Joe Williams – wartime evacuee to Fovant

I was evacuated to Fovant, in 1941, and spent the rest of the War there, not with the Hardimans, although I knew them, but with Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Alma Targett, Frank Targett was the local Butcher. What a lucky boy I was, the Targetts remain in my memory, their kindness to a scruffy urchin from Portsmouth, even now brings emotions flooding back. Nobody will ever know how much I owe to them, all that I was and became, is due to their kindness, I don’t know what else to say, except that I love them now, and will always have them in my mind.

I noticed that there was a piece about the American Soldiers that were in Fovant during the war. As a school boy, I can remember that there were a few American Soldiers under canvas in the lane opposite the road to Bob Coombes Farm, East Farm I believe. After school several of us boys would visit their small camp, not because we liked the Americans particularly, but they were generous with tins of peaches, chewing gum and other sweets, plus they allowed us to use the rifles, without ammunition, for games. They had a heavy machine gun on a tripod, they even let us fire it once, it was a wonder someone miles away, didn’t get killed.

I can remember Mr. Blake, the blind organist, as I was in the Choir and he was the choirmaster. Many is the time, one of us boys had to return the hymn books back to the church, in the dark, from what was then the Rectory. It was a very quick journey, if we could not get someone to accompany us. I understand that the Rectory is now in private hands.

Fovant is very dear to me, it always has been and will remain so, until I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Thank you for reading my ramblings – Joe Williams.

On 26/9/2015 Joe sent what he described as “ one last message ”. Here it is –

I thought about Fovant recently, and thought I would send one last message, to the Village, that moulded my life.
Two names figure above all others, Frank & Alma Target, long gone, but to me, a couple, who gave such love and kindness, to a bewildered small boy, in 1941,plus one other, not a person, but a place, it was Fovant, the Village, Fovant was the centre of my life, and to a certain degree, still is, lots of people in Fovant won’t know me, I’m in my mid eighties now, I won’t visit again, but I give, to the Village, my thanks, through you, I grew up, to what I became, thank you Fovant. – with love Joseph George Williams.

2012 & 2015

If you’d like to read more of Joe’s story, in his own words, please click here

Joe Williams story

Content last updated
30 September 2015