Last night, at a party to celebrate the wedding of Will and Kate, I heard for the first time the story that Anthony Farrar-Hockley, the charismatic general and hero of the battle of the Imjin River which took place sixty years ago this month, had lived for a while in Lympstone and had joined the sea scout troop here. The Lympstone scouts were a plucky bunch who went summer camping from aboard their whaler and the story I heard was how the fourteen year old Anthony Farrar-Hockley turned up for one of these expeditions carrying his golf clubs and his typewriter and needed to be persuaded that these were inappropriate items to stow aboard.
He was going to Exeter School and when he was fifteen, at the outbreak of war, he ran away and lied about his age to sign up as a Gloster. His trespass was discovered and he was returned to (I suppose) Lympstone, Exeter School and the scouts. In 1942 he enlisted again.
I met General Farrar-Hockley in the Army of the Rhine and, in so far as a junior officer can converse with a general, had conversation with him. I dined at the same table. I wish I had known then of his Lympstone scouting and his boyhood connection to the Estuary.
It's a thought worth recording, however, that TFH cut some at least of his teeth arms teeth on the waters of the Exe.