A PENSIONER from Pontypool has shared the heart-wrenching story of her father’s Second World War experience, and how he had to put his two-day old son up for adoption.

After reading about other soldiers’ experiences during the war, 85-year-old Dorothy Taylor said that she was inspired to tell the story of her father, Stanley Powell.

“Reading about other soldiers’ experiences put his story in my mind.

“It’s his story. It’s what he had to go through to serve his country.”

Mrs Taylor said that the only time she saw her father during the war was when her younger brother Brian was born.

Due to complications with the pregnancy, Mr Powell came home to give blood to his wife, but she passed away a day later. Mr Powell had to give his newborn son up for adoption, as his mother-in-law, who was looking after his other three children, already had eight children of her own to look after.


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“He was called up for service in 1939,” said Mrs Taylor.

“He was training in Brecon.

“The only time I saw him was when my mum died. He was still up in Brecon but came back to give blood to my mum.

“I used to cry myself to sleep, wishing for them to send my dad home from the war.

“He signed the papers for Brian to be adopted and then he was off to India.”

Mrs Powell was taken in by her grandmother at six. While her father was away, Mrs Taylor’s brother Dennis died after being hit by a bus.

When her father returned from India, he was told the news of his son’s death.

“The first thing he did when he got back was rush up to my Gran’s to see us,” said Mrs Taylor.

“There was no real communication in those days. Gran couldn’t have told him that Dennis was dead.

“That was the first thing that he heard when he got back.”

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Stanley Powell’s medals from his military service. Picture: Dorothy Taylor.

Mr Powell then had to return to France for the war, where he was badly injured, leaving him partly disabled.

Mrs Taylor said: “He wasn’t the same when he got back, I think he had PTSD.

“It destroyed him and our family. After he got back, he was looking for Brian.

“He and Brian did meet, but they couldn’t bridge that gap and make a bond between them.

“Brian couldn’t talk to dad and dad couldn’t explain what happened to Brian.

“Dad carried that guilt all his life.

“He died in 1985, a broken man who tried to do his duty for his country.

“All I have left of him now are his four medals and his photo.”