There was a letter in last week's edition of the Bucks Herald from a man giving a local address bemoaning the fact that there was no information about various bits of wartime history in the village. As I read the paper in the library I couldn't remember his Christian name so phoned the newspaper who came back with a phone number for him.
I spoke to him and yesterday went to see him in Aylesbury (not at the address in the paper) taking copies of all the information and photos I have. When I was secretary of the newly formed Stone Local History Group more than 10 years ago I begged and borrowed all the photos I could possibly get so I have all kinds of information about local goings-on.
He mentioned that his father had been in the Home Guard but the only photo he had was a poor copy from the Herald and his father had been cut off as he was standing at the end of a row. He was over the moon that he now had a copy on photographic paper and I was able to supply him with a numbered chart of the men and the names I'd been given for each man. Some he could remember but I hope he'll be able to fill in the 4 or 5 blanks on the list. I had one of his father in the local sandpits where he worked and of his black and white collie dog. That started off a spate of reminiscences of when he was a child (he's younger than me), the rabbits, pigeons, going round talking to the troops, a horse they had and dung spreading from the cart, which he had to tread into the furrows on the allotment before the plough turned them over...he said he was losing his memory but all we really need is a few prompts!
He queried twins, one of whom died in battle and the other lost his leg, but he got the regiment wrong so I was able to look that up for him and take photos of them.
There was a POW camp in Hartwell during the war which housed German and Italian prisoners at different times. It's now a housing estate, of course. This is the only photo I know of and I was able to find the daughter of one of the prisoners in this photo. She took me to see her father who was much happier speaking Italian so she translated his information for me. Captured in Benghazi, he was brought to Britain via Egypt and South Africa. This started more memories flooding out. Strangely enough, when I sold my house in Prestwood it was to someone of the same name as one of the prisoners so was, I think, most likely to have been a descendant.
We have to make notes of things we remember from childhood as - once we're gone so are all our memories...
Isn't life strange?