Remember the Worcesters 1939?

I can remember when the Worcesters were stationed in Aldbourne. They were in Powell’s yard, by the Blue Boar. There was a big house there. There was a front entrance from The Green and there was an entrance round the back, then you go up the lane, to the playing field.

John Fisher – Aldbourne Oral History Project 2006

The troops came to Aldbourne. First of all the Worcesters; I don’t quite know where they were stationed apart from Lottage Road. The Harrison’s had a poultry farm, just below the Foundry and they were actually stationed in those chicken huts, which people would probably never believe. They were round the village but, because I was only 11, you don’t take much notice; but I know these men paraded every morning with broomsticks because there were no rifles, and so they paraded and marched up and down the road.

Audrey Barrett – Aldbourne Oral History Project 2006
Aldbourne Parish Magazine October 1939
Cyril Griffiths in the Aldbourne Parish News – April 1983

The accounts book for the Aldbourne Memorial Hall has many entries for receipts and outgoings for soldiers stationed in the village. The two officers mentioned in the following extract were both 67th Field Regiment Royal Artillery.

Aldbourne Memorial Hall Account Book 1939

The regiment left Worcester in the summer of 1939 to camp out near Lyndhurst in Hampshire, then moved in the autumn to Aldbourne in Wiltshire, on the edge of Salisbury Plain. Both were conventionally picturesque places: Lyndhurst was in the middle of the New Forest, and wild ponies often wandered into the streets; Aldbourne was an unspoiled village with the usual accoutrements of church, five pubs, cottages, a green, a duck pond and a purling stream. It might be nice to think that the War Office picked these locations to provide the young recruits with fresh memories of the peaceful and bucolic country they’d be fighting for, but the nearby artillery ranges in both places were the more likely draw.

At Aldbourne the troops learned that in January they would set sail for France, where they’d become part of the British Expeditionary Force, which had been assembling across the Channel since the declaration of war.

Belt, Boots and Spurs – Jonathan Raban https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v39/n19/jonathan-raban/belt-boots-and-spurs

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