- Devon Yeomanry during the Great War -
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Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry 1/1st btn Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry 2/1st btn Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry 3/1st btn
Royal Devon Yeomanry was a mounted unit of the Territorial Force with its HQ at 9 Dix's Field, Exeter. Part of the 2nd South Western Mounted Brigade.
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Those known to have served with
during the Great War 1914-1918.
- Ousley Leonard. Pte.
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Pte. Leonard Ousley Devon YeomanryWhen I was a small boy, my grandfather, Len Ousley, used to tell me stories of what he did in the Great War. I was very young and not old enough to go to school, but what he told me was so fascinating it has remained clear in my mind to this very day. For instance, I knew exactly what dysentery was, and exactly what it did to you before I was even five years old! My Nan used to tell him off about telling me such things. I loved his stories. He served in Palestine, and in France. What regiment or Battalion he was with I have no idea, but I would love to know more.
He went over the top a number of times. Once when bogged down and hiding in a shell hole full of water, he was close enough to the enemy trenches to hear them talking to each other. He returned under the cover of darkness to the British lines with a friend, but they were very frightened of being shot by their own comrades thinking they might be Germans. They did not know the password, and had to call out their names and rank many times before they let back in.
One night on guard duty he could see a German officer on Horseback in the distance moving about. He called the corporal, who called the sergeant, who called an officer, who then quietly woke up everyone in the trenches to prepare for an attack. They waited many hours until finally dawn came. The German officer on horseback simply turned into a small tree and bush swaying in the wind.
Food and Hygiene were not too good in the trenches. On night duty he would pee into the water he was stood in while keeping an eye on no mans land through a home made periscope. (He made one for me to look out from my bedroom window). One night he found a large unopened tin of Bully Beef in the mud. He said that he was so hungry he opened the tin, and ate the whole lot in one go. It was the most delicious meal he had ever had. Next morning he said he felt refreshed and as strong as an ox.
On the wall in back parlour of my Grandparents small terrace house was a black wooden picture frame with a glass front. Behind on a purple backcloth were pinned his medals. There were around half a dozen in all. Beautiful coloured ribbons. I was too young to know what they were all for, but I would love to know now. Whenever the national anthem was played on the radio he would snap sharply to attention, and make my brother and I do the same. When I was eleven my Granddad died, his medals and a broken flintlock pistol he said he captured from a Turk, lay in the bottom of an old wardrobe in our bedroom for years. I have no idea what happened to those treasures. He suffered from bad asthma all his life. He always said it was because he was gassed too many times while in the trenches.
Can anyone tell me more about Leonard Ousley?Peter Spoerer
Want to know more about Devon Yeomanry?There are:13861 pages and articles tagged Devon Yeomanry available in our LibraryThese include information on officers, regimental histories, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Great War.
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