World War Two.
Ivona Mays-Smith describes her experiences.
September 3rd 1939 saw the Davies family leaving their London residence in two cars, laden to the roof, having decided to start the war on their country estate at Herringswell.
On arrival we found the Army had forestalled us. Officers from the Norfolks were settling in the house and politely told us that the military had commandeered the house together with a large acreage of the woods around. The Officers would be settling in the house and the men would be living in tents in the woods.
We actually had a detachment of the Norfolks, then the Essexs followed by American soldiers and Officers. Training was carried out on the Glebe - up to 2000 men at anytime.
Often we had sports and baseball matches at weekends with neighbouring forces, which we were invited to watch. The Scottish Fusiliers and the Cameronians were our immediate neighbours.
It took us eleven months to buy the Grange insert Grange3.jpg from the Church where 24 evacuees were housed. They were from the east end of London and soon returned to London and the bombs!
It was at this time the Ministry of Agriculture bought the larch avenues and other hardwood, a compulsory purchase.
We were declared a 'Red area', but were lucky that the bombs were not dropped too near us. Several soldiers were killed at Herringswell Cross Roads. The Cameronians were housed at Kennett Hall.
One German plane flew over The Grange and later dropped a bomb on our doctor's car at Tuddenham!
We were an active community during the war. My father was Major of the Home Guard. Their job was to guard the River Lark. Colonel Hyde Smith was the boss for the area. Captain Bingley helped my father.
The Small Pig Keepers Council was a very popular activity. We had 36 members and everyone had to do a job and only one person could be paid which was Stanley Hunt. My father was Chairman and I his secretary. We had 36 members and sold 18 pigs per year to the Government, the rest were divided and bought by the members. Mr Spooner did the butchering for us.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this short chronicle of olden day life in Herringswell. Our History is fascinating and of keen interest to villagers and visitors alike. We must preserve our heritage in the future, by our appreciation of what has happened in the past.
Ivona Mays-Smith (Nee Davies) 9th September, 1992.
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