Tuesday, April 15, 2008


In 1843, Lovesgrove, in the parish of Llanbadarn Fawr, Cardiganshire, was bought by John Evans (1804-1874) of Aberystwyth. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Lewis Pugh of Aber-mad, Llanychaearn, Cardiganshire, adding his wife's surname to his own, the family becoming Pugh Evans. John and Elizabeth's second son, Lewis Pugh Evans (1837-1908) inherited Aber-mad following the death of his bachelor uncle, on condition that he took the name of Pugh. Their third son, Sir Griffith Humphrey Pugh Evans (1840-1902) inherited Lovesgrove and built a mansion there in 1883. In 1873, he married Emelia Savi Hills, daughter of Sir James Hills of Neechandapore and Charlotte Savi and lived in Calcutta

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Maj-General Lewis Pugh 1907 - 1981

Brig-General Lewis Pugh Evans VC of Lovesgrove and Maj-Gen Lewis Pugh.
Maj-Gen Lewis Henry Owain Pugh CB, CBE, DSO**, KStJ, JP, DL. was born on 18th May 1907 and educated at Wellington and attended Sandhurst. He married Wanda Kendzior in Simla in 1941 and had two beautiful daughters, Genia (1942) and Imogen (1944). Known to my mother Annette as 'Cousin Lewis', he was her father Archie's nephew and like him, became involved with the Calcutta Light Horse. Lewis was a regular soldier who served with Special Services in India and in that capacity commanded the raid on the German ships thought to be broadcasting Allied shipping movements from Mormugoa harbour in 1943. The exploit was described in the book 'The Boarding Party' by James Leasor and made into a film 'The Sea Wolves' in which Lewis Pugh was played by Gregory Peck.

A fuller account of his active life can be found here:

Lewis Pugh was the grandson of Lewis Pugh Pugh (known as 'Puff Puff') Attorney-General of Bengal, and son of Major Herbert Pugh. Lewis was another professional soldier, commissioned into the Royal Horse Artillery. After serving in Germany between the wars and on the North West Frontier of India, he answered an advertisement for men with knowledge of India to join the Special Branch Intelligence Department of the Bengal Police.

At the outbreak of WW2 he returned to the army, and by 1943 was Director of Country Sections with SOE’s Force 136, one of their most successful units, based in Calcutta and specialised in placing agents and trained saboteurs deep behind enemy lines inside Burma and Malaya.

On 9th March 1943 he led what came to be known as the Last Action of the Calcutta Light Horse. This regiment was raised in 1872 and formed part of the cavalry reserve of the British Indian Army. It was commended from 1912 to 1922 by my grandfather, Col AJ Pugh. Inactive since the Boer War, their last action was against German merchant ships thought to be transmitting Allied positions to U-boats from the Mormugao harbour in Portugal's neutral territory of Goa. The membership was largely made up of businessmen and planters. The operation was kept covert, to prevent claims of contravening Portugal’s neutrality, and was not confessed to until 1978, thirty-five years after it took place.

At the time Lewis Pugh was a Lieutenant Colonel, but he subsequently became a Major General with a CB, CBE and three DSOs. This wartime incident was published in 1978 as “Boarding Party – The Last Action of the Calcutta Light Horse” by James Leasor, and was subsequently portrayed in a 1980 film, “Sea Wolves”, starring Gregory Peck as Pugh, and including a host of other well known names. As the film makers noted, during the first 11 days of March 1943, U-boats sank 12 Allied ships in the Indian Ocean. After the Light Horse raid on Goa, only one ship was lost in the remainder of the month.

The General retired from the Army to the family estate at Cymmerau in 1961, and lived in the house and developed its gardens, together with his wife until 1978, and thereafter at Wonastow House, before dying in 1981. He was High Sherriff of Cardiganshire. A stained glass window in Eglwysfach church commemorates members of the Pugh family of Voelas and Cymerau.

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Brig. General Lewis Pugh Evans 1881 - 1962

Lewis Pugh Evans VC, CB, CMG, DSO

Click more the heading for more photos of Lewis

Lewis Pugh Evans was born on 3rd January 1887 and died on 30th November 1962. He was educated at Eton and entered the army through Sandhurst and married Margaret Dorothea Seagrave Vaughan-Pryse-Rice on 10th October 1918. They lived at Lovesgrove on the death of his elder brother. His father was Sir Gruffydd Humphrey Pugh Evans, Advocate-General of Bengal and a member of the Viceroy's Council and his mother Lady Emilia Savi Hills (Emmy).

Wikipedia describes him thus:

Brigadier General Lewis Pugh Evans VC, CB, CMG, DSO & Bar (3 January 1881 - 30 November 1962) was a Welsh recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

After Eton and Sandhurst Evans entered the British Army with a commission in the Black Watch with whom he served in the Boer War in South Africa. After service with his regiment in India Evans returned to England and obtained a pilot's certificate and when the First World War broke out in 1914 he was posted as an observer with the Royal Flying Corps but after a few months he returned to the Black Watch and in 1917 was appo inted to command the First Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment.

He was 36 years old, and an Acting Lieutenant Colonel in The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), British Army, Commander 1st Battalion, The Lincolnshire Regiment during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 4 October 1917 near Zonnebeke, Belgium, Lieutenant Colonel Evans took his battalion through a terrific enemy barrage, and while his troops were working round the flank of a machine-gun emplacement, rushed at it himself, firing his revolver through the loophole, and forcing the garrison to capitulate. Although severely wounded in the shoulder he refused to be bandaged and again led his battalion forward and was again wounded. Nevertheless he carried on until the next objective was achieved, and then collapsed. As there were numerous casualties he again refused assistance and managed unaided to reach the dressing station.

Evans was mentioned in despatches seven times and was awarded the D.S.O and Bar; the 1914 Star and Clasp; the British War Medal; the Victory Medal; the Order of Leopold of Belgium and the Croix de Guerre: he was also a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.

In 1928 he retired from the Army but returned to service in World War II as a Military Liaison Officer at the Headquarters of the Wales Region. He later achieved the rank of brigadier general.

He was Honorary Colonel of the Cardiganshire Army Cadet Force and was for 25 years President of the Aberystwyth Branch of the British Legion. He was a Churchwarden at Llanbadarn and a Justice of the Peace on the local bench as well as Deputy Lieutenant for Cardiganshire and a Freeman of the borough of Aberystwyth.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Headbourne Worthy 1934 - 1938

The Bragg's Farm at Headbourne Worthy. Click here for more photos of the house and Headbourne Worthy

In 1934, Patrick was taken on as a pupil by Percy Bragg, who farmed at Headbourne Worthy outside Winchester. He spent a marvellous four years there training and learning to shoot. Dickie Blyth was a pupil on the farm at the same time as Patrick, and remained a life-long friend.

Percy Bragg was married to Mary, who looked after the two pupils. Mary had been born at Tufton Manor outside Whitchurch and is buried at Litchfield.

Percy was a good shot and taught Patrick to shoot. Percy and Patrick can be seen in this photograph of a shooting party of 1935.

In 1939, having completed his pupillage, Patrick was recommended to Carey Druce as the manager of the Litchfield Estate and moved there.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

John Lawford 1811- 1875

John Lawford, My great-grandfather,  was the third son of Samuel Lawford (1749 - 1865), Master of the Drapers' Company 1850, and his wife Ann Wright. John married Ellen Crofts, daughter of John Crofts of Nottingham at St Peter's Eaton Square on 16th November 1852 and had eleven children, of which my grandfather, Vincent Adrian, born in 1871, was the ninth son. John was a banker with Curries & Co and lived at the bank's premises at 29 Cornhill where most of his children were born. Uncle Valentine recalled that his daughter Sophie could look out of her nursery window at the Royal Exchange. He later moved to Blackheath where the rest of his twelve children were born.