Devons was born in Bangor, North Wales on 29 July 1913, the second of three boys and three girls. He died in London on 28 December 1967, being survived by his wife, the pianist Estelle Wine, two sons and a daughter. Devons's father was a Jewish rabbi and the family moved around the country, so that Devons was educated at Hanley High School, Portsmouth Grammar School and North Manchester Municipal High School. He attended Manchester University from 1931–4, graduating with first-class honours in economics, politics and modern history. He was awarded a Drummond Fraser Research Fellowship and used it to investigate British production statistics, which led to the award of an MA in economics in 1935 and his first publication (Devons 1935).
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.