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From Our Files: PoW escapes, plans for Beaulieu tourism hub, and fox hunting season gets underway



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75 YEARS AGO

CAPTAIN Gordon Muirhead, of Marine Drive, Barton-on-Sea, has received a cablegram from his son Lieut Terence Muirhead, MC, Essex Regiment, stating that he is now in Adelboden, Switzerland.

Lieut Muirhead, who is 25 years of age, was educated at Leys School and at Cambridge University. He joined the Army as a Regular at the beginning of the war, was immediately given his commission, and at once proceeded to North Africa. He won his MC at Tobruk while serving under General Wavell. He has been a prisoner of war for 2½ years, escaped from his camp in or near Rome, and as stated, has now reached Switzerland. His cablegram broke a four months’ silence, bringing great relief to his father’s anxiety.

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I hear that the hospitality of Barton residents to troops is greater than that of New Milton, but then the Barton scheme was started a week or more earlier.

More hosts are wanted for New Milton. If you can invite a soldier into your home for a couple of hours a week on any day just give your name and your address, and the date and hour when soldiers can call, to Coun. Taylor or Mr Tucker, at Roberts Adlard.

Now, New Milton, don’t let Barton beat you in hospitality. Soldiers don’t expect your rations, but just a chance to have a chat by the fireside and a bit of home life, in fact. (Townsman)

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Miss Georgina (“Trixie”) Sheryer, of Lymington, formerly a LACW in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, and who served for two and a quarter years as an Accounts Clerk, has been awarded the King’s Badge for loyal service.

50 YEARS AGO

DELAY in granting planning permission for the proposed development of a new £750,000 centre for tourism at Beaulieu has already cost £50,000 a year and, said Lord Montagu at the annual estate dinner held in the Domus, Beaulieu, on Friday in last week, each further year’s delay could cost another £50,000.

The plans for the 70-acre centre were submitted to the Hampshire County Council two years ago. The Council approved the scheme, as did the Housing Ministry, who received the application a year later. The outline planning permission was then sent to the New Forest RDC for final approval.

A spokesman for the New Forest RDC said this week: “We received the application only at the end of September, 1968, and there are a lot of inquiries to be made with this kind of proposal. The Council will probably meet at the end of this month to consider the plan and, if they agree Lord Montagu can go ahead with his venture.”

The centre will include a ten-acre car park, ultra modern purpose built accommodation, a library of road transport, including a £300,000 print photographic library, and a mile long mono-rail linking the main parts of the centre.

Lord Montagu said a memorial would be placed in the Abbey cloisters in the spring to men and women of the wartime underground movement known as S.O.E. (Special Operations Europe), many of whose members were trained in the Beaulieu area.

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A Lymington man returned last week from a pioneering trip overland to Bombay in a new Excelsior European Motorways coach. He is Mr Jim Feast, and was one of the drivers on the marathon test, which took 18 days for the round trip.

Another man with local connections on the run, which was made to enable Excelsior to assess the prospects of running a commercial coach service to India, was Mr Vernon Maitland, proprietor of Hampshire Motorways, Lymington, who is also managing director of Excelsior European Motorways.

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Wellworthy, of Lymington, have just placed an order for an IBM 360/30 computer for delivery in April next year. It will be installed in the new office block at present under construction at the Ampress site.

This £200,000 machine is needed to provide the computing power required to schedule production throughout the company’s six factories where over 5,000 people are employed. It will take over all the work handled by the present IBM 1440 and will allow considerable expansion toward a fully integrated management information system. The machine will have both magnetic disk backing storage and magnetic tape storage to hold up to 20 million characters.

25 YEARS AGO

SOME of the New Forest’s 40mph speed limit signs aimed at reducing animal accidents have had the opposite effect, and livestock have been killed right next to them because they are too reflective at night.

The New Forest Consultative Panel heard last week that the problem concerns the 40mph repeater signs. “They are so reflective that drivers can’t actually see behind them,” reported Capt. Tim Moore, chairman of the Commoners’ Defence Association. The Forest’s senior agister had confirmed that a number of accidents had occurred almost underneath the signs, which Capt Moore believed were blinding drivers.

The Panel heard that Hampshire County Council has been told about the problem and is looking into using a less reflective material.

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Hythe’s Waterfront Ferry service to Southampton is in jeopardy as its managing company is going into liquidation. As well as a drop in passenger numbers, some of the blame has been laid at the door of Associated British Ports who have increased their charges in Southampton nearly seven-fold in the last few years.

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The official fox and buck hunting seasons got underway to a peaceful start in the New Forest last week, although anti-hunt protestors were angry that Home Secretary Michael Howard has threatened to take severe steps in dealing with saboteurs.

Measures are being taken to introduce a new offence of disrupting a country sport and those convicted may face up to three months in prison or a £2,500 fine. Mr Howard said that saboteurs were wreckers and bullies and he was determined to end their intimidation, threats and violence.

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Despite a claim that it was “worthy of the KGB”, a questionnaire is to be sent by New Forest District Council to people living in homes given planning approval subject to an agricultural occupancy condition, to check that the condition is being complied with. An assurance has been given that the information will remain strictly confidential.

The Council is going on the offensive to ensure that all planning conditions are being conformed with, and the questionnaire, though both members and officers agreed it was potentially intrusive, was given approval, by the Planning Committee.



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