Aldbourne Remembers: Armistice 100

Our village is moving towards a weekend of commemoration and the culmination of months, in some cases years, of hard work by individuals and groups alike.  Stunning displays of poppies have appeared on St Michael’s Church and the Green (thanks to Lorraine Kimber for the photos below).  There will be a concert with Aldbourne Band and the Community Choir on Friday evening 9 November; exhibitions on both days but sadly, due to poor ticket sales, the celebratory dance on Saturday 10 November has been cancelled.

Click on the posters above for a nice clear view of all the information you need!

The United Remembrance Service will take place at the Memorial Hall from 10.45am on Sunday morning, 11 November.  See  St Michael’s Church bells will ring prior to the service and again at 12.30pm, for the national event Ringing Remembers. There’s one amendment to the poster above: the bells won’t be ringing again on Sunday evening at 7.05pm – if that changes, I’ll update this post.

I’m contributing to the exhibition in the Memorial Hall on Saturday 10 November and Sunday 11 November, joining Phil Comley with his collection of WW1 artefacts, photographs and stories from Aldbourne.  Phil will also be giving illustrated talks during the weekend.  I’ll be bringing along photos from the opening of the Memorial Hall in 1922 and the 90th Anniversary in 2012.  I’m also hoping to bring along some of the information I’ve gathered by using social media  – the Aldbourne Archive on Facebook has produced some surprises over the past few years.  I’ve also had some chance encounters with visitors to the village looking up their relatives; it’s amazing who you bump into whilst walking a dog!

Phil’s talks will be at 11am & 3pm on Saturday 10 November and 3pm on Sunday 11 November.  Afternoon refreshments will be served in the Memorial Hall, including Trench Cake and Anzac Biscuits. (Personally, I’m very much looking forward to sitting down with a cuppa and biscuit – huge heart-felt thank you in advance to the refreshment team!).

The Aldbourne Community Heritage Group have an exhibition in the Methodist Church Hall  with static displays and unveiling their new interactive digital displays which will showcase: The Aldbourne Roll of Honour, Aldbourne in the First World War and After, Stories of Aldbourne Men and their Families.

Exhibitions at both venues:  10am – 4pm Saturday 10 November & 2pm – 5pm Sunday 11 November. Admission free.

Aldbourne Memorial Hall Committee have received support from donations from within our community, Aldbourne Parish Council and a grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.  This grant under the Armistice and Armed Forces Communities programme has provided There But Not There silhouettes that will feature as an installation in the Memorial Hall over the weekend.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly. For more information on the Armed Forces Covenant please visit

Wally Palmer – memories shared

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I am feeling overwhelmed this morning, having borrowed Wally Palmer’s file of notes on village history from the Memorial Hall. Whenever any of us had questions, the cry of ‘ask Wally!’ would sound. He gave me so much information and I like to think Sam and I also helped him with copying dvds, digitising photos and the like. Some of the photos I made for him are in the file. I’ve read a lovely little snippet about trees on the road to Swindon, that I’ll share in a moment but the bit that brought tears to my eyes was:

‘I remember as a boy Captain Brown’s sheep being driven up Lottage and round to West Street. It was of great interest to the people. I can’t imagine the road rage if it happened today.”

It’s a post-script that really got me,

“IT DID (2007)!, no rage – Jo Hutchings has photos”.

A dear man, much missed and helping me still through those notes to get ready for the exhibition in the Memorial Hall this weekend.

WW1 Exhibitions

In the Pink in Aldbourne

Pinks Feast Aldbourne 1792

Reading Mercury – Monday 11 June 1792 Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

With less than two weeks to go until the Aldbourne Produce & Craft Show (Sunday 8 July) I thought it appropriate to explore just how long flower shows have been a feature of our lovely village.  The earliest reference I have found so far is a notice for a SUBSCRIPTION PINK FEAST at the Crown on 26 June 1792; the prize was a ‘handsome piece of plate … to him that exhibits the six best whole-blown PINKS of six different sorts’.

I’ve learned that the carnation is said to have been brought to Britain by the Romans.  The smallest member of genus dianthus is the pink; there’s also Sweet William.  Thomas Fairchild, born in Aldbourne in 1667, cross pollinated two of the genus to produce the hybrid Fairchild’s Mule. Two of Fairchild’s mules have survived in the herbaria of Oxford University and the Natural History Museum, London.

I can recommend a lovely book printed in 1969 called Shakespeare’s Flowers, by Jessica Kerr ( beautifully illustrated by Anne Ophelia Dowden).

Shakespeare’s plays are full of references to plants and flowers, he wrote in The Winter’s Tale much about gardens, flowers, trees and about their care and cultivation.

Sir, the year growing ancient,
Not yet on summer’s death, nor on the birth
Of trembling winter, the fairest flower o’ the season
Are our carnations, and streak’d gillyvors

‘Streak’d gillvors’ would be a fine example of Picotee – worthy of winning the Crown Picotee Cup – first presented in 2017.  Find out more about the Aldbourne Produce Show and the many and varies classes you can enter at St Michael’s Church on Sunday 8 July 2018

Some links in praise of pinks!


Our Anniversary Day R C Barrett #RAF100

Ronald Charles Barrett

Sergeant 106 Squadron Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Died 9th July 1943 aged 21

From a collection of poems written between 1935, when the author was 12 years old, and 1941.  Commissioned by the Aldbourne Memorial Hall Management Committee as a Tribute to the Service Men of this village who died in the 1939-45 War, and reproduced by Aldbourne Business Services, with the kind permission of Mr & Mrs L Mildenhall

Ronald Charles Barrett