Extracts from "Haversham Estate And the Parish I Grew Up In" by David C. Brightman April 2000
Late in 1939 Mrs Pooley had a boy evacuee staying with them but he went back to Willesden in 1940. This evacuee program (due to the war) was managed by local Authorities and the Women’s Volunteer Service and in 4 days from 1st September 1939 1,334,360 children and some parents were removed from London to the country, their hosts were paid 10/6 a week for each child. The expected Air Raids did not come so two thirds of the children were back in London by Christmas 1939, later evacuees schemes went much the same way. My parents also had two evacuees, Ray and Valerie Groves from 6 Farmdale Road, Greenwich. We kept in touch with them for many years, and I visited them in 1954, when I was in H.M. Forces, both were well and remembered their first short visit to the countryside.
Now and again if we had pooled our few pennies we walked along to the village shop, built c.1869 and owned then by a Mrs. Burbidge, the building still has the Post Office box on the wall, but is now a private house. The shop had a smell, like all old shops, of sweets, carbolic soap, cheese and paraffin soaked bundles of fire starting wood, and Mansion polish. We used to buy a mixed bag of boiled sweets between us, but I can’t ever remember her asking for sweet ration coupons. Rationing of certain items, bacon, sugar and butter started in January 1940. In March 1940 meat was rationed and by July tea was 2oz per person a week. Soon after this cooking fats, sweets, cheese, jams, eggs (1 a week) then clothes were also controlled, fish was not but always in short supply. Milk became in short supply, due to farmers having to have smaller herds, and ploughing up fields for cereal crops, and worst of all, Cadburys stopped making [Dairy] Milk Chocolate. Mrs Kemp used to get us to buy Savings Stamps, I wonder what became of those. Rationing of many things went on until May 1949, sweets were rationed until February 1954 and it only finished officially for all items on 3rd June 1954! Towards the end of the war, we were told to take a large tin with a top on to school, this we did and a free tin full of Sweetened Drinking Chocolate was given to us, all the way from America. This was a very unknown and tasty stuff to us kids, and many a licked finger was dipped into that before some of it found its way home. There was also Sweetened Dried Milk, both were similar to what you get in the shops today.
On 27th Nov. 1936 volunteers were asked for to be Air Raid Wardens and again in March 1938 when my father, Sid Newman, Frank Wooley, Mr Hollyoakes and Peter Kemp volunteered. Mrs C. Kemp, Mrs Hilton and Mrs Cooke volunteered as Ambulance workers, Mr Albert Grace and Mr Horace Barber were Fire Brigade volunteers. Did they have inside information on the forthcoming 2nd World War to make these early arrangements so far in advance?
Wolverton Express January 12th 1940
Sunday School Party. Evacuee children and pupils of the Sunday School enjoyed an afternoon party at the School, during the Christmas holidays. Refreshments on a generous scale were provided by the Rev. S. Hilton, and Mrs. Hilton, who were assisted in the serving by ladies including Mrs. Kemp, Head Mistress of the Day School, Miss Casson, the evacuee teacher, and Mrs. Cave. A programme of games made happy entertainment and the contribution of Miss Casson, as Santa Claus, amply provided with gifts for all present, gave great satisfaction.
Red Cross Week. The village working party, responsible for the sending Christmas parcels to fifteen local men serving with H.M. Forces, is continuing weekly meetings, each Tuesday, at the Rectory. Their successful work has included also the making of woollen comforts in response to the Red Cross appeal and the organising of a house to house collection which shown excellent results. Children of the Day School have knitted squares for blankets and have also contributed from their savings for the purchase of books for men serving in the Navy. Seventeen volunteers of a popular sixpenny series have been sent to a naval receiving depot.
Food for the Fowls. Children who remain to dinner at the School are making careful collection of unwanted crusts and crumbs and giving them to an infant who appreciates the daily gift of food for his fowls.
Wolverton Express 14th June 1940
Mrs. Irene Lancaster, Wolverton Road, Haversham, was summoned for causing an unobstructed light to a building. Defendant did not appear, but sent a letter.
P.C. Stewart, New Bradwell, stated that at 10.25 p.m. on 23rd September, whilst in Wolverton Road, Haversham, he saw a light coming from a bathroom at defendant’s house, a distance of about tow hundred yards fro where the witness stood. The window had frosted glass and a white curtain, there being no black-out of any description. Defendant’s explanation was her young cousin switched the light on, but she was not responsible.
In a letter to the Court defendant said the light was due to an unfortunate incident. A young friend who was staying with her owing to her husband being away in the Forces, put the light on not knowing that the black-out had not been put up.
A fine of £2 was imposed.
Wolverton Express 14th June 1940
NEWPORT PAGNELL PETTY SESSIONS
HOUSE LIGHTING OFFENCE FROM HAVERSHAM
Charles William Herbert of Haversham appeared at Newport Pagnell Petty Sessions on Wednesday on summones of having an unobscured light after the blackout at his dwelling house, to which he pleaded guilty, and for using indecent language, which he denied.
Oscar Souster, a special constable said he saw a light showing from a downstairs window which was only covered with a thin curtain. The light went out when he knocked the door and the window was afterwards covered. He put in a specimen of the language alleged to have spoke to him regarding the offence.
When shown the specimen Herbert turned to his wife, who was in the well of the Court, and said “You come and have a look at this.”
Giving evidence, Mrs. Herbert denied that her husband used the language.
Im. Defendant was fined 10s. for using indecent language, and, in fining him £1 for the other offence. Sir Walter Carlile, Bt. (chairman) commented that it was a serious offence.
Seven days were allowed defendant in which to pay.
Wolverton Express 28th June 1940
BLETCHLEY COUNTY COURT
On Tuesday, before His Honour Judge Donald Hurst, and the Registrar (Mr. F. W. Bull).
“A MOONLIGHT FLIT”
Haversham Estates Ltd., 20 Bridge Street, Leighton Buzzard, claimed £13 arrears of rent, from A. Feldman (m), 18 Stamford Hill, London, N.16.
Mr. E. T. Ray (Messrs. Walton & Ray), Bletchley and Stony Stratford), for the plaintiffs said this was a case in which the plaintiff came from London a day or two before the war, and took these premises. He paid three months’ rent in advance, and signed an agreement for a yearly tenancy which could be determined on six months’ notice. As the anticipated bombing attacks did not materialized, just before Christmas the defendant decided to go and he did what is known as “a moonlight flit”, with the consequences that the plaintiff had difficulty in tracing him. The defendant was till the technical tenant, and held the keys.
Giles O. Randall, managing director of the plaintiff company, said the defendant paid him three months’ rent, which would carry him to the end of November: they were now suing for rent December to February. Defendant gave no notice of vacating the premises, and still had the keys. He left the house, which was in a deplorable condition. Defendant informed him that he was doing a business turnover of £50,000 a year in haberdashery, and appeared to live in a flourishing condition, keeping maids and a car.
Judgement was given for £13 and ecats, in two monthly instalment
Wolverton Express 1st November 1940
HAVERSHAM'S SPITFIRE FUND
The villages of Haversham have sent the sum of £8 towards the Spitfire Fund, by means of the following contributions; Sale of old iron, competition per Mrs. Smith, £5 3s. 4d.; lavender bags per Mrs. O. Savings; 2s. 2d.; lavender bags per Miss N. Skeets, 3s. 5d.; donations, £1 5. 11d.
Thanks are extended to the residents for their gifts of old iron; also Mrs. Corns and Mrs. Hilton who worked so hard for the effort and donors and other helpers to the excellent results.
Wolverton Express 13th December 1940
A collection was made recently in Haversham and Little Linford in order to equip the headquaters of the Haversham Platoon, Home Guard. A sum of nearly £8 was realised and the members of the platoon are grateful to all who contributed.
Extracts from "Haversham Estate And the Parish I Grew Up In" by David C. Brightman April 2000
||The little summerhouse on The Crescent was used during the war as H.Q. for the A.R.P., Frank Woolley, the Home Guard and the Special Constabulary, my father Joe Brightman and Bert Pooley and Mr (Sgt.) Tattam, who had a sweet shop in Wolverton opposite the Works main entrance, were Specials during and after the War. Their pay in 1940 was 5/- a week plus 3/- War Duty allowance. And of course a free uniform, which had to be handed back in at end of Police Service.
THE WAR EFFORT
We used to go out in school parties round the local fields picking wild rosehips, to make, would you believe it rosehip syrup, which we were told was full of vitamin C. What that did we didn’t know! I suppose if all country schools did this there must have been quite a lot collected, but who collects them today! We only ever seemed to have Cod Liver Oil for 50% of our illnesses and Milk of Magnesia for the other 50%, if you have never tried Cod Liver Oil, I suggest you do, it has a most wonderful lingering taste. For toothache we had something called Friars Balsam and for stings a pink concoction called Calamine Lotion smeared on the affected part, if it was stinging nettles, we used wet Dock leaf which worked every time and very rapidly. Oh yes, I nearly forgot, Syrup of Figs was another cure all concoction, and of course, Andrews Liver Salts but that at least had some fizz to it, and didn’t taste too bad in small amounts. During the War we had Concentrated Orange Juice, and sometimes homemade Liquorice water and Lemonade powder and later, Sherbet eaten with wet Liquorice Stick or finger, I remember my first banana in 1946 and mum had to show me how to peel it.
A regular daily job was to go collecting green food for the 20 or so tame rabbits dad kept at the top of the garden at 94, these were kept in various size hutches, mainly adapted from surplus ex-railway cupboards and dog-lockers. During the War years, the fur skins were collected by an official Government agent, who told us they were made into gloves, any surplus eggs were collected by the Leighton Buzzard Egg Co. in their distinctive brown vans. Black market and all that, but mum always pickled some in isinglass, whatever that was. Funny thing is, I can’t ever remember having fried egg sandwiches, only hard boiled or poached. These eggs had a most peculiar taste but were usually swapped at school for a jam sandwich, or at worst a bloater paste sandwich, or the other short lived phenomenon, snoek, do you remember it, that was the nearest thing to cat food you could eat!
TANKS, PLANES & AMMUNITION
Until a few years ago on the path, opposite the entrance to the river walk car park or picnic area, were tank tracks embedded in the path tarmac. These were most likely made when a convoy of mixed vehicles came down the road from Hanslope just after D-Day in June 1944. I can remember this because one tank went up the bank, where the street light is at the corner of the village, demolishing the gate that used to be there, and across Mr Randall’s crop in the field where the football pitch is situated, and out by the E.M.E.B. transformer building, and down Manor Drive onto Wolverton Road. Dad was most upset because most of his 50 or 60 hens went off lay.
I was told of an encampment on Fred Massey’s farm in the village where quite a bit of damage to the crops when they left for the Invasion in 1944. Mrs Massey’s parents were Mr and Mrs Mead, whose ancestors I am told by a relative, at one time worked the destroyed Meads Mill by the Viaduct.
I remember standing with mum and dad outside our house watching Dakota aircraft towing gliders, all with the distinctive black and white recognition stripes on the wings and fuselage. They seemed to be going over for ages; this must have been to do with the D-Day Invasion in June 1944 or the Arnhem Bridge fiasco, or about that time.
Some German bombers flew up to Coventry and the Midlands following the railway line, later we used to find along the railway embankment, aluminium foil strips about half an inch wide and a foot long, we called them ‘flitter’ these we were told later, were used to jam or confuse radar stations, but I thought the English were the only ones using this on raids over Germany, if so why did we find it at Haversham? I was very young then, but I distinctly remember finding this foil, or was it after the war, and making it into paper chains for Christmas tree decorations.
Just around the corner towards Hanslope, on the roadside grass verge, which was much wider then, were 7 or 8 low Nissen Huts, these only had brown canvas flaps at either end, and inside were hundreds of boxes of land mines and mortar shells, the fuse for which were in the end hut, (we found an open box), these were not under guard or, if they were, we kids never saw any guards.
We used to play in these huts, and use the boxes, which were about 18” x 9”, as building blocks and used to hide away from rival gangs inside, mainly kids from the village. Matches were not easily available in those days, and certainly not to children, thank God for that, I hate to think what might have become of Haversham and us kids. There were more of these ammunition dumps on the left just past Crossroads Farm, though I can’t remember them, but have been told by two local people they were there by the hedge in the field now used for turf cutting.
CARS IN WARTIME
During the War I can only remember seeing 2 cars in Haversham, but there were 13 others available for War duty if required. One car was Mrs Kemp’s and the other was Sammy and Kath Lott’s from The Crescent, they had a small taxi and garage business on the corner of the Stratford Road and Jersey Road in Wolverton, later to become Page’s garage. In about 1948 their car was an American Buick Saloon, a real big’un. The taxi fare from our house to the station was about two shillings. The Lotts moved to Lowestoft for some reason and eventually had a daughter. The other cars available for War service belonged to Messrs Souster, Webb, Crook, Canvin, Tustain, Randall, Saville, Duncombe, Harris, Wagstaff, Knapp and Applebey, Mr Joe Brightman had a motorbike!
There may have been more cars, but they were probably laid up during the war, and petrol was in short supply or still rationed and expensive at 1/11 or 20 new pence a gallon in 1945! Petrol rationing started 16th September 1939 and was coloured red for commercial vehicles so you dare not use it in your car, even if you were allowed to use your vehicle. Bert Bowler had an Austin 7 about 1951 dad used to sometimes go with Bert to the Galleon pub at Old Wolverton. Dad’s first car was a 1936 Standard 8, he bought that from Jack Battrick of Wolverton about 1959. Dad was really more a motorbike man. The Wolverton doctor also had a car during the war, I believe this was a Wolseley 16.
WARTIME PLANE CRASH
I have been told by two Haversham residents of a plane crash in the field at the bottom of the allotments. During the War Wolverton works had a plane spotters post permanently manned on top of the works canteen, opposite the old Royal Engineer pub. One Tuesday night sometime about 1940, an aircraft circled over Wolverton and Haversham a number of times with its landing lights on, it was either lost or in distress and looking for somewhere to land, or crash land as it turned out.
Remember, everything was blacked-out in those days, and probably nobody knew if it was one of ours or a Jerry looking for something to bomb, and the Viaducts, as we found out later were on the Luftwaffe’s list, as were the rest of the Works, which by this time was making various parts of military equipment, and would have been a legitimate target, but the Works luckily remained unscathed as far as I know. The aircraft eventually came in from the North West and crashed about 200 yards from the sewage ditch and on the line of the present wire fence running down to the river.
The area was immediately sealed off by the local military and police personnel, the aircraft was later identified as an Airspeed Oxford a twin engine plane used for training purposes. The fuselage, wings and tail plane were swiftly removed, but the engines were buried 8 to 10 feet in the soft soil, whether these were ever removed I don’t know, but for many, many years afterwards, this was the only place in that field where stinging nettles grew.
One of the first civilians, Mr Stan Butler who lives in Haversham, allowed onto the crash site, found a leather satchel which contained the names of three men from Coventry, this was handed over to the authorities, he also found a small major part of a body, which was left for someone else to pick up. My father, at the time a Special Constable had the job of guarding the wreckage until the military took over the unenviable task of removing the bodies and wreckage.
What mission this aircraft was on we will probably never know, but one day I might approach the Air Ministry with a view to finding out a bit more about the crew, and if the engines were ever recovered, if you remember, in Feb 1987 two Allison aircraft engines were uncovered on Bradwell Common, behind and to the left of the Abbey National office complex, opposite the new Hockey Stadium these belonged to a P38 Lighting, according to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, one of these engines is now on loan to Bletchley Park Museum.
|Milton Keynes Aviation Society December 2007
RAF CRASH IN A MEADOW
Stan Butler interview
"On a Tuesday evening sometime in 1940, the weather wasn't very good, and this occurred while the blackout was still in place. During the early hours of the morning, an aircraft came very low over Wolverton, along Church Street and he may have mistaken the street for a landing strip. He flew down the street with his landing lights full on, with the engines making a terrible noise.
Dad took the blackout curtains down and we saw the street lit up with light. The aircraft made 2 or 3 circles over the houses and then disappeared. We were not sure if the aircraft was British of one of Hitlers boys. Next day we heard that the plane had crashed at Haversham. This news came as hearsay, as phones etc were then not very prevalent in those days.
A colleague Nobby Munday and myself cycled down to the meadow after school. We were both very interested in tanks and guns and to see so many aircraft in the skies everyday - these were very exciting times for young lads like us. A Warrant Officer stopped us going into the field. Well we were persistant little so and so's and eventually he let us in. The tail-plane, fuselage and wings had already been taken away, as well as the three bodies.
We searched the field and by jove they had made a very good job of clearing the wreckage. During the search I found a little brown satchel about 7 or 8 inches square and inside were the names of 3 airmen, all from Coventry and we handed this to the Warrent Officer. Also while searching the field I saw an object and dived on it immediately more to lay claim to having found it than anything else - and this turned out to be somebody's lung or other internal organ. I dropped it like a hot cake and didn't tell the Warrant Officer for obvious reasons.
The two engines were well embedded in the field, possibly 7 or 8 feet in the ground and we could see the metalwork of the engines around the two big holes in the ground and the stench of aviation fuel was very strong. After this we came away as we had seen as much as we could see. I'm not sure if they just filled in the holes and the engines or parts of them are still left in the ground.
At dawn the B-17's from the local airfields would form a group overhead Wolverton before heading out north-east to east, before we were heading off to school. Sometimes groups of 20 aircraft, which we suspect these came from Harrold near Odell and they would come back late afternoon from Stony Stratford with great big holes in the wings, with 1 prop or even 2 props feathered and only flying at about 200 to 300 feet as they made their way back to base.
Over the years I forgot about this, though when I moved to Haversham, I could see the meadow from my back bedroom window and I often wondered about the three young lads who had lost their life in the crash. I also made enquiries of some local archaeological groups about the possibility of looking for and even digging up the engines, if they were still there, but this just fell on deaf ears.
Then a few weeks a go, an article appeared in our local freebie, the MK Citizen, which carried an article about the Fen Mosquito Memorial and this prompted my son Colin to try and get in touch with the Milton Keynes Aviation Society to see if they could help find out some more information about the crash that had killed 3 young men so many years ago in Wolverton.
I suspect that it was an Airspeed Oxford that crashed whereas people in Haversham had said that it was an Avro Anson.
My mother worked on Typhoon wings at Wolverton Carriage Works, where during the war they converted part of the workshop into a shell plant and they also made glider wings for the Horsa, pontoon boats and ambulance trains that went over to France. One day during the war a German Dornier came overhead and I could clearly see the German markings as it flew over. The son of a friend of my fathers went into Germany and came back with some German reconnaissance photographs of Wolverton, due to the presence of the carriage works and also the Stephenson Viaduct from the 1800's, which carried the west coast main line, another target for German aircraft. Wolverton Works had a 120 foot chimney and the reconnaissance photo taken during the daylight, showed the shadow of the chimney going across the adjacent meadow".
Editors footnote - I had a very pleasant time talking with Stan, after his son Colin had been in touch, and writing up his memories of the crash event above. Now we turn to our members to see if anyone can help trace the identity of the aircraft and possibly the three airmen who lost their lives in this crash. Colin MacKenzie our resident expert on crashes in Bucks, Northants and Beds may be able to assist, or even Martin Baggott and the team at BARG (Buckinghamshire Aircraft Recovery Group), or indeed anyone else who might be able to piece together some of the missing details of this crash in our area.
Milton Keynes Aviation Society January 2008
My thanks to Stan Butler for sharing his recollection of a wartime crash and the aerial activity over and around Wolverton and Haversham (MKAS newsletter December 2007). These must have been exciting times for a young lad and are well remembered after 65 years!.
I believe that the crash he recalls is that of Airspeed Oxford (Mk.I) N4572 as so many of the details he gives are consistent with official records. This aircraft belonged to 14 FTS (Flying Training School) based at nearby RAF Cranfield and the ORB (operations record book) has the following entry for Monday 17th March 1941 ... Oxford N4572 crashed at Haversham, near Wolverton, during night flying. Both the instructor and the pupil 905218 Sgt RH M Crook and 927860 LAC Lygo G W were killed. LAC Lygo was a pupil of 15 Course. Sgt Crook was a pupil of 12 Course, which passed out from this unit on November 11th 1940, and was posted back to 14 FTS after being trained as an instructor at Central Flying School. The accident investigation summary card, held in the records of the RAF Museum at Hendon, adds the following abbreviated information ... Damage: Cat W (fire). Casualties: 2K. Place: near Haversham, north of Wolverton Railway Station. Pilot: Sgt R H M CROOK 905218 Wings 11/40 (4 months) 170 hrs solo on type/33 others. Dual Flying Time: 22.20 hrs Dark night. Details: Overshot and went round again - later into right hand turn, followed by left hand and dive, pulled out and climbed, dived again into ground. Invest. : Failed to maintain equilibrium - reason not known.
It is remarkable that the instructor pilot was so relatively inexperienced in night flying (22 hrs including his own training time presumably) and also that he was a former pupil of the same flying training unit. He must have displayed exceptional skills to have progressed to this level of responsibility so quickly after gaining his wings, and it is sad that things went so terribly wrong. 25 year old Roy Henry Mark Crook was buried at St Lawrence & All Saints Churchyard, Eastwood, Essex. His pupil, Gregory William Lygo, RAFVR, aged 19, lies in St Helen Churchyard, Gumley, Leicestershire. They were the only casualties so I can only speculate that the three airmen who's names Stan found in the satchel were those of friends, acquaintances or other pupils.
In looking through my records for this area I note some other local incidents and casualties during the Second World War years that may be of interest to local residents or fellow historians. These are the brief details I have, in chronological order:
Tuesday 13th February 1940. Fairy Battle K7624 (Mk I) of 1 SFTS based at Netheravon in Wiltshire, forced landed near Wolverton due to engine failure. The pilot, A/Sub/Lt Devonald, was uninjured and the aircraft subsequently repaired to fly again.
Monday 15th April 1940. 25 year old pilot Sgt Ernest Clarke of Wolverton was lost on this day, together with his crew, when Hampden Mk.I L4152 of 83 Sqn. (coded OL-S) went missing on a mine laying mission to the 'Little Belt' area of the English Channel. RAF Bomber Command Losses, Vol.1 1939-1940 by W R Chorley has the following additional details. T/o 19.45 hrs Scampton. Last heard on w/t at 04.00 hrs sending distress calls and trying to home on Mansion airfield, Kent, following operations over the Western Baltic. Presumed down in the sea. F/O K R H Sylvester (k), Sgt E R Clarke (k), LACJH Edwards (k), Sgt G C Perry (k).
Monday 29th December 1941. AC2 Albert L Moseley of 819 Sqn RNAS (Fairey Swordfish) based at Lee-on-Solent, died on this day. He was the husband of Edith Nellie Moseley, of New Bradwell and he lies in Wolverton (New Bradwell) Cemetery. Cause of death not known at present.
Friday 17th July 1942. Wellington T2569 (Mk 1C) of 12 OTU, based at Chipping Warden, Oxfordshire, crash landed at Hill Farm near Haversham at 12.50 hrs. while on a cross country training flight. The aircraft had been unable to maintain height following loss of power in the port engine due to an oil leak. Two of the crew were treated at RAF Cranfield's sick quarters for the after effects of inhaling stanic-chloride gas from a smoke bomb that went off, but were otherwise OK. The aircraft was salvaged and repaired but later lost in a crash on take off from Moreton-in-the-Marsh on 3rd June 1943.
Sunday 19th July 1942. 20 year old Sgt (Air Gnr) Maurice Cooke, son of Frederick John and Marguerite E Cooke, of New Bradwell, lies in Wolverton (New Bradwell) Cemetery. The circumstances of his loss are contained in RAF Bomber Command Losses, Vol.7 : Operational Training Units 1940-1947 by WR Chorley ... 19 Jul.1942. 27 OTU. Wellington (Mk.IC) DV800. Training. T/o Lichfield for a night navigation sortie. Crashed 03.08 hrs into houses near the fish dock at Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire. Crew. Sgt K H C Steinbach RAAF (k); Sgt E D R Jennings RAAF (k); Sgt W H Condon RAAF (k); Sgt K J Bradley RAAF (k); Sgt G E Warburton RAAF (k); Sgt M Cooke. The five Australians were laid to rest locally in Pembroke Dock Military Cemetery, while Sgt Cooke was taken back to Buckinghamshire. Police eyewitnesses say the Wellington was firing off red Verey cartridges and appeared to be flying on one engine.
Saturday 7th August 1943. Sergeant (W/Op) George Vincent Sigwart, son of Emil and Sophie Sigwart, of Wolverton; husband of Joyce Eileen Sigwart, of Wolverton, was killed when Oxford LX304 RAF Church Lawford collided with Whitley BD221 of RAF Abingdon over a landmark beacon near Cranfield at night. The Oxford crashed near Stagsden, Beds and its crew of three all died (Instructor Pilot D L GATES, Pupil Pilot F/Lt W J SMITH and Wireless Operator Sgt SIGWORT). Whitley BD221 landed safely at Cranfield and the crew were returned to Abingdon by air ferry. Sgt Sigwart is buried in Wolverton Cemetery.
Also on this day (Saturday 7th August 1943) 19 year old Sergeant Stanley Knight, the son of the Revd. Stuart Knight and Vera Knight, of Wolverton, was killed on a bombing mission to Messina on the island of Sicily in southern Italy. His unit, 150 Squadron, were based at Kairouan in Tunisia, North Africa, and lost two Wellington aircraft on the raid (HF466 and HF535). I do not known which aircraft Sgt Knight was on but all ten casualties are commemorated on the Malta Air Forces Memorial.
Wednesday 22nd March 1944. 124519 Flg Off (Nav) John Henry Wyborn (28) was killed when Lancaster (Mk.I) JA964 (coded MG-P) of 7 Sqn was lost on operations to Frankfurt. His wife lived at Wolverton. The aircraft took off from Oakington at 18.58 hrs. Four of the crew were killed and three became prisoners of war. Those that died lie in Rheinberg War Cemetery.
Monday 18th September 1944. 21 year old Sgt (Nav.) Allan Thomas Rogers of New Bradwell was killed when Lancaster I NG126 of 57 Sqn (coded DX-L) crashed at 22.06 hrs at Schiffdorf on the eastern outskirts of Bremerhaven. It had taken off at 1827hrs from East Kirkby. One crew member managed to bale out and became a pow. Four of the six crew killed, including Sgt Rogers, lie in Becklingen War Cemetery, Soltau, and two are commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
Colin Mackenzie. Web site for local aviation research information and guidance: www.mackz.net
Extracts by - Peter North
Harry Lane and Arthur Saunders were two men who had served in the first world war and were too old for this one, they were well known poachers, if anyone wanted a rabbit they would supply it, meat was rationed and they could easily sell everyone they could catch, early one morning when they were ferreting at the top end of the old lane, they found hidden in the bottom of the hedge a parachute and a spade, this caused a problem knowing they should not be there, should they report it or ignore it, they decided they had better report it, they went to Mr Souster at Hill Farm whose land they were on and told him what they had found, he telephoned the police and within about an hour soldiers were everywhere, searching every spinney and wood every farm building. It was a very cold and wet day they were wet through and their boots and trousers covered in mud, those searching the buildings were glad to get in the dry for a short time, this went on for two or three days they found nothing.
A few days before the parachute was found two men of the Home Guard were on patrol just after midnight they saw a man come down the lane cross the road and go towards the mill, they challenged him to stop but he kept going, they came back to the village and told Tom Savings who was their sergeant, he said I Suppose it was someone poaching and left it at that, It was thought afterwards he could have been the man who came down in the parachute.
When we asked after the war if anyone was ever caught we were told a German had shot himself in an air raid shelter in Oxford they thought he was the man.
W.W.I - 1914
Ted North centre of the picture in trilby hat with hand on one of his horses
In 1914 Army Officers visited all the farms and commandeered all the best horses, the ones they chose had to be taken to the Market Square in Stony Stratford to be collected by the army. The photograph shows Mr Edward North of Haversham in the centre of the picture in trilby hat with his hand on one of his horses, after the army had taken all the best horses they had to be replaced. Only the old and broken down horses were left, these were sold for more money than the army had paid for all the best horses.