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Showing posts from March, 2024

Dorset-named, they also served

Dorset named vessels to have served in the Royal Navy: HMS Bridport was a Sandown class minehunter built in Vosper Thornycroft’s Southampton shipyard in 1992. Fourteen years later, she was sold to the Estonian Navy. HMS Dorsetshire was a heavy cruiser launched in Portsmouth Dockyard in 1929. She was involved in the sinking of the German battleship, Bismarck and the search for the German heavy cruiser, the Graf Spee. HMS Dorsetshire was sunk by the Japanese in the Indian Ocean in 1942 with the loss of 400 of her 1,500 crew. HMS Weymouth was a light cruiser launched back in 1910. She was one of seven vessels named Weymouth to serve in the Royal Navy. HMS Weymouth served in the Mediterranean, Atlantic & Home Fleets and in the Adriatic. HMS Sherborne was a cutter which operated against smugglers in the English Channel between 1763 & 1784. HMS Cattistock is a mine countermeasures vessel launched by Vosper Thornycroft in 1982. HMS Blandford was launched back in 1720. After ser

William Selby's Trafalgar Medal

In July 2017, a Trafalgar Medal (1805) presented to Dorset born, Ordinary Seaman William Selby was sold at auction for £2,200. The medal had been struck by Matthew Boulton of the Soho Mint in Birmingham on his own initiative. Boulton was embarrassed that there had been no official recognition given to the survivors who had fought in and had won the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805. Sadly, it is said many of these medals were not particularly well received as not being made of silver they were not easily pawned. So, they were just thrown into the sea by some of the ungrateful recipients. The medals were issued in gold to flag officers, in silver to captains and lieutenants but in bronze or white metal to junior officers and men. William Selby is believed to have originated from Durweston and had volunteered to join the British Navy in April 1803. The following month he transferred to HMS Victory where he served as an Ordinary Seaman during the Battle of Trafalgar. Like many of hi


Where do these local place-names come from? Blandford Forum – a ford where ‘ blay ’ which are small fresh water fish could be found. ‘ Forum’ comes from the Latin for a market. In the 13 th century, the town was known as ‘ Cheping Blandford’ , from the Old English for market. Bryanston – from the Old English meaning ‘ Brian’s estate’. This is named after the man who held this estate in the 13 th century. ‘Tun’ is Old English and means ‘ farm, estate or village’ . Winterborne Stickland – ‘ estate on the River Winterborne with a steep hill.’ A Winterborne is a winter stream. Langton – a ‘ long village, farm or estate. ’ Tarrant Gunville – ‘ estate on the River Tarrant held by the Gundeville family.’ Pimperne – first mentioned in the year 935 and probably comes from the Old Celtic meaning ‘ five trees’ . Thorncombe – the ‘ valley where thorn trees grow. ’ Shroton – ‘ sheriff’s estate or farm. ’ The sheriff being Baldwin of Exeter in the 11 th century. Tarrant

Council Houses & Prefabs

At the end of World War II, North Dorset Councils had a waiting list of around 1,250 families wanting affordable housing. Many of these applications came from families with service personnel who had fought in the War. Councils responded in two ways. Prefabricated ‘ temporary ’ homes, intended to last for ten years, were built. They were called ‘prefabs’ . Thirty five were planned by Sturminster Newton Rural District and another twelve by Blandford Borough. They would provide comfortable accommodation for many families and they lasted so long they were proven to be far from ‘ temporary ’. Secondly, many publicly owned houses were built that became known as ‘ council houses’ . Neither the council houses nor the prefabs were constructed to be easy on the eye but they were well-built and designed to be practical rather than attractive. They had both indoor toilets and bathrooms which many of the new occupants had not known before. However, the ‘ council houses’ and ‘ prefabs ’ looked

Blandford Railway Arches

Blandford’s passenger railway station closed in 1966 when the passenger train service between Bath and Bournemouth was withdrawn. However, the line remained open for another three years until goods traffic was also withdrawn. Originally, the line from the south stopped at Blandford St Mary. Then it was brought across the River Stour, and the newly constructed Blandford Railway Arches at the bottom of Damory Street, to a new more central station.  This new Blandford town station opened in September 1863. It was renamed Blandford Forum in 1953. Around a  decade after the last locomotive had left the town Blandford Railway Arches were destroyed by explosives on 25 th July 1979. (Illustrations: Blandford's Railway Arches)