CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

Friends & Acquaintances

 

H

aving several times  read through the 10 chapters already produced I have been having flashbacks and there are a lot things that have now sprung to mind.  I was at first considering re-writing some of the chapters but decided that those that have made the effort to read what has gone before would not appreciate having to suffer that again so I am now listing loads of small ‘remembrances’ so that if anyone who looks and can remember me would get in touch.

 

A lot of names I remember from Charcott and the surrounding area with incidences that are identified with them are as follows.

 

Next door – Philip and Barbara Bear and their daughter Jessica.

Philip was a P.O.W. and was an artist.  He was involved in the escape from Stalag Luft 3 – the wooden horse episode.  He carved wooden statues – I remember he did a pair – one was a waiter and the other was a penguin but they were almost identical. In his house, round the wall of one room were pictures he had painted of the various village characters and views – all in watercolours.

 

At the pub – Mrs. Morgan and daughters Iris and Eva – Eva married Bob Pocock and moved down the lane.  They had a daughter, Mary.

My father and many local men used to spend a lot of time in there playing cards, dominoes, shove-ha’penny etc.

 

Next then, was Miss Winter who had three evacuees – Maureen, Frances and Mickey Gay from London. I heard in more recent years that Mickey had a job at Buckingham Palace but don’t know if it was true.

 

Next, more recently, was Dick Sellens who was at school at Leigh at the same time as I was.

 

The bakery was next – Mr & Mrs. Grayland senior. This was also a general shop which sold sweets, groceries and various odds and sods.  Frequented a lot to spend our pocket money.

 

First of a row of houses lived Norman and Florrie Grayland, they had twin daughters,  Dawn and Sally.  Dawn married a Broad Boy from Morden, I think his name was Alf or Al – bad memory! Sally, who painted the picture of our house, which I have on my office wall, married  Roland ‘Bongor’ Pocock from the Causeway.

 

Next were the Kemps – Kath was one of the daughters.

 

Another resident in the row of houses was Sid Gibb and his wife Beattie – he worked at the ball factory – as mentioned in a previous chapter.

 

I believe next was Horace Winter – he may have been living next door with Ted.

 

Ted and Mrs Winter lived in the end house of this row.  They had two daughters, Rosa and Mary.  Rosa went on to run a paper shop in Chiddingstone Hoath, I believe.

 

The Summers family lived in the first house down the lane – Howard and Maisie with their children Pat, Paddy and Kevin – the latter was my best mate and emigrated to Australia.  They had also been our direct neighbours and I was born in their house.

 

Next to them Bill and Mrs. Lumley with their children – one was a diabetic and used to have to inject herself. I believe her name was Heather.  I can only remember another one was named Janet and I think there was a son as well called Peter.

 

At the onset there was no house next to them but subsequently one was built and was occupied by the cowman, Ken Akehurst from the farm and wife and their son Philip (I think).

 

Down the lane lived Miss Heighes the Head schoolteacher at Chiddingstone Causeway and with her was Les Brooker.

 

Then another row of houses, Mrs. Seal and her daughter (Win I believe) were in the first one.

 

Mrs. Brooker lived next.

 

Next to her were Bill and Mrs. Warner with their son Bill – subsequently the scoutmaster.  Mrs Warner was the lady my mum used to share a hop bin with.  I was reminded recently although they knew each other for years and went hop picking together they always called each other Mrs. Warner and Mrs Burchett.  Never did they use Christian names.

 

Another family of Brookers lived next. They were the parents of Les and Bill Brooker.

 

At the end house, when old Mrs. Pocock died Bob stayed there.

Bob Pocock  then lived there with Eva and their daughter – Mary.

 

At the farm in Charcott there was Joe and Mrs. Porch with Richard and Mary.  Mary was away at work for several years but after her Mum died she came back to look after her father and brother.  Mary still lives at the farm but not in the main farmhouse.

 

Opposite side of the road to us was the forge and Mr. & Mrs. Skinner lived there with son John.

 

Next to them was Mr. Gasson and son Eddie.  Mr. Gasson’s daughter Mrs. Young used to visit from Tonbridge with her two daughters Barbara and Margaret and I used to go around with these two on our bikes.  Barbara went to Australia.

 

There was a house in the Orchard in which lived Bill and Doris Brooker, she was a great friend of my mum, her maiden name was Taylor and her mother lived next door to my gran at the Compasses.  One of their sons was named Keith and I was his godfather.  Doris had been in the WAAF during the war and used to pack parachutes.

In the new council houses when they were first built was Winnie Plant with whom I used to go around – I think they moved off to Sevenoaks area eventually.

I believe, before the Bears moved in next door, we had a family named Jell, they moved on to Eastbourne.  After the Bears the Tippers were there.  Mr. Tipper was the manager at the factory and Mrs.Tipper taught at the school, they had a son John.

Stan Grayland and his family  also lived in the council houses at one stage.

Also, later, there was a Mr & Mrs. Kemp with their son Malcolm.  Alan and Paul played with him when they were living at Charcott.  Mrs. Kemp used to cook and clean for my dad after my mum died.

 

I can’t remember too much about names at the Compasses but of course my Gran and Aunt Lil lived there.  Mrs. Taylor, Doris’s mother lived at the Compasses as mentioned above.  Another resident at the Compasses, can’t remember the name but she had a vicious little Scottish terrier that bit me in the back of the thigh and I kicked it away and it broke its jaw.

 

 Mr & Mrs. Skinner and their two children, Michael and Marjorie, lived there.  Michael was a singer in the church choir and he also performed in our club shows.  I believe he married Jennifer Childsworth.

 

Back up the road towards the Church there was Knotley Hall -  I knew several of the teachers there but cannot remember their names at present except for Mr. & Mrs Barrett.  Some of the boys from the reform school were in our scout troop.

Then came Whitepost, Mr. Smythe lived there – this was where our scout hut was and he was the scoutmaster.  He had been a pilot during the first world war and had lost a leg whilst performing a crazy action with his aeroplane.  He had a large car with a trailer in which the troop used to travel and this was how we got our kit taken to camp.

Down the hill past the Church towards Chiddingstone Causeway we passed the Station Inn (now had a name change – the Little Brown Jug is the latest one of them) Cis Martin ran the pub when we were young.

The village hall came before the houses and we used that for many dances and functions together will games such as snooker, billiards, cards, darts etc.

Into the village of Chiddingstone Causeway and I don’t remember who lived in which cottages specifically.  Fred Oram lived in one.  Pat Lee was in another.  Cliff and Edie? Gower with their son Tony – Tony worked in the grocers/post office – lived in another. Also there was Dolly Ostler. And I vaguely remember a Mr. Eade.

Les Stroud and Vi (nee Grayland) also lived in the Causeway, I believe on the railway side of the road below the station.

Then came the school and opposite was the grocers, post office and general stores run by Charlie Martin, he had a daughter Ann, who married Sam Slack who lived opposite next to the Cricket Ball factory with his Mum and Dad and Brother Don.

Next to them was Mr. & Mrs. Jack Pocock with their family, Shirley, ‘Bongor’ and I believe one other.

Again opposite lived Mr. & Mrs. Winter and their son Tony Boakes with whom I was at school. I believe Tony died of cancer.

Moving off up the road towards Chiddingstone there was a house on the left in which Erica Woolnough and her parents lived.

Some way further up there was a farm on the left in which Mr. Keen lived and he had a daughter, Peggy.

Then, at the Horseshoes (the name of the area) lived Malcolm Line and his mum and dad. 

Next door there was a family named Huntley,  with two daughters, Ruby and Joyce. 

I think this is the area where Jennifer Childsworth also lived.

On the road to Chiddingstone Hoath then and Roy Fuller lived with mum and dad.

 

From the church at the Causeway travelling towards Penshurst there was first the vicarage, at one stage there was a vicar there named Mr. Minton, and he used to ride around on a lady’s bike with a basket on the front.

After this there was a little community at Morden.  The farm where we used to go hop picking was there.  The farmers name was ‘Stick’ Day, and this is where my father started work as a houseboy. Bill Warner’s dad worked in the Oast house as the dryer during hop picking.

  There were several houses as well.

Again I cannot remember in which house any person lived but there was The Gower family, with Derek, Desmond (he was a week older than me and he subsequently married Eileen Everest and moved to Charcott), Denis and Dudley.

I remember Mrs. Rowe and daughter June.

Another family was called Miles – Peggy was one daughter.

The Thomas’s also lived there – Robin and Don Thomas were the sons.

Mr & Mrs. Pearson – he was the carter at the Morden farm - were there and their daughter was married and had the name Everest.  Eileen and Pat were their children and they moved to Charcott into the new council houses.  They were the first ones in the village to have a TV – I spent quite a lot of time round there as well as going out dancing with Eileen.

The Broad family lived in a cottage in the woods and there were several children but cannot remember their names except for Al.

 

Down the road from Charcott towards Chiddingstone Causeway there were the Kennards in the Oast house on the right.  Then the Hills (the landlord) Mr. & Mrs and son Pat and daughter Penelope.

Gilbert Butcher had the saw mills (I think)

Fist house on the left after the saw mills Norman Butcher and his wife and daughter Julie.  I vaguely remember there was a son but again not quite sure and it is possible his name was Don. Norman used to do haircutting – many a time I would be sitting in his shed having a short back and sides.

The next few houses residents are a blank but I remember the Groombridges lived in a house with steps going up and they had a son called Keith.  Then we came down to the passage by the factory.

 

At Leigh school there was Brian Springett (I think we called him ‘Onions’), John and Colin Holden, there was also a Patsy ? – who lived out of Leigh towards Hildenborough station.  A girl called Pat Kayes lived at the Powdermills.

Mr. Gibbons was the headmaster at Leigh and for whom I pumped the organ in the church.  He appeared again in Tonbridge at the Sussex Road school whilst I was there. The headmaster at Tonbridge was Mr. Fletcher.

 

At Tonbridge there was my best mate Bob Knight and Brian Goldsmith who later became a Henley Driver.

 

At Tunbridge Wells besides Roger Edwards who I have now traced through Friends Reunited (his father was Manager at High Brooms Brick Works if I remember right) there was John Wootten who I later came to meet when I was at Henleys and he worked for KSD at Paddock Wood and our paths crossed again.

 

In the village at Goudhurst I recollect names like Southons the butchers, Weeks the bakers, Brown the grocers, Riggs the chemist.  Jones the newsagents and Talbot at the post office.  He then went across the road as a printing shop.

Sargeants had the garage next door to us but at the time they lived in a caravan while they developed it.  They had the Green Cross too.  It was called the Station Hotel when we first moved in. Tim Sargeant ran the garage at one time and whilst he was there I used to do their books.  When his brother Martin took over they had a bungalow built behind the house where we lived and eventually they had 3 sons, some of whom were friends with Nick.  Martin was killed whilst flying a Spitfire in France at an Air Show.

Mr. Phillips was the headmaster at the school.

When I first moved to Goudhurst the forge cottage just above us was run as a small shop.  I believe the lady’s name was Mrs. Jefferies.  When the shop burnt down – a wooden lean-to at the end of the house  - she packed up shop-keeping.

Ron Fishenden was the local electrician and his brother Phil was the cobbler with a shop next to the Ex Servicemens Club. I was treasurer at the  club for ten years.

 

My mothers brother, Charlie with his wife Alice, and son Fred lived by the pond.  Another son Dennis with wife Mary and daughter Janet and brother John with his wife and boys also lived in the village.  My uncle Dick with Aunt Edith and two daughters, Mandy and another whose name I can’t remember, lived at Willesley Pound.

 

Henleys.

A few names I remember from working at Henleys, firstly at the farm.

Bert and Nancy Sexton lived next door with their daughter Chris (she later married Ken Clifton).

Bob Clemetson, tractor driver, Bob Brown, Bernard Baldock, tractor driver and his wife Margaret and their daughter.  Bert Barden and his wife Meg with two daughters, one named Doreen, he was the first stockman I remember.  George and Margaret Kemp – he was another stockman and their son Paul (who was a friend of my son Paul). Laurie Brown and his wife Carol, Cyril Manktelow with his sister Lil lived at the lorry shed cottages.  Next door to them was Bob Brissenden, lorry driver, and his wife Nancy, together with Colin and Pam, their children. Pam now lives in this neck of the woods quite near to us in Lydd.  Peter White and Joyce, Paddy Boyd and Jill, Frank Miller and his wife,  Geoff Booth and wife, Geoff was the farm workshop maintenance man.  Don Baldock with Judy and daughter Dianne and son Mark.  His father Reuben - these were the carpenters and maintenance men on the farm.  Arthur Hill was another farm worker who rode a motorbike and subsequently took over the house garden.  His wife Margaret worked in the house.

Sam Golding and Herbie Sargent from Kilndown worked there.  Herbie Sargent made cider.

John Vinson helped to run the farm.

Ernie Finch was the foreman when I first went there.  Doug Clifton and his wife and son Ken – who married Chris Sexton, they had a daughter Jackie and Bert Probert lived in the Hope Mill Cottages.

Round at Pattenden there was Charlie Phillips, Rose Broughton, Colin Avis, Basil Turk with his wife Joan who worked as a tractor driver but she left and went van driving for LCP – vehicle spares distributors.  Jack Broughton lived at Spelmonden farm too.  Ben Francis lived at Pattenden.

Drivers Robin Parr, Bill Blunt, Roy Hook (who subsequently became Managing Director) Richard Harris, Dave Pike, Brian Gibson. David White was a lorry driver who got killed in Ellesmere Port when a lamp pole fell on the cab and crushed him whilst he was negotiating a roundabout.  Harry Pennells drove a lorry and was lucky to get away with an accident when a load of concrete posts on his lorry came through the cab.  Brian Goldsmith (and his wife Gwen) was a driver who lived in Tonbridge in Shipbourne Road – I was at school with him as previously mentioned.

 

Office workers were Rita Mitchell, Hazel Gilman,  Pam Payne, Karen Brann, Alison ?, all at Goudhurst , together with Roy Marshall who lived in the Forge Cottage after Mrs. Jefferies left.  When I moved to the Paddock Wood office there was Derek Ransley (who had also been a driver) Gordon Taylor – driver turned storeman for Colletts.

Richard  ==, Stuart ==, Frank Martin, who was another manager with Roy Hook, and Frank lived with his wife Doreen and two daughters, Debbie & Mandy, and later Rebecca in Goudhurst.  Paul Mantle was also in the office at both places.

Workshop – Dave Colvin was Workshop manager, Adrian Burchett (no relation) John Baker, Peter Golding, Robert Golding,  Alan Smith were all mechanics.  A young lad called Ray Packham  also worked in the workshop.  Ernie West was the storeman.  At first there had been Frank Miller and John Heady.

The manager at Rochdale was Fred Riley.

The manager at Chartham was John Roberts.  Mick Foord and John Pay were drivers at Chartham.  Also there was a Les Rigden. Another driver was called Bert but I cannot remember his surname.


Biography Index