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Friday, 1 January 2021

Happy New Year

We are all hoping for better times in 2021 and hope you are keeping well.

For those who enjoy getting out in the fresh air for exercise we have two trail/road routes to share with you. 

The White Horse loop is approx 14 miles long and the Springhead circular is approx 6.1m (10km).

We hope you have fun - we aren't running this as an event, just sharing a route we like walking with friends. There are some road crossings, cows/sheep, mud, steep bits and sometimes inclement weather so please take care and stick to the footpaths/bridleways, shut gates and wear appropriate clothing and make sure you are fit enough for the distance and elevation. 

We would love to see your photos of the routes, so please feel free to share on our facebook page.

Facilities (subject to government Covid restrictions)

There are public toilets at Overcombe corner Preston and Osmington Mills.

There are pubs at Osmington Mills, the Springhead Sutton Poyntz, the Spice ship Preston, the Bridge Inn Preston. 

Fundraising for future publications

Our publication Village Voices last year is still proving popular and we will be keen to produce more publications about the village's history in future. Once the pandemic has settled down we would also like to hold some more information evenings/talks.

We are keen not to go cap-in-hand to people but if you would like to support us (at no extra cost to yourselves) and you use Amazon, then please follow this link and we can receive 0.5% of what you spend paid directly into the charity bank account.

The funds raised will be used to pay for publication costs.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

A diary of the lockdown

I won't need to remind you all that we are in a period of social change that hasn't been seen in the UK since the Second World War. History will look back on the lock down with great interest and your grandchildren/great grandchildren will want to know what it was like. How did we cope? What changes did we encounter? As a community, so many of you are stuck at home; please take this opportunity to record your experiences of isolation. We would like to hear about how life has changed. How has your daily life and habits been altered? Do you think life after the lock down will be different long-term, or will people go back to their usual life? What are you doing to cope with the isolation? Do you have a job that involves you being out in the thick of the crisis? Are you having to ration your food, or queue for provisions? Have the community helped you? We would love to hear from you and create a community diary of the next few months that we can record for future generations.

 Click here to contribute to the project

Friday, 27 September 2019

Village Voices with Jim & Mavis Legg

This video is part of the oral history project that aims to record the social history of Osmington village.

Village Voices with Kenny Miller

This video is featured as part of our oral history project to record the social history of Osmington. 

Friday, 13 September 2019

Talbot Hughes & Alice Ward update

You may recall back in April 2017 we brought to light the fascinating story of the extremely talented painter William Talbot Walter Hughes, who quit London society in the late 1920s and moved to Osmington where he lived until his death in 1942.

Since 2017 I have researched a great deal into the Hughes family and after trawling through the church records found the unmarked grave for Talbot in St Osmund's churchyard. As he was a famous man in his day, and as he played a huge part in shaping the village as it is today, the trustees of Osmington History thought it only right that he should have a grave marker. I installed this in October 2017 so that villagers knew where the grave was located.

As luck would have it, through our original article, I was contacted by Talbot's living relatives - his Great nieces - who have generously and lovingly paid for a beautiful headstone for Talbot and his companion Alice Ward.

Copyright Osmington HistoryCopyright Osmington History

Alice Ward lived in the village until her death in the 1970s and was extremely well-known. Her ashes were buried with Talbot Hughes. On the church records it states she was his aunt, but this was probably for the churches benefit as they were companions.
Copyright Osmington History

If anyone would like to visit the grave, it is located at the back of the church to the right. There is a bench and a small wooden shed nearby.

Talbot bought a large area of orchards when he moved to the village and also purchased Stone lane cottage, which was derelict. He restored the cottage and extended it putting in an artists studio at the back where he continued painting.
Copyright Osmington History
The back of Stone lane cottage

A painting of Stone Lane cottage owned by Gerald Mabb shows how it looked when Talbot and Alice lived there. Gerald spent time there as a child with his Grandmother Mrs Mabb and remembers Miss Ward well. 

"Alice used to come to tea and was good friends with my grandmother; she gave her several paintings by Talbot". 

Copyright Osmington History
A miniature portrait by Talbot

Talbot also had the house next door Greensleaves built on his land using an architect from London; it is quite a unique building.

Other residents of the village have reported that prior to D-Day General Eisenhower stayed in the village with Alice. Jim Legg's elder sister worked for Miss Ward and cooked a meal for the American General. At the time, Winston Churchill, King George VI, Dwight Eisenhower and General Charles De Gaulle had gathered at Pennsylvania castle on Portland to finalise the D-Day invasion plans.

Talbot's Great niece Bryony very kindly gave me incite into Talbot's life and explained through her father's memoirs why the painter left London for a life in Osmington.

" Talbot followed his father’s profession with no family opposition and became a painter of decorative pictures and portraits of great charm. But he was very delicate and suffered from continuous bad health and never really fulfilled his early promise.
In spite of his disabilities he was the merriest of men and quite a favourite uncle; he and my father were very close and devoted to each other".

Blair Hughes Stanton

Copyright Osmington History 2019

Thursday, 1 August 2019

The 1955 Flood of Osmington

The following account is Sue Merkle's recollection of what occurred on 19 July 1955 in Osmington Mills. It is read by Historian Lucy Wyman.

Village residents in Osmington village and at the Mills were flooded from their houses. Sue's location very close to the coastline, made her families situation very perilous.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Exercise Smash - 4 April 1944

As we reach the 75th anniversary of Exercise Smash, the National Trust at Studland have put on display information and photographs relating to the top secret project, and it's tragic consequences.

Exercise Smash consisted of four linked exercises and played a crucial part in preparing for the D Day landings. Training with the DD (Duplex drive) Valentine tanks, which were effectively tanks that swam, took place off Studland beach because it was similar to the beaches in Normandy.

Albert Price the last remaining survivor of this exercise has contributed to a memorial project along with the Royal Dragoon guards and the Purbeck Sub-acqua club. On the 75th anniversary they will lay a poppy wreath on each of the tanks, in the location they sank in Studland bay between 4-23 April 1944.

Six soldiers from the Royal Armoured Corps 4th/7th Royal Dragoon guards died inside their tank and sank to the sea bed just off Old Harry rocks during a live ammunition trial in front of King George VI, Winston Churchill, General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery, who watched from Fort Henry.

  • 269616 Lieutenant Charles Robert Gould age 20
  • 5772493 Sergeant Victor Hartley age 27
  • 14301770 Trooper Albert Victor Kirkby age 19
  • 7907384 Corporal Arthur Jackson Park age 24
  • 7952162 Trooper Ernest Granville Petty age 20
  • 320390 Corporal Victor Noel Townson age 20

Lieutenant Gould was the only one to be recovered from the tank and is buried in St Mark's church in Highcliffe. The other soldiers are commemorated at Brookwood Military Cemetary, Hampshire.

Albert Price recalls,

"My tank was one of the ones that sank. We launched about three thousand yards offshore but soon lost control as the sea was so rough. Eventually, my tank hit a rock. We got out and hung on the screen but when the tank began to slip off we soon had nowhere to go but into the sea. We were floundering round for a while but luckily a naval boat came and picked us up".

Following his ordeal, 17 year old Albert was given some rum and told he was not allowed to divulge what had happened to him other than he fell in the sea. He was put back to training at Bovington for the D Day landings immediately. Eight weeks later he landed at Sword beach during the landings and was wounded.

On 4 April 1944 seven tanks were lost off the coast of Studland and six men were lost. Twenty five of the tanks returned and based on this trial it was decided that the Valentine tanks would be used on D-Day.

Ron West, a former soldier recalled that the soldiers were frightened inside the tanks because any shrapnel would tear through the tank's canvas skirt and it would drop like a stone to the bottom of the sea.

The tanks could not withstand choppy water conditions and would sink with the canvas skirt blocking the escape of the soldiers inside. They were not provided breathing apparatus in the event of a failure, although one soldier did hide a 'Mae-West' breathing device in his tank and survived as a result.

Studland beach where the tanks sank and still remain

Fort Henry

Inside Fort Henry where the King and Political leaders watched

Fort Henry

Dragon's teeth, a visual reminder of Studland's wartime heritage