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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.



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