Some reminiscences from David Yates following his visit to Devauden  after a long absence.

"Whilst travelling with my Wife, last weekend we decided to visit Devauden, where I lived with my Mother, Grandmother and Sister for a period during the war. We had left London during the blitz. My Father, John Carrington Yates, was a serving officer in the West Yorkshire Regiment and was away in the war.

"I think I was 7 when we arrived at Devauden and as we visited this time, I was trying to remember the village and where I had lived.  I was sure that we had lived on a farm, whose entrance was on the green and when I spoke to Jeremy at the village hall he said the name "Dorretts" and it all started to come back to me. I decided to call there and was delighted to meet Matt, the son of the lady now living there.  He was kind enough to show us round and I started to remember the pigs and the chickens. I learned that an elderly lady named Polly lived up the hill nearby and that she might remember previous occupants of the Dorretts, so,I took the plunge and called,on her.

 "I was delighted, when she recalled the previous owners and as soon as she mentioned John Roberts I remembered the name immediately. I told her of a few of my memories. In particular I remember the lady who I believe was Mrs Robert's sister, who used to look after the chickens. She used to take me out to feed them and at that age, I was fascinated to find that she had given each chicken a name. Soon after, I was shocked one day when she picked up one of them (I will call it Daphne for the story), wrung its neck, placed it back on the ground, then continued to feed the rest. We ate 'Daphne' soon after.

 "I remember that the Roberts family was very kind to us all, although I was too young then to be able to remember much else. 

 "I did leave Devauden with a large scar on my left cheek, resultant from falling at speed off my bicycle on the road towards Chepstow. The milkman found me lying on the road with my head covered in blood. He picked me up in his truck and took me back to the farm. On the way , my Mother travelling in the opposite direction saw my bloody head in the truck windscreen but her sympathy and concern must have taken the place of fury!

 "Sadly, my Mother passed away some years ago, as I would love to have told her of my visit to Devauden. My Sister has some loss of memory, but I will be telling her of this most emotional return visit.

 "My Father ended the war in Germany and became a senior officer in the Control Commission of Germany. Amongst other duties, he played a part,in the Berlin Airlift. When he finally returned to England for good, his total involvement in European strife consisted of lying about his age to get into the 1st World War, lying about his age in order to serve throughout the last war, then serving until the end of the Control Commission duties in Germany.

 "To end last week's visits, I went to my old school, St Johns on the Hill, Chepstow, where I met the current headmaster, who kindly took us on a tour,of the school. He showed me the boards with previous head boys' names, which included my name as head boy in 1950. This was the time when Mr Meade (as he was known then) was the Head. He and Mrs Meade were the kindness people in the World and it was a great privilege to be there during his time. Their son, Richard was of similar age and he was made head boy in the next term, a decision for fair play by his father. As you may know, Mr Meade became Lord High Sheriff of Monmouth and Richard's exploits included winning a Gold Medal in Olympic Games show jumping. He and I were close friends at school and I hope to meet him again someday, at least to reminisce.

"I served as an officer in the East Yorkshire Regiment for 5 years, but was fortunate not to kill or be killed.

 "Finally, I was not able to get my bearings at first as we arrived in the village, but this was understandable when we learned from Polly of the extent of new house building over the years.

"Thanks to Polly for her kindness and memories,  and to the other residents of Devauden I met during my visit."

Regards

David Carrington Yates

 

 

 

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