John Edwards was educated at Llanelli County School where he became President of the Literary and Debating Society. After completing his Higher School Certificate he volunteered for the Royal Navy in 1944 and was appointed to the staff of Admiral Patterson, East Indies Fleet, serving on HMS Cumberland, Sussex and Norfolk.
In 1947 he entered the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, where he graduated in French, took an Honours degree in History and was Editor of the College newspaper.
He began his teaching career at Gowerton Grammar School and was, for twenty five years, Head of the History Department at Ysgol y Strade, Llanelli. In 1971-2 he returned to Aberystwyth and gained a Master's degree in Education.
He took early retirement in 1982, and is very active in the work of the WEA in the town. He also appears frequently on TV and radio.