News from the Village of Ryhall – Jan 2021

ARE YOU FORGIVING? OR UNFORGIVING? 

2020 was the 75th anniversary of “VJ Day,” the celebration of the World War 2 victory over Japan, on the 15th August 1945.Well now then, I don’t wish to receive any answers from any of you, but for my family it caused more debate than it did in most families. 

My grandfather on my mother’s side was Jenkin Davies who farmed Tirgwyn Farm in the little village of Caerwedros, three miles to the South of New Quay, Cardiganshire, in rural West Wales. It would be really wrong of me to describe him as a farmer, because he was actually a scholar (learned person) who was a County Councillor, a lay preacher, Sunday School teacher (over 50 years) and an avid reader of all sort of books. 

My mother was the eldest of his children, born in 1914 and christened Gwyneth. The second child was Eirlys in 1916, followed by Alfor Jenkin Davies in 1917, Orwig in 1918 and Beryl 1921. 

It was fairly common in those days for the eldest son to take his father’s name and also to enter the church. Tradition was for the eldest daughter to be responsible to look after the parents if/when the need arose. 

Alfor therefore went to St. David’s College Lampeter in 1936 and in 1939 obtained a First Class degree in History and was Scholar of the year obtaining a B.A. and an Exhibitioner Prize. He was not at all interested in Sport of any kind and was most happy studying. From Lampeter he went on to Jesus College Oxford where he obtained the Powis Late Exhibitioner Scholarship and from Wycliffe Hall Oxford an M.A. in Theology, he was ordained Priest by the Bishop of St, David’s Cathedral in 1943, where he was put in charge of the large church of St. David’s in the County town of Carmarthen, 1942-1945. He joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve as a Chaplain in 1945 and served with the Pacific Fleet until 1948. 

The Japanese had invaded Hong Kong in 1941 and on the 1st March 1946 (St David’s Day ) he attended at St. Josephs College Hall, Hong Kong where a special Welsh Society reunion was held following a six year gap because of the hostilities. The following Sunday he partook in the ceremonies at Hong Kong Cathedral where once again he conducted part of the service. 

In 1949 he transferred from the chaplaincy of the Royal Navy to the same post in The Royal air Force in which he remained until his retirement in 1972 as “Assistant Chaplain in Chief of the British Forces in Europe” 

I enclose a picture of him in Japan on 1st October 1947, with two chaplains of the RAN (Royal Australian Navy). 

He served in Singapore from 1952 and his eldest daughter Celia (Joy) still has the programme for the St. David’s Welsh Society Singapore Dinner and Dance held at The Adelphi Hotel. 

I knew him as a very dear uncle who was extremely quietly spoken and who never spoke about those far distant wartime days, he remained friends with all who had ever known him, especially with those who had survived being prisoners of war on the Burma Railway, Bridge over the river Quai and who had told him that if he had seen what he had then he would never have been able to either. Perhaps he might have. We shall never know. 

Because he had so many problems during his lifetime with the pronunciation of his Welsh name spelling, he eventually changed it to Alvor, as appears on the incumbents list inside your lovely church. He would be very proud that his grandson has been given the name Alfor. 

I do know however that he very much enjoyed his time at Ryhall. Alun Owen Davies MBE 

Ryhall Library 

Rutland County Council decided against reopening its libraries, other than Oakham Library, in December. It may be that the limited service offered prior to the Novem-ber lockdown will resume at Ryhall Library in the new year, but this will depend on what Coronavirus Tier the County is placed in and how quickly the Library Team can reactivate their service. 

Library users will once again need to check with the library or the RCC Library web-site to ensure this is the case. Fortunately, the home delivery service is available at all times for registered library users, as well as a wide range of online services, all of which can be found on the website. 

A.Gombault 

FLAGPOLE: Saturday 28th November saw the flying of the birthday flag for Mr John Bothamley and Saturday 19th December for the 80th birthday of Anne Harrison. 

The Flag team would just like to say how grateful we are for the support we have had from the village and the lovely comments we have received about the garden. Thanks to Trevor for keeping an eye on it and doing the summer planting, also Andrew for watering and who has now joined the team; last of all Liz Hasting who provides tea and biscuits on those cold damp mornings as we tend the garden- much appreciated. 

The flags we currently hold are:- Golden wedding, 60th wedding, just married, Its a Boy/Girl, Happy Birthday (plain) plus 90th 70th 60th 40th 21st 18th, Merry Christmas, New year, School and happy retirement. 

We will always try and obtain flags for events where possible if requested if we don’t have the relevant flag. 

If you would like the Union Flag flown at half mast for the passing of a local resident on the day of their funeral please do contact us and we would be more than happy to do this for you. So from the team we hope everyone had a Happy Christmas and New Year and wish you all a healthy 2021. 

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