First World War

National Bird Day 2019

It’s #NationalBirdDay today according to the TwitterSphere. Spare a thought for our feathered friends.  Aldbourne Archive sends greetings to Dabchicks everywhere (and ‘Bobchicks’!).

bobchick 3 june 1920 sorley wilts gazette

From the cuttings books in the library at Wiltshire Museum, Devizes

National Bird Day was first marked on 5 January 2008 in America.  Interesting snippet of history, the inspiration appears to have been a Mr Babcock …

History of Bird Day

Back in 1894, Charles Almanzo Babcock, the superintendent of schools in Oil City, Pennsylvania, declared the first holiday in the United States to celebrate birds. Babcock wanted to advance bird conservation as a moral value and it seems that his holiday caught on. Babcock’s Bird Day is actually what is now known as International Migratory Bird Day, though it isn’t actually related to Bird Day in terms of history. Bird Day marked the end of the annual Christmas Bird Count in the mid-21st century.

Source: daysoftheyear.com

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 www.whittonteam.org.uk.  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 www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk

Percy Veitch – RFC/RAF

As the RAF celebrates it’s 100th birthday I thought you would like to know that Aldbourne was part of it.  My Uncle Percy was transferred from the RFC (which he joined in 1913, an “Old Contemptible”) to the newly formed RAF.  His complete service number was 635 (ie the 635th person to be enlisted in the RAF). Attached record shows the date of transfer 17/03/18 from RFC to RAF The date 1/3/13 was his last promotion Pay 6 shillings a day. OE is the term of enlistment which I assume means “Open ended”
John Brown March 2018
It was an absolute delight to hear from John Brown in the days leading up to #RAF100 with details of his uncle Percy.  Photos from www.pastcaring.com a family history prepared by John’s son, Paul.  Percy’s father and brother, both John, are remembered on the Aldbourne War Memorial Hall.
 

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Royal Flying Corps/RAF

With my thanks to Phil Comley for providing names for this list.  Any and all information about those named very welcome!

Daniel Edgar Cook – born in 1900 and believed to be with the training wing in Crystal Palace when the war ended.
William Culley –  2nd class aircraft mechanic.  Served in 211 and 92 Sqn.
Lt Col Spencer Bertram Horne – 85 and 60 Sqn. Lived in Beech Knoll. Died 1969.
George Gulliver Jerram – 1st class aircraft mechanic. 25 Sqn. He was a carpenter by trade so he was almost certainly a ‘rigger’ who built the wooden frames. He was serving when it was the RFC
Reginald Mildenhall – another ‘Rigger’.
Richard Alexander Moulding – 1st class aircraft mechanic. 102 Sqn.
Frederick Henry Sheppard – ‘Rigger’ who walked to Marlborough to enlist.
Harold Smith – no service details.
George Lambert Usher – born in Plymouth, buried in Aldbourne Churchyard.

Hungerford Virtual Museum

Pembroke Dabchick February 2016

Dabchick: January 2016 – read more about the Pembroke and Cox families at the Hungerford Virtual Museum

An early morning visit to the excellent Hungerford Virtual Museum, to re-visit connections to Aldbourne and in particular the War Memorial Hall.

So much of interest on the site, including the history of St Lawrence Church:

In Edward VI’s time the church had three bells and a sanctus bell, and this was the situation when the tower started to collapse in 1811.

As plans were made to re-build the tower, an order for a peal of five bells was made to James Wells in the nearby village of Aldbourne. This small village produced two notable dynasties of bell-founders—the Corrs, who started in 1696, and the Wells.

They were asked to recast the four old bells into a new ring of six bells, with a tenor of 15cwt. Evidently the bell frame was not suitable for these, and required modification. The new bells were cast in 1816 and were hung in the new tower in two tiers. Mr Well’s estimate of 1812 and all fittings amounted to £251 0s 0d.

In Prehistoric Hungerford

Undy’s Farm in 1988-89 revealed what was possibly Berkshire’s only example of a Bronze Age ceremonial site. The seven metre diameter site had seven pits around a large central hearth. The pits held posts which had burned down and been replaced on several occasions. In association with this find was a probable fragment of an “Aldbourne cup”. These small vessels are normally associated with Early Bronze Age (Wessex II) inhumation burials. Its discovery here was considered “most unusual”, but confirms the area was occupied in the Bronze Age.

Links:

Hungerford Virtual Museum

Hungerford Virtual Museum on Facebook

Hungerford Historical Association

 

John Veitch – Burnham & Aldbourne

During the past two decades I have been privileged to share many family memories.  One of the wonderful things about living in Aldbourne is that so many descendants still reside here.  Through the power of social media it is possible to reach further afield, and sometimes instantly overseas. I’ve also been fortunate to have the support of like-minded individuals and professional library, museum and archive staff who have taken considerable time and trouble to help me tell just a few of Aldbourne’s stories.

Years ago I was given an insight into the Brown and Veitch family history; first via the Aldbourne Community Website Forum and emailing Paul Brown and, then more recently by directly corresponding with John Brown, Paul’s father.  It was great to meet John this year for the first time at the Aldbourne Heritage Centre and chat about John’s father Clifford Brown – but that’s another story … Thanks to all of you for including me in the distribution of family photographs and this wonderful video and song.

For today, I’m thinking about one of the most evocative faces I’ve seen, a face that represents for me a haunting reflection of the generation of young men lost to their families in the 1914-1918 conflict.  This young man is John Veitch, remembered alongside his father on the Aldbourne War Memorial Hall and also commemorated in this beautiful song.  Watch. Listen. Remember.

John Veitch of Burnham-on-Crouch and Aldbourne in Wiltshire was my grandmother’s favourite older brother.  Beautiful and poignant new music written and performed by Mark Hickman and his son Ben which inspired our friend here in France to create the video.
(Paul Brown 11 November 2017)