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Showing posts from November, 2022

Blandford Throwback Facts XXII

  In 1925 , a Bournemouth man was sued for breach of promise by a 24 year old Blandford girl for failing to marry her. He explained he was already engaged to a Shrewsbury girl while another Bournemouth girl had successfully sued him for breach of promise.  During the 1920s, Hall & Woodhouse had a football team nicknamed the ‘ Tubbs’ . In 1926 , twenty seven people were killed and 40 were injured in the Great Blandford Rail Crash. However, this was not in Blandford, Dorset but Blandford, New South Wales in Australia. In 1927 , Charles Hunt, the last surviving member of the Blandford Town Band which had won the National Brass Band Championship in 1863 died.  Draper, A Cherry & Son of Salisbury Street published an apology in the Western Gazette newspaper stating that an employee had spread a false and ‘ entirely untrue’ rumour that a Blandford doctor was leaving the town and giving up his local practice.  Mr Warrilow, a blind organist and Director of Music for the National In

Blandford Camp's German Prisoners of War

There were four German prisoner of war camps in the Blandford area during World War One. These were on Blandford Camp, at the Blandford Milldown, at Crichel and in Iwerne Minster. The last two were small agricultural camps. Blandford Camp was by far the largest and in March 1917 held nearly 1,400 prisoners. It covered 12 acres together with another 17 acres for recreation. The majority of prisoners were German although there were some Austrians. Reflecting the class structure of the time, officers were accommodated separately from the men and in better conditions. The Camp had around 50 wooden huts including 34 dormitories heated by stoves and lit by electricity. One way in which internees kept themselves entertained was by what was known as ‘Schiebung’ . Life in the camps was lived under strict rules which internees would challenge to break whenever it was safe to do so. The more ingenious the initiative the better it was enjoyed. Alcohol was prohibited but empty bottles would be co

Dorset & Jack the Ripper!

  Three local men believed they had sound theories to identify Jack the Ripper. This was the name given to the murderer who savagely killed five women in London’s impoverished Whitechapel district in 1888. The three men with these views were Henry Richard Farquarson, Frederick George Abberline and Sydney Godolphin Osborne. Henry Richard Farquarson, who has been unkindly nicknamed ‘ loose-lipped Farqie’ was the controversial and outspoken Member of Parliament for West Dorset from 1885 to 1895. He lived at Eastbury House in Tarrant Gunville. Apparently, Farquarson claimed that the murderer was the son of a surgeon who had committed suicide. Fearing libel, he did not identify him specifically but his description pointed to Wimborne-born, Montague Druitt. In February 1892, the Western Mail later confirmed that the West Dorset MP’s theory was that ‘ the author of the outrages killed himself. ’ Druitt had committed suicide in November 1888 and his body had been recovered from the River Th

Western Gazette - an Appreciation

At one time, the Western Gazette was the most widely read newspaper across Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. Apart from the readership in the three counties it was also highly valued by those who had left these districts. One reader wrote: ‘I am not certain about Tibet or Mars but it is quite safe to say there is not a country on earth which does not receive its quota of Western Gazettes. In hundreds of cases, it is the only remaining link between exiles and the land of their birth.’ For one man in Kenya, it was reckoned to be part of his ritual every Sunday to sit on the equator and read his Gazette. Another read it overlooking Lake Victoria ‘ not far from slimy crocodiles nearly 30 ft. long and hippopotami almost as big as submarines.’ In a little community not far from Calgary, in Alberta, Canada there were six families who regularly received the ‘Western’ . Another, who had worked himself into a position of trust on the Canadian Pacific Railway called it the ‘ Zet ’, at one time