Skip to main content

Blandford Throwback Facts XX


In 1916, a young boy was summonsed at a special children’s court hearing for stealing seventeen shillings & sixpence (87p). He said he was sorry and received three strokes of the birch as a punishment. An excellent Christmas lunch was enjoyed by inmates of the Blandford Poor Institution consisting of roast beef, roast pork, plum pudding, oranges, etc. The hall was nicely decorated by the cook, Mrs Crabbe. A crowd of more than 2,000 spectators attended the Recreation Ground to watch the first round of five football matches when teams competed for the Royal Naval Division (RND) Challenge Cup. Before the match, the RND depot band played a selection of melodies in the centre of the pitch. Members of the Royal Engineers practised bridge building across the River Stour. Townsfolk asked the military to stop playing the dead march as soldiers who had died were taken to the station. This had become a regular nightly experience.

In 1917, there were 1,400 German internees in the Blandford Camp’s prisoner of war camp. There were also internment centres on the Milldown and at Iwerne Minster. There were 34 ale houses, six limited on-site beer houses, two off-site beer houses and seven wine & spirit outlets in the town. Arthur Parker pleaded guilty to a breach of the Shop Closing Act. His wife had sold a little boy chocolate at 9.10pm and as a result Mr Parker received a fine of two shillings and sixpence (12.5p).

In 1918, a local baker was summonsed for selling bread to German prisoners of war. He was sent to Dorchester Jail for six weeks. During the ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic, it is reckoned between 50 and 60 young servicemen died each week in Blandford Camp. Local doctors were so overwhelmed by the number of influenza cases they could not visit patients. Two hundred & seventy German prisoners of war were working in a saw mill located on the Milldown which was part of an internment camp. Two German soldiers Franke Christopher and Kasten Heinz escaped from the Blandford Camp Internment Camp but were soon recaptured. Richard Cave of Spetisbury was summonsed under the Hoarding Order for being in possession of four hams. He explained he had been in the habit of buying green hams and allowing them to mature. The case was dismissed after he claimed that a mature ham went further as a food than a green ham.

            (Illustration: Military bridge building across the River Stour)

 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

True Lovers Knot - a Tragic Tale

True Lovers Knot public house describes itself as a traditional  inn set in a picturesque Dorset valley in Tarrant Keynston. Yet, this historical hostelry is said to have gained its name from a particularly tragic tale and still to be haunted by a distressed former publican. This publican’s son met and fell in love with the daughter of the local squire. Because the young lad was not from the gentry they decided to keep their relationship secret from her father. Unfortunately, a stable hand saw the two young lovers together and told her father. Set firmly against this friendship the squire made plans to send his daughter away from the district. Not able to face up to life without her boyfriend, the young girl decided to commit suicide and hanged herself from a tree in the village. So upset was the publican’s son of hearing of his girlfriend’s death he too hanged himself from the same tree. The Tarrant Keynston publican had, himself lost his wife at child birth and now losing his son b

Chimney Sweep Tragedy

Crown Hotel, Blandford is reckoned to be one of Dorset’s oldest hostelries. Yet its most tragic day, during a long history, must surely be when a young chimney sweep lost his life. The chimney sweep, who was just a child, suffocated and was burnt to death in a Crown Hotel chimney which had been alight a little while before. ‘His cries were dreadful and no-one could give assistance. Part of the chimney was taken down before he was got out.’ (Salisbury & Winchester Gazette 27th March 1780) The lad had gone up one chimney and attempting to go down another had become stuck. At the time children were used to climb up chimneys to clean out soot deposits. With hands and knees, they would shimmy up narrow dark flue spaces packed thick with soot and debris. After the 1731 Great Fire of Blandford it was realised that it was important to sweep chimneys regularly while many rebuilt houses had narrower ones. Smaller chimneys and complicated flues were a potential death trap for children. The sw

Tarrant Rushton's Nuclear Secret

Tarrant Rushton was a large RAF base used for glider operations during World War II. It was then taken over by Flight Refuelling for the conversion of aircraft for the development of aircraft in-flight refuelling. However, between 1958 & 1965, the Tarrant Rushton airfield had a much more secretive and less publicised role. This was in support of the nation’s nuclear bomber deterrent, as Tarrant Rushton airfield became a QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) dispersal unit.   During 1958, contractors Costain reinforced the main runway and carried out other work to ensure the giant bomber aircraft could be accommodated. At times just a few miles from Blandford, there would have been up to four RAF Vickers Valiant bombers at Tarrant Rushton ready to become airborne in minutes charged with nuclear weapons. The bombers were from 148 Squadron at RAF Marham in Norfolk. As there was no suitable accommodation at the airfield, an old US Air Force Hospital building at Martin was used. At the time, the