Default image


At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 Zbigniew and his schoolmates were sent to fight what they were told was the invading German army but they were promptly captured by Lithuanian liberation forces (who wanted a Lithuania independent of Poland) and imprisoned in a fort on the Baltic Sea. He escaped and eventually made his way back to his parents in Wilno. He was nevertheless captured and forced to travel to Germany to carry out slave labour, in his case to repair railway lines damaged during allied bombardments. His flair for languages saw him learn German quickly. After a while and because of a shortage of German drivers he was taught to drive and trusted with supply lorries.

When he was driving a lorry in northern Italy he escaped and fled to the Italian partisans, who taught him to defuse mines (the partisans tended to use prisoners or non-Italian volunteers for this role). Towards the end of the war he heard that Polish and other allied forces were on the other side of an Italian mountain, so he left the partisans and joined the British. He ended up in Rimini before being shipped to Liverpool and then to Foxley camp in Herefordshire where he met Jadwiga.

Jadwiga was born and raised near Rowne (now Rivne) in what during the Interwar years was eastern Poland. After the Second World War the border was moved many miles westwards and the area is now Ukraine. Her parents were farmers, raising horses and growing commercial crops like tobacco. 

When the Russians invaded, Jadwiga, her siblings (including a baby) and her parents were sent north to a labour camp near Archangel in the Arctic. The entire family except for the baby was made to work, chopping down pines or removing branches, and then dragging them to the nearest river for floating down to sawmills once the spring thaw came.

Her brother, about 15 at the time, organized an escape. A group of teenagers, including her, hid on a lorry that was using the frozen river as a road to carry supplies to the camp from the nearby town of Kotlas. Once they reached Kotlas they hid on trains going south. 

They eventually reached Uzbekistan, where they were hoping to join the army led by General Anders, one of the Poles freed from the notorious Lubyanka prison in Moscow. Before they could join, they had to help with the local cotton harvest. Once she reached the army, in Tashkent, she enlisted as a catering corps volunteer. The army was finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union, which it did on a ship across the Caspian from Turkmenistan to Pahlavi on the Persian coast. 

Jadwiga then travelled west with the Anders army across the mountains into trans-Jordan and then to Jerusalem and Haifa in British-Mandate Palestine. Shortly afterwards she went to Egypt, where she met her brother, who had joined the signals corps in Uzbekistan. She was then sent to Rimini in north Italy and from there was shipped to Liverpool and Foxley camp.

Through the Red Cross Jadwiga  found her little sister (she was in New Zealand, having travelled there with her baby brother from an orphanage in Esfahan, Persia) and her other brother (who turned up in Bewdley, Worcestershire).

Zbigniew worked at Bulmers cider factory in Hereford and did night classes because none of his qualifications were recognized and he wanted to become a doctor. He eventually got a position as a psychiatric nurse at Burghill hospital and worked his way up to become a tutor in psychiatric nursing and finally an examiner for the NHS in the west Midlands.

Jadwiga raised their children at Foxley camp and then later in Hereford itself. Zbigniew died in 2004 and Jadwiga in 2007. Their children live in various parts of the world, from the UK to New Zealand.

Default image


Foxley was a paradise for us kids – because we didn’t know any different, although we knew that adults and whole families were going off into the big wide world for better opportunities, either for jobs in the industries of Birmingham or even out to America, especially Chicago. Our best friends emigrated to Chicago in the early 1950s – a friend of mine in the family was subsequently very badly affected mentally by the Vietnam war, in which he had to serve.

So, as kids, at weekends and in the school holidays we would spend a lot of time out in the countryside or in the woods, playing, fighting, looking for animal skulls, picking berries, even once temporarily damming the stream! I used to go mushrooming with my Mum; she taught me how to recognise horse radish and sorrel – free food. For us kids the only contact with the outside world was walking with Mum to the post office at Mansel Lacy or on the back of Dad’s motorbike to Hereford. Sometimes we went to the river to play at the pebble beach – presumably the Wye near Weobley.

I remember weekly grocery and fish/meat vans coming round. Also Dr Perrot (spelling?) who would visit the camp using a pony and trap for his medical rounds.

A primary school was set up. Mrs Kurhan was the head teacher. We gradually learned English (mandatory after the Coronation, when we were given little blue boxes with a commemorative spoon wrapped in tissue paper). Most of the inhabitants were Poles but there were also a lot of Italians, Greeks, Irish later, and even a few Jamaicans. Kids taught each other “naughty” words in their own languages.


Default image


By the age of 15 Eddie was serving in the Polish Army. Having lost his mother and 3 siblings, he left his surviving brother and sister in an orphanage in Kazakstan, added two years on to his age to make himself the compulsory 17 and went to war.

Born on 6th August 1925 he lived with his family in Borowicze, a little village in eastern Poland. When the Russians invaded eastern Poland his father Yann joined the Polish army and went to defend his country. 

His mother, Eugenia with her six children were arrested while trying to flee. They were herded with many other families into cattle trucks and travelled for 22 days to their destination in a Siberian forest.  

There they worked with little rest and little food for years. Eddie’s oldest brother, Tadeuz died there of meningitis due to lack of medicines. They were “freed” in the amnesty when Russia changed sides to the allies. They were told to leave and were again loaded into cattle trucks for the long journey out of Siberia. For the next three to four weeks they made their way down through Europe to Tashkent in Kazakstan. The family already weak from lack of food suffered greatly from the awful conditions of the journey.

In Kazakstan they lived in a little house made of straw and clay. Eddie’s youngest brother and sister became very sick. They were taken to hospital but later died. Eddie had already set out to visit them and had a 70 kilometre walk back to his mother. On his return his mother only survived a few more days. She, like her children died of malnutrition. Eddie dug his mothers grave with his own hands. After burying her he decided it was best to put his remaining little brother and sister into an orphanage. The best thing he could have done for them as they survived and made their own way to England after the war.

On arriving with the Polish Army he lied about his age and trained on signals and Morse Code. He contracted malaria and was hospitalised but recovered well enough to resume his duties. On his discharge from hospital he was posted to the Suez Canal in Egypt. He went on to fight at Monte Cassino where 5,000 Polish soldiers died. He was there when the VE day celebrations began.

War was over and at a transit camp for Polish people in Monte Cassino Eddie met his future wife Emilia. They now needed to decide where to go from the options they were given. Poland was not an option as it was now under Russian communist rule.

They opted for England and Foxley Camp became their home.  Here they raised their children Stasia, Danuta and Tadeusz. 

His daughter, Stasia's memories of Foxley are below


Default image


I was born in Italy in a transit camp for displaced Polish people in May 1946 and we arrived in Foxley in January 1947.

At the beginning Foxley was like a little Poland, we only spoke Polish as the women and children had no contact with English people. The men, like my father, who spoke no English upon arrival in England had to leave the camp to find work and they slowly started to learn English.

I remember my first day at school, none of us could speak a word of English and the teacher spoke no Polish. The school was situated in the middle of the camp by the bus stop. One long hut was converted into a school for infants.

We used to have Polish lessons every Saturday morning. At that time I did not appreciate this but on my first visit to Poland when I was 18, I was very glad that I could speak Polish and also that I knew its history and culture.

Life for us children was great, we probably were a bit wild. I remember that on my way home from Mansel Lacy School we would often pick apples off the farmer’s tree in the field by the Post Office. I have since confessed to the owner!

I remember going with mum to collect a parcel sent by American soldiers who had occupied the camp before us. When we got home the parcel was opened by dad, it was full of tinned food, fruit and meat. I remember the peaches, sadly we had to share it with another family.

I don’t remember having toys. I so wanted a doll so mum made one from bits of wood and rags and dad gave me knitting needles. They were two long rusty nails and mum taught me to knit and I became very good at it.

Christmas is a Polish custom which we celebrate on Christmas Eve.

Christmas was great. On Christmas Eve mum would be in the kitchen for most of the day preparing the evening meal. No meat, tradition is that you have twelve servings. I don’t think we ever had more than 3 or 4 dishes, including pickled herrings, beetroot soup (barszcz), dumplings stuffed with mushrooms or cabbage (pierogi), as well as cakes, fruit and pastries. Mum would prepare an extra seat for an unexpected guest as this was an old Polish custom.

Weather permitting we would wait until the first star appeared in the sky then dad would take me out and tell me about the constellations. It is also customary to break and give the Christmas wafer (oplatek), which is made of flour and water.

After the meal we would open our presents. Not that we had much, an apple and a pair of gloves. We would sit by the tree singing carols. We had no television or radio, we would make our own entertainment. We would go to church for midnight mass, my sister and I usually slept for most of the service. Then off home for homemade doughnuts. I used to feel so gown up staying up late and very happy.

Summer evenings my parent’s would sit in the porch with the neighbours or just the family, and mum and dad would tell us stories. We children would be out playing until after dark and we all felt safe in our Little Poland. 

Sunday after church we and another family would go for long walks around the camp; this could take a few hours.

Mum worked on the land in the summer and took us children with her for hop, apple, potato and raspberry picking. This was great fun as there were many children there. I also had to look after my sister and brother, this was not so good. After we got home mum would have to clean me and my sister and brother and also make dinner for the whole family.

My father worked away from home a lot and travelled on his bike to wherever he could get work. He used to travel a long way on his bike. Then later on he got a motorbike which made travelling easier.

Both my parents worked very hard. We did not have much money but we were for most of the time clean, well dressed and happy.

We used to stay up late playing in the fields behind the houses. We had a little gang of about seven or eight of us. We named most of the trees and would also dare to jump over the stream. Sometimes we missed and fell into the stream. It’s a shame we have to grow up.

I remember once saying to the gang “who can be the first to the top of the tree and back down?” I was first,  I fell down from the tree and broke my arm and leg! I don’t remember getting home but the boys said they carried me home. The worst was yet to come - dad took me to hospital in Hereford in a pram and I still get reminded of this!

Mum used to tell us about her family in Poland and her time in Austria during the war. She was taken from her family and sent to work on a farm in Austria. Luckily she was placed with a good family and was treated well. Mum would occasionally get letters from her family but the letters had been opened and some of the words were blacked out.

Dad never talked about the war years but looking back and what I now know, they missed their families. Many years later I found out the dad’s family history during the war. It was a lot to live through at a young age. There was no counselling in those days and it hurts me to think of him going through all this; I loved him so much.

We had a small garden in front of the house with flowers and vegetables. Mostly potatoes and we always had chickens or rabbits. They were not pets but we children had names for them. If I close my eyes I can still see the garden. The house had four rooms and in the kitchen there would be a wooden barrel with sauerkraut, a large jar of gherkins and in the pantry a long string of hand picked dried mushrooms hung from a hook. There was a stove in the wall so two of the rooms could be heated. We had no electricity and no bathroom, only a tin bath in the kitchen.

Default image



Born on: 21 December 1903 at Przemysl Lwow, Poland

Parents: Jan and Helena nee Stelmach

September 1939 Poland occupied by the former Soviet Union. Being Polish he was deported to the USSR; late 1941 released under Silkorski-Maisky Agreement and travelled to meet with Polish forces.

Service with the Polish Forces under British Command: 15 August 1942 to 30 January 1947

Service with the Polish Resettlement Corps: 31 January 1947 to 10 August 1949

Promotions: 02.05.1942 - Sergeant, 01.04.1945 Staff Sergeant

Theatre of Operations: Italy 20.01.1944 - 02.05.1945

Transferred to United Kingdom (date unknown) and finally Honourably Discharged 10.08.1949


Default image




Born on: 19 March 1915 at Bydgoszcz, Pomorze,  Poland

Parents: Jan and Wleria nee Teske

September 1939, following Soviet invasion, deported to Baragajewo, Novosibirsk, USSR

Released late 1941 and travelled to meet with Polish Forces.

Together with Polish Army units crossed the Soviet-Iranian border and was evacuated to Iran.

Enlisted in Polish Forces under Briish command in Tehran, Iran 16.§0.1942 and posted to Evacuation Camp in Tehran.

On reorganisation of Polish Army in the Middle East, was posted to the Plish Women's Auxilliary Service (PWAS) and assigned to the Transit Camp, Polish Army Middle East on 25.01.1943

Served in the Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt) 1942-1944 and in Italy 1944-1946

Theatre of Operations: Italy 15.02.1944-02.05.1945

Transferred to United Kingdom (date unknown) and finally Honourably Discharged 31.10.1947

Default image
Lucja, Tadeusz, Krystina and Bozenka


Mum was arrested with her brother-in-law and transported to Russia. They had been waiting for the train to go and visit her sister who was expecting a baby and had been taken to hospital. Mum was in a camp where she used a pick axe in the winter to clear railway tracks. She also mentioned they used to eat grass to survive. 

My father lived with his first wife in a town called Przemysl which was in south east Poland. In the middle of the night in 1939 he was arrested by the Russians and transported to former USSR. Only several years ago we found out information, through family still living in Poland, how his first wife was shot because she was  Jewish.

Both my parent were unable to return after the war to their country because Poland was under communist rule. They arrived in England around 1946 at the end of World War II, both having served in the Polish Army. They were demobbed in Foxley Camp.

My parents first lived in one of the barracks, as did many other families. The facilities had no running water or toilet. Heating consisted on one round stove, furniture was ex-army and very basic. The sleeping areas were divided by curtains and laundry was carried out in a very cold wash house. It must have been very difficult for the adults who had to deal with the language barrier, the hardship and missing family back home together with all the mental scars of war.

My father was lucky and found temporary seasonal work at Bulmers and eventually was employed there on a permanent basis. At first the women found work on the land (hop, cherry and apple picking) plus any other work available, as long as they could take the small children with them. My mother and many of her friends eventually worked at the Hereford Canning factory.

Later we moved into other barracks which stood in rows. These were converted into units with a kitchen with running water, sitting room and two bedrooms and an indoor toilet, it felt like luxury.

Initially many children, including my older sister, Krystina Maria,were born in Pennley Polish hospital but later children were born in Hereford County Hospital.

The community had a Polish Catholic church, shop, pub and library, later an English grocer. In the middle of the camp stood the Polish hostel where many of the men living there suffered with shell shock and stress related illnesses after the war.

We attended the newly opened English school,  but older ones aged 11 onwards went to Mansel Lacy School. On Saturday mornings we attended Polish lessons run by the local priest.

During the summer time after Sunday lunch we would all take a walk around the camp, walking up the hill, around Yazor and Mansel Lacy. During the winter time we would huddle around our only coal stove. Dad and mum would tell us stories about back home in Poland and a few tales of their good times in the army.

We were taught Polish dancing and singing and performed on stage several times a year. We wore traditional costumes which were made lovingly by our mums spending many hours sewing on the individual sequins with the help of the older children.

I learned to speak English at school. The best things I remember of my time in school were the annual outings in the summer. Many coaches were filled with over-excited children and their mothers. We spent days at Barry Island or Porthcawl. For many this was the only time away.

Foxley was a haven for us children. School holidays and weekends playing in the brook, picking blackberries and selling them to the green grocer for a few pennies to buy sweets and ice creams.

We used to pile into the Nissen hut near the camp entrance to watch films. All sitting on narrow, uncomfortable long benches. Several times a year the adults enjoyed an evening in the Polish club drinking and dancing the night away.

We had a close community and were taught the Polish traditions. Copus Christie with a procession of girls in white dresses carrying a decorated shoe box of flower petals walking in front of the Priest and sprinkling the petals. St. Nicholas Day, which of course was a favourite as he brought us gifts in a small sack contains a few nuts, oranges and sweets which had been donated by the Polish Committee.  There was also a small gift from our parents but we didn’t know that at the time.

Christmas was one of the most magical and memorable times. Polish people celebrate it on Christmas Eve and it is an important religious celebration. The whole family would be busy preparing the the evening, decorating the tree and cooking traditional food.

Once the first star appeared in the sky mother would ring a small bell then call us into the front room where the table was laid with the best white tablecloth. Father would come round breaking a piece of blessed white holy wafer and wishing each of us health and happiness, followed by a hug and a kiss. We then started our meal, first served with fish, always Carp, followed by borsh (beetroot soup), then pierogi (which are dumplings stuffed with potato and fried onion), lastly sweet which was usually poppy seed cake. All delicious. After the meal we opened our small Christmas gifts. Later our parents went to midnight mass.

Easter was another great celebration. We children would decorate hard boiled eggs, spending hours painting patterns on them. These would be placed in a small basket together with Polish ham, sausage, bread, horseradish, salt and pepper.

On Easter Saturday the families took their baskets to church to be blessed ready for breakfast on Easter Sunday. At breakfast one egg would be peeled for father to share with each member of the family while wishing them health and happiness.

In the centre of Foxley stood our church, which was located in one of the barracks. As a child I thought it was very beautiful. Behind and above the small alter, the walls were painted in sky blue with lots of tiny stars. It was full every Sunday. Christenings and first holy communions were all officiated, but there were no weddings as the church did not have a licence

Default image


Geraldene lived at Foxley with her mum and dad, sister Fran and brother Ronald. Here are some of her recollections.

As kids we went with mum working on the land, apple, blackcurrant, strawberry, raspberry, potato and hop picking. I broke my finger playing with some other children at the end of the row instead of picking the blackcurrants.

The communal bonfire, each area of the camp had their own and each family would take a box of fireworks. One year we were the only family not to take a box of fireworks because our dad was very late coming home and he bought us a stick of barley sugar instead! We would take sausages and potatoes and bake them on the bonfire. The potatoes would be black after several minutes and then you were expected to eat them ….Ghastly!

Going shopping to the Polish shop on the camp I always remember all the different sausages hanging down from hooks. You would buy it by the slice, quarter or half pound at a time. Unlike most groceries these days there were no plastic bags then. The pop came in glass bottles and on return you would get some money back.

The famous conker tree! I think every child who lived on Foxley Camp tried climbing the huge conker tree. I climbed to the top and then realised I couldn’t get down, I shouted to my sister to fetch our mum. I shouted down to her “I can’t get down” mum shouted back up to me “you bloody well got up there find your own way down!” I lived to tell the tale.

As families were rehoused in Hereford, families from our row moved out and the builders came and demolished the insides. I made myself a den by chiselling the cement out from around the breeze-blocks then replacing them. Nobody ever knew I was hiding in the next house, it was great hiding from mum and dad.

Running away from home with Sybil Jones. I took the saucepan, spoons and some matches and a tin opener, Sybil brought the beans. Before I left I wrote a note in chalk on the wall “mum have left home” and off Sybil and I went on our adventure. We made a fire, opened the beans, heated them up and ate them. As it got darker we suddenly decided that perhaps we should make our way back home. I sneaked in and put myself to bed. Looking at the note on the wall the next morning my mother had written “GOOD” underneath, no wonder I’m insecure!

There was a brook running parallel to where we lived. One day friends and I built a den with hazel sticks and ferns.  My sister Fran, five years younger than me wanted to see our den. I came up with a great idea to get her across the brook. I pulled down the branch of a tree told her to hold on to it and then I let go. It took her up into the air and she screamed ending up in the middle of the brook! I don’t think mum and dad ever found out about this exciting adventure. Everything I can remember about Foxley was an adventure!

Default image


I was born at Foxley Estate in 1950.   The house number for where I was born was 1/62 according to my birth certificate (I don't know if there is a plan of the camp that shows the numbers of the houses there).  When I was born my mum was living there with her aunt and uncle.  My mother was originally from the Forest of Dean.  My father was Jamaican and was in the RAF.  My parents met at what was the RAF camp at Credenhill.

I remember starting primary school there.  I seem to remember that the head teacher  had a dog which I once saw in her office.  I don't know if she brought her dog to school everyday, or whether this was a one off occasion!

There was a library there and I can remember waiting on the grass outside for my grandad who would be coming home from work in Hereford on the bus that must have stopped near or outside the library.

In the camp were many Polish families, one of my friends who moved from Foxley to Greenlanes Estate (as many families from there did), her mother was from Ukraine as her father might have been too.  I also remember another little girl I knew who's name was Rosa and I think one or perhaps both of her parents were Spanish.  Together with lots of locally born people, Foxley was quite an international place at that time!

My great aunt knew the lady who ran the post office in Mancel Lacey village,  Her name was Evans I believe.  She also knew the greengrocer Mr Davies, I vaguely remember going with her to get vegetables from him.  I'm not sure whether she didn't work in his shop, but I do remember that when it was cold Mr Davies used to put a drop of whiskey in his tea, I remember seeing him do this.

Strange memories!

Default image


My life as a child living at Foxley, very exciting, plenty of space to play, corridors, pipes to walk on, empty huts and Yazor Brook running through.

We had a picture house in a tin hanger, not good when it rained, that was on a Sunday night.

Large square: the Polish had their celebrations, dancing, playing music, in their national dress. The colours were beautiful, lots of ribbons. They had a St. Nicholas day. I think it was their Saint.

Also the Polish chapel, which they made in a hut, was very peaceful, the priest made you very welcome.

We didn’t need anything, had a NAAFI; cafe; fish and chip van once a week, always a queue; Monkey Davies - green grocer; Johnson delivered milk; Davis Brooks the pop van. If we needed to go to town, Yeoman’s double-decker buses ran all the time, we were all piled on like sardines. Also, there were Indian men with suitcases selling clothes door-to-door. I know Mark Black was one salesman.

Had a youth club, the RAF helped to run in a hut next to the large green, where we played Rounders. Mr Shields and his daughter gave us athletics training, also on the green.  Mr & Mrs Mancel and a group of young people from Wellington Chapel put up a large tent, told us Bible stories and sang hymns on Sunday afternoons.

We had a dance teacher who came from Hereford, teaching ballet and tap, also Brownies and Guides were held. Also dances were held for the parents and young teenagers to get to know one another.

My dad was a Special Constable, he went out on a Saturday night for turn-out time at the NAAFI. Both my parents were very happy living at Foxley, made life-long friends.

Living in a hut was fun, not much room like nowadays. We had a kitchen; hall; loo; living room with a stove for heating; two bedrooms, on of which dad divided in two for me so my brother had a bedroom to himself; little front garden for veg. We lived at no. 69.

Looking back, there were people from all walks of life. We all mixed together, helping one another.

The Polish children soon learned English, this helped their parents.

I only lived in Foxley 5 years and moved out before the school was built.

Fond memories.

Default image


My parents moved to Hereford in the late 1940’s. They lived in rooms for a while and were then given a home at Foxley.

I went to school in Mansel Lacy as the school at Foxley wasn’t built until later. The Headmistress was Mrs Nell Worthing, she and her husband and son lived in the house attached to the school. There were two classes and the other teacher was Miss Watkins who lived in the village.

The pupils were a mixture of village children and children from Foxley. The toilets were outside and were wooden with holes in them. It was a lovely school. We used to be taken into the field opposite the school and told the names of the wild flowers.

The vicar at the time had a large black car and if he was driving through the village when the children were around he used to let them stand on the running board as he drove along.

Foxley was a great place to live for children. So much to explore, it seemed huge. There was a derelict building that looked as if it had been some kind of prison. Marks on the wall crossing off the days.

The Polish shop seemed very different from other grocery shops, a very strong aroma of garlic, and sausages hanging up. Now I think it surprising that “foreign” foods were available when some foods in Britain were still rationed. You could also buy fruit and vegetables from the kitchen garden at Foxley Manor even though the house was empty and in disrepair.

On Sunday evenings films were shown in a big Nissen hut at the bottom of the camp. I used to go with my mother and can remember crying at a film called ‘Johnny Belinda’.

Sometimes a group of people came and erected a large marquee, there was lots of hymn singing, I think it was a sort of crusade.

I remember the library opening in Foxley, in a building where the buses turned. It was the first time I’d been in a library and it was a bit intimidating. I remember the first book I borrowed was by Monica Dickens but I can’t remember the title.

Looking at photographs now of Foxley and the dwellings they look quite primitive but that isn’t how I remember them. I loved living there. I’m sure the adults were pleased to have somewhere to live at a time when Britain was still recovering from the war and it’s consequences.

Default image


We lived in the end unit of the block shown in the background and, as our home was fairly central, the Council modified our living room window so that the room could be used as a rent office. One of the Council staff used to come for the day, once a week, to receive rents!

My father worked on the railways and had to cycle to and from Hereford most days in all weather. A possible cause of his longevity.

Default image



JIM and GWEN  and their children DENIS, ROBIN and JOY  

Foxley 1951-1959

We  arrived at Foxley  in 1951 having been made homeless by the ‘tied cottage’ regulations. Dad lost his job at Gatley Farm, Leinthall Earls and the house went with the job.  I was 4, Rob was 2 and initially, Dad’s brother, Stanley Compton (wife Dora, daughter Joan) took us into their little cottage next to the village post office. Stan worked for Tom Meredith at Parsonage farm and dad also found work there but there was no farm cottage available and so, like many post-war homeless, we ended up living in Foxley Estate. Dad’s other brother, Fred Compton, his wife Sally and their sons Freddie, Geoff and Michael lived at Westmoor farm just a mile or so through the woods from Foxley.

My first memories are of the celebrations on Coronation Day.  I remember the ‘egg & spoon’ race (prize of Dinky toy lorry) and my disappointment when I didn’t win it! The first friend that I made was Ryszard (Richard) Kunicki son of Regina, brother of Zbigniew - sorry I forgot your dad’s name. He is now my brother-in-law and lives in France with his wife Jackie. They have two sons, Richard who lives in Canada and Ben who lives near London.

The ‘Camp’ was a great place for kids. Most went to the local school (though a few went to Mansell Lacy for whatever reason) where Mrs Kurhan and her staff tried to provide a broad education including drama production (as you can see from the photos) and a whole school trip to Porthcawl or Barry Island every year. Mr Burt was my favourite teacher.

There always seemed to be a mass football match that you could join in on the “Green”. One of my heroes - Tommy Best, the Hereford United player who lived on the Camp would sometimes join in and show us what true skill was.  Through football and sport, I made another good friend, Roy Chamberlain.  There were very few televisions at Foxley but I enjoyed watching the boxing with Roy’s family.  The Greenhouse family in our row also had a TV and I can remember them angling it so people could bring their chairs to watch the Perry Como show through the open front door.

I loved the exoticness and the spirit of the Polish community. The poppy seed cake, honey cakes, ‘gwonki?’; they grew their own tobacco; they had spectacular religious parades involving special clothes and loads of scattered petals; they established a cinema - we used to be happy to watch black and white films in Polish! We learned some Polish - unfortunately I can only remember the basics and one insult.

Other people I remember: Mr Perks - the shopkeeper who kindly chauffeured my mum home from hospital when Joy was born; my mum’s good friends Mrs Tulacz and Mrs Gardner; Mrs Llewellyn with her milk trolley; the splendidly named Brigadier Polly who lived opposite the Post Office; dad’s work colleagues Bert Gwilliam, Bill Bishop and ‘Peter the Pole’ who moved into Stan’s house after he left.

Finally does anyone remember “Old Bill”. He was the character who I think had cerebral palsy and transported himself from Yazor/Yarsop to Mansell Lacy in a hand-pedalled basket chair.  He always had plenty of sweets which you could earn by pushing him back up the hill to his home.

Denis Compton ([email protected])


Default image


We moved to Foxley in 1951, I was two and brother was four. Sis came later in 1953. Dad worked for Mr Meredith at ‘Parsonage’ farm in Mansel and mum worked on the land there too, harvesting sugar beet and swedes. We were often riding on the tractor or trailer at harvest time. Sitting at the top of the load of bales. No health and safety in those days.

Foxley was a great place to grow up as kids with fields, woods and a brook. Plenty of space to play and in those days there weren’t any idiots around. We spent most of our time making dams in the brook and digging in the banks to find musket balls.

Occasionally we were allowed to walk down to Mansel to the only shop in the area, that was owned by Mr. Perks. We didn’t have bikes until we made one out of bits we found on the dump.

School was good especially at the end of summer term when we would all go to Porthcawl or Barry Island. I can remember walking the corridors that ran between each blocks of houses down to the school, hoping we would be on one of the new coaches. The Head teacher was Mrs Kurhan who was a tall very strict looking lady, quite scary.

In the middle of the estate was a large green where we would play football and cricket. There was a coloured chap called Tommy Best who was huge, always playing with us. He could hit a ball for miles. He was a good footballer too, playing for Hereford United later on.

Very few cars came up the estate and when Lady Davenport drove by it was like having a royal visit.

Mark Black from Hereford started his clothes business by selling door to door in Foxley. Even he would catch a bus from Hereford and walk around with his suitcase. Didn’t have a car at first. The business is still going and run by his son Mark now.

We didn’t have any luxuries but our parents worked hard to give us what they could. The occasional treat would be going to our aunt’s on the estate to watch her black and white TV. Mum would take us to Hereford on the bus which was always exciting.

Sadly we moved to Hereford in 1959 and new schools. Even though we had a new council house with an upstairs, we missed the unlimited play area of Foxley. Always very fond memories of life at Foxley.

Robin Compton

Default image


I lived at Foxley for seven very happy years. My son was born there, in too much of a hurry to wait for the ambulance to take us into the hospital.

My husband drove a bulldozer for a living and he helped to demolish the big house (or as we thought of it, the officers house). The house had been left with all the christmas decorations up.

My aunt who was visiting us bought quite a lot of building material from the house and it went into the bungalow she was having built at Yorkley in the Forest of Dean. So a little bit of Foxley is in the Forest of Dean.

My sister-in-law’s dad was Station Master at Moorhampton and as a little girl she would greet the soldiers and give them cigarettes. We visited Moorhampton a few years ago. It was a holiday site and she gave them some photos of the trains coming in with all the wounded soldiers. They were going to put the photos on show. My brother still has the originals.

Friendships made at Foxley still exist today.

Default image

Carol Verry (nee Sawdon)

I can remember a van coming weekly selling goods. Paraffin sticks in my mind which we used for a heater and I think he also sold sweets.

One day, crossing the bridge to school I dropped my cotton hanky into the stream. A boy went down the bank to retrieve it for me. I can still see his face.

A goat came into the garden one day, no idea where it came from but it was very frightening at the time.

My dad used to ride his bike into Hereford where he worked in the Post Office.

We used to walk up to The Big House and to a field for a picnic with my two brothers.

I can remember picking violets by a stone wall.