drwy roddion lleol. Fe’i gwnaed gan y crochenydd Julia Land o Gas-gwent.

Ganed Martha yn St Louis, Missouri, yn yr Unol Daleithiau ar 8 Tachwedd 1908 a bu farw yn Llundain ar 15 Chwefror 1998.

Roedd hi’n un o ohebwyr rhyfel mwyaf blaenllaw’r ugeinfed ganrif ac fe’i disgrifiwyd gan olygydd BBC World Affairs, John Simpson, cyfaill i Martha yn ei blynyddoedd diwethaf, fel dim llai na’r ‘gorau’. Dywedodd: “Alla i ddim meddwl am unrhyw un a oedd ag arddull ysgrifennu well ac alla i ddim meddwl am unrhyw un a oedd yn cydymdeimlo mwy â’r bobl yr adroddodd amdanyn nhw. Hi oedd y gorau yn fy marn i.”

Fel gohebydd roedd Martha’n “arloeswraig” i newyddiadurwyr benywaidd – yn ôl Gweinidog Cyfiawnder Cymdeithasol Llywodraeth Cymru Jane Hutt – a dangosodd nad oedd arni ofn anfon adroddiadau o’r rheng flaen mewn aml i wrthdaro. Canolbwyntiodd ar effaith rhyfel ar bobl gyffredin hefyd – yn enwedig menywod a phlant.

Cyflwynodd adroddiadau ar Ryfel Cartref Sbaen, ar laniadau D-Day (cuddiodd ar long ysbyty a hi oedd y gohebydd benywaidd cyntaf yno) ac ar y gwrthdaro yn Fiet-nam a’r Dwyrain Canol.

Tra’n byw yng Nghymru bu’n cyflwyno adroddiadau ar Streic y Glowyr ym 1984. Ym 1997, a hithau’n 88 oed, fe’i gwahoddwyd gan y BBC i greu adroddiad ar unrhyw bwnc ar gyfer cyfres am safbwyntiau awduron tramor am Brydain. Pan oedd yn 88 oed, dewisodd ailymweld â Threcelyn yng nghymoedd y De fel canolbwynt ei hadroddiad rheng flaen mawr olaf.

Er ei bod fwyaf adnabyddus am ei newyddiaduraeth arloesol, roedd Martha’n awdur ffuglen medrus, ac ysgrifennodd 5 nofel, 14 nofel fer a 2 gasgliad o straeon byrion.