The Group are very sad to hear that Val is in hospital and we all send her our best wishes.
Geoff came along armed with cakes to mark our 100th meeting and also, we used the cakes to mark Alan’s Birthday, he was surprised we knew it was his birthday, his face was a picture!!
We talked through the arrangements for Todd Gray’s Book Launch, date is confirmed for Thursday 12th September at 7:30 pm. This will be put in place at the July meeting. We are not meeting in August.
We were pleased to welcome Margaret with some Feniton related photos and paper cuttings relating to the bellringers in 1979, 11 year old George Tibbet, Tom Virgin, 73 and the Tower Captain Les Stevens, who received a Long Service award for Les who had worked at Feniton Court for 41 years in 1988 at Devon County Show. The other show Mrs P B E Ackland (sic) presenting the Championship trophy in the Shorthorn Class at Crewe Show in 1973.
A local historian and metal detectorist, Nigel was made welcome to the group. Good to have you on board Nigel.
A letter has been received from Graeme sending us a wonderful article dating to around the date of the Fenny Bridges Battle 1549. It is a Scabbard Chape, this was the piece of metal at the point of the scabbard to protect it. The Group thank Graeme for passing this to the Group Archive.
We are always amazed how the evenings in The Nog evolve with random snippets coming together. This evening exceeded that. It is the 75th Commemoration of the D Day Landings, may of us have been watch the BBC programs that mark the day. I hope my notes do this justice. The personal recollections of the Group members are just humbling and heart wrenching.
Alan recalled the American Troop trains passing through, The Heathfield Camp in Honiton, now the trading estate, billeted the US Army, much to the delight of the ladies!!! Nylons, sweets, tined meat, fruit and chewing gum being some of the perks!!!
The US Navy were at Dunkeswell doing submarine patrols over the south west approaches,
the planes they used were liberator bombers. Alan recalls one of the planes failed to take off and crashed near Sheldon, loaded with fuel and depth charges. Alan and his brother Keith wet off on their bikes to see this, Brenda still has the bits from the crash that Alan ad Keith brought back. You can still see the site as the hedge has no trees growing there.
Cycling home from Kings School by Cadhay, Alan spotted a glider in the corn field with an US officer by the gate, Alan engaged him in conversation to ask why, he was told the glider needs to go back to Upottery know as Smeatharpe. An aircraft came and caught up the hook cable and lifted off towing the glider back to Smetharpe. This would have bee the
5th Jun 1944. A lot of air craft towing gliders from Upottery off to the Normandy landing beaches.
RoseMarie remembers her Mum telling she would get Nits if she played on the bombed sites in Plymouth. George remembered taking sugar to the sweetshop for the shopkeeper to make his sweets. Brenda’s family were living in the South East and the wonderful Christmas food parcel sent by her Grandparents in North Devon brought back memories of the farm with the smell. Margaret’s mother was hard at work scalding cream to make clotted cream for the hotels and Dellers.
Other members of the group passed on such devasting personal family tragedies; I thank them for relating their experiences that changed their lives for ever.
The meeting closed with Peter reading his poem about a Dead Russia Soldier. Thank you Peter. Peter shared his war experience and brought along his medals.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.