Mrs Yvonne Walker
Mrs Yvonne Walker (nee Raven) 1922 - 2018
Guild Member (In College 1933 – 1938, Day Girls South)
Yvonne was born in the summer of 1922; four years after the ‘war to end all wars’ and legislation giving votes to women (albeit women over 30 with an interest in property), four years before the General Strike and seven before the Wall Street Crash. Her family settled in Cheltenham, Yvonne gaining a place at Cheltenham Ladies’ College where she flourished.
The close of Yvonne’s schooldays coincided with the outbreak of yet another war; the 18-year-old exchanging the familiarity, safety and security of her teenage years for lack of certainty and the unknown of enlistment in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (the WAAF) and impending international conflict. Her initial posting was as a Section Officer to the Cabinet War Room, deep beneath the streets of Whitehall. It was during this time that the young woman found herself a victim of the blitz, when a building in which she was attending a meeting took a direct hit and she had to be pulled out of the rubble.
From London, Yvonne moved on to Bletchley Park before being posted to the Lincolnshire air stations of Bomber Command. The conclusion to her war in this country was acted out at the Gloucestershire, Down Ampney, base of Transport Command from where Dakota aircraft towed the gliders packed with troops to be released over Arnhem, Holland, as part of ‘Operation Market Garden’; a strategic disaster from which barely a few hundred returned from the thousands that went.
Yvonne completed her WAAF service in the Middle East; in Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and the newly-formed state of Israel. Demobilisation saw her return to London where she set up a secretarial agency. Subsequently she began the early stages of a medical and physiotherapy training before marrying her husband Cedric, a Royal Marine commando officer who had survived the war, despite being seriously wounded along the way.
Eventually the family settled in Cornwall where Yvonne and Cedric began their own property business. The ethic of service to others informed both their work and their charitable activities, which for Yvonne was the Penryn Inner Wheel where she was elected to both Overseas’ Secretary and President. After losing her husband, Cedric, and as a means of coming to terms with the loss of her lifetime partner, Yvonne travelled to Australia visiting family and friends as well as America with the aim of working through these difficult feelings. Eventually this enabled her to return to Cornwall to rebuild her life with a determination to enjoy an actively social retirement.
Yvonne was a valued member of the CLC community as a pupil and through her links with Guild and the Bellis Society. She continued to take an active interest in College in her later years facilitated with the able assistance of her three sons: their visits to College will be remembered with great fondness.
Biographical notes supplied by her son, Peter Walker. June 2021.