Skip to main content

Blandford Throwback Facts XXIV

 

In 1938, Blandford residents objected to plans for a Royal Air Force bombing range to be built just outside the town. Despite attending a demonstration at Porton they remained unconvinced of the project’s merit.

Throughout the 1930s, special services were regularly held at Langton Church for hikers and bikers that the Bishop of Salisbury would attend.

In 1939, Reading brewers, H G Symonds announced that they had bought the brewing business, John Lewis Marsh a small brewery that had traded in the town for many years.

Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway offered two low priced excursions. Two shillings and a penny (10p) for a half-day return trip to Bournemouth and two shillings & eleven pence (15p) for an all inclusive return trip to Clifton which included a visit to the zoo.

            An edict was issued, at the start of World War II, that Blandford should be deleted from road signs and notice boards to confuse the enemy in the event of a German invasion.

In 1940, Major Edward William Castleman of Chettle, Chairman of the Blandford Branch of Magistrates was fined fifteen pounds with costs for selling butter at two shillings & sixpence per (12.5p) – eleven old pence above the legal maximum.

        With the south of England being under the threat of German invasion, Blandford became strategically important to halt any German enemy advance. Dorset Group 5 Auxiliary Unit was established at Blandford to carry out a guerrilla warfare campaign in the event of invasion. Eight local patrols were set up including at Pimperne, Spetisbury, Woodyates and Child Okeford.

             A 19 year-old Royal Air Force pilot died when his Spitfire aircraft crashed near Durweston.

          Trains arrived at Blandford station carrying troops evacuated from Dunkirk who were transferred to Blandford Camp.

In 1944, Blandford Camp became a United States hospital complex. US Military Police had an office in West Street.

The US President’s nephew, Captain Quentin Roosevelt married Frances Webb of the US Red Cross in Blandford Church. The 1st US Infantry Division HQ was at Langton House.

In 1945, located in Shaftesbury Lane, Blandford’s Isolation Hospital closed. This had been much used due to the large number of infectious diseases prior to the establishment of the National Health Service.

 



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