Story 70

A wartime friend

Morley ‘Taffy’ Williams had been a prisoner of war from the Battle at Arnhem. This left a lasting impression on him. Back in Wales, after the war, Morley got interested in a kibbutz-like residence that Leonard Cheshire had set up at Le Court in England.

Morley Williams sketching in a notepad, wearing his wartime medals

The ‘Vade in Pacem’ group (‘Go in peace’) offered demobilised soldiers and their families support in their transition to a civil existence. The community wanted to be as self-supporting as possible.

Attracted by the comradery and idealism, Morley joined the community. At first he enjoyed his life there, but then financial problems developed. ‘Chesh’ was away due to an illness. During his absence, Morley left the community because of an argument over borrowing money.

Exterior of Le Court

In 1948, he happened to pass Le Court again. The large buildings now seemed abandoned, so he decided to take a look. He hesitatingly pushed open the monumental front door and walked into the silent hall and corridor. Then a door opened and to his surprise there stood Chesh himself, who greeted Morley by asking where on earth he had been all that time.

Chesh told him that Arthur Dykes, one of the older members of the former community, was incurably ill and had asked him for help. Chesh had decided to take Arthur to Le Court to look after him. Arthur had been asking repeatedly for Morley and now he had suddenly stepped in as if guided by providence. Morley decided to help with the nursing.

Chesh’s return to Le Court turned out to be the beginning of Cheshire homes and Leonard Cheshire Disability. He offered Morley a job in the project, but Morley did not consider a future in nursing and shortly after the death of their friend Arthur, he left again. However, he kept in touch with Chesh.

Then Morley found a job as cartographic surveyor at Ordnance Survey. It enabled him to be out in the open a lot. He lived in Ruthin, North Wales. There he had an Alsatian dog named Cara who would do the weeding for him by scratching up the weeds with her claws. He also kept bees and would bring jars of home-made honey to his friends and their families. Once he gave a cutting from a broom tree in his garden which grew into a beautiful tree covered in yellow flowers.

With imagination one could think that here he lived his own personal version of the Cheshire community. He passed away peacefully in 2005, unmarried and without children. But he is remembered in the book No Return Flight, and by many friends.

There stood Chesh himself, who greeted Morley by asking where on earth he had been all that time.