Shortly before the British PoWs departed from Krasnoyarsk, it was decided that Lydia Yates, a British refugee with her husband William and son Ernest, was too heavily pregnant to travel with them in the 4th class carriages they were assigned.
Lydia had to give birth in one of the most disease-ridden cities in the world. There were 30,000 cases of epidemic typhus reported during February 1920 and the hospitals where these poor people went to die were crammed full of patients lying in their own vomit and excreta.
William Yates, who was born in Ekaterinburg to English parents, was trying to take his family back to England where they could live with his uncle, William Glover, a renowned explorer of the Siberian forests. Glover was now the Congregational Minister in Tiverton and lived at The Manse, having moved from Heaton in Newcastle.