Knox Box of Miscellany

Dawn Knox – A rearranger of words into something hopefully meaningful…

27th February 2019
by Dawnknox
Comments Off on A Jaunt to the Imperial War Museum

A Jaunt to the Imperial War Museum

Outside the Imperial War Museum - 15 inch guns and shell

Outside the Imperial War Museum – 15 inch guns and shell

A Jaunt to the Imperial War Museum, London

Carrying on with my research into World War Two,( see A Jaunt to Biggin Hill,)    for a romantic story I’m writing which is set during that period, my cousin, Dave, and I set off to London to visit the Imperial War Museum in Elephant and Castle, (click here for the IWM website).

Dave and I are never certain if we’ll end up at our destination when we go to London because we’re very easily sidetracked! Within minutes of leaving Fenchurch Street Station, we’d discovered St Olave’s Church, on the corner of Hart Street and Seething Lane and as we’d never visited it before, we thought we’d take a quick look inside. A notice on the wall listed points of interest, the first being a Crypt Chapel and Well 1182AD which sounded very interesting although there was no information about the entrance and after examining the Grinling Gibbons pulpit, the diarist, Samuel Pepys’ memorials and various stained glass windows, we decided the crypt wasn’t open to the public. And then just as we were leaving, we spotted a gate in a corner of the church. Stone steps led down to a small room containing artefacts and from there, a narrow passage led to more steps going down into the chapel.

Crypt Chapel and well in St Olave's Church

Crypt Chapel and well in St Olave’s Church

At the front, next to the altar was the well. There was quite a spooky atmosphere down there and when we heard the gate rattle, we thought we’d better investigate, imagining we might be locked in and forgotten! But it was two more visitors who received a shock when Dave and I appeared like magic, out of the chapel!

One more slight detour took us past the Monument, to St Magnus the Martyr Church, outside which is a piece of wood that was once part of the Roman London Bridge. Inside the church, is a model of London Bridge, circa 1400 with houses built on either side and street running through the middle.

Model of London Bridge circa 1400

Model of London Bridge circa 1400

We also noticed a sign which said the following:

AD 1640 Mrs Susanna Chambers by her last will and testament bearing date 28th December 1640, gave the sum of twenty-two shillings and sixpence, “Yearly” for a sermon to be preached on the 12th day of February in every year, within the Church of Saint Magnus, in commemoration of God’s merciful preservation of the said church of Saint Magnus from ruin by the late and terrible fire on London Bridge. Likewise annually, to the poor, the sum of 17/6

By chance, it happened to be February 12th on the day Dave and I visited but there didn’t seem to be anyone there ready for Mrs Susanna Chambers’ sermon. Or perhaps her money had run out.

Dave and I decided that if we were going to get to the Imperial War Museum at all, that day, we’d better stop wandering around churches and get on the train, so shortly after, we finally arrived in the Elephant and Castle.

The book I’m currently working on takes place during the evacuation of Dunkirk, so I was very interested to see the smallest surviving ‘Little Ship’ which helped rescue the British Army from Dunkirk in May and June 1940. The Tamzine is a 4.6 metre (15 foot) long fishing boat which was built in 1937 and used for weekend fishing near Margate.

Tamzine, exhibit in the Imperial War Museum

Tamzine, exhibit in the Imperial War Museum

Lancaster Bomber in Imperial War Museum

Lancaster Bomber in Imperial War Museum

The Lancaster Bomber entered service in 1942 and the one on display in the museum, served with 467 Squadron RAF. it flew 49 operations between November 1943 and March 1944, each one recorded by a new roundel on the fuselage. It was known by its aircrew as Fred the Fox.

One of the most memorable exhibits for me, was the trunk in the following photograph:

Trunk - exhibit in Imperial War Museum

Trunk – exhibit in Imperial War Museum

Considering the vast array of items in the museum, that’s probably a strange choice but the information next to the trunk stayed with me:

Lost Property
Jewish couple, Leonhard and Clara Wöhl, sent their belongings out of Germany in this trunk during the summer of 1939. The outbreak of war meant that they could not follow it. They died in Auschwitz.

There were too many exhibits to mention here but to see other photos of what Dave and I saw on our jaunt, click here

The next jaunt for research purposes, is likely to be Leigh-on-Sea in Essex…

 

25th February 2019
by Dawnknox
1 Comment

A Jaunt to RAF Biggin Hill

Stained glass window in St George's RAF Chapel of Remembrance, Biggin Hill

Stained glass window in St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance, Biggin Hill

A Jaunt to RAF Biggin Hill Memorial Museum, Kent.

Just before Christmas, I was invited to write several romances set during World War Two and I’ve been busy ever since thinking, writing and researching. It was with that in mind that Jamie, Mum, Andrea, Dave and I set off on a family jaunt to RAF Biggin Hill Memorial Museum in Kent. The museum has undergone renovations and only opened the previous week, details can be found here if you would like to visit.

There are two airplanes outside the museum – a Hurricane and a Spitfire, both of which were flown by pilots out of Biggin Hill during World War Two.

RAF Biggin Hill - Spitfire

RAF Biggin Hill – Spitfire

At the entrance, visitors are provided with a discovery tablet which features photographs, film and additional story-telling, enhancing the whole experience. Inside the museum, the collection tells the story of the airfield, the people who served there, the local community and its residents from 1916 to 1951. It focuses on the Battle of Britain, during which RAF Biggin Hill played a pivotal role. Many of the exhibits are personal and have been donated by people who served or lived at Biggin Hill, or their relatives.

Personal items on display at RAF Biggin Hill Memorial Museum

Personal items on display at RAF Biggin Hill Memorial Museum

Next to the museum is St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance which contains many amazing stained glass windows and other objects related to remembrance of the fighter pilots who lost their lives flying from Biggin Hill sector during the Second World War.

I’ve now finished the first of the stories I’ve been asked to write and it will appear later in the year published by My Weekly Pocket Novels. The working title is “With All My Heart” although that’s not necessarily the title it will appear under. It tells the story of three Jewish refugees fleeing from Nazi Germany, and since it is part of the Plotland Saga, the characters also find themselves in Dunton Plotlands, Essex. I’m now half way through the second story, part of which also takes place in Dunton Plotlands. If you’d like to read the first book in the saga, you can find it here  or in the library. It’s a large print book.

Large print book 'Welcome to Plotlands'

Large print book ‘Welcome to Plotlands’

The next in the saga will be published in April 2019 and is called ‘A Touch of the Exotic’. More news as I have it!

12th November 2018
by Dawnknox
Comments Off on On The Other Side of Peace in 100 Words

On The Other Side of Peace in 100 Words

On The Other Side of Peace

On The Other Side of Peace

On The Other Side of Peace

One hundred years ago today, the guns in many parts of the world fell silent.

Some time later, men of all nationalities began to return to their homeland, perhaps with hopes and dreams of resuming their pre-war lives.

With the benefit of hindsight, we know that life was going to prove to be a challenge for those who came home and for those who waited for them. Many, as we know, were wounded physically and mentally and had to live with their visible and invisible scars. Not only that, but their families had to cope too.

Here, in exactly one hundred words I have tried to encapsulate a brief window in time in 1918.

On The Other Side of Peace

The Armistice has been signed.

The guns have fallen silent.

The men are on their way home and their women and children await them with relief and joy.

At last, after four appalling years, normal life can be resumed.

But what is ‘normal’?

There are too many men who didn’t return home.

Too many women and children in mourning, with no grave to visit.

Too many men with physical and mental wounds who will never again know peace.

There is guilt at leaving mates behind, regrets for things done and not done.

For many, life will never be normal again.

LEST WE FORGET.

28th October 2018
by Dawnknox
Comments Off on The Great War Book – Some Lovely Reviews

The Great War Book – Some Lovely Reviews

Cover for the Great War book

Cover for the Great War book

The Great War Book – Some Lovely Reviews

If you are an author, you’ll understand how excited I get when someone takes the time to review one of my books – and if it’s a good review, I get really excited! Last year ‘The Great War – 100 stories of 100 words honouring those who lived and died 100 years ago’ was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Book Awards and today I received the feedback. Books are read by reading groups in London and Stockholm and are judged according to Editing, Theme, Style and Cover.

Here are the results for my book from the Wishing Shelf Book Awards:

This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought: 

Title: The Great War – 100 stories of 100 words honouring those who lived and died 100 years ago 

Author: Dawn Knox 

Star Rating: 5 Stars 

Number of Readers: 16 

Stats 

Editing: 9/10 

Writing Style: 9/10 

Content: 10/10 

Cover: 9/10 

Of the 16 readers: 

16 would read another book by this author. 

14 thought the cover was good or excellent. 

16 felt it was easy to follow. 

15 would recommend this story to another reader to try. 

4 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotting a story’. 

12 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘developing the characters’. 

14 felt the pacing was good or excellent. 

16 thought the author understood the readership and what they wanted. 

Readers’ Comments 

‘A book like this is so important to help us remember life during WW1. I loved the fact the author kept every story to only 100 words. It adds power to the writing.’ Male reader, aged 47 

‘Such a wide range of writing here told in a powerful writing style. This is all about characters; they jump of the page. What a wonderful writer!!!’ Female reader, aged 55 

‘A talented writer telling an important story; a hundred of them in fact.’ Male reader, aged 38 

‘I would suspect that many of the 100 word shorts here would turn into a wonderful full-length novel.’ Male reader, aged 64 

‘Very much enjoyed this. When I say ‘enjoyed’, that might be the wrong word. It’s very sad in parts, but always gripping. I loved the range, from the home front to the fighting front.’ Female reader, aged 59 

To Sum It Up: 

‘A gripping and compelling set of shorts that show life during WW1. A finalist and highly recommended. ‘The Wishing Shelf Book Awards’ 

‘The Great War – 100 stories of 100 words honouring those who lived and died 100 years ago’ is available here in paperback and as an ebook. 

15th October 2018
by Dawnknox
2 Comments

Bletchley Park – Home of the Enigma Codebreakers

Bletchley Park - Mansion across the lake

Bletchley Park – Mansion across the lake

Bletchley Park is the home of the men and women who broke the codes generated by the Enigma Machine during World War Two and was also the birthplace of the modern computer. The codebreakers’ work is believed to have shortened the duration of the war, thus saving countless lives which would otherwise have been lost. Today, the former top secret location in the middle of the Buckinghamshire countryside is open to the public and is well worth a visit.

The late Victorian mansion was once the hub of a large estate and over the years, the building has been altered and enlarged several times. Stables, cottages and other estate buildings still survive, and nearby, there are also approximately twenty utilitarian wartime timber huts and brick and concrete blocks built for use by the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) during World War Two.  Codebreaking at Bletchley Park first took place in September 1938 when a small group of people moved into the mansion under the pretext of attending a shooting party. The ‘guests’ were in fact members of MI6 and GC&CS, a secret team who included scholars and academics, recruited to break codes. The group’s job was to set up and run intelligence activity from Bletchley Park. No time was wasted and they transmitted their first message at 6 pm on the day they arrived – 18 September 1938.

Slate statue of Alan Turing - one of Bletchley Park's best known codebreakers

Slate statue of Alan Turing – one of Bletchley Park’s best known codebreakers

Initially, there was a staff of around 150 people but as more arrived, the various sections began to move into large prefabricated wooden huts set up on the lawns of the park. The first operational break into Enigma came around 23 January 1940, when the team working under  Dilwyn ‘Dilly’ Knox, with the mathematicians John Jeffreys, Peter Twinn and Alan Turing, unravelled the German Army administrative key that became known at Bletchley Park as ‘The Green’. Encouraged by this success, the Codebreakers managed to crack the ‘Red’ key used by the Luftwaffe. In addition to German codes, Italian and later Japanese systems were also broken.
Although I was familiar with the story of Alan Turing, I didn’t recognise the other names and I was particularly intrigued by Dilly Knox, wondering if he was a distant relative of my husband!

Dilly (Dilwyn) Knox

Dilly (Dilwyn) Knox

On the orders of Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, Bletchley Park received ever increasing numbers of staff and resources. Eventually about 10,000 people worked in the park. Brick and concrete blocks were built for the new staff members and for the growing number of ‘Bombe’ machines which were used to find the Enigma ‘keys’. The Bombes were operated by Wrens (Women’s Royal Naval Service), many of whom lived in requisitioned country houses such as Woburn Abbey. Work continued around the clock with three shifts operating during 24 hours, the first beginning at midnight. Each person carried out their own particular task and then passed on their work to the next person in the chain. In that way, people did not have an overview of the work that was done – simply a knowledge of their own particular part. The relentless work was relieved by dances, tennis, concerts and other social activities in the Park which allowed people time to mentally switch off and relax.

Office of Alastair Denniston, Head of the Government Code and Cypher School

Office of Alastair Denniston, Head of the Government Code and Cypher School

New recruits would be taken to the office of Commander Alastair Denniston, the head of the GC&CS,  on arrival at Bletchley Park, after having their papers vetted by the security guards at the entrance. Before being accepted by Commander Denniston on to the staff, each person would have to sign the Official Secrets Act which swore them to secrecy about their work for their entire life – not just the duration of the war. Apparently many people went to their graves never having divulged the work they had carried out at Bletchley.

Enigma Machine

Enigma Machine

Here is an example of an Enigma Machine on display. It has a lamp board above the keys with a lamp for each letter. The operator pressed the key for the plaintext letter of the message and the enciphered letter lit up on the lamp board. The enciphered letters were noted and this was the message which was transmitted. The machines contained a series of interchangeable rotors, which rotated every time a key was pressed to keep the cipher changing continuously. This was combined with a plug board on the front of the machine where pairs of letters were transposed, these two systems combined, offered 159 million, million, million possible settings to choose from, which the Germans believed made Enigma unbreakable.

Office in one of the many huts.

Office in one of the many huts

 

At first, GC&CS followed its pre-war recruitment policy and looked for ‘Men and women of a professor type’ through contacts at Oxford and Cambridge universities. Many famous Codebreakers including Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman and Bill Tutte were found this way. Others such as Dilly Knox and Nigel de Grey had started their codebreaking careers in World War One.

As the codebreaking process became more mechanised, and the volume of intercepts grew, many more staff were recruited from a wider range of sources. A significant proportion of these were taken from the Women’s Services; the WRNS, the ATS and the WAAF. By 1945, women made up 75% of the staff of Bletchley Park and of these, six out of ten were in uniform. The remainder were recruited through the Civil Service although interestingly, those who had correctly completed the Telegraph crossword of 13 January, 1942 (a test set up for recruitment purposes), were also signed up.

For more information about Bletchley Park, click here for the official website.

It’s definitely well worth a visit!

12th September 2018
by Dawnknox
Comments Off on Forget Never World War One Exhibition 2018

Forget Never World War One Exhibition 2018

Forget Never World War One Exhibition 2018

The Forget Never Project has been running for four years and the final part – Forget Never – Sacrifice and Legacy, has held some amazing events during the last few months, including trips to Belgium by school children and army cadets, a visit and talk about conflict resolution by Colin and Wendy Parry, a commemorative cricket match and others. We have even acquired our own full-size ‘There But Not There Tommy’, thanks to generous donations from Gateway Radio and Basildon Echo. Tommy has been out on visits to local schools and community groups and if you are interested in having Tommy visit your school or club, please let us know.

We still have a few more events to come before the project finishes, including our World War One Exhibition over the weekend of 29th and 30th September 2018 which will take place at Wat Tyler Country Park, in the Green Centre, between 11.00 and 16.00 each day. If you are nearby, please come and join us on Saturday, Sunday or both! 

You can find more details on our Facebook page click here  or on our blog click here 

 

10th September 2018
by Dawnknox
Comments Off on Talbot House – The Final Part of Our TocH Journey

Talbot House – The Final Part of Our TocH Journey

Talbot House, Poperinghe, Belgium - sign

Talbot House, Poperinghe, Belgium – sign

Talbot House – The Final Part of Our TocH Journey

A few months ago, my cousin, Dave and I went on a jaunt to London in search of Roman remains, you can see my post about it by clicking here

During our jaunt, Dave and I found Roman walls and a pavement, so our journey was successful but, we also unintentionally stumbled across the ‘Toc H Trail’! It started right at the beginning of our day, when we spotted an English Heritage blue plaque on a building in Cooper’s Row, between London Fenchurch Street and Tower Hill Underground Station.

Tubby Clayton - blue plaque

Tubby Clayton – blue plaque

Toc H lamp in All Hallows by the Tower

Toc H lamp in All Hallows by the Tower

The plaque commemorated Revd. PTB ‘Tubby’ Clayton, 1885-1972, Founder of TocH. Neither Dave nor I had heard of Tubby Clayton and although we had both heard of TocH, neither of us had much idea what it was. Dave had heard of the expression “Dim as a TocH lamp” and I knew that TocH was a Christian movement but we didn’t know about its World War One roots. Since we were in search of Roman remains, we simply read the plaque and then forgetting it, we walked to nearby All Hallows Church to look for the Roman pavement in the crypt. However, on entering the church, the first thing we saw was an effigy of Revd. Tubby Clayton. We discovered that he had become vicar of All Hallows in 1922 and remained there for forty years, until his retirement in 1962. And nearby, was a TocH lamp as well as the history of Talbot House and TocH.

We discovered that Tubby Clayton had been an army chaplain during the First World War and together with senior army chaplain, Neville Talbot, son of the Bishop of Winchester, he set up a club in Poperinghe, Belgium, near to Ypres. It was named Talbot House, in memory of Neville’s brother, Gilbert Talbot, who died during the fighting and it was a place for men of any rank to find peace and respite from the horrors of war. Toc H is the signallers code for Talbot House and eventually, after the war, Tubby carried on his charitable work which became the TocH movement.

Dave and I continued our tour of London, finding ourselves in Southwark Cathedral where we discovered the tomb of the Bishop of Winchester, next to which, was more information and reminders of Talbot House. It seemed that although our focus had been on the Romans, TocH had well and truly taken over our day!

A little while ago, my husband, mum, cousins and I went to Ypres to stay for a few days and finally, Dave and I had the opportunity to actually visit the house in Poperinghe.

Exterior of Talbot House

Exterior of Talbot House

Sitting room in Talbot House

Sitting room in Talbot House

Chapel in the loft

Chapel in the loft

The house is still as it was when the soldiers stayed there and we were able to visit all the floors, including the loft, where there is a chapel – as well as the gardens. There are more photos of Talbot House on my Flickr account, if you would like to see – just click here

For the soldiers, it must have been like spending a brief time in heaven, after the horrors which they experienced in the trenches of Flanders.

Friendship Corner notice

Friendship Corner notice

This notice board was, for me, a memorable part of the house and the final sentence touched me “Could this wall speak, it would be eloquent”. I couldn’t begin to imagine the stories behind the names that were typed on that list of men who were searching for friends or relatives.

List of names on Friendship Corner

List of names on Friendship Corner

There were many artefacts on view – too many to recount, and the visit was a poignant reminder of the suffering of the soldiers during the First World War and Tubby Clayton’s compassion and love for those men.

 

31st August 2018
by Dawnknox
Comments Off on A Jaunt to Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone, Essex

A Jaunt to Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone, Essex

Ingatestone Hall bell tower

Ingatestone Hall bell tower

A Jaunt to Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone, Essex

I first visited Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone, Essex many years ago and was amazed to find such a wonderful Tudor building almost on my doorstep. A few days ago, I went with my husband, mum and cousins, Andrea and David, to see it again.

When Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1535, a lawyer called William Petre was sent to the monasteries of the south east of England to persuade them to surrender lands and possessions to the king. He visited Barking Abbey which owned a manor at Yenge-atte-Stone, and eventually, he bought it for £849 12s 6d. Despite seemingly having taken advantage of Church property, he and his descendants remained loyal to the Catholic Church despite persecution of Catholics under subsequent monarchs.

William Petre demolished the manor and built a new house which is substantially what remains today.

Ingatestone Hall still belongs to the Petre family and although John, 18th Lord Petre doesn’t live there, his son, Dominic does. In fact, while we were there, we saw Dominic taking a tour round the house.

At the approach, is a bell tower with a one-handed clock which bears the Petre family motto Sans Dieu Rien (Nothing without God) and underneath is an arch which leads to the Outer Court. Apparently, this is where the workshops and offices necessary for the smooth running of the household would have once been located. As we approached the house, we entered the Inner Courtyard where an espaliered pear tree could be seen, full of fruit.

Espaliered pear tree

Espaliered pear tree

Unfortunately, it isn’t allowed to take photos inside the house where there are countless paintings and pieces of furniture, as well as two priest holes where Catholic priests may have hidden to keep them safe from the authorities. There were plenty of guides to give the history and point out items of interest in each room. In His Lordship’s Bedroom which was the master bedroom and was listed in the 1600 inventory as ‘My Master’s Lodging’, is a bed which is thought to be original and it was used up until the 1920s! The bed had a solid top to stop vermin from dropping on to whoever was asleep!

Lily in the pond

Lily in the pond

Ingatestone Hall from the garden

Ingatestone Hall from the garden

In the garden is a large stew pond which was once used to provide fish for the table and in the walled garden was another stew pond which had once served time as a swimming pool but is now full of lilies. We explored the grounds, including the Lime Walk where a ghostly dog is supposed haunt. In 1733, Bishop Benjamin Petre was set upon by robbers while he was in the Lime Walk and a dog saved his life. The ghost of the dog is still said to patrol the walk and sometimes people hear him bark. Sadly, he wasn’t there during out visit.

Lime Walk

Lime Walk

If you’d like to see the other photos I took on the day, click here to go to Flickr

And if you’d like to visit Ingatestone Hall or would like to find out more, click here to go to the website   It’s well worth a visit!

24th August 2018
by Dawnknox
Comments Off on A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde

A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde

 

A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde

A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde

A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde

Each year, DOT Productions tour fabulous venues – some indoors and some outdoors in Essex, London and the south east of England, with a play. This year, they are performing ‘A Woman of No Importance’ by Oscar Wilde and I was lucky enough to be able to see the outdoor performance on Rayleigh Mount on Sunday 19 August. I have managed to see the last three DOT Productions’ summer tours which were Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ and ‘Northanger Abbey’ and Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ all of which were thoroughly enjoyable.

I must admit, I didn’t know much about ‘A Woman of No Importance’ before I saw it. Here is the information given in the programme:

19th April 1893

London’s Haymarket Theatre

A New and Original Play of Modern Life

After Wilde’s success with ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, actor manager of London’s Haymarket Theatre, asked Wilde to write a play for him. Rehearsals started in March 1893 and Tree enjoyed the part of Lord Illingworth so much that he continued to play it outside the rehearsal room.

The play opened on 19 April 1893 and the first performance was a great success.

Lady Caroline Pontefract and Lady Hunstanton

Lady Caroline Pontefract and Lady Hunstanton

The cast of DOT Productions are as follows: Francesca Anderson, Andrew Lindfield, Elliot Munro, Charlotte McGrory, Dawn Bush and Non Vaughan-Thomas. The producer is Louisa Marie Hunt and the director is Micha Mirto.

If you are in or around Essex and the south east of England during the rest of August and the beginning of September, there are about a dozen more performances and you can find more information about DOT Productions  here 

Cast of DOT Productions

Cast of DOT Productions

Later in the year – on Saturday 10th November 2018, DOT Productions will be performing ‘The Other Side of Peace’ in Basildon for the Forget Never Project – Sacrifice and Legacy.

 

20th August 2018
by Dawnknox
Comments Off on I Don’t Like Cricket… I Love It!

I Don’t Like Cricket… I Love It!

'There But Not There' Tommie

‘There But Not There’ Tommie at the cricket game

I don’t like cricket – I love it!

Well, that’s not exactly true but I certainly like it a lot more than I thought I would! One of the events held by the Forget Never – Sacrifice and Legacy Project this year was a commemorative cricket match held at Wickford Cricket Club to remember all those players from Wickford who fought in the First World War – many of whom did not return. I really enjoyed watching and photographing the action. And there was definitely plenty of action, such as the six, hit by one of the players which smashed into the club house window a few feet from where I was standing!

Members' Roll of Honour 1919

Members’ Roll of Honour 1919

From the members’ roll of honour 1919, we know who paid their Wickford Cricket Club subs, who came back and who never returned.  As part of the Forget Never Project, we honoured a former captain of the club, PC George Burnett in a World War One play entitled ‘The Sons of Three Countries Remembered’. We have also honoured Richard Bartlett for whom we held a commemorative cricket match in 2016. Both men died during the fighting. Lance Corporal George Burnett went missing in action shortly after the beginning of the war in 1914, and he was considered killed in action, a year later. His body was never found but he is remembered on the Menin Gate. Richard Bartlett died during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

Lance Corporal George Burnett's name on the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium

Lance Corporal George Burnett’s name on the Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium

The Forget Never Project managed to contact descendants of George Burnett who joined us in our performances of ‘The Sons of Three Countries Remembered’ in England and in France as well as relatives of Richard Bartlett, who still live near Wickford and were able to join us for his commemorative match as well as for the matches played on Friday 17th August 2018.

There were two matches on 17th August – the first for the junior players – Wickford vs Billericay and then the senior match between Wickford XI and a team representing the Forget Never Project consisting of Basildon celebrities, including Brinn Bevan, Olympic gymnast and 2018 British Championships All-Around Champion. Brinn presented the trophies to the players in the junior match, as well as playing in the senior game, after a bit of coaching from one of the younger cricket players!

Brinn Bevan practising cricket

Brinn Bevan practising cricket

Other celebrity players were:

Captain –Ken Porter-Chairman of Basildon Heritage Group and author. Former player with Ilford CC and Southend CC

Chris Spooner – Local businessman, former player for Benfleet CC and has managed juniors at Wickford CC

Alex Spooner – 2013 International Junior ‘ Superstar’ Former Bromfords Schoolboy now a rising Motorcycle talent having just been offered a contract at Kent Kings.

Rob Newson AKA James Wand – Local magician performing at celebrity wedding receptions. Former player with Pitsea and Vange CC and Ingatestone CC

Martin Leslie – Head of PE at Beauchamps School in Wickford. Plays currently for Stanford Le Hope CC

Tony Ball – Cty Councillor for Wickford, Deputy Cabinet post holder for Education and Skills. Former player at Laindon CC.

Steve Newman – Chairman of Wickford Memorial Association. Member of an International group dedicated to finding soldiers missing in action.

Wayne Morgan – Former employee at the Tractor Plant. Plays for Basildon and Essex Over 50’s CC.

Matt Spencely – Works currently for Creative Sports based at Wat Tyler Park. Plays for Old Southendians

Brinn Bevan – Member of Team GB Gymnastics team at the Rio Olympic Games. Currently the reigning British All Round Gymnastic Champion.

Kyran Porter and Callum Porter who stood in for players who were unable to attend. Both are Ken Porter’s grandsons.

Mayor of Basildon, Councillor David Dadds, presented the trophies to all the senior players.

Mayor of Basildon, Tony Ball, Brinn Bevan and Martin Leslie

Mayor of Basildon, Tony Ball, Brinn Bevan and Martin Leslie

After the cricket, Magic Circle Magician, James Wand did some amazing magic tricks for the crowd.

Magician James Wand amazing the crowd and Brinn with his tricks

Magician James Wand amazing the crowd and Brinn with his tricks

Junior teams - Wickford and Billericay

Junior teams – Wickford and Billericay

Senior teams - Wickford XI and Basildon Celebrities

Senior teams – Wickford XI and Basildon Celebrities

I still don’t really know how the scoring works, but I understand the winner of the junior match was Billericay and of the senior match was Wickford although everyone was presented a trophy – winners and losers alike. The event wasn’t so much about winning but about remembering.

If you’d like to see all the photos of the matches, click here 

If you want to find out more about the Forget Never – Sacrifice and Legacy Project, click here