George Frederick Ievers of Avonmore (1882-1944)2018-11-13T01:56:43+00:00

George Frederick Ievers of Avonmore (1882-1944)

George Frederick Ievers was the eldest son of George Maurice Ievers of Ballinagarde by his wife Phoebe Elizabeth, daughter of the Very Rev. James Hastings Allen, Dean of Killaloe. He was born on 19th August 1882. His paternal grandfather Eyre Ievers of Mount Ievers passed away many years before his birth, but Eyre’s widow Mildred – George’s grandmother – lived until 12 December 1903, when he was 21 years old.

Like his father, George married a clergyman’s daughter. His bride, whom he married on 11th December 1907, was Ada Augusta Matthews, fourth daughter of the Rev. Thomas Robert Matthews, MA, who had become Rector of Moviddy, Co. Cork, in 1886. Ada’s mother was Louisa, youngest daughter of Abraham Devonsher, JP, of Rathcormac, Co. Cork.[i]

George Ievers was reputedly the owner of a 250-300 acre dairy farm in Patrick’s Well, Co. Limerick, called Richmond Park Villa, where they kept approximately 50 cows. During the Great War, the farm prospered as cattle prices rose. However, things went downhill when George suspected one of his employees of theft and sought to dismiss him. The employee denied the charge and was supported by the rest of the farm workers and herdsmen who ultimately boycotted the boss. George Ievers responded in dramatic fashion by selling the farm and moving to Avonmore, Co. Wicklow, shortly after the birth of his daughter Phoebe in 1920.

Meanwhile, Mount Ievers passed from his uncle James Butler Ievers to his first cousin, James’s eldest son, Major Eyre Herbert Ievers. In time it passed to the Major’s son Colonel Eyre Herbert Ievers.

George and Ada had four sons and a daughter, about whom more below. George died at Avonmore on 15th September 1944.[ii] He was buried in Derralossary, alongside his son George. Erskine Childers, 4th President of Ireland, is buried in the same graveyard.[iii]

His widow Ada Ievers died on 13th May 1963.

FLIGHT OFFICER GEORGE IEVERS (1908-1932)

George and Ada’s eldest son George Maurice Ievers was born on 8th September 1908 and educated at Campbell College, Belfast, and the Royal Military College in Sandhurst. He was a Flight Officer stationed at the RAF camp at Worthy Down, Winchester, when tragedy struck. On 25th February 1932, the 24-year-old was killed when he crashed his car – reputedly on Bagshot bypass – while returning from a late night meeting with his fiancée.[iv]

MAJOR FREDDIE IEVERS (1910-1943)

George and Ada’s second son Major Frederick Robert Ievers, known as Freddie, was born on 1st May 1910 and was about seven years old when the family relocated to Avonmore. In September 1921, he entered Campbell College in Belfast where he excelled at cricket (captaining the school team in 1928), as well as rugby and boxing.[v] In 1928, he went to the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, becoming a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery two years later. On 12th December 1935, he married Maureen Devonsher Burt, only daughter of Alan Burt by his wife, Lilian Mabel Matthews.[vi] He was subsequently promoted to Major and attached to the Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery which, come the Second World War, had the thankless task of defending Britain’s Far East outposts from the Japanese onslaught.

Freddie was taken prisoner by the Japanese and would appear to have been part of a labour force based in Siam assigned to build the infamous Burma-Siam railway line. Work began in October 1942 and the 424km line was completed by December 1943. On 17th October 1943, the two sections of the line met about 18 km south of the Three Pagodas Pass at Konkuita in Kanchanaburi Province. Most of the surviving POWs were then transported to Japan. Unfortunately Freddie was dead by this time, succumbing on 17th September, a month before the lines met. It is not known how he died or where he was initially buried but the graves of those who died during the construction and maintenance (except for the Americans, whose remains were repatriated) were subsequently transferred from camp burial grounds and isolated sites along the railway into three cemeteries at Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar and Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand. Freddie was buried in the latter.

His widow was married secondly on 11th June 1949 to Ross Woodley, only son of the late Allen Woodley of Bristol, and they were living at St. Paul’s Bay, Malta, at time of Burke’s 1976. Their son Christopher Woodley was born in 1950 and married in 1971.

Freddie and Maureen’s daughter Penelope Jane Maureen, known as Penny, was born on 14th April 1939, the day Roosevelt asked Hitler and Mussolini to stop the violence and join him for a conference. She was married in London in October 1966 to Jeffrey Charles Kerr, eldest son of Findlay Duncan Kerr of Glasgow. They were living in Athens at the time of Burke’s 1976.

Freddie and Maureen’s son Colonel Patrick (Robert) Ievers, RE, of Barwick, Somerset, was born on the Glorious Twelfth of July 1940 and educated at Wellington, Sandhurst and Trinity College Cambridge, attaining a BA in 1963. In April 1970, he married Sandra Gunning, only daughter of Maurice Alan Bond, OBE, (1916-83), archivist and late Clerk of the Records of the House of Lords. She was the adopted daughter of Lt. Co. John Trehane Hamilton Gunning of Torcrest, Milborne Port, nr Sherborne, Dorset. The Gunnings also owned a farm in the Limura area of the Kiambu district in Kenya.

Patrick and Sandra have two sons and a daughter. Their eldest son Eyre Frederick Maurice Ievers (born 12 March 1974) married Catherine Murphy in January 2009 and has Sydney Grace Beatrice Cecilia Ievers (born Dec 2009) and Murray Eyre John Patrick Ievers (born 2011). Their younger son Caspian Patrick Bond Ievers (born 27 Sept 1975) married Ronja Boness in 2010, with whom he had Otto May Bond Ievers in 2011. Their daughter Ferelith Veronica Marie was married in 2009 to Count Nicholas David Moltke, son of Count and Countess Casper Moltke, of Copenhagen, Denmark. Their daughter Kinvara Lisetta Mimi Moltke was born in 2011.

NORMAN IEVERS

George and Ada’s third son Norman Lancelot Ievers ultimately succeeded to Mount Ievers and to him we shall return.

SYDNEY IEVERS

George and Ada’s fourth and youngest son Sydney Eyre Ievers was born on 12th February 1915 and, after Campbell, he pursued an academic career at Trinity College Dublin (BA), Bonn University and NW University, USA.[vii] He was a lecturer at Cornell University in the USA from 1942 to 1943, during which time he married Dorothy Adele Mae, only daughter of Henry Schirm of 128 71st Street, Guttenburg, New Jersey. From 1948, he was a lecturer at Reading University and lived in Earley, Berkshire.

His son John Ievers was born in 1950 and educated at Shiplake College, Henley Grammar School and Sussex University. In 1970, John married Pamela Mary, 2nd daughter of Hugh Oliver Neil of Junto Colegio, Cabo las Huertas, Playa San Juan, Alicante, Spain. John and Pamela were living at 46 Balfour Road, Brighton, at time of Burke’s 1976. John’s younger sister Mary Ievers was married in 1973 to John Nicholson, only son of Professor Roger Nicholson of Camden House, Sissinghurst.

PHOEBE SOTHERN (1920-2006)

George and Ada’s only daughter Phoebe Diana Ievers was born on 26th May 1920 and served in the Second World War with the Auxiliary Territorial Service. On 25th November 1958, she was married aged 38 to George Albert (Bertie) Sothern, second son of William Sothern, JP, of Kylelawn, Errill (Ballybrophy), Co. Laoise. The marriage took place at Monkstown Parish Church and was conducted by the Rev. M. B. A. Byrn, formerly Rector of Enniskerry. Phoebe’s father had passed away over a decade earlier but her mother was still living at Avonmore at this time.[viii] Phoebe died on 8th August 2006. Her daughter Liz (aka Ada Elizabeth Phoebe Sothern) was born on 3rd June 1960 and married Louis Hemmings in 1985 and have two sons, Lawrence (born in 1989) and Luke (born in 1994). The Hemmings have been living at Avonbeg since 2000.