A Tale from 1940 re-discovered by Social Media!

It was a great delight to hear from Ivor Walklett on Boxing Day 2018. Here’s his story; sent in response to the photo of the little boy with boxes posted on the Aldbourne Archive Facebook page in June 2018. Ivor was one of Miss Muriel Foster’s happy band of WVS salvage collectors during the Second World War.

My mother’s maiden name was Eva Penny and all of her family were from Aldbourne.

Mother brought myself and my two sisters, Honora and Dorothy, down to Aldbourne from where we lived in North London, to avoid the bombing at the start of WW2. We returned sometime in 1942 and even then I remember seeing V1s (Doodlebugs) and watching them glide down and explode after their engine stopped.

Whilst in Aldbourne we stayed with Mothers sister, Mabel, who was married to Albert Stacey who owned the grocery and bakery in the square. Mother had another sister, Dolly, who lived in ‘Neals’ on the road leaving the village towards Hungerford. Aunt Dollie’s married name was Alder and her husband Joe was Bandmaster. If I recall correctly, Albert was also a band member.

I also remember the American 101st Airbourne (Screaming Eagles) encamped further out of the village towards Hungerford, and still have the badges and insignia given to me by some of them. Although I did not understand at the time, they were about to undertake (for most of them, I guess) a one way journey to France for the D-Day landing.

My father was a retired army officer who was seconded into the MOD soon after the start of WW2 and that was why we lived in London.

I had three elder brothers, who all volunteered for military service when they reached 18. Douglas, the eldest served the whole war in the 8th Army. Trevers and Bob both ended up in the 6th Airbourne Division. Trevers’ actions were D-Day, the Ardennes and the Rhine crossing. Bob’s were the Ardennes and the Rhine crossing. All survived, much to my mother’s great relief, although Trev and Bob were wounded.

I mention my brothers because I joined their engineering business after I had completed National Service in the RAF around 1956. We all had a tremendous interest in motor racing and sports cars and in 1958 started making cars which we called Ginetta. Soon after it became a separate company, Ginetta Cars Ltd, which was sold in late 1989 when my brothers reached retirement age.

There have been a number of books on Ginetta, the most recent was published around July this year titled “Ginetta Road and Track Car”.  It is perhaps coincidental that it is published by Crowood Publishing who have offices in Ramsbury which reminded me that one of Mother’s brothers, Jack Penny, had a bakers shop there when we were in Aldbourne.

Shortly, after selling Ginetta, Trevers and I formed Dare UK Ltd, acquiring the rights to the models: G4, G12 and G16 and also creating Dare models: DZ and TGS, selling many units worldwide and is now managed by my son Thomas and myself.

The internet and YouTube will entertain you, just Google ‘Ivor Walklett’, and you will see the many cars we have sold the world over, as well as Ginetta and Dare UK.

I remember Miss Foster though did not understand the important task she undertook arranging the collection of anything that would help the war effort. I must confess I was driven by the reward of a sweet for taking cardboard or waste paper to her, for they were in short supply as well.

Ivor Walklett – December 2018

3 thoughts on “A Tale from 1940 re-discovered by Social Media!”

    1. Thank you Sheelagh. I am hoping to write about more people and places in the village that you may remember as we approach the 75 anniversary of D-Day and Market Garden.
      All best, Jo Hutchings

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