Per Ardua ad Astra

Remembering Flight Sergeant (Navigator) Kingsley Osbern George Nugent
Service Number 1615659
Died 26/11/1944 Aged 22
305 (Polish) Sqdn Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of George Oliver Nugent and Gladys Julia Nugent, of Aldbourne, Wiltshire. Nephew of Miss Muriel Constance Foster of Ivy Cottage, Aldbourne.

The seat with the memorial plaque is still a gathering place as it has been for decades. One of my favourite photos is this one sent to the Aldbourne Archive by Peter Clark. Peter is the son of Eric Clark, senior partner with the Ramsbury Solicitors, Phelps and Lawrence, who lived at Barn House in Castle Street from c 1960. It’s a wonderful photo. I’ve published it on Facebook several times, and the latest list of names is:

From the left: Lennie Liddiard (the Butts); Freddy Davies (South St); Fred Barnes (Back Lane); ? ; Jack Humphries (Lottage Rd); Fred Smith (Lottage Rd); Tommy Cowles (Lottage Rd); Harry Wootton (Baydon Hill) but if anyone else has any ideas, please drop me a line!

Digging for Britain (in Aldbourne!)

Archaeology in Aldbourne with Operation Nightingale will appear on national television on Wednesday 11th December 2019.

Operation Nightingale, in partnership with Breaking Ground Heritage, aims to use heritage based projects to promote physical and physiological well-being among those who are, or were, members of the armed forces.  It was my privilege to assist with their visit to our village in 2019.

Digging for Britain follows a rich variety of excavations working to unearth some of Britain’s most unusual and exciting finds.

Professor Alice Roberts follows a year of British archaeology, joining up the results of digs and investigations the length of the country.

Digging for Britain BBC Four

Our village dig will appear in the last episode, a WW2 Special, at 9pm on Wednesday 11 December 2019.

In Aldbourne, Wiltshire, the search is on for the most famous American unit of the US army, ‘Easy Company’, who were stationed there in 1943 and 1944. Archaeologists are particularly looking for any personal items of this renowned regiment to gain insight into their lives in the months and days leading up to the D-Day invasion.

Digging for Britain Wednesday 11 December 2019 9pm BBC Four

Before a shovel hit the turf back in May, following visits to Ramsbury and Aldbourne with Archaeological Surveys Ltd, research meetings at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre and prolonged scrutiny of aerial photos in the Historic England archive. Exercise Digging Band of Brothers gave locals the opportunity to work with professional archaeologists and service veterans.  It all came together with the excavation on the football field. (See The Dabchick issue 173 August 2019 for a full report by John Dymond).

Richard Osgood, Senior Archaeologist at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (Archaeologist of the Year 2019) and his team would like to say a special thank-you to the people of Aldbourne.

The men of Easy Company, 506 PIR, 101 Airborne were given warm hospitality during their stay at Aldbourne in 1943-4 and this welcome continued 75 years later when an archaeological team of veterans sought to investigate the ‘Band of Brothers’ camp site on the sports pitches. In glorious weather the team looked for any trace of their American predecessors beneath the turf. And did they find anything? Well watch Digging for Britain on BBC Four on 11 December to find out (though safe to say that the excavation wouldn’t be on had it drawn a blank!). It was wonderful to welcome local villagers, schools, scouts, and the general public to site in that week and we really hope to return in 2020.

Richard Osgood November 2019

The Aldbourne Community Heritage Group have confirmed that the artefacts uncovered have been returned to the village and work is starting on their conservation.  All finds (including those shown on TV) will be on display in the Aldbourne Heritage Centre throughout the 2020 season. Find out more:

Some links for more information

Christopher McEvoy

Christopher and Charles McEvoy in Aldbourne. Letters and photographs (eBay) now at Wiltshire Museum, Devizes DZSWS:MSS.4218

Christopher was the elder son of Charles and Gwen McEvoy. Christopher died on 12 October 1944. He is buried at Mook War Cemetery.

Christopher and his brother Patrick embraced the Romany life in 1934, setting out with tent and pony drawn trap on Salisbury Plain and beyond. Their wanderings were recorded in The Gorse and The Briar, written by Patrick and illustrated by Christopher. The book was acknowledged at the time and since as a Bohemian treasure, evoking rural Wiltshire in sunlit pre-war years.

Aldbourne Archive

Thank you to Michael Day for permission to use these photos.  I was extremely moved to hear from Michael today (18th Feb ) that he had visited Tower Hill Memorial and taken a photo of the panels listing the names of the captain and crew of  Dione II.

Freshford War Memorial by Michael Day Freshford War Memorial by Michael Day Flickr

Patrick McEvoy was the youngest son of Charles McEvoy. Patrick was born in Aldbourne in 1915.  Following the death of his parents, he and older brother Christopher went to live with their Aunt Mary (McEvoy nee Spencer Edwards) in Freshford, Somerset.  Mary was the widow of Charles’ brother, Ambrose.

Just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War Patrick published a book, illustrated by Christopher, called ‘The Gorse and the Briar’.

A reviewer in the Rochdale Observer 7 January 1939 said

“The Christmas season has given me something I shall remember for a long time…

View original post 250 more words

Dancing with Dr Who and the Daemons

Headington Quarry Morris Men dancing at Devil’s End in 2011

I’ve just read that the English Folk Dance and Song Society has announced four recipients for 2019 of its highest award, the Gold Badge; including John Graham, who took over accordion duties at Headington Quarry Morris Dancers from William Kimber himself see

John Graham is also mentioned in the local press as one of the Headington Quarry Morris side that appeared in Dr Who and the Daemons in 1971, then was one of the four originals who returned for the gathering on the Green in 2011.

‘Jimmy’ Bomford, Laines, Aldbourne

(Original photo 1944: W Dennis Moss, Cirencester – with thanks to John Brown)

H.J.P. ‘Jimmy’ Bomford (centre) in the Aldbourne Home Guard.

Bomford latterly served in the Royal Flying Corps during WW1 – medal card:

His appreciation of contemporary art, and his wish to share it with the public, is well documented in this piece by Barry Leighton for the Swindon Advertiser in 2013

Touring the Swindon Collection (with the Bomford Gift), 60 Years On

Exhibition ends 9th November 2019.  Admission FREE. Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Bath Road, Swindon, SN1 4BA. Open Tuesday – Saturday 11:00 – 16:30. Free lunchtime talk 20th September 2019, 12:30 – 13:00

In 1959, the Swindon Collection of Modern British art began a tour of 16 towns and cities of the United Kingdom.  From Falmouth to Sunderland, Southend-on-Sea to Bolton, thousands of museum visitors were introduced to paintings by Paul Nash, LS Lowry, Gwen John and Graham Sutherland. This exhibition celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of this tour, which introduced the people of Britain to Swindon’s remarkable art and established the reputation of the ‘Swindon Collection’.

The original foreword to the tour in 1959 (by Harold Joliffe, Librarian and Curator) paid tribute to the contribution by Mr H.J.P. ‘Jimmy’ Bomford, of Aldbourne who generously gave a number of works to the Swindon Collection in 1946.  These include paintings by Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, L.S. Lowry and Paul Nash.  “Composition” by Jankel Adler forms part of the exhibition. Adler, a protégé of Jimmy Bomford, lived in Castle Street, Aldbourne until his death in 1949.

This exhibition brings together the 44 works of art sent on tour in 1959 and presents them alongside some of the most important acquisitions made by Swindon Museum & Art Gallery in the decades since. The exhibition explores the history of the collection and the ambitions and challenges of touring so many pictures to so many places.