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Austin Yeates and friends

Austin Yeates (1928-1999) who appears in the centre photograph (c1938) of this collage of photographs was at the school at Dover in 1939 and, with the majority of those evacuated to spend the 1939-45 war years at Saunton, left the school in 1943. Some boys were evacuated to the Queen Victoria School, Dumblane, and in at least one case it is known that one boy who was sent home and his further existence altogether forgotten by the school authorities.

On behalf of Austin's daughter, Mrs. Denise Hodges, we are posting these images, taken at Saunton Sands, in the hope that fellow Dukie's might be able to identify one or more of those shown. An e-mail with a collage of these photographs was distributed to old boys who were at Saunton Sands during the war. Sadly, but with no surprise, this effort was mostly  without success. This appeal is therefore being made to the now more than 2,000 visitors a day to this site in the hope that some will recognize one or more of those in these photographs. Anyone who does is asked to contact the webmaster of this site. A few observations might help jog someone's memory.

Identifying the photographs left to right and top to bottom, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, it might be noted:

1.  The location is the front of the Saunton Sands Hotel; Austin Yeates, a boy corporal in this photograph appears on the extreme left of the photograph; the figure standing second from the right in the near group is an unidentified company sergeant major wearing five medal ribbons of pre-1939 vintage; the second figure from the left appears to be wearing blue gym shorts with his khaki jacket.

2.  From the recollection of this writer, the group of boys seated on a rock would have been located at the bottom of the cliffs a considerable distance towards the water from the path leading to the cliff top; Austin is standing at the right rear of the group.

3.  This photograph of a handsome-looking Austin in a fore and aft forage cap was taken about 1938 or 1939.

4.  The group of four boys and two women is taken with a jeep in the background and, behind that is to be seen the barbed-wire fence that marked the perimeter of the minefield of the Saunton sand dunes that stretched the five-mile length of the beach of Barnstable and Bideford Bay; the two female figures in the photograph are probably of a 'house matron' (the elder) and the younger thought to be the daughter of Major J. Hurt, Adjutant (1937-1944); the boys are wearing blue gym shorts and khaki jackets, an unusual combination that could have been permitted for use on the beach on cold days; the boy in the centre of the group is holding a biased bowling ball [how he came by this is anyone's guess]; the presence of the jeep with its alpha-numeric designation M476... suggests it was from the unit of U.S. troops camped in the Saunton dunes near the golf course, which means that an American serviceman probably took the photograph); Austin stands on the left of this group.

5.  In this shot, Austin is shown positioned between the two reclining females, who appear to be in their late teens and were possibly daughters of members of the school staff, which, however, is speculation. From anyone's knowledge, the names of the boys and young women, who and what they were, would be welcome.

6. A large group photograph taken at the front of the Saunton Sands Hotel in 1943, but who is in the frame? Can names be attached?




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