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From Our Files: soldier escapes sniper, friend killed with shotgun, and girls trapped in mud

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Sergeant Kenneth Lance, Reconnaissance Corps, who lived with his brother Mr A. Lance at Overton Farm, Sway, before joining the Army, has been wounded during the fighting in Italy, and is now recovering at the 70th British General Hospital.

In a letter to his brother, he stated that while out on patrol his party captured a German patrol and while they were gathering in the prisoners he was shot in the head by a sniper. Sgt Lance was in charge of an armoured car, which he directed back to headquarters before he was taken to hospital.

Prior to joining the Hampshire Regiment in 1949 – he subsequently transferred to the Reconnaissance Corps – Sgt. Lance was employed by Messrs. Robson & Son, New Milton, with whom he served his apprenticeship, and was a regular player for New Milton Wednesday Football Club.

He went through the North African campaign without getting even a scratch, and in his letter to his brother, telling him that he had been wounded in Italy, Lance says: “Jerry thought that I should rest for good, but it will take a harder crack than this to keep me down, and I hope soon to be back again with the other boys.”

One of the 400 pipes which our readers have contributed for the boys overseas has been despatched to Sgt. Lance, who will no doubt have many reflections of home, as well as of the actions in which he was fought during quiet smokes in hospital.


H.M.S. Obedient, the destroyer adopted by our Borough, was mentioned in an official communiqué this week, as being the first ship to make an attack on a U-boat pack, which was endeavouring to get into the Mediterranean.

Combined action by the RAF and the Navy extended over 11 days, three submarines being sunk, and several damaged. The communique stated that HMS Obedient (Lt.Comdr. H. Unwin D.S.O.), attacked two suspected U-boats with depth charges in the Straits of Gibraltar on the fourth day of the action, but full results were not observed.


An archive advert from 1944
An archive advert from 1944


After hearing how a 16 years old boy was “skylarking” with a 12-bore shotgun forgot that the gun was loaded, and as a result killed his young friend, the foreman of an inquest jury at Lyndhurst made a plea for greater parental control over children with guns.

The 13-year-old was shot at his father’s mink farm at the beginning of February.

Returning a verdict of accidental death, then foreman said: “This is just one of those tragedies you come across every time you open a newspaper. These youngsters will play with guns, not realising the lethal effect.

“More supervision must be made where these weapons are available to youngsters. Strong parental control must be exercised to try to stop these tragedies,” he said.


Five pit ponies which worked in the coal mines of South Wales have arrived for retirement at the Peacehaven Home for Horses, Bransgore.

They have spent most of their lives hauling trucks hundreds of feet down in mines and have now been “pensioned off” by the National Coal Board.

They could be the forerunners of many more of the ponies exchanging the slag heaps for the green fields of Hampshire.

Mr John Horsburgh who runs the home says he has been told that 240 ponies in the mines in South Wales will be replaced by mechanisation within the next two or three years. “If I could get the use of enough land, I would give them all a home”, he said.

The Coal Board has given him the ponies for the rest of their lives on condition they are not put to work again or loaned out.

Oldest of the five ponies is Welcome, a strawberry roan who has been spent 20 of her 25 years toiling below ground. The smallest, and also the youngest at 16, is Lemon, a light bay.


As anticipated, a sixpenny increase in the County rate was approved at Monday’s budget meeting of Hampshire County Council at Winchester.

A Finance Committee recommendation was accepted by the Council of a rate of 8/11d in the £ for the financial year ending March 31st, 1970, made up of 8/6½d for general county purposes and 4½d for special purposes.

Vice-chairman Ald. A. Quilley, said in a budget statement that the rate was “absolutely essential” if the council were to hold their own in providing essential services.

The budget provides for gross expenditure on county services, excluding reimbursable expenditure on trunk roads and motorways, of £501/2-million, an increase on the current year of 10.51 per cent.


People living around New Milton Recreation Ground are to keep a log of anti-social behaviour over a 12-month period beginning on March 1st so that the scale of the problem can be assessed and a decision made on what action can be taken. Residents, some of whom have been too frightened to complain for fear of reprisal, have been assured the incident report forms will be treated in the strictest confidence.

The neighbourhood watch diary is the idea of the Town Council which will be working closely with the police to crack the problem. At a meeting with residents on Monday, local police chief, Terry Lee promised high profile policing of the Rec. in the summer, when trouble has in the past been at its worst. He said the police had tried the softly, softly approach but now it was his intention to get tough and hit the troublemakers hard.

“We want to build up a full picture to be able to liaise with the police,” said Alan Griffiths, chairman of the Council’s Finance and General Purposes Committee. “There is a small minority, who are making life unpleasant, that we want to get rid of, and we need the public’s help.”


An elderly man and two Highcliffe police officers were called to the rescue of a number of girls from Fernhill Manor School, New Milton, on Saturday afternoon, when they had to be lifted out of the mud at the Highcliffe beauty spot of Chewton Bunny, well-known for its extensive landslips.

Some of the girls, aged about 10, had their feet caught in the liquid mud, which, said the school’s matron, Miss J. Coles, was like a bog. Others were stranded on tufts of grass surrounded by the mud.

The girls, who went up the cliffs to fetch help, returned with an elderly man, who lifted a number of those trapped to safety.

Two Highcliffe police officers, PCs George Perry and Denis Read, later joined in the rescue work and freed the remainder.

“It was obviously frightening, and there were some tears. But they were very calm on the whole, and all of them were perfectly all right yesterday,” said Miss Coles.

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