Second World War

1. Royal Army Ordnance (R.A.O.C.)

2. Sherwood Forest during and after World War 11 

3. Edwinstowe air crash assistance request – 26th February 1944 

4.  Prisoners of War (Also, see Secret’s of Sherwood Forest – Story of Vera in Young Historian)

5. Memories of D-Day

6. When Royalty stopped off at Edwinstowe – Princess Alice

7. Evacuees – Letter of thanks from Sheffield to Edwinstowe 1939, Ration Book – A. Parnell, High Street & Ensa concert.

8. The Fallen World War 11 

9.  Thoresby Colliery World War 11

10. Home Guard

11. Women’s Voluntary Service

12. Edwinstowe Civil Defence Team

13. Land Army Memories

14. Senior Service 

15. The Royal Observer Corps.

16. Territorial Army

1. Royal Army Ordnance (R.A.O.C.)

The Edwinstowe Camp at Birklands was initially occupied by the Army who were tasked with providing security for the Munitions being stored in Sherwood (Clumber, Thoresby, and Welbeck Estates) – they controlled access to the ASDs mounting road blocks and parols. It was one of the largest ammunition storage depots in the country and covered over 100 square miles. It was called CAD Warsop. During the war, the U.S. Army stored ammunitions there.

The camp also used Edwinstowe Hall Stables and Outbuildings.

Clumber Park stored over 60,000 tons of ammunitions which were kept in stacks covered with corrugated iron. The Army Pioneer Corps and local POW moved the ammunitions through the forest on a rail track.

The R.A.O.C. were responsible for weapons, ammunition, armoured vehicles, clothing and general stores such as laundry, mobile baths and photography.

In 1941, Clumber was used for secret trials using a trench digging tank code-named MH956, a naval land machine called ‘White Rabbit’ and a cultivator called ‘Nellie’. The tank was 23.5m long, weighed 130 tons and could move 100 tons of earth in a minute. Winston Churchill, using the name ‘Colonel Warden’, visited Clumber in November of that year, to inspect ‘Nellie’.

  Acknowledgement Wikipedia

After the war, Sherwood Forest was used to stock pile unwanted ammunition, until they could be re-used or destroyed. The site was closed in 1954.

Here are some reports from the: 1948 The R.A.O.C. GAZETTE 255C.A.D. CAD Warsop

 With the advent of the warm weather, the bogey of Depot fires has reared its ugly head, and already we have had more than enough trouble from this source. However, it is almost worth it all to have some sunny days. We hope all our newcomers are enjoying Sherwood Forest in ideal ‘trippers’ weather.”

Our work continues, and we will soon commence to run down. We welcome our new I.O.O., Captain Franks, to help in the clearance of Sherwood Forest, and S/Cdr. Palling who is teaching our clerks and storemen a thing or two.”

The football team have won the championship of the Mansfield and District Wednesday League having completed their fixtures without losing a league match.” 

On the 13th of August, we had an exercise in Sherwood Forest which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. On the 14th there was a Gymkhana on the Sports Ground with a varied programme of mixed events. The whole weekend was a great success.”

“At our present rate of clearance, Sherwood Forest will soon be back to the condition it was in pre-war days. Already we are finding out how popular a pleasure resort it is.”

Today the arrival of Capt. R.V. Harley to inspect the depot.

Our best wishes to readers everywhere. MAJOR OAK II.”

Who was Capt. R.V. Harley? His job was to inspect that the forest was being cleared of ammunition and restored to a good condition. He was born on the 2nd August 1919 and died on the 19th August 2010, aged 91.

He was a very brave man who was awarded the George Medal in recognition of his gallant and distinguished services following an explosion.

His story is below.

Ronald Victor Harley (243086), was on duty at No. 3 Central Ammunition Sub-Depot, Hampstead supervising ammunition. He was in the sorting shed when a round of ammunition exploded and injured six soldiers, one of whom died later. The blast was so violent that it blew other shell to pieces, reduced many more to a very dangerous condition, started a fire, and blanketed the area with smoke.

Captain Harley immediately ordered all men out of the building, leaving it himself only when he could see no more men. He re-entered the building almost immediately to find some injured men running out. Without hesitation, he went right up to the scene of the explosion which was still enveloped in smoke, and saw flames. He ordered a soldier who was at his side (No. 14441727) Pte. McGarrigle, to fetch fire appliances, and himself went further into the smoke where he found a badly injured soldier staggering about. By this time another helper had arrived and Captain Harley, after seeing that the injured soldier was being evacuated, ran to the office next door to call the ambulance and fire brigade. Next, he saw that all the casualties were being attended to, and ordered the most serious cases to be taken to hospital straight away. Then he again went to the scene of the explosion to check that the fire was out and that there were no further casualties, and finally ordered a roll call to see that all his personnel had been accounted for.

Captain Harley showed bearing and leadership of the very highest order, and undoubtedly his exemplary behaviour affected the discipline of the men under his command in their efforts to extinguish the fire and help the casualties under very hazardous circumstances.

Later he became a Major. What we must remember is that this is not a made-up story but it is about a real person who lived here and helped to protect our village and country. In June 2016, his medals (in the picture above) were sold by a Pawn Broker for £3,200. How does this make you feel?

2. Sherwood Forest during and after WW11

Post-war security for munitions being withdrawn the camp was converted first to a Prisoner of War (PoW) when it was forcibly closed as it was in such poor condition. Some of the later came to live at Thoresby, and three of these were still in residence in 1990s.

Camp then to a Displaced Persons Camp 1948-1953The German Prisoners of War were brought here to work on the farms. There was also a large camp of prisoners at Carburton. It was just past Carburton crossroads on the way to Worksop past the lodge on the left-hand side and up a lane that goes to Fairwood.

All the Germans had been sailors (U-boat/submarine prisoners) They were let out at night“, they could not get away as there was nowhere to go. The lads in the village, who had been in the navy during the war, used to sit on the wall on the corner, opposite the Royal Oak-near the Forest Lodge. The Germans would come walking by and the village lads used to talk to them about where they had been and when had they been taken prisoner.

Joseph Bennett, who worked at Thoresby Colliery, used to write to one of the prisoner, Freddie, who had worked in a pit in Germany. Joseph, worked on the pit top and Freddie had worked underground. Joseph asked Freddie why he was in a U-boat He shared that, ‘When they tell you, you go. They were going to shoot you. You don’t stand and argue! I hated every minute.’

His U-Boat, U-608, was sunk in the Bay of Biscay. He was rescued by the crew of the HMS Wren. He was given a picture of the Wren to keep and he was, ‘over the moon’ to be alive.

                              U-Boat U-608                                                                               HMS Wren

Joseph Bennett 1923-2016

3. Edwinstowe air crash assistance request 26th Feb 1944

The crew pictured in Nottinghamshire, Bill Taylor is third from the right.

Via Jane Bealby

By Howard Heeley

The Newark Air Museum is assisting Jane Bealby from Edwinstowe with research on a wartime aircraft training crash near Edwinstowe, Mansfield, which happened on 26th February 1944.

The aircraft from 1661 HCU at nearby RAF Winthorpe (now home to the Newark Air Museum) was on a training flight.

Five airmen lost their lives in the crash and one survivor was taken to Mansfield General Hospital. We would like to appeal to anyone who might have been nursing at that time in Mansfield and who might remember an Australian airman being brought into the hospital.

As it was wartime, Jane is not sure which of the emergency services would have been called to the scene, but believe that the police, fire, ambulance service crews might have been informed. Other Civil Defence units might also have been involved such as the ARP and the Home Guard.

If anyone has any information regarding this crash could they please respond here, or via email to

4. Prisoners of War (POW)

The Italian POW lived in huts at the other end of the cricket pitch (opposite the Craft Centre) The land used to be covered with elderberries, brambles and tree stumps but it was cleared and levelled so they could make a football pitch with goal posts.

After the war the Italians returned home and displaced people (migrants) from all over Europe came to the camp. There were Poles, Czechoslovaks, Latvians and Russians. Most of them worked down the pit with the local men. Others worked on farms growing food to help feed us. They knew they could not go home as they would be called collaborators (people who worked with the enemy) as they had been freed in Germany. They were known by many as very good workmen.

We are aware that the picture is unclear.


Lord Manvers                                                                              8th September, 1953

European Voluntary Workers – E.V.W. Camp, Edwinstowe.

 We employ five E.V.W.s on the Estate.  They all lived in the hostel at Edwinstowe.  On 8th July ’53 we were informed that the hostel was to close down at the end of the month. We could not possibly afford to loose these five men and the question arose as to how they were to be housed in future.

On the 8th July I wrote to the Authorities indignantly pointing out that it was preposterous that we received such short notice of closure, and on the 10th July, I received a letter from W. H. Calman who stated that the decision to close and the date of closure was taken in Whitehall.  It is now some time ago, but my recollection is that Calman followed this letter up with a telephone call, and certainly visited here twice.  His suggestion was that the Estate should buy  up the Camp – some 30 hutments, the furniture, bedding and fittings, and that the Camp Warden (financially backed by Calman) should pay us a rent and keep the hostel open.  Calman’s suggestion was that he was doing this in the interest of the farmers and some 30/40 workers housed there, but in actual fact he was obviously out to run it as a profit-making concern.

The snag to this scheme was that the hutments had fallen into considerable disrepair and dilapidation, and the Health Authorities might well come down on ourselves as owners to put the camp in a suitable state of repair for living and health conditions, which might run us into an extremely large sum of money.

I refused to take over the camp, but in view of the fact that we could house our five E.V.W.s in a Stable Flat, and had to find furniture for them – and a man and wife whome we obtained to look after them – I put in a bid for the camp furniture, bedding etc., as these would cost us about the same as if we brought them in the open market.  By then time was running short, and I made our offer provisional on their accepting on the Wednesday before the Saturday on which the camp was closing.  We did not get their agreement by the Wednesday, and so bought the necessary furniture in Worksop.

During his conversations Calman stated that he had been working with the Authorities responsible for the camp, and offered to speak to persons in charge of the camp and its equipment, in Nottingham.   This he did, and one of them (Mr. Spendlove) came over here and discussed matters with me. When the deal for buying the furniture etc. fell through, an end was put to Calman’s project of profit making there.  He then turned nasty and sent a bill for £4.4.0 “for interviewing Authorities in Nottingham as per my instructions”.  As I said before, there was no question of our engaging him professionally, and in actual fact he was really working in, what he hoped to be, his own interests.

I relied to Calman that I had not engaged him professionally and he then wrote to you.  I suggest that you reply to him as follows.

5. Memories of D-Day.

Philip Bond is one of the survivors of the D-day landing in Normandy. Nationwide tributes were paid to the heroic participants in this historic event on Sunday, 6th June, its sixtieth anniversary.

Phil was called up for army service in 1943, and after completing his primary training at Lincoln, he was attached to the Royal Engineers. He was posted to Gibraltar Barracks, Aldershot, and to other training centres before being sent to Boxhill, Surrey, now a well-known beauty spot, in preparation for a planned invasion of Northern France. It was at Boxhill that Phil joined the 629 (9th) Field Squadron, experienced Sappers who had served in the North Africa campaign. The squadron’s beach training was undertaken at Brancaster, Norfolk, where the terrain resembles the Normandy beaches. One part of their training was the blowing up of beach obstacles and another was the laying of firm tracks (made up of a combination of wire and hessian) to prevent wheeled vehicles from sinking in the sand. They were also trained in the use of mine-detectors and in the safe disposal of land-mines.

On 5th June, 1944, all units were geared up for the invasion of the French coast, only to be ordered to stand by for another twenty-four hours because of inclement weather. On 6th June hundreds of ships carrying the invading force left our southern shores, heaving and rolling in the aftermath of a severe storm. On board, reveille sounded at 4am, followed by a 4.30 breakfast. At 5 o’clock the Sappers climbed into the Landing Craft Assaults (LCA’s) which were then lowered into the water. It was bitterly cold and all but the most hardy were sick. The LCA’s reached the shore at 8 o’clock, to be met with a hail of hostile machine-gun fire. A group of survivors waded into the water and cleared beach obstacles of mines and live shells – a dangerous job, but successfully accomplished.

Phil was among the survivors who dug protective trenches near the beach at Hermanville, in the face of occasional air attacks. Heavy storms raged on subsequent days and torrential rain would make some of their tasks difficult to perform. The Sappers relied on the infantry to move ahead and make it safe for them to carry out their duties.

Within a month the strategic town of Caen had been captured and the Sappers were ordered to clear the roads through the town. In July, 1944, the Sappers began a trek right across Europe, traversing France, Belgium, Holland and Belgium again, before moving towards the Rhine. They worked on repairs to roads which had been damaged in the skirmishes between the opposing armies and they filled in bomb craters. They were responsible, too, for the maintenance of water supplies and for the repair or construction of Bailey bridges across rivers. They were deeply involved in the liberation of France, Holland and Belgium. Phil remembers with affection the camaraderie that existed among the men in his troop and the devastating feeling when some comrades were killed or wounded.

D. Wood

6. When Royalty stopped off at Edwinstowe – Princess Alice

People all over the world were saddened to her of the death of the well-loved Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, and this picture may bring back special memories for Edwinstowe residents who welcomed the Princess to Edwinstowe during WW11.

Taken in the early 1940s, the princess was visiting a canteen set up for both American and British soldiers who were stationed in Edwinstowe. Thursday 25 January 1940 

The Royal party was being welcomed by the late Ernest Reddish, a member of the Royal Observer Corps, who helped organise the canteen. Also pictured in the photograph is Her Grace, the late Duchess of Portland.


The picture has been loaned by Mr. Reddish’s daughter, Mrs. E. Little, of Langwith Junction.

7. Evacuees – Letter of thanks from Sheffield to Edwinstowe 1939, Ration Book – A. Parnell, High Street & Ensa concert.

Ration Book – A. Parnell, High Street

Ensa Concert 1944

8. The Fallen World War 11

Gerald Askew – Thoresby Colliery surface worker and only son, Gerald enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. On Sundays and holidays, he sold sweets and drinks on a Forest Corner stall.

Jack Foy – The only child of the Colliery Manager’s gardener, Jack worked in the Pit Offices before enlisting as RAF aircrew.

John Greenfield – The only son of Farmer Greenfield of Villa Real Farm, John was an RAF volunteer and aircrew officer. During potato-picking week in October, John rode a horse pulling a plough and cart along rows of potatoes. As potatoes were unearthed, children picked them up and threw them into the cart.

Eric Hoe – Leading Aircraftman Eric was killed-in-action while serving with the Queen’s Royal Regiment and is buried in a war cemetery in Marseilles, France.

Jack Jones – The only son of Thoresby Colliery Under-manager, Jack suffered with rheumatic fever in his youth. He passed fit to join the army in India but suffered a recurrence of this disease and died. Eric, Jack and I (Dennis Wood) spent many hours walking along the River Maun and in Sherwood Forest, stopping to swim in the river or throw a cricket ball. Eric played in Edwinstowe Cricket Club’s Second XI and always carried a cricket ball.

Jack Lacey – Jack worked for Farmer Greenfield who missed his youthful vigour and strength after he enlisted. Jack’s family lived in a cottage, now dismantled, along a track opposite Sherwood Grange Nursing Home.

Ernest Reddish – Ernest, a qualified teacher, worked at a Worksop school before training as an RAF Navigator.

Charlie Reedman – The only son of a railway signalman, Charlie enlisted in the Royal Navy. He had worked as an apprentice shoemaker for Jack Lacey, the High Street Cobbler. Margaret Carter had written to Charlie who was her cousin, was shocked to receive this reply from his ship’s captain R.M.J Hutton” I’m sorry to have to tell you that Charlie was killed on the 13th October 1943 aged 23.




We were peppered by an enemy bombing raid and Charlie was hit in the head and died instantaneously “There followed a heartwarming tribute “For a long time Charlie’s duty was on the bridge next to me. He was one of the most level-headed and cheerful members of my team. Sadly only a few weeks after he was killed, the Laforey, a destroyer, was torpedoed in the Tyrrhenium Sea and all but a few members of the crew were killed.

D.W. Acorn newspaper

Ralph Richardson – Ralph was the son of St Mary’s Churchwarden. Before he enlisted into the RAF, was a chorister and crucifer – leading the choir from the belfry to choir stalls at the beginning of Sunday services and to the War Memorial on Remembrance Sunday.

Frank Sargent – Frank worked for Henry Waby, printer of New Ollerton.

Harold Sperink – Harold was a stable-lad; he moved to Berkshire, served his apprenticeship and qualified as a jockey. He was the English Stable Boys’ Flyweight Boxing Champion. Harold served with Queen’s Royal Regiment and was killed in 1944. He is buried in the Gradara War Cemetery, Italy.

Charlie Winter – Only child, Charlie was apprenticed to Newton’s Family Butchers in the High Street. He was a familiar and likeable figure making deliveries on his purpose-built bicycle.

Oswald Woodhead – A Flight Sergeant, whose grave is in St Mary’s churchyard, Ossie was a travelling salesman with Brough’s, a northern grocery firm with a store in the High Street.

Charles Wright – Corporal Charles Wright, served with the Worcestershire Regiment, was killed in action in 1940 and is commemorated in the Dunkirk Memorial, Northern France.

9. Thoresby Colliery WW11

Thoresby Colliery War Service Fund.

“This fund was commenced at the outbreak of war and all the workmen at the Colliery contribute 3d in the pound on his wages. During 1943, a total of £ 4,695 was paid out , £3808 being paid to the dependents of serving employees, £737 to sons and daughters of employees and £130 to hospitals and family doctors for serving employees. At the present time, there are 114 employees on service, 58 married 5 with widowed mothers and 51 single. Four employees have been killed on service: J. White, Geoffrey Lacey, G. Askew, and G. Woodcock . Four employees are prisoners of war: Sgt. A Wagstaff, Pte. F G Mellors, Pte. F. Vernon, and G. Rowney , Four have been killed on service, A. Mendham, C. Burrows, O. W. Woodhead and R. Portman.

Three are reported missing: Ralph Richardson, Jack Foy, C R Falkner and Jack Jones died on service in India. Two prisoners of war: C W H Winter, and J Cornish.

The fund is managed by a committee Chairman Mr. Woodward, Mr. H. Willett Secretary, W H Russon Treasurer, Messrs.  R. Hill, T. Ogden, C. Coldbeck, and B Evans.”

The following photographs and information were featured in the Bolsover Colliery Company Quarterly News 1944 –1945 – 1946. All were Thoresby Colliery employees or had a family connection with the Colliery & Spitfire Funding.

Joe Bennett, Stoker 1st Class entered Royal Navy in 1942 and has been on almost continuous duty on Arctic convoys. The destroyer on which he is serving has taken a prominent part in the sinking of three U-boats. He was present during the Normandy landings on “D” day.  Finds life on the destroyer very tough but likes it.”




“Ord. Sea. John H Geddes, son of Robert Geddes, joined the Navy December 1943, serving in one of H.M L.S.Ts. Has been to France a number of times since “D” Day.”





“Gunner B. Gozzard worked on the surface at Thoresby Colliery. He joined the forces in 1940 and served two year in Ireland. Transferred to Light Ack-ack  R. A now doing well against V, Bombs.”




“Pte. C. Atkinson, now serving with the R.A.O.C. He joined the forces in 1942.”




“Marine G. T. Fensom, he joined H M Forces in 1941 and served with the 8th Army throughout the Africa Campaign, then in India and Ceylon. Member of Thoresby Colliery Boys’ Brigade.”




“.C.W./1 Joan Gozzard, joined the W.A.A.F in 1943. She was formerly on the Wages Staff at Thoresby Colliery.”





“F/Lieut. J. Revill, R.A.F.V.R. Volunteered in 1940 and was posted to Cardington aerodrome and later to Cranwell where he gained his wings and Commission in October 1941. He was a flying instructor for 2 years before transferring to Bomber Command. Then home on operational tour with the Halifax Squadron. An old Boys’ Brigade member. When stationed near London he played football for Crystal Palace and cricket for his station.”


“AC/2 J. Breedon, an old member of Edwinstowe ATC. He joined the RAF and was sent to South Africa for training. Was a member of Property Repairs Staff.”




“Pte. Joan Hubbard, joined the ATS in January 1943. Before joining the forces she was a keen member of the Thoresby Girls’ Brigade for eight years.”




ACW/2  Iris Snuggs, daughter of Frank Snuggs joined the forces in May 1944, choosing the W.A.A.F.





“P/O. P. D. Rogers, worked at Thoresby Colliery prior to joining the RAF in 1941. He trained in Canada. He was commissioned in 1943 and was on operations in Africa and Italy. He had flown over 70 sorties. Old Boys’ Brigade member.”



“C.P.O.  B. A. Rogers, worked at Thoresby Colliery prior to joining the Navy in 1941. Old Boys’ Brigade member.”




“Sgt. O.W. Woodhead, volunteered for RAF June 1940. He served with the 21st Squadron . Killed on active service December 1942 when returning from an operational flight.”





“Driver L. Smithard WLA, An old member of Thoresby Colliery Girls’ Brigade before joining the Land Army. A report taken from the Evening Standard, gives some idea of the good work being done by the WLA . Two land girls – 20 year-old Lily Smithard and Margaret Incles, who is 18, were today planting potatoes on land which has lain uncultivated for more than 40 years at Widmer End Bucks. Bumping over the furrows with Jenny, their tractor (She’s a pet explained sun-bronzed Lily who drives her) they get a special satisfaction from these jobs re-claiming these lost acres.”

“LACWD Palmer, An old member of Thoresby Colliery Girls’ Brigade. Joined up in 1941. Her father, Fred Palmer is a Thoresby Colliery employee.”





Ernest Birdsell enlisted at the age of 17 and after a number of months training fulfilled his boyhood dream of joining the Royal Navy. Ernie was eventually posted to Canada where the Royal Navy’s task was to test the newly-built men-of-war. In April 1945, Ernie was caught in a blinding explosion that engulfed the boiler room in flame. He was taken to Shaughnessy Military Hospital in Vancouver where he spent the next two years undergoing the long process of skin grafting to over 50% of his body. Ernie was then fit enough to travel to Southhampton, on the SS Aquitania . After a spell in Gillingham Hospital, he was moved to Queen Victoria Hospital East Grinstead which had been developed during the Battle of Britain to deal with the horrific facial and hand burns which pilots and other air crew sustained when their planes caught fire. A New Zealand surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe had pioneered the operative techniques which transformed cosmetic surgery and gave recognizable faces to men who had been burnt beyond recognition. Ernie was discharged in 1949, still only 22 years of age.

The full story of Ernie’s rehabilitation was serialised in the ‘Acorn’ Community Newspaper’

“L/Bdr. Thos Woodhead, employed on the screens prior to joining H.M forces in May 1940 and went to the Middle East in November 1940. He served through the Desert Campaign to Benghazi, then in retreat reached Gazala, but was cut off but came through enemy lines to Alamein to Endfidaville. Took part in the invasion of Sicily and was at Catania. Returned to England in November 1943. He went to Normandy on “D” plus 4 and was with the first British troops to enter Brussels.  At present he is in Holland.”  


“Pte. L. Knowles, son of W Knowles of Thoresby Colliery. He joined up in 1940 and served with the 8th Army throughout the African Campaign, then in Italy and at present is on another front.”





Officer Cadet Jack Jones. In 1943, Jack Jones was Head Boy of Queen Elizabeth’s Boys’ School Mansfield and secured an officer-cadetship in the Indian Army. He left for training in the East in February and died aged nineteen years on September 16th 1943 of enteric fever at the British Military Hospital Mhow, Central India. Jack was a good sportsman and keenly interested in Army life. He was the son of Mr. H. Jones Under Manager Thoresby Colliery.”


Sgt. John E. Foy, volunteered for the R.A.F in February 1941. He was Flt. Engineer on a Lancaster bomber reported missing July 1943. This was his eighteenth flight over enemy territory. He was employed in the offices at Thoresby Colliery for three years.”

10. Home Guard

                                  Home Guard          

1st  ?  L. Raynor, Bently, H. Pearson,  ?  J. Henson, ? W. Butcher, S. Davis,  ?  J. Wells     

2nd  P. Farnsworth, ? W. Beardsley, T. Hooley, H. Harding, R. Hutchinson,  ?           

     W. Herberts, H. Jarvis, G. Beniston, R. Brocklehurst.

3rd  W. Ankers, Maxfield, A. Oswin,   ?   Swinton,  J. Draycott, T. Sisson   ?   J. Raybold

4th   ?  J. Stocker,  Cotterill, L. Davis

11. Women’s Voluntary Service

Women’s Voluntary Service on duty at Rufford Abbey. Ministries of Agriculture & Fisheries. 

Mrs. Beniston. ? ? Mrs. Marsland. Mrs. Mellors, Mrs. Fletcher Mrs. Sisson

12. Edwinstowe Civil Defence Team

F. Brown, G. Birdsell, F Kent, D. Clifford, J. Kenworthy, Cooper, ? L. Gebb

            ?. Pell, W. Bowes, Williams,  ? ?  Organ. T. Palmer,  J. Wathall,  Marsland

       F. Palmer, S. Seymour, L. Boucher, W. Knowles, Major Moncur, J. Firth,  A. Johnson,

                             E. Moore, ?.?.? J. Dean, R. Scrimshaw, Alcock.

 Jack Turley in Home Guard Uniform with his daughter Mildred – Sixth Avenue
Edwinstowe                  Home Guard Certificate

   Womans Auxilary Air Force

Jean Smith (back row centre left) served for four years in the WAAF

13. Land Army Memories

Doreen Fensom and her twin sister born and raised in Sheffield. At the age of eleven years they were evacuated to the rural community of Collingham. Doreen and her sister saw the countryside for the first time. They had never seen a cow and the only trees they knew were those in the local cemetery. They were taken back to Sheffield back to the noise, sooty fumes and munitions factories.

Doreen, at the tender age of twelve vowed that as soon as she was able, it was back into the country to live. When she was seventeen she attempted to join the Land Army but was told to re-apply when she was older. She continued to work in the cutlery factory but she never lost her dream to move to the country.

Her dream came true when the Land Army accepted her; she finally left Sheffield for the open spaces of Nottinghamshire. Her favourite chore was threshing and she was in great demand by all of the farmers, including Bradleys’ of Clipstone. The job she hated most was pulling flax as it cut her hands and fingers to shreds. Many times, the girls would work in the lashing rain, freezing snow or burning sun for eight hours at a time. The girls worked long and hard days walking to the fields from the farm houses where they were dropped off by lorries. They worked for the princely sum of £1 a day, less board, lodging and laundry.

Doreen was also paying nine pence a week for a bike she was buying through the Land Army. Her take home pay was £1. 3 shillings a week. They may have worked hard all day, but night was the time to be out until curfew which was 10 pm in the week, and 11 pm on Fridays. Doreen was transferred to the Old Clipstone Hostel, on the rat-hole (announced as Virgins Island by the conductors of the day). It was whilst she lived there she met Roland the man she eventually married.

(Acorn newspaper, P.B.)

Land Army girls’ stationed at the Clipstone Hostel 1945

Kathleen Lewis, 1st back row married Joe Bennett, V.E day 8th May 1945 . Ena Mason 8th back row.



Ena Mason , sister to Pete (Pop) and Alan Mason who both served in the Royal Navy.


Ena delivering milk.

The Call of the Running Tide    (from the Acorn Newspaper)

14. Senior Service

Surprisingly for a village some distance from the sea Edwinstowe was well represented in the Senior Service before the Second World War.

A list of naval regulars included Alan Egerton, Francis (Len) Godwin, George Lawrence, Joe McGann, Ron Pearson, and Stuart Worrell.

Stuart, who was taken prisoner in Crete, had served on H.M.S Bahram, which he was fortunate to leave before it exploded and sank in the Mediterranean.

This worthy contingent was joined after the outbreak of war by, Jimmy Alsop, Joe Bennett, Ernest Birdsell, Gordon Coupe, who served on the Arc Royal, Sid Lee, John Geddes, Jack Gibson, Percy Gibson, Walter Kirk, Frank Lawrence, Edwin Marson, brothers Alan and Peter Mason, Bill Moody, Charlie Reedman (killed in action). Harold Russon, Jack Thompson (later became a local insurance man) Tommy Thompson. Frank Lawrence was present when allied troops made two important landings – on the Normandy beaches and on the Italian mainland.

Bill Moody joined the Skudd, a Norwegian whaler which was engaged in mine-sweeping in Sierra Leone and Lagos, Nigeria. Bill then joined the Ben Hern another minesweeper which plied the North Sea.

Pete (Pop) Mason served on the destroyer, Musketeer (an escort vessel with the Russian Convoy) which helped in the pursuit of the battle-cruiser Scharnhorst which was finally sunk on Boxing Day evening 1943. Peter recalls that very few of the Scharnhorst crew survived even though the British fleet scoured the icy waters for a long time.







Alan Mason, a gunner was engaged on coastal defense work laying anti-submarine nets in British harbours.






15. The Royal Observer Corps

Mr. C. Naish picture centre back row. Mr Groves 1st left front row

Memories of Edwinstowe in the Thirties and Forties

Ruth Naish, writing from Sheffield, memories which she shares with her twin brother, James;

When the war started, in 1939, mother drove an ambulance and was the Gap Billeting Officer for Edwinstowe and preparations were made to receive evacuees from Sheffield.  Ruth remembers riding her bicycle to the Council School for the first time and ‘helping’ to prepare a welcome packet for them which included chocolate biscuits, soon to become a rationed luxury.  The evacuees from Sheffield soon went home but another wave came from Littlehampton who also went home quickly.  There were several big efforts to raise money for the war effort and Edwinstowe competed with Ollerton to raise the most money.  Edwinstowe had a War Weapons Week and Ruth remembers going with the whole school to the cricket ground on the forest and singing four national songs representing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Edwinstowe was surrounded by army camps during the war and Ruth remembers going with her father to deliver milk, eggs and potatoes to the camps at Rufford and Carburton.  We both delivered milk in cans twice a day before and after school, mostly to addresses on East Lane and High Street and to the canteen for the troops on the Forest.  We drove the farm tractor (the first tractor in the village) at harvest time, and Ruth remembers working late in the field called ‘Sarts’ (a corruption of the medieval word ‘assart’ meaning a clearing in the forest) on the way to Budby when a German Dornier plane flew very low over a lone tree.  Fortunately, he flew on but she always thinks of it when she passes along the road.

Dad was in the Royal Observer Corps and David remembers being parked at the Observer Corps hut on Ollerton Road near to the Ollerton roundabout while mother rushed off to drive her ambulance.

Ruth and James Naish.

16. Territorial Army

The Warwickshire Regiment were part of the TA (Territorial Army). They were posted to Thoresby arriving within days of war being declared. When they arrived they had no horses, subsequently, 600 horses were delivered and these were initially tethered in ‘lines’ across the South Lawn. This regiment only stayed 2/3 months before being posted to the Middle east.