A brave poacher...
|The house sign does not quite say it all. Yes, Gordon Taylor is a self-confessed retired poacher and proud of it. But he is also a very brave man.
During the second world war, while serving on vessels employed in mine detection and recovery, Seaman G.T. Taylor was awarded the B.E.M. (Military Division) and later a Bar. When I talked with Gordon, then 83, in January, 2004, he had retired from poaching. He told me the house name "Poacher's Rest" came from a suggestion by former customers of his illicitly gained pheasants, former owners of the Lodge Hotel at Old Hunstanton, Syd and Celia Fields.
Only once did the law think they had him in their sights. That
|was when he was shooting bantams from a tree at the Bury, Ringstead.
The late Pc Buckland approached, thinking he had a fair cop, only to discover that Gordon had been asked by the then lady of the house, Mrs Hayes, to dispose of the birds - left by a previous occupant - which were proving a nuisance.
In the event Pc Buckland departed with a few good, plucked pheasants under his cape, a happy constable.
What any good poacher needs is good eyesight, hearing and a fast pair of legs to escape the law who - hampered by their long coats - never caught Gordon. "I was never prosecuted and never caught. I was too smart for them," he said...
Miracle of Le Paradis...
|It was probably a miracle that Corporal Reginald Peacock lived to tell the tale.
He was in the last convoy of wounded to be evacuated from the Battalion HQ at Duries Farm near what was to become the infamous massacre at Le Paradis on May 27th, 1940.
At the Regimental Aid Post he heard the doctor say his wounded arm would have to be amputated so Reggie decided to take matters in his
|own hands, took off towards the Dunkirk beaches and arrived in Liverpool on a hospital ship on May 30th. His arm was saved.
Although unfit for active service, after recovering from his wounds Reggie was promoted to sergeant and then transferred to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
He spent the rest of the war training recruits and units of the Home Guard and left the Army an acting Company Sergeant Major.
Joined Navy at 15...
|Clarence Tracy Taylor was just fifteen when he joined the Royal Navy as a boy seaman in 1935.
He was to serve for fifteen years - in war and peace.
Clarence served on destroyers: Iron Duke, Nelson and Implacable and when war started in 1939 he transferred to the
Air Arm, eventually becoming a Chief Petty Officer.
20th birthday in prison camp...
|Silas Smithson celebrated his 20th birthday in a German prison camp. He was one of the brave men of 1st Airborne Division who went on waves of gliders to Arnhem in 1944.
Silas was 79-years- old when I met him in February, 2004. He and his wife, Laura Joy, had been married for 58 years and lived in Peddar's Way North for 50 years. Romance blossomed when Silas was delivering bread from Ringstead steam bakery to Holme by pony and cart.
| The Smithson family were no strangers to military service, I discovered. Silas' father, Bertie who served with the Norfolks in India, and two of his uncles, Francis (who Silas thinks served with the Royal Engineers) and David (Norfolks) are on the St Andrew's Church plaque of those villagers who served in the first world war.
As for Silas, well he was captured by the Germans on the last day of his ill-fated nine-day Arnhem "adventure".
Typhoid swept the village...
|One hundred years of Methodism in the village was celebrated in June 1967 but there is little recorded history. By March 1982 the chapel had closed and change of use sought for residential purposes.
The schoolroom was completed in 1922 and was, in part, in memory of some of the victims of an outbreak of typhoid in the village in 1915-1916, in particular members of the Kidd family.
The prime benefactor of the new building was William Gathercole, the village blacksmith, a devout Methodist.
It was he who passed on all his skills to fellow Methodist John Kidd who inherited the Smithy business and 100 gold sovereigns (a lot of money in those days).
| William Gathercole died on October 25th, 1914, aged
82. His wife Mary died two years earlier on July 12th, 1912. She, too, was 82. Their gravestone is in the parish churchyard near the village war memorial.
Not far away are two other gravestones of significance.
One is for Edith Kidd, wife of John Kidd, who died on November 22nd, 1915, aged only 36, from typhoid.
The disease swept the village claiming in the end a total of 16 lives.
Edith's daughter, Ethel, died on December 23rd, 1915, aged five, and on January 5th, 1916, her son, Frederick William, was also taken by the outbreak, aged eight.
Their's is the second grave stone.
Back to main page