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From Our Files: PoWs escape, refinery workers win TVs, and will Christchurch and Bournemouth merge?



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75 YEARS AGO

Two young Miltonians who escaped from a prisoner-of-war camp in Italy and rejoined the Allied Forces, have now arrived home on six weeks’ leave from the Army.

They are L/Cpl. Fred Taylor, youngest son of Mr and Mrs J.H. Taylor, of Straylea, Wootton, and Private Jack Hurley, of Oakwood Avenue, New Milton.

They both joined the 5 / 7 Battalion, Hampshire Regiment of the Territorial Army with a lot of other young local fellows in 1939, and were called-up in the reconstituted 5 Battalion on the outbreak of war.

And they have had their fill of experience since!

The “Advertiser and Times” representative gave Fred Taylor a warm welcome home on going to see him, but found that Jack Hurley had gone to London with his wife.

Nobody could look better in health or spirits than Fred Taylor — or as he candidly admitted — nobody could feel fitter, this despite his many and varied adventures, in the course of which he and his companion suffered great physical hardships, including starvation.

Questioned about his capture, Fred stated: “We were in the line for about three weeks to a month, and towards the end of February we were in an advanced position some 12 miles ahead of the main defensive position then being prepared against the German advantage.

“We were captured at Sidi Nazir,” he continued. "We had been surrounded for three days and were quite ‘loppy,’” which is the Army vernacular for “beaten up.”

Asked whether it was the Germans or the Italians who had surrounded and captured them. Fred replied: “It was the Germans definitely, but they handed us over to the Italians."

*****

Mrs Grainger, wife of Mr F. Grainger, a farm labourer employed by Mr Golledge, residing at Milford, has recently been fitted with an artificial arm at Winchester Hospital at a total cost of £21, of which £5 was found by the hospital and the balance of £16 was subscribed by friends and well-wishers at Milford.

It is understood that both the Mayor (Ald. E. Knight), and the Rev. S.G. Hooper were among those who helped to raise the £16, Mrs Grainger’s arm, which had been paralysed since she was nine years of age, was amputated at Winchester about a year ago. She and her husband left for Verwood, Ringwood, on Monday. Mrs Grainger desires to thank the kind friends who so very generously gave her the artificial arm.

50 YEARS AGO

The dissatisfaction expressed by the governors of Brockenhurst Grammar School over the method of selecting the headmaster of the new junior college to be established in the school’s premises was discussed at County level on Thursday in last week.

It was mentioned by the County Education Officer, Mr R. Marsh, after Hampshire County Council Education Committee had at Winchester been officially informed of the appointment to the new post of Mr A. J. Baker, the present headmaster of Christchurch Grammar School.

It was also reported that — subject to the approval by the Secretary of State to the Department of Education & Science of the New Forest secondary education reorganisation scheme — Mr Baker would received the appropriate salary as from 1st January next year, when he becomes headmaster-designate of the new college. He is scheduled to take over the head’s duties fully on 1st September next year, when the present headmaster of Brockenhurst Grammar School retires.

Mr Marsh told the meeting that a sub-committee including representatives of both schools and the education authority had been specially formed to deal with the selection. The sub-committee had decided there was a suitable person among the existing local headmasters, and had not advertised the post nationally, this he thought, was the cause of objection.

Cadnam’s Mr F. R. Starmes pointed out that the chairman and vice-chairman of Brockenhurst Grammar School’s governors had attended the selection meeting and that the latter had, in fact, seconded Mr Baker’s appointment. He was therefore unable to understand how the governors could object.

*****

Many people are aware of the threat to life on our planet from modern weapons of war — nuclear, chemical and biological. It was to avert this danger that the UN was set up after the last world war, and up to now the outbreak of a major war has been prevented. But at its last meeting the Lymington branch of UNA was invited to study a fresh problem.

The speaker, Mrs V. Perl, dealt with the proceedings of a recent UNESCO conference in Parish. There leading scientists from sixty countries discussed the imminent threat to human life from the pollution of the biosphere by the uncontrolled development of purely peaceful activities.

In the past such destruction of the fertility of our planet has occurred, but only to a limited degree. In ancient times the Sahara was the granary of the Roman Empire, and modern times have seen the creation of the “dust bowl” in the USA.

But now, as the combined result of the population explosion and the reckless speed of industrialisation man’s capacity to exhaust the resources of his planet has become unimaginably greater.

*****

Six 25-inch Invicta colour television sets have been won by employees of the Esso Petroleum Co. at Fawley and its subsidiary company, Esso Chemical Ltd., in a competition organised by the company to encourage care at work. The winners also get a free licence, aerial and a year’s maintenance.

25 YEARS AGO

Merger with Bournemouth looks increasingly likely to be the only viable option open to Christchurch when its submission has to be made to the Local Government Commission at the end of March.

The campaign by Highcliffe Residents’ Association for the borough to join with New Forest looks doomed to failure and the only other alternative of joining with East and North Dorset and Purbeck is unlikely to win much support.

Time is rapidly running out for Christchurch to decide what it should say to the Commission and while all the district councils in the county are evaluating six options in the hope of being able to put forward a joint recommendation, borough councillors were told last week that they really only had “two and a half” possibilities to consider.

That was the view of Tory group leader Coun. John Lofts, who told colleagues on the Unitary Status Committee on Friday in last week that North Dorset and East Dorset councils appeared very happy to merge and that Purbeck could well want to go in with them.

“That leaves Christchurch with the possibility of joining that arrangement and half option we have of joining New Forest if such a move was possible, or a direct merger with Bournemouth”, he declared.

*****

The draft horse riding code produced by the Forestry Commission after a year of negotiations with equestrians was described as “a surrender to powerful vested interests” at last week’s New Forest Consultative Panel.

The Commission’s original proposal to make all riders pay for the damage they cause to the Forest caused a furore, and led to the setting up of the New Forest Equestrian Association whose members have met with the Commission to debate the issues, of erosion and charging.

The Commission’s Deputy Surveyor, Arthur Barlow, told the Panel that the meetings between the two organisations had been “very useful” and he believed their good relationship would last for many years.

owever, he believed the horse riding community should make some contribution towards the costs it creates in the management of the Forest Alternatives to a permit system continue to be explored and the issue remains on the agenda,” he stated. The considering targeting commercial livery yards and riding schools rather than individual riders.

*****

A narrow gauge steam engine similar to the Welsh slate one at Ffestimog could be puffing its way round the famous Exbury Gardens, if New Forest Planning Committee members give their approval after making a site visit.

But if they do so, it will be in the face of advice from their officers, who are recommending refusal on the grounds that it will be intrusive and harmful to the “tranquil sylvan character” of the immediate area; will encourage an increase in visitors to the New Forest and the village of Exbury; and will adversely affect the amenities of local residents.

The proposal for the one foot eleven and a half inch gauge track and station depot was not a purely commercial one, said head of development control for the area. Chris Elliott, as it was the hobby of the estate owner. But he would like visitors to help defray its cost.



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