I was born in January 1941 at Mill Stores, Three Cocks in Breconshire.
so my early years were spent during the Second World War. I was
delivered in the middle bedroom by the local Nurse and on a very
cold day. I know this because whenever I complained of feeling cold
in later years, my Mother would say...'Well .........you were born
with cold feet !'
My Mother was the shopkeeper at Mill Stores and the family lived
above the Shop . My father was away a lot working as an engineer
building runways for aeroplanes. Mill Stores was the local village
shop, selling groceries. Food rationing played a very important
role in feeding families then and Ration books were essential when
My older sister ( by 2 years ) and I were very interested in the
shop so Mum used to make up for us our own little, almost miniature,
ration packs. I remember eating a small bag of raw bacon and dried
prunes. .........delicious! I also remember dried egg in tins, but
we always kept chickens so we must have had fresh eggs as well.
The road leading to Tregoyd past the Three Cocks Hotel was sealed
off with huge bundles of barbed wire and was called the Closed Road
,and this name stuck long after the end of the war.
I clearly remember a convoy of American soldiers driving through
Three Cocks village The trucks were enormous and there was a lot
of shouting and cheering from the locals. The soldiers were throwing
things out to us. I remember having chewing gum! It was in long
thin strips , unlike the sugar coated tablets we were used to. .
After the war we moved from the shop to the Gamekeepers lodge belonging
to New Gwernyfed. With about 200 acres of parkland this became Caeronen
Farm and is where I spent the rest of my childhood and youth. I remember
the very cold winter of 1947 and the enormous snow drifts much taller
than us children
Gwernyfed was occupied during the war and I think a lot of Ammunition
was stored there. Turning parkland into a mixed arable and livestock
farm was a huge change. The first crops of corn were amazing. Many
strange things were 'dug up' at this time - these being remnants
of the war years. .
In the farmhouse kitchen we had an Aga cooker set into an old fireplace
with a mantel piece about 6 feet high. Some of the findings 'dug
up' were proudly displayed with shining brass containers on this
shelf. It was a ritual that the brass was regularly polished.
It was many years later that my parents were told that they were
possibly live shells, ammunition left over from the war !!
The mantel piece was never the same without them !