MARK Muller takes a second peek inside the diaries of Evelyn Brass.

At the end of last week’s piece, we heard how Evelyn’s husband John made it to Greece after being ‘hounded out of Romania by the Nazis’.

At that time, Greece was experiencing a catastrophic invasion by the Germans and Italians, which resulted in another crisis evacuation of fifty thousand British and Commonwealth troops in April 1941, similar to Dunkirk.

At the last minute the staff of the ‘Greek Legation’ commandeered a yacht named Calanthe, and with Commander Brass in command headed for Crete.

Also on board, Evelyn tells us, was Peter Fleming, adventurer, writer and brother of Ian Fleming.

Not far out, they were caught by two German Messerschmitts which attacked, strafed and blew up the yacht killing nine of those on board. Wounded and badly shell shocked, Commander Brass was rescued and initially taken to Crete.

When that island fell too, he was evacuated from there to Egypt and eventually shipped back to the UK.

“He came home a wreck,” says Evelyn, “and it was touch and go whether he would be able to hold down even a shore job.”

At this point, with a husband on the point of being invalided out of the services and two young children, Evelyn tells us that she decided to enlist into the ATS (Auxiliary Training Service for women).

This was partly to ensure an income for the family (women were paid two thirds of male salaries - considered by many (men) at the time to be scandalous... but not for the same reason as we might consider it scandalous today) and partly because she describes herself as having been, “useless ‘til then”.

With the children having been sent to a nursery school in Brighton “to be near their grandmother”, Evelyn immersed herself in taking courses and training, and within five months was an officer and part of the War Office.

Commander Brass had meanwhile recovered sufficiently to have been given a post as Training Commander at Malvern before being posted to the Admiralty as an assistant to the Director of Naval Personnel.

Evelyn was selected for a staff appointment and, “after many stringent courses had to rub brows with men and women of brain”.

And then came the end of the war.

It is at this point that Commander Brass resumed his pre war position as a Fisheries Inspector, was posted to west Wales and the couple and their family came to Haroldston House in 1948.

“We have found an old house by an estuary in Haverfordwest,” writes Evelyn, and accompanies the statement with photographs of views from the house captioned with the almost incredulous comment, “we see this from our windows”.

There followed what seems to have been a happy series of years in Pembrokeshire where Evelyn and her husband were accepted into the social scene.

There is a photograph of her dancing at a fancy dress ball with Viscount St Davids in 1950.

She tells us in the diary that she learned to fly and began trying her hand at becoming an author.

Evelyn doesn’t hesitate to reveal that her early work was rejected forthwith and even pastes rejection slips into the diary which she says seemed to come, “ad infinitum”.

One from the BBC states, ‘The British Broadcasting Company regrets that it is unable to make use of this work...’ but in May 1951, Evelyn also proudly displays an acceptance slip from the BBC for a work of hers entitled Quite The Lady, which was broadcast on Morning Story in August of that year.

Early in the diary, Evelyn states that at the age of five, Anne, her daughter had been described by a friend as destined to become either a church worker, or a Duchess.

Anne Brass went to a finishing school in Belgium called the English Convent, in Bruges and in 1954 fulfilled her destiny by marrying Baron Holmpatrick, (a title that is part of the Irish peerage), a descendant of the Duke of Wellington.

Jacqui Lloyd Philipps, formerly of Llangwarren, currently resident in Bristol, was able to tell me that her first kiss aged about four, was with the son, named Hans, of Anne and the Baron.

Anne died in 1999.

And Evelyn? The diary suddenly ends at about the time that she and her husband John left Haroldston. Perhaps she continued in another volume. Evelyn died in 1991, and Commander Brass in April 1976.

I am grateful to Theo Whalley (and to Evelyn Brass/Roche) for loaning me the amazing document.

A friend of Theo’s, Tina Webb, has traced the descendants of Evelyn and Anne, and Theo has offered to send them the diary.