Home Guard at Hambledon

This as an oral history recording by the Imperial War Museum. The subject is Kenneth Chesson who moved to Hambledon in the 1930’s. He joined the Home Guard at the age of 17 and this recording describes his experiences in our village and particularly during World War II. He recounts Hambledon Home Guard; hobbies and social activities; training with Home Guard; reaction to attending crashed German aircraft; his brother’s military experiences; contact with Canadian troops; the Australian Army Hospital at Hydestile; enlistment and basic training with Royal Berkshire Regt, 1942; volunteering at Guildford

He went on to serve as a Private serving with 2nd Bn Royal Berkshire Regt. in India and Burma, 1944-1945

Press to play part 1
Part 2

Link to the additional recordings at the Imperial War Museum.

A Glimpse Into The Recent Past Of Hambledon Village Shop

A chance encounter has led to the emergence of a classic postcard view of Hambledon’s village shop taken by the camera of the proprietor who lived there from the late 1960s.

The encounter was with Alison Heath who, with her twin brother Duncan, spent her childhood at Cricket Green Stores, which was run by her parents Geoff and Margaret Heath between 1968 and 1982.

Alison, now 55, recalls growing up in Hambledon with great fondness. Her home was what was then called Duck Cottage, now Pendle Cottage, and her parents were the last to both live in the house and run the adjoining shop and Post Office.

The shop featured on a postcard, one of a series entitled “Scenes of Interest and Beauty in and around Hambledon, in Surrey”. The reverse of the card states: “Real photograph. Supplied by G.A.M Heath, Cricket Green Stores and Post Office, Hambledon”.

 

Alison’s mother died in 1987 from a brain aneurysm but her father is still alive, in his eighties, remarried and living in the New Forest.

Here Alison recalls her life growing up in Hambledon:

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FOND FAREWELLS TO CATHERINE MCBRIDE

Hambledon has said a fond farewell to its associate vicar Catherine McBride, who has left the village to become vicar of St Mary’s, Market Drayton, Shropshire.

Catherine arrived in Hambledon more than five years ago and quickly became a popular figure; among her congregation at St Peter’s and within the village as a whole. She will be much missed but goes with the best wishes and blessings of the many friends she made.

Her departure was marked in several ways: at her final Sunday services on October 15, at a farewell tea party hosted at Feathercombe, and at a get-together at the Merry Harriers a few days earlier on October 12.

She then took a short holiday in Iceland before returning to pack her bags at Mervil Bottom, her Hambledon home, in preparation for beginning her new life and challenge in Shropshire, close to the Welsh borders from where she hails.

She takes up her responsibilities in Market Drayton with her licensing service on November 22. In the meantime, the Busbridge and Hambledon Benefice has started the process to find a replacement and interviews will be held later this month.

Before moving last week Catherine told the village website: “I can honestly say that Hambledon has been the most amazing place to live and work. I have been extremely happy here and it is in no small part due to the wonderful community in the village, who made me feel so welcome. I feel I have made some good friends here, who I am sure I will keep in touch with.

“I would encourage everyone to cherish the village and what it has to offer: continue to be a warm and loving community, which looks out for each other and where everyone ‘does their bit’ so that Hambledon can continue to thrive.

“I’ll take some very special memories with me of the times when I’ve had the privilege of being part of significant moments and occasions for Hambledon families and will certainly keep you all in my prayers.

Many thanks and God bless”.

At her leaving party at Feathercombe, the home of Ion and Muriel Campbell, she was presented with a cake made by Katherine Frogley, which was decorated to illustrate some of Catherine’s passions; the church, rugby, the Welsh dragon – and a pint of bitter.

Farewell speeches were made by Simon Taylor, rector of Busbridge and Hambledon, churchwardens Alan Harvey and Liz Cooke and PCC treasurer Alison Martin.

At her farewell party in the Merry Harriers, where Catherine would enjoy a pint of Surrey Hills bitter and take part in quiz and music nights, she took to the microphone to give a rendition of the Tom Jones hit Delilah, accompanied by Mike Blanchard on key board. See photograph below. Many villagers were in attendance.

Memorial obelisk on Hydon’s Ball Listed By Historic England

The obelisk on the flank of Hydon’s Ball, which commemorates the lives of two brothers who died in the First World War, has been given a Grade II Listing as a structure of special interest by Historic England.

The Listing gives protection to the monument and official recognition of its architectural and historic significance.

It is one of more than 2,500 memorials to the fallen that Historic England is listing as the nation remembers the 100th anniversary of the 1914-18 Great War. More than 740,000 military personnel from the British Isles alone died in the deadly global conflict.

The obelisk commemorates Second Lieutenant Laurance Robertson, aged 36, King’s Own Scottish Borderers, who was killed in action during the Battle of the Somme on 30 July 1916, and his brother Captain Norman Robertson, 40, of 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, who died in a military hospital in Hanover on 20 June 1917.

Our photograph below shows the obelisk following the heavy snowfall in November 2010, two weeks after Remembrance Sunday.

Snow Nov 30th 2010 (12)

It was erected as a result of a bequest to the National Trust in the will of their eldest brother William, who died in 1937. The Trust already owned much of Hydon’s Ball and the bequest required the purchase of a small plot of land on Hydon Heath and the erection of the monument. This was completed in 1959.

The obelisk can be found beside the footpath below the summit on the south-west slope of the hill. It is easily reached from the lower end of Church Field, through the kissing gate, turning right to the little pumping station and then following the path up hill to the left. Many villagers leave poppies on the memorial around the time of Remembrance Sunday.

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Oral History Project

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Hambledon Heritage Society has assembled a range of audio and video recordings of villagers.

Recordings from the Heritage Society AGMs:

Norman Gravestock – Curator of Oakhurst Cottage of the National Trust

 

Mr Milligan, son of F. E. Milligan, former Headmaster of Hambledon School:

 

Olive Thornton’s video of the German Airman rescue from 1942:

The full story is detailed here.

 

Joan Vickery on her life living in Hambledon:

 

Louis de Bernieres on his formative years living in Hambledon:

Recordings from a “Night to Remember” 2009:

The Heritage Society assembled for their 2009 AGM in the Village Hall – the theme was a “Night to Remember” – memories of living in Hambledon during the 1940’s.  A number of guest speakers were invited, and recordings of their stories are included here for you to listen to

Olive Thornton and here wartime rescue story:

 

Muriel Campbell:

 

Rosemary Arnold:

 

Marilyn Wilkes:

 

Terry Price:

 

May Denyer:

 

Colin Denyer:

 

Caring for Oakhurst

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Are you a student looking for a challenge during the summer holidays? Ever thought about becoming a National Trust Volunteer Conservation Assistant?

It is over 30 years since the National Trust, with the support of Hambledon Parish Council, decided to open Oakhurst Cottage to the public. A dedicated team of volunteer guides, largely recruited from within the village, give visitors a unique insight into the life- styles of Oakhurst’s inhabitants during the last four centuries; but the cottage itself, its fabric and its contents are an equally important part of the story. The contents in particular, many of which date from 19th century, need a lot of TLC – and that includes cleaning and conservation repairs.

Whether it’s a candle snuffer, a rag rug, a stool, a quilt, a piece of pottery, an item of clothing or anything in between, objects get dusty and dirty if they aren’t regular cleaned and, at the end of each season, checked to see if any damage limitation is required. This is where volunteer conservation assistants have a vital role to play.

The National Trust is recruiting Volunteer Conservation Assistants to help care for Oakhurst. From 15 August important repairs to the fabric of the cottage are being carried out, so the initial requirement is for someone to go in for half an hour on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings (at any time that suits up to 12.30) to sweep and tidy and generally remove the dust that will inevitably result from the repair works. But there’s more to it than that. If you volunteer for this task you will be given full NT training that will not only show you what to do for the half-hour cleaning sessions but will also teach you about conservation repair work and give you a set of skills and experience that will make a unique contribution to your CV.

You will be able to put these skills to good use not only at Oakhurst (where you will always be welcome whenever you find yourself in Hambledon) but also at National Trust properties throughout the country, depending on where your studies or interests may take you in the future.

Ready to get involved? If so, please e-mail oakhurstcottage@nationaltrust.org.uk. Should you require further information please get in touch with Jane Woolley, Chair of the Oakhurst Cottage Advisory Committee: j.woolley881@btinternet.com or telephone 01428 684213.