Will Eagles dare?


Villagers who are fighting to save their ancient pub are to call on the US 101st Airborne Division to come to the rescue.

In their battle to preserve their local inn, residents of Yarcombe, on the A30 between Honiton and Chard, are to seek reinforcements from the ‘Screaming Angels’, as the legendary air assault warriors are known.

The Yarcombe Inn, known locally as ‘The Yarky’, dates back to the ninth century and, like the whole of the village, was once owned by Sir Francis Drake.

But the pub has been closed since August 2014 and the current owners, who live in Cornwall, attempted last year to obtain planning permission for the ancient building to be developed for housing.

The Yarky has now been formally nominated as an Asset of Community Value, which means villagers have six months to try to come up with the £385,000 for which the pub is on the market.

Although the parish council is seeking a grant from the Plunkett Foundation which helps rural communities and has also applied for funding from the Public Works Loan Board, now the village wants to bring in the heavy brigade – with an appeal to the elite America fighting force who came to England’s aid in World War II.

The 101st Airborne Division was based near Yarcombe during the preparations for D-Day and it was from the nearby airfield at RAF Upottery that Easy Company of the 506th Para- chute Regiment – the elite fighters featured in the hit TV series Band Of Brothers – flew out to make their first combat jump into Normandy on June 6 1944.

Deducing that men of the Screaming Eagles may well have drunk at the pub in the days leading up to D-Day, now organisers of the Save The Yarcombe Inn campaign are to contact the headquarters of the 101st at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to see if families of the heroes of D-Day will help with donations.

‘Our American friends helped us in a time of need before and now we’re hoping that they will help us again,’ said Mervyn Edgecombe, press officer for the pub campaign.

Besides the 101st, the village is to appeal for back-up from other US forces who were based near Yarcombe during the war; including the US 9th Air Force, the 439th Troop Carrier Group, the 42nd Field Artillery Battalion and the 479 Anti-Submarine Group.

‘We are going all out to galvanise the entire community of Yarcombe, the Blackdown Hills, Devon, South Somerset and now across the water to get behind us and and contribute to our fund-raising campaign – via yarcombe.net. It doesn’t matter if people can only manage one or two pounds, every penny, and every cent, counts,’ said campaign chairman Nick Randle.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.