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Crash at East the water
(re letter in April’s edition from Peter Lamprey (Australia) I have some information from the Public Record Office at Kew, that I requested as “something to do” after I took early retirement due to ill health. I have always being interested in local history and having heard about the crash from older residents of ETW decided to try and find out more.)
The record class AIR 27 covers Squadron Operation’s Record Books (or ORBs). The ORB for 407 Squadron Royal Canadian Airforce at RAF Chivenor in 1945 is (PRO Ref) AIR 27/1795. This document is kept at the Public Record Office in Kew. The ORB for 7 March 1945 records “Tragedy struck the squadron early this evening when F/L Ernie Duckworth J.25370 Pilot and Captain of “P” Peter, taking off shortly after 20.00hrs on a routine SE Homing Flight under perfect conditions was unable to gain height because of engine trouble and crashed into a field near Bideford some minutes later. There were six men on board the aircraft, of whom four were casualties (three were killed and one was badly injured). The ORB states that the casualties may have occurred when the aircraft “in skidding along the ground went through one of those four to six feet thick walls of stone, dirt and shrubs which in this part of the country is known as a hedge” (written by a Canadian) the names of the airmen who died are provided (they were all Canadian) :
F/LE.V. Duckworth J 25370, P/O C.J.ButlerJ88278, P/O Andrews J90251.
The ORB record’s that S/L C.W. Taylor DFC, Flight Commander, wrote a short poem in the Flight Daily Diary “to commemorate the passing of the three of the best of the 407 breed” – the words of the poem are recorded. ( I have not located this poem).
Hope it’s of some interest, and not too boring. I enjoy the Buzz very much, keep up the good work, Brian Lacey
Thanks, this is really an interesting topic from the past. My cousin from Cornwall, Brian Whitaker,is also interest in this topic so thanks to Brian (Lacey) the old Bideford is coming alive for us. By the way were there any German aircrew fished out of the Torridge near the bus depot at Bank End during WW2? Once again thanks.
Peter Lamprey (Australia)
Thank you for the map of the Home Guard Defences around your area. ( February 2013 Buzz)
I have quite a few books on the Home Guard, an area that interests me. One of my uncles served with the Home Guard in this area ;his name was Bill Baglow, of Westward Ho!.If you have any information on this gentleman, I would like to put it in a book I have in my library.
Peter Lamprey (Australia)
Hi there, Your excellent newsletter popped up when I entered D L Barnes into the Google search. He is the great great grandson of a well known Dartmoor lady called Sally/Sarah Satterley who I am researching and I would dearly love to get in touch. He posted on your letters. If by any chance you know his address would you be prepared to share it with me or at least let him know I would like to speak with him.(Address supplied)
Ed replies Mr DL Barnes is a frequent correspondent who will no doubt read your letter and get in touch, or I will remind him when I see him!.
Save the Grenville Manor House? Any millionaires out there?
We are £200,000 short of our target and time is running out. The building (part of the old ‘Tavern in the Port’ in Bridge Street) was almost certainly where Sir Richard Grenville was born. We will be commemorating this with a plaque unveiling on June 15th. We want to buy the building for the town and use it as an Information Centre, Heritage Museum, history research centre, and provide some space for community groups to hold meetings there.
Recently you have been publishing a roll call of shops that have fallen and as I was reading the list, I could almost hear the Last Post playing in my head. For many it was a nostalgic trip down memory lane but it was also a wake up call. To continue the military analogy, as well as remembering the fallen, we should encourage and support the veterans that are still with us.
The heart and soul of any town is its shopping centre. Regrettably many towns are now the victims of cloning, which is forbidden in humans but seemingly encouraged in towns. What gives a town its character is variety in its shops and Bideford still has over 70 independent retailers.
Hardly a day goes by without stories in the press and on the radio about the plight of town centres. Last year, the government commissioned Mary Portas to consider the problem and to come up with recommendations. More than one of our district councillors has conveyed their opinion that town centre retail is no longer viable and that the internet is the way of the future. One local councillor said that people now walk around with electronic devices in their hands and price compare or shop on line. He obviously hasn’t tried this in Bideford where you are lucky to get a signal, and if you do, the connection speed is painfully slow!
I cannot dispute the convenience of the internet or the vast selection of products and services. I also agree that the net is often cheaper than the High Street. What a lot of us do not realise or choose to overlook is why? Many on line businesses contribute little to the local or indeed national economy. Many operate from home or from small premises and pay no business rates. Some of the larger ones route their sales through the Channel Islands to avoid VAT or register the head office in places like Luxemburg to avoid UK corporation tax. No wonder they are cheaper! At a time when our economy is in dire straights, this is not a very helpful business practice.
Even though many shops have closed in recent years, retailing is still one of the largest employers in the country and the defeatist attitude that traditional retailing is finished and we should now move on is putting countless jobs at risk as well as the knock on effect of what happens when our town centres are full of boarded up, graffiti covered shops.
Tourism is hugely important to this area and interesting shops with character are a very important part of the tourist experience. When on holiday, most tourists will browse the shops because they have time. I know that is what I do. I recognise that browsers are not sales but if the shop is well set out and interesting, the sales will follow. Those shops with the gormless sales assistant offering “If you can’t see it, we haven’t got it” will deservedly fail. The good ones however deserve our support as they will not survive on tourist business alone.
I can hear you say, “But the local shops have not got what I want”. Unfortunately this is often true a bit of a Catch 22 problem. The public don’t shop there because of the lack of choice and the shopkeepers don’t stock it because they think the public will probably just get it on line anyway. To break this log jam we will have to experience a little inconvenience. If the shop hasn’t got what you want, ask them to get it in for you. (this is often just as quick as ordering on line). If this happens often enough, the shops will start stocking it anyway.
We must celebrate the fact that we are not “Dolly the Town, ” because without local shops, we won’t have a town with its own identity.