Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Village Social

The Sly Fox on Saturday 24 November 2018 from 7pm.

Do you have stories or photos of the village to share, or do you want to learn a bit about the village? Can you tell us a little more about your house – has it changed name, who used to live there. 
Have you lived here a long time? Did you live here as a child?

Osmington History are keen to hear more from all the village residents so that we can record the social history of the village for future generations. 
Please come and have an informal chat with us and your neighbours at the pub!  See you there!

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Vera Derry

The Haven
Vera lived at The Haven on Village street from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. A spinster from Surrey, she originally purchased the house with her older brother George and following his death in December 1976 she lived there alone, although latterly with her little dog Terry. 

Researching Social history always throws up a few surprises and I initially began looking at Vera as I wanted to know more about her brother and his involvement in the war. Local knowledge suggested that he was shell-shocked or suffering what we now refer to as Post Traumatic Stress disorder and I wanted to know what had happened to him.

George Trevor Derry was born in 1904 so was too young to take part in World war one. In 1939 he was working as a Mechanical & Electrical Supervisor for the Air Ministry in St Athan, Wales.

"During the Second World War the station had over 14,000 personnel, and was used for training ground and air crew. It was linked to the aircraft storage and maintenance facility at RAF Llandow.
During the war a dummy airfield was built using wood and cardboard a few miles west of the original airfield and successful efforts were made to hide the proper field (supposedly led by Jasper Maskelyne). Aircraft and buildings were made of cardboard and wood and some real, but old tractors were driven around the site. The Germans attacked the dummy field a number of times and it was rebuilt each time. On 15 July 1940, four 250 kg bombs failed to explode, 2 of them near assembly sheds. It was unclear to the newly appointed bomb disposal team led by Colonel Stuart Archer GC whether they were dealing with delayed action fuses -then causing major disruptions to vital buildings and airfields or more likely booby-trapped devices. The decision was taken to move the bombs to be detonated elsewhere.[5]
The UK's Airborne Interception radar (AI) efforts were briefly housed at St Athan in late 1939 and early 1940. Prior to the war they had been located with the rest of the radar research efforts at Bawdsey Manor on the east coast, but with the opening of hostilities they were quickly moved to a tiny civilian airfield outside Perth, where they found the conditions entirely unsuited to their efforts. After a short search, St Athan was selected for the AI team while the rest of the researchers stayed in Dundee. When they too found the conditions unsuitable, both teams moved to Worth Matravers in May 1940". 
Reading this account of George's posting to St Athan it is difficult to see how he would suffer PTSD from being in a training environment, but as the records for this period are not currently available to the public it could be we are not privy to the full story. Also it is highly likely that many people whom he worked with and trained were killed during the conflict.

Back in the 1980s I was told that George spent much of his time in the garden and greenhouse at their property in Osmington - preferring to live outdoors - and the greenhouse had a collection of war memorabilia in it, which was found after he died.
Vera and George had a sister, Marjorie Dorothy who was born in July 1906.
Both sisters were never registered as having an occupation, living instead with their parents supported by their father George Thomas Derry who was a Manager for the Sutton Water board.
Evidently the social liberation from the first world war allowed both Marjorie and Vera a great deal more freedom than other generations of young women. In 1927 at the ages of 19 and 20 years they travelled independently on a steamship destined for Sierra Leone, alighting in Los Palmas, Spain. They returned to England in September of the same year and travelled again (according to immigration records)  in July 1935 this time taking their parents.
In January 1935 the sisters travelled back on a steamship originating from Argentina, which also stopped in Spain  and in 1936-37 Marjorie travelled on the Boniface Booth Steamship from Portugal with Charles Undy Lind a merchant who was resident in Portugal. The sisters travelled First Class on their travels, but it is not clear why they were travelling as frequently as they were. On her travels with Charles Lind, the couple listed their destination address as 35 Carlshalton road, Sutton Surrey (her parent's address).
By 1937 Spain was in the midst of Civil war. W.H. Auden commented,
“Our day is our loss.” The people of Spain cry out. The greatness of Spain’s early days, with its military and its city-state, are now in crisis. Life can only claim that it cannot do anything to move events; life is the simple things, such as marriage or funny stories or business voices. Spain was formed from people migrating to this jagged peninsula “nipped off from hot / Africa, soldered so crudely to inventive Europe,” a mix of African and European influences. Now people are filled with fear, and moments of tenderness and love and friendship are carried out during war".

Charles Undy Lund 1904-1955
We do not know conclusively whether Marjorie or Vera were any part of the Spanish Civil war sympathiser movement. Sadly in 1937 at the age of 30 year Marjorie died. She was buried in Sutton, Surrey on 17 April 1937.
The 1939 census shows that following her sister's death Vera took no further part in globe-trotting but was listed as carrying out unpaid domestic duties and living with her aging parents.
Vera's father George Thomas dies in 1947 and her mother Florence Derry (nee Deasey) died in 1952. She moved to Osmington in 1968.

...more data to be added.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

War Memorial Bus shelter - "He who would valiant be".

Cllr Nick Ireland has successfully registered the thatched village bus shelter opposite the pub as a building of historical interest; it was built by the parents of David Edward Parry-Jones who fought in World war II and is therefore now classified as a war memorial.

The Parry-Jones family lived at Greensleaves on Church lane in the late 1930s to 50's and later moved to 62 Preston Road in Preston.

David Parry- Jones was their only son and was survived by his elder sister Daphne.

He fought in WW2 as a Lieutenant in the 1st battalion Rifle brigade and died near Caen on 3 August 1944.  

David was killed during the battle that ensued after the Normandy landings. There was intense fighting in Normandy itself and during the advance to the River Seine throughout August.
"When war was declared in September 1939 the 1st Bn. was part of 1st Support Group, 1st Armoured Division, stationed at Tidworth Barracks, London. During the Fall of France in 1940, it served as part of 30th Brigade in the defense of Calais, along with 2nd Bn.  King's Royal Rifle Corps and 1st Bn. Queen Victoria Rifles, having originally gone to France as part of the 1st Armoured Division. In the battle of Calais all three of these battalions were lost, but not before they have held up a large German armoured force trying to get to the BEF at Dunkirk, for three important days. After the Fall of France the Battalion was reformed and then sailed to North Africa with 1st Armoured Division. It joined 22nd Armoured Brigade as part of 7th Armoured Division for El Alamein and continued to serve with the Brigade and Division until the end of the war. After the surrender of Hamburg in May 1945, the Battalion they passed through it and onto to Kiel where they were for V.E. day. There they found that the peninsular was "wall to wall" with men and equipment withdrawn or retreated from the Eastern Front, who had escaped from the Russians. Unlike the other Rifle Brigade Battalions instead of the usual A, B C and S (Support) Companies, 1st Bn The Rifle Brigade consisted of A, C, I and S (Support) Companies". Source:

David was originally buried in a small churchyard at Coulvain but was moved to the military burial ground at Bayeux on 13 August 1946. 
                                                                  Coulvain church
BAYEUX WAR CEMETERY, which was completed in 1952, contains 4,144 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 338 of them unidentified. There are also over 500 war graves of other nationalities, the majority German. The BAYEUX MEMORIAL stands opposite the cemetery and bears the names of more than 1,800 men of the Commonwealth land forces who died in the early stages of the campaign and have no known grave. 
David Parry-Jones does have a grave with a headstone the inscription of which is as follows:

Private diary of Major A W Allen 1st battalion Rifle brigade

"But it is surely invidious to dwell upon individual efforts when all did their utmost. Of those who died, although the deeds of some are not yet known in full, it would be impossible to write too much. They will be remembered.

Of those who survived a great number were wounded, most of whom had to recover as best they could in German hands. If all ranks of the 1st Battalion who had reached by keenness and hard work such a high standard of training for mobile warfare with armoured divisions, were disappointed of their fun in a war of movement, they at least still enjoyed the excitements of the early stages of this action and in the grim discipline and fighting qualities as Riflemen under any conditions of war, took pride in them. It would not be easy to find any who regret the days of CALAIS". 

Parry-Jones family
David's father was Harry Parry-Jones a local dentist who had a surgery at 6 Frederick place in Weymouth. This building is now a restaurant next door to Howley’s toy shop.
He was also a WW2 ARP warden for Weymouth.
David's mother was Ethelle Blanchard Fry; she grew up in a military family as her father, Edward David Fry was a career soldier also in the Rifle brigade and reached the rank of Sergeant. He fought with distinction surviving the great war and later worked as a Commissioner for the army pension scheme. Ethelle was born in Kilkenny in Ireland but was widely travelled as her brothers were born in Sri Lanka.
Ethelle died in 1959 and her ashes are interned at St Andrews church in Preston.

In 1943 Daphne married George Wheeler in Scarborough. He was a Canadian studying theology at Toronto University (presumably one of those stationed nearby for D Day). They married in Scarborough UK in April 1943 and moved to Scarborough Ontario.
Daphne and George and had two children William Wheeler in December 1943 (born in Exeter) and Parry Jones Wheeler in 1945 (born in Ontario). They travelled back to Southampton from Canada on the steam ship Aquitania owned by Cunard in April 1947 listing Greensleaves in Weymouth as their intended address.
In November 1947 she sailed back to Canada via New York with the children on the Mauretania.

Daphne adopted Canadian citizenship and settled in Scarborough Ontario as a librarian where her husband George became a local clergyman and her son William a teacher. The family regularly travelled between Weymouth and Canada until the early 1960s.

They paid a local lady to maintain and clean the bus shelter.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Votes for Women

On Sunday 1 July between 12:00–15:00 in The Borough Gardens, Dorchester there will be an event to celebrate 100 years of Women's suffrage.

 "A free event to celebrate 100 years of women first getting the vote! There will be fun activities, educational displays and speakers, as well as music and entertainment to enjoy whilst indulging in tea and cake."

So what is this all about?

In June 1917 the Representation of the People Bill had been passed by a large majority in the House of Commons, with 385 votes for to 55 against. The act became law after receiving Royal Assent on 6 February 1918 and saw the size of the electorate grow from 7.7 million to 21.4 million. It served to add 9.2 million new female voters and 4.5 million new male voters.

Many historical commentators have suggested that the role women played in the first world war contributed to this step forward, but others feel that the role of women had already changed when they were asked to step into the factories or to participate in the field hospitals. 

Forceful campaigning by the suffragette movement as early as 1860 had been pushing for electoral change and at the end of the war there had been an attitude shift in British society. Not only did women prove they were deserving of the vote but also the returning male soldiers; Prior to World War One only 60% of the adult male population had the right to vote.

The passing of the Representation of the People act was the first stage in the political emancipation of British women but it only allowed women over 30 who owned property to vote. It took a further ten years before all adult women over the age of 21 years were entitled to vote and other political reforms took much longer to be introduced. 

Nancy Astor became the first women to take her seat in the House of Commons as an MP in 1919 but it was not until 1958 that women were able to take a seat in the House of Lords and then only as Life Peers. It took a further five years before they could pass on an hereditary peerage to their children.

In the 2017 General election there were 650 MPs elected of which 442 are male and 208 are female. The under representation of women in parliament today has been widely sited not to a lack of women wanting to be MPs but due to the well-entrenched gender bias in British party politics and discrimination by party selectors towards women candidates.
There is much still to achieve and women Mps such as Mhairi Black are continuing the campaign for women's social equality.

As we celebrate the centenary of women's entry to the political arena, credit should be given wholeheartedly to the vital role the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) played in gaining the right for women to vote.

Looking at the experience of women in other countries who did not benefit from this forceful movement, winning the right to vote could have taken us decades longer to achieve.

Voting in other countries

  • Women got the right to vote in Finland in 1906, Norway 1913 and Denmark and Iceland 1915.
  • The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Netherlands granted suffrage in 1917.
  • Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Sweden in 1918
  • Germany and Luxembourg in 1919
  • Spain in 193
  • France waited until 1944
  • Belgium, Italy, Romania, and Yugoslavia until 1946
  • Switzerland finally gave women the vote in 1971
  • Liechtenstein until 1984
  • In Canada women won the vote in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan in 1916
  • but Quebec in 1940
  • Ecuador 1929
  • Brazil 1932
  • El Salvador 1942
  • Dominican Republic 1945
  • Guatemala, Argentina 1946
  • India in 1935
  • Philippines women received the vote in 1937
  • Japan in 1945
  • China in 1947
  • Indonesia in 1955
  • Liberia in 1947, Uganda 1958 and Nigeria 1960. 

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Vernon Pond

I am currently looking back at the lives of some of the former inhabitants of Osmington village and one such person is Ewart Rosebury Vernon Pond, who was a sailor in the First World war.
Vernon was killed in action on HMS Warrior on 31 May 1916 aged 22 years. He was the only son of Charles Edward and Louisa Pond. Born in Norden near Corfe Castle on 21 April 1894, his family lived in Poxwell but his parents latterly moved to a cottage on Church road in Preston. 
Before the war both Vernon and his father Charles worked on the farm at Poxwell; Vernon was a labourer and his father was a carpenter and engine driver.
Vernon was a stoker First class on HMS Warrior during the war. This was a hard and filthy job carried out in harsh conditions but to mitigate stokers received 50% better pay than seamen and were provided with baths once they finished their shift. 

Firing the boiler was arduous work, which Vernon was no doubt used to on the farm. In contrast to his pre-war work, Vernon could work in temperatures up to 43 C, shoveling coal into the boiler and clearing the clinker and ash away. Once he finished his shift he would appear on the upper deck where freezing water might be sluicing across the deck in sub zero temperatures.
HMS Warrior was the last missing ship from the Battle of Jutland and until August 2017 it's exact location in the North Sea had never been found.
"It was eventually discovered 90 yards under the sea  after it was abandoned due to the heavy damage it took from enemy shelling. The Battle of Jutland is regarded as the only major naval battle of the First World War and involved 100,000 men and 250 ships, with almost 9,000 sailors killed on both sides during the 36-hour conflict.
According to a letter written by Captain Vincent Barkly Molteno, the ship came under fire from nine German ships for seventeen-and-a-half minutes before it retired from battle. The surviving crew of 743 were transferred to HMS Engadine, who also tried to tow HMS Warrior back to Britain. 
Because of the extensive damage and bad weather HMS Warrior had to be abandoned and sank on June 1, 1916. Although it has been underwater for 100 years, museum experts say that it has remained in good condition and was an 'untouched time capsule".
Captain Molteno wrote in the Guardian that his men 'behaved magnificently' and their 'courage had been magnificent' during the battle and that he had written to the Admiralty asking to keep his 700-plus crew together so he could captain them again.

He also asked for 10 days leave for each of those who served on the sunken ship so they could go ashore, see friend and family and be 'cock-a-chest'.Captain Molteno manoeuvred the vessel out of harms way after the heavy attack from nine Germany ships, saving the lives of the majority of his crew. After the battle he was awarded the Order of St Anna by the Russians, recognizing his bravery. 

'Along the side of the ship in several places it is possible to see the deck, where the base of several of the big gun turrets are visible. 'One of the ship’s masts is lying on the seabed on the ships’ port side. The mast was broken during the collision with the seabed, and the top part of the mast is folded under the wreckage. 'Thus, it was quite evident that the ship had hit the seabed upside down, and that the ship had sunk down onto the mast.' 

                                                                                      Photo: Peter Milford 

There were 100 casualties, 71 were killed outright, 19 of these were in the engine room, and most of the remainder on the main deck.

There is no grave for Vernon but he is remembered at the naval memorial in Plymouth and at St Osmund's church in Osmington. 

Does anyone have more information they can add to his story or a photo of him?

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

100 years since the armistice 11 November 2018

With the surrender of Germany in November 1918 fighting in the Great war ceased with the signing of the armistice.

The war eventually finished in June 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

One hundred years on, this November will be an important part of commemorating the huge sacrifice made by so many people and Osmington will also be taking part.

If you are not sure how you can play a part in remembering,  why not take a look at the 'Every One Remembered' website run by the British Legion? It aims to remember every single person who played a part in the war and you can help by adding a virtual poppy, photographs, a story and a person message.

So many young men were killed in WW1 before they had families and so were remembered only as Great uncles who never came home. To save their stories for the future, please look back through your family albums, talk to older relatives and add as much information as you can.

You can also use this website to look up your relatives as well; why not give it a go...

See Wilf Burden commemoration on the site.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Osmington Water supply

The main village pumps for Osmington were located on land owned by Edward Atkyns Wood the Rev Edward Challis Kempe (New South Wales) and Samuel Bartlett Jerrard.
They leased their land to Robert Gill, Thomas Alner Homer and TWJ Dimond.
Samuel Bartlett Jerrard
The water pumps were located on the main road near to the Plough Inn, opposite the Old Post office on Church Lane and at Netherton farm in lower Church lane. All the large houses of Osmington had their own private wells and Osmington Mills was well catered for with its own spring.

During the early 19th Century water-born diseases such as typhus, typhoid and diptheria were endemic in England. This was due to polluted water sources, where open sewers ran straight into rivers, often up stream from where water was collected.
In villages such as Osmington, water was cleaner because they did not collect it from rivers but underground springs and wells. All the farms and large houses were built around water sources and had their own private supply of water.
People in the village would pay the farmer to collect water from his water pump. Osmington also had a water tower located opposite the Old Post office for the villagers to use.
The 1848 Public Health Act ensured that all sewers were located down stream from a water source. In 1849 the mortality rate in Weymouth was 30 in 1000; in Osmington and surrounding areas it was 19.8 in 1000.
To tackle this problem in 1856 Sutton Poyntz provided the water supply for the whole of Weymouth; it was pumped from a reservoir at Chalbury Fort.
Osmington today no longer relies on wells but has water pumped across from Sutton Poyntz via the fields by the White horse.
The spring at Osmington mills historically had a reputation for having curative powers and people with eye conditions would visit in the hope of being healed.

                                                                                    Copyright Osmington History