From Our Files: sad news from Tunisia, auction 'trickery', and pony neglect claims
75 YEARS AGO
FROM a War Office letter which his parents have received, it appears that Lieut. Michael Roche, elder son of Captain A. L. Roche, MBE, and Mrs Roche, met his death in Tunisia in a brave attempt to save one of his men from drowning.
The Roche family have a large circle of friends in New Milton, where they lived before the war, and Michael and his brother Peter (now serving abroad with the Army) and sister, regularly played in the annual tennis tournaments at Milford-on-Sea and Brockenhurst.
Lieut. Roche was serving with the 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment, which made history in its glorious stand at Tebourba.
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Two hundred happy young faces greeted our representative when he called at the Parish Hall, Lymington, at midday on Tuesday to see how the local schools’ dinner scheme, sponsored by the County Education Authority and inaugurated there the previous Thursday, had got going. It promises to be quite as successful there as it has been at the numerous other places where it has been established.
The County has completed negotiations for the hire of the Parish Hall from the Parochial Church Council a year ago, but adaptation of the premises, especially the kitchen, and the installation of the necessary equipment had caused a delay in starting the dinners, for which the Borough Council has been pressing for some time.
For the first meal served on Thursday 60 children sat down. The fact that the number had grown to 200 early this week shows the popularity that the service is likely to have.
Tuesday’s menu comprised cheese pie, with white sauce, peas and boiled potatoes, and steamed ginger pudding and golden sauce. A very appetising meal it looked.
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It is reported that now the influenza amongst the humans has run its course, there is an epidemic of cat flu in the New Milton district, and the vet is having a busy time giving pussy injections. It is stated that at least 24 cats locally have died from it.
50 YEARS AGO
A MILFORD reader believes that he stumbled across an auction ring in operation in Lymington on Thursday in last week.
He had attended an auction sale, and went outside to get his car when he saw approximately twelve people standing in a ring in a secluded spot bidding between £20 and £25 in £1 advances for an article which he thinks was bought at the official auction.
On his being noticed, the bidding immediately stopped and the “ring” started singing hymns, and he heard someone say they were having a hymn meeting.
As the group broke up in ones and twos, one of the “ring” slipped in some mud, and called out “Look what he made me do”.
On returning to the vicinity of the real auction, our informant was pointed out to latecomers as a person of apparent interest.
Mr M. E. D. Peckham, F.S.V.A., who conducted the sale of antique furniture, silver and painting at Lewis & Badcock’s auction salesrooms at Emsworth Road, Lymington, on Thursday in last week told the A&T he was not aware any ring was operating and that in view of the prices made at the sale did not think it would have rendered them much profit. He added there was keen competition between dealers at the sale.
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A six months’ driving disqualification was imposed on Mr John Cordle, MP for Bournemouth East & Christchurch, by Basingstoke magistrates on Wednesday.
Mr Cordle, who pleaded guilty by letter, was fined £25 for exceeding the 70mph speed limit on the A35. The disqualification was imposed under the “totting up” procedure for a third traffic offence within three years.
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A developer who applied for planning permission for the erection of 12 dwellings on the site of some terraced cottages in Lower Buckland Road, Lymington, had been told that this was too high a density, but a subsequent application, by Lymington Borough Council, to build 15 dwellings there, had been referred to the South West Hants Divisional Planning Committee with a recommendation that it be approved.
This was stated at the meeting of Lymington Council on Wednesday in last week by Ald. W. R. K. Symons, when he told Council members “I think this has got a nasty smell about it. I don’t like it.
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A surprise announcement that the New Forest Hotels and Restaurants’ Association – which has about 90 members – had applied for an extension of the permitted drinking hours until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays all the year round, was made on Tuesday at the annual licensing meeting at Lymington Magistrates’ Court.
Late that day the regular monthly meeting of the Lymington Licensed Victuallers’ Association, which has 64 members, was held, following which came the news that they would be opposing the application. The two sides’ views will be heard by the magistrates when they consider the matter on March 18.
25 YEARS AGO
CLAIMS that a New Forest pony collapsed and died through neglect and starvation, has prompted two women to set up an action group to investigate the welfare of animals on the Forest.
Schoolchildren near Ringwood were shocked and upset after finding the pony, nicknamed Scruffy, collapsed outside Moyles Court School. Locals alleged that the mare had been suffering from malnutrition and colic for weeks, after being neglected by its commoner owner. She denied this, saying she tried to feed the animal but could not get to her every day, and that this was the first pony she had lost in years.
Scruffy’s year old foal Sandy was later barricaded in a garden for protection after the owner initially ordered that it be shot, although the animal has now been taken in by a friend. Villagers also jeered the RSPCA inspector when he turned up, telling him he should have arrived 24 hours earlier.
These angry scenes have once more raised questions about the state of Forest animals, and led to the recent formation of the New Forest Animal Welfare Group, by Annabel Dollery and Sarah Cheal who live in the north of the Forest. “We would like to cover the whole of the New Forest and get a group of people together to create changes.”
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Local opposition to the sale of four acres of former Ashley County Junior School playing fields, at New Milton, as a housing site, has been brushed aside by Hampshire County Council, as it sees a £400,000 prize in its grasp.
The County Land sub-committee agreed to go ahead with the sale of the land, declared surplus to education requirements in 1986, to the adjoining owner and developer, on the grounds that the Coastal Towns Local Plan inspector had concluded there was no need for any additional public open space in the area.
But this is refuted by the Town Council which has said the addition of the land to Ashley sports ground is “vitally important” in terms of further promotion of sport in the town.
New Forest District Council has indicated it is willing to buy the site — but at recreational land value only. It is not an offer which has been welcomed by the County, which would see its £400,000 windfall dwindling to a mere £40,000.
Opposition to the scheme was voiced at last week’s meeting of the sub-committee by local members, Couns. Malcolm Jones and Alan Rice. Coun. Rice later told the A&T: “I hope that we will be able to stop this at the planning stage. Because of the large amount of development in the area we are going to need all the playing fields that we can get.”
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A train struck a length of pipe put on the railway line at New Milton by vandals on Sunday. “It could easily have been derailed and someone could have been killed,” said Sergeant Keith Fleetwood of the British Transport police.
The two-metre length of iron pipe had been lowered to the track from Gore Farm Bridge on a piece of string, he said. Children, he added, had been seen on the bridge.
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A strong call for Christchurch to remain an independent authority has been made by former first citizens of the borough.
The Association of Past Mayors says that there should be a referendum of all local residents and that the public should play a full part in the borough’s destiny in the reorganisation of local government.
Christchurch Council should be saved, it claims, because if it was swallowed up by a neighbouring authority there would be a loss of participation in local issues, particularly planning, environmental and other services remoteness of administration; devaluation to the status of a parish or parishes; higher administrative and service costs; and a possible threat to local Green Belt policies.