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(This article is largely based on material kindly sent by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, July-October 2020.)

The Memorial Benches of Hungerford

Memorial seats or benches are described as pieces of furniture which commemorate a person or persons who have lived in the locality of the bench. The benches are generally made of hard wood but today in order to prolong their life span, they can be made of metal, stone or synthetic materials usually of a composite polymeric nature.

Hungerford Town Council is responsible for the upkeep of many of the public benches found around Hungerford. Many of these are memorial benches have an inscription but some are unnamed and were presumably installed and funded by the council itself. Unnamed benches can be found at locations such as Bearwater, Strongrove Hill, Charnham Street and Smitham Bridge park to name a few.

Hungerford has a plethora of commemorative benches located in public places such as:

The War Memorial Grounds in Bridge Street

Hungerford Wharf in Canal Walk

Hungerford High Street

Church Street

The Croft

The Hungerford Club sports grounds

St. Lawrence’s Churchyard

Kennet and Avon Canal towpath

The War Memorial Recreational Grounds in Bulpit Lan and Cricket Club

St. Saviour’s Church Yard

• Harvey’s Stream in Eddington

Freeman’s Marsh

Photo Gallery:

 

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- B1: Royal British Legion - Service not self

- B2: Royal British Legion - Centenary 2018

- B3: Stobart

- B4: We will remember them

- CW1: Unnamed

- CW2: Diamond Wedding of Harry and Mary Fradgley

- CW3: Unnamed

- CW4: Unnamed

- CW5: The Talmage bench

- CW6: William Thomas Clothier

- CW7: George and Joseph Neale

- CW8: Teddy and Gladys Pratt

- CW9: Arthur Ernest Hamblin

- CW10: David John Holtby

- HC1: Hungerford Club

- HC2: Denis Brittain

- HC3: Harry and Lilian Norris

- HS1: Un-named

- HS2: Un-named

- HS3: Ivy Wells (by Hungerford Rotary Club)

- HS4: Hungerford Chamber of Hungerford

- HS5: Ian K Thompson

- HS6: Un-named

- HS7: The Coronation of King George VII (sic!)

- LIB1: David Liddiard

- TM1: Hungerford Tragedy Memorial

- WA1: John Luthwaite

- CC1: Nick Waters

- CC2: Jonathan Alan Barrett

- CC3: Bill Ralph

- CC4: Wally Dennis

- CC5: Jeffrey Harris

- CC6: The Downgate Memorial seat

- CC7: John Miller

- CC8: Mick North

- CC9: Basil Kenchington

- CC10: Roy Newcombe

- CC11: Ray Brown

- CC12: Colin Goodall

- CR1: Susan Keysell Wood

- CR2: Arthur and Maggie Simms

- CR3-5: Un-named

- FM1: Andrew Leigh Bridges

- FM2: Dennis and Barbara Simmonds

- FM3: Derek Arthur Hawkins

- FM4: Albert Walter

- FM5: Robin Tubb

- KA1: Bob and Ann Myall

- KA2: Malcolm Bray & Spen Faulkner

- KA3: Margery Frankum

- KA4: Robert "Bob" Maslin

- SL1: Ian Morley, Ben Rolfe and Terry Tracey

- SL2: Ben Rolfe

- SL3: Ian Morley

- SL4: Terry Tracey

- SL5: Mothers’ Union

- SL6: Silver Jubilee 1977

- SL7: M.U. Centenary 1988

- SL8: M.U. 80th Year 1981

- SL9: M.U. 1998

- SL10: M.U. Centenary 1876 to 1976

- SL11: M.U. 95th Year 1996

- SL12: M.U. 85TH Year 1986

- SL13: M.U. Hungerford 90th Anniversary 1991

- SL15: M.U. Centenary 1876 to 1976

- SL16: Alice Rose Walker

- SL 17: Geoffrey G Wilkinson

- SS1: Ivy Wells

- SS2: Tony and Bessie Smykowski

- SS3: James Milne Harris

- SS4: David Patrick Halligan

Benches in The War Memorial Grounds in Bridge Street:

Royal British Legion - Service not self (Ref: B1)

This bench commemorates the formation of British Legion. The organisation of ex-service men into a mass membership movement was a new departure in British life. Four main groups came together in 1921 to form the British Legion, led by former high-ranking ex-officers.

Royal British Legion Centenary - 1918 -2018 (Ref: B2)

This bench commemorates the British Legion and its centenary in 2018. The carved poppy on the bench is the insignia of the British Legion and a symbol of both remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.

War Memorials and Poppies

If you visit Hungerford’s two war memorial sites (Bridge Street and the War Memorial sarsen stone in the War Memorial Recreational grounds), you will often see poppy wreaths adorning the memorials. Why are poppies used?

During WW1, much of the fighting took place in Western Europe. The countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over repeatedly. Previously beautiful landscapes turned to mud— bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow.
There was a notable and striking exception to the bleakness - the bright red Flanders poppies. These resilient flowers flourished in the middle of so much chaos and destruction, growing in the thousands upon thousands.

Shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was moved by the sight of these poppies and that inspiration led him to write the now famous poem 'In Flanders Fields'.

The poem then inspired an American academic named Moina Michael to adopt the poppy in memory of those who had fallen in the war. She campaigned to get it adopted as an official symbol of Remembrance across the United States and worked with others who were trying to do the same in Canada, Australia and the UK.

Also involved with those efforts was a French woman, Anna Guérin, who was in the UK in 1921 where she planned to sell the poppies in London.
There she met Earl Haig, founder of the Royal British Legion, who was persuaded to adopt the poppy as an emblem for the Legion in the UK. The Legion, formed earlier that year, ordered nine million poppies and sold them on 11 November.
The poppies sold out almost immediately. That first 'Poppy Appeal' raised over £106,000 to help veterans with housing and jobs; a considerable sum at the time. (In today’s ‘Poppy Appeal’, 40,000 volunteers distribute 40 million poppies).

In view of how quickly the poppies had sold and wanting to ensure plenty of poppies for the next appeal, Major George Howson set up the Poppy Factory to employ disabled ex-servicemen. Today, the factory and the Legion’s warehouse in Aylesford produces millions of poppies each year.
The demand for poppies in England continued unabated and was so high, in fact, that few poppies actually managed to reach Scotland. To address this and meet growing demand, Earl Haig's wife Dorothy established the 'Lady Haig Poppy Factory' in Edinburgh in 1926 to produce poppies exclusively for Scotland.

Today, over five million Scottish poppies (which have four petals and no leaf, unlike poppies in the rest of the UK) are still made by hand by disabled ex-Servicemen at Lady Haig's Poppy Factory each year and distributed by the charity Poppyscotland.

Remembrance in the UK today is very different than it was 100 years ago. People take part whatever their political or religious beliefs. The poppy remains a humble, poignant symbol of Remembrance and hope.

In memory of our Parents; Lt.Colonel Peter and Marjorie Stobart (Ref: B3)

Peter Stobart was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army and was originally commissioned as an officer cadet in the Royal Signal corps during WW2. He and his wife, Marjorie, lived at 24 Bridge Street, now known as Forge Cottage, from around 1986 until 2008.

Peter Bryan Haliburton Stobart was born in Edmonton, north London in 1923 and died on 20th June 2011. His wife died on 30th April 2017. Their children, Mark and Claire, donated the bench in memory of their parents.

We will remember them (Ref: B4)

This bench is in remembrance of armed services personnel who died in WW1 and WW2 and was erected by the Hungerford Branch of the Royal British Legion. 

Benches on Hungerford Wharf in Canal Walk:

Unnamed (Ref: CW1)

The Diamond Wedding of Mary and Harry Fradgley 2013 (Ref: CW2)

This bench is to celebrate the Diamond Wedding of Mary and Harry Fradgley, 6th April 2013.

George Harold Fradgley, known as Harry, married Mary Reeves in Wantage in 1953 and they had three children - Richard, David and Sarah. Harry was a most popular “village bobby“ and was stationed in Hungerford for many years.

Unnamed (Ref: CW3)

Unnamed (Ref: CW4)

The Talmage bench (Ref: CW5)

This bench is to commemorate the Talmage family and friends. There have been Talmages in Hungerford since the early 1700’s and there are still several Talmage families living in the town today.

Perhaps one of the most famous Talmage’s was James Edward Talmage. James E. Talmage, was the eldest son of James Joyce Talmage and Susannah Preater and was born on 21 September 1862 at the Bell in Hungerford (now 115 High Street). He was primarily an academic having studied chemistry and geology in America he became a professor at several universities as well as writing religious books. He was a fervent supporter of the church of the Latter-Day Saints and died on 27th July 1933, aged 70. More details can be found on the Hungerford Virtual Museum website and on Wikipedia.

Incidentally, there is a memorial sarsen stone with an inscribed bonze plaque dedicated to him next to the bench.

The bench made of solid teak was installed in 1987 and a ceremony took place in Canal Walk conducted by the Mormon elder Russell M Nelson to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Church of the Latter Day Saints in the British Isles. In attendance were James Talmage’s youngest son John R Talmage (aged 82) and his grandson Roger who had flown from America for the ceremony.

See also: "Memorial for a famous Mormon", NWN 30 Jul 1987 - re the sarsen stone memorial on Canal Walk to James E Talmage.

William Thomas Clothier (Ref: CW6)

William Clothier, known as "Bill" was born on 6th September 1910 in Shepton Mallet. He grew up in Prestleigh which is a small village in the Mendips, Somerset. His parents Herbert and Sarah owned Water Farm so it is hardly surprising that he followed a farming related career.

By the start of 1939, Bill and his wife Edith had moved into Hungerford and lived at 26 Church Street and in the census of that year he was described as an English grain buyer from farmers. He was a successful and well-respected businessmen in the town. Around 1972 he owned 12 and 13 High Street, when it was sold to John Newton.

Bill died on 27th November 1982 aged 72 and was living at Milton House at the top of the Salisbury Road. His will revealed that he was a millionaire. Both Bill and Edith's graves are in St. Saviours cemetery.

George and Joseph Neale (Ref: CW7)

"Presented in Memory of George Neale and his grandfather Joseph who was a wharfinger on this canal in the 1840s"

Elsewhere on the Virtual Museum, under "Carriers" is the following:

Water Conveyance:

Kelly's Directory of 1848 lists the following services conveying water:

- Joseph Neale (agent); Canal Company’s Wharf to Bristol to Reading three times a week (using Charles Parker’s barges).

- Joseph Neale (agent): The Wharf to London and Bristol daily (using Thomas Shaw & Co.’s barges).

In Memory of Edward and Gladys Pratt (Ref: CW8)

This bench was presented by their families. Edward Pratt, known as "Teddy" was born on 22nd September 1899 and was Constable of the Town and Manor of Hungerford for two years from 1945 to 1946 and in 1946 he was elected to Hungerford Parish Council. In this election he was “top of the poll" which was chosen by a show of hands.

During WW1 her served in the Royal Tank Corp. 

On the Sunday after VE day (Tuesday 8th May 1945) a large victory parade took place in Hungerford and Teddy gave a morale boosting speech to the assembled crowd outside the Town Hall.

He was a member of Hungerford Club and was Worshipful Master of the Hungerford Lodge of Freemasons 1939 to 1940.

Teddy Pratt came to the town in 1921 and took over Hutchins butchers’ shop at 12 and 13 High Street and he was to remain there as a master butcher for 43 years until his retirement in 1964.

His father Edward Owton Pratt and Ada at farmed at Timsbury near Romsey in Hampshire and on the 1911 census his father was described as a farmer and a butcher. Teddy Pratt was born on 22nd September 1899 in the village of Burley, Hampshire and had four brothers, Robert, Frank, John and George, all of whom became butchers.

He married Gladys Emily Perrins Pratt (born 27th June 1900) in 1922 in Portland near Weymouth and they had three daughters, Peggy (b.1923), twins June and Mary (b.1925) and a son Edward (b.1928).

Teddy died on 26th June 1973 and at the time of his death he was living at the house named “Sarum” in Church Way. After Teddy's death she moved to 8 Canal Walk.She later moved to Crown Mews in Church Street where she died on 6th August 1988.

Arthur Ernest Hamblin (Ref: CW9)

This bench was presented to the Town and Manor of Hungerford by Arthur Ernest Hamblin around the time that he was the Mayor of Truro (1972/1973).
He was born on 28th July 1902 in Marylebone, London and married Sarah A Deacon in 1926. However he cannot be found on the census of 1911 .

I am grateful to Alan Ford who kindly provided further information: "It appears he was an illegitimate child, born at the "St Marylebone Female Protection Society", which cared for expectant mothers before placing them in service. They took people from all over the county. His mother was Margaret Hamblin. (There was a Margaret Hamblin of about the right age born 1874 - registered in Hungerford, living in West Woodhay).

In 1939 he was living in Exeter and his occupation was a wholesale agent.

Arthur Hamblin died on 28th October 1979 and at the time he was living at 29, Kenwyn Street in Truro." 

There are two other benches to his memory which are sited on Hungerford Common near the Down Gate inn and on the footpath along the River Kennet and Harvey's Stream at Eddington .

The inscriptions on both the benches found at Canal Walk and on the Common describe him as being “an old boy of the town”. Robert James added that he had known Arthur Hamblin and had been in correspondence with him around the time of the installation of two of the benches, the one at Eddington and the one on the Common. Robert further added that he knew members of the Hamblin family who lived locally and one of them, Wally, had worked for Robert's family company James and Co. initially as a driver and then progressing to a senior game food salesman. He added that quite a few of the Hamblins and their families had lived around Hungerford.

Robert James also remembered that a brother of Wally’s together with his two sons had farmed at Orpenham Farm just to the south of Wickham, and another brother, Benny, worked for Pass & Co / Gowerings in Newbury.

Robin Mann, a project engineer at West Berkshire Council, was able to provide the final piece of the jigsaw - the naming of Hamblin Meadow. Hamblin Meadow was formally adopted on 30th November 1999. The S.38 adoption agreement was between Berkshire County Council and Vokins Holdings Ltd and National House Building Council. The 1819 Enclosure Award Map shows that the land on which Hamblin Meadow is built was in 1819 owned by "John Pearse, exchanged to devisees of John Hamblin".

However, questions still remain. It is probable that Arthur Hamblin is a family member of a local Hamblin family but how did he end up in Devon and Cornwall and where was he between 1902 and 1926?

David John Holtby (Ref: CW10)

David John Holtby was born on 26th February 1945 in Dartford in Kent and was the youngest son of Godfrey F Holtby and Elsie E Fullbrook. His elder brother Godfrey died in his infancy.

After graduating from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst he was commissioned in the Royal Engineers and reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His military career and organisational skills put him in good stead for his post military career which was both political and public service. 

When he and his family arrived in Hungerford he took an active interest in local politics and before long he became the agent for local member of parliament for the Newbury Constituency Richard Benyon, who described him as a “great Hungerfordian, great Englishman and a brave and loyal friend”. At his funeral service in St. Lawrence's church, Richard Benyon gave a wonderful eulogy.

His public service started with election to the Hungerford Town Council and then the West Berkshire Council in 2007. He had recently just been chosen to the deputy leader of the council. On hearing of his death West Berkshire Council leader Gordon Lundie (Con, Lambourn Valley) remarked: “David was a remarkable man who worked tirelessly for the people of Hungerford. Many of us who are elected today will remember David for his kindness, humour and sense of purpose. We are all deeply saddened by this untimely loss.”

Paul Hewer, a local man who served with David on the West Berkshire council for several years, was instrumental in the establishment of the memorial bench to the late district councillor. This bench is situated close to the canal bridge was quite fitting, since he was largely responsible for driving the footbridge project through when the new Jubilee canal bridge was erected. 

David Holtby married Jill Thomas and they have two children Rupert and Fleur. Sadly, David unexpectedly died of a heart attack on 10th June 2013. His family home was Avenue House in the Croft. He was buried in St. Saviour's cemetery.

Benches in Hungerford High Street:

There are a number of benches in the High Street maintained by Hungerford Town Council. A few of these are memorial benches with inscriptions.

Un-named Bench (Ref: HS1)

Location: This bench is situated outside WH Smith’s and is of a modern design and was installed by Hungerford Town Council following road works on the High Street.

Un-named Bench (Ref: HS2)

Location: This bench is situated outside Russell Marshalls Estate Agency and is of a modern design and was installed by Hungerford Town Council following road works on the High Street.

Bench to the Memory of Ivy Wells (Ref: HS3) (Outside the TSB bank)

This bench was provided by the Hungerford Rotary Club in memory of Ivy Wells and was probably installed around 1999.

Hungerford Chamber of Hungerford (Ref: HS4) (Outside the Red Cross shop)

This bench was presented to the town by the Hungerford Chamber of Commerce in 1999.

Ian K Thompson (Ref: HS5) (At the junction of Atherton Road and the High Street)

Ian Kendal Thompson was born in Wandsworth on the 18th April 1918, the son of James Thompson and Gertrude Kendal Street. His father James held a doctorate in Chemistry and was elected to a fellowship of the Royal Institute of Chemistry. He eventually became the Public Analyst for the Royal County of Berkshire. His parents married in Wandsworth, South London in 1914.

At the start of WWI in 1939, IKT was recorded as a veterinary student. It is believed that after his war service he then returned to his studies at the University of London but did complete his studies. At the time of writing (2020) I am awaiting a reply from the librarian at The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

In 1949, he was living with his parents in Brooklyn Drive in Reading and was employed as a local government officer. His mother Gertrude died in Peppard Hospital and at the time of her death on 8th January 1966 she was living in Mapleduram on the River Thames.

In Gertrude’s will she left IKT £133,000 (worth around £2 million in 2020) which effectively made him a millionaire twice over.

In 1955 he married Mariota Margaret Cave, known as Marie and they lived in Guildford and then Bedford. Marie worked as a nurse. The couple had no children. After a divorce he arrived in Hungerford around the early 1970’s and lived in Sanden Close.

People in Hungerford have clear memories of this man and his dog, or should we say dogs. During his time in Hungerford he owned two dogs, a rather plump Jack Russell terrier called Trio because the dog had three different coloured legs and a small, brown dog called Sox, presumably because it had white paws. Trio was killed in a road traffic accident whilst he was walking from Dun Mill towards the A4/ Bath Road and IKT sustained an injury to his hand. He could often be seen walking his dogs up and down Atherton Road / Picture House Hill/ Cardiac Hill/ hence the inscription on the bench "To the memory of Ian K Thompson who walked this hill daily with his dog".

During the latter part of his life when he became infirm, he went to live in Notrees Care Home in Kintbury High Street. One of his friends Angela Evans who lived in Regent Close looked after his dog during this period. Incidentally Angela was married to Godfrey Evans who was an English cricketer who played for Kent and England. Described by Wisden as 'arguably the best wicket-keeper the game has ever seen', Evans collected 219 dismissals in 91 Test match appearances between 1946 and 1959 and a total of 1066 in all first-class matches. En route he was the first wicket keeper to reach 200 Test dismissals and the first Englishman to reach both 1000 runs and 100 dismissals and 2000 runs and 200 dismissals in Test cricket. He was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1951.

IKT had no children and no known relations except for a cousin who lived in Australia. It appears that there was no mention of him when newspaper obituaries were searched , which in my opinion is a shame!

People have described him as being very knowledgeable and very, very intelligent who would take part in quizzes held at visit Hungerford’s Day Centre now known as the Hungerford Resource Centre in Ramsbury Drive.

IKT was quite a character almost a double act when he was accompanied with “mans best friend”. He was a popular old gent who never lost an eye for the ladies when travelling in the bus to the Day Centre and would remark on their attraction.

IKT died on 17th February 2010, aged 91 and his will and grant were proven on 18th March 2010 in Oxford. For those of you wanting to know more about anybody’s will, for a modest fee one can obtain a copy of it, by visiting www.gov.uk and supplying some details of the deceased person such as their full name and the year of their death. In the case of deaths in Hungerford, the probate registry is probably the one based in Oxford. However, some wills may take a few years to be proven so you may have to search several years after their death.

There is no grave or cremation stone to be found in St. Saviours to IKT, however someone did provide this memorial bench to this nonagenarian.

Unnamed (Ref: HS6) (At the junction of Salisbury Road and the High Street)

This bench has no inscription, but the plaque may have been removed by some vandal, perhaps the same person who vandalised the post box that used to be there. 

The Coronation of King George VII (Ref: HS7). (On the Town Hall Steps)

How many people from Hungerford past, present and future will have sat on this wooden bench which is found on the steps of Hungerford Town Hall, in Hungerford High Street.

Assuming 20 visitors a day for 75 years that’s 546,000 - well over half a million. But I wonder how many of those have read the carved inscription which reads as follows:

PRESENTED BY MR AND MRS T.W. ALEXANDER TO COMMEMORATE THE CORONATION OF KING GEORGE VII MAY 12th 1932

However there was no King George VII so some joker or should we say vandal, has defaced this bench and added an extra “I” to the inscription.

Thomas William Alexander was a grocer and former constable of the Town and Manor during WW1 and lived at 26 High Street (Hungerford Arcade is today). Of interest is perhaps that during a training flight, the pilot was killed when his plane crashed into Mr. Alexander’s back garden in 1917.

Unnamed Bench (Ref: HS8) (On the Town Hall Steps)

This is one of two benches at present (2020) being restored by the garrison at Tidworth.

Benches in Church Street:

David Liddiard (Ref: LIB1)

This memorial bench is found outside on the left-hand side of Hungerford Library.

"In honour of David William Liddiard for Service to the District and Parish Council"

David was born on 6th November 1929 in Marlborough. He was the only son of William and Beatrice A Pragnell who married at Stockbridge, Hampshire at the end of WW2. His mother’s sister Phyllis Pragnell had married the famous photographer Cecil FF Snow in 1932 in Maidenhead.

In 1952, David married Josephine Neale in Newbury and they had three children: Richard, James and Beatrice Kate, known as Kate. 

He was a larger than life character and as a staunch Conservative, he contributed much to local politics. His political career spanned over forty years during which he served on the Newbury District Council from 1974 to 1989, the West Berkshire Council from 1990 to 1996 and Hungerford Town Council from 1997 until 2013. In 2003, he became Mayor of Hungerford. When he retired from civic duties in 2013, a grand party was held at The Three Swans Hotel, Hungerford High Street, where friends, council colleagues and past mayors gathered to honour him.

Outside of politics his achievements were many and included being a founder member of Great Shefford Young Farmers, chairman of the Royal County of Berkshire Show in 1963, a founder member and a former president of Hungerford Rotary Club on two occasions, patron of the Community of Hungerford Theatre Company and a founder member of Hungerford Probus.

He drove the Monte Carlo Rally in 1954 and, despite having a full-time career as a farmer, helped pioneer the sport of hot-air ballooning after gaining his pilot’s licence in 1972. 

David became Vice-President of the British Balloon and Airship Club in 1976, and his subsequent international airborne exploits included launching the first hang glider crossing of the English Channel from his balloon at 20,000 feet and piloting the Zanussi Airship. 

In 1972, he started The Icicle Meet balloon festival, which is still held locally on the first weekend of January and attracts balloonists from around the globe. 

If you walk down Church Street at the junction of Croft Road you will see a bungalow on the right hand side which has a hot-air balloon weather vane on its roof and you can guess who used to live there. 

He was a highly successful farmer and lived at College Farm, Upper Denford with his wife Jo before being admitted to Brendoncare Nursing Home, Foxfield after he had been suffering from Parkinsons for a number of years. 

He died peacefully on 14 th November 2018 aged 89.

Benches in The Croft:

Susan Keysell Wood (Ref: CR1)

Susan Keysell Wood was born in Basingstoke Hampshire in 1944 and was the daughter of Arthur E Edwards and Margaret Sealey. In 1939 her parents were living at 48 Aldworth Crescent in Basingstoke. Her father Arthur was a nurseryman who specialised in growing vegetables in greenhouses.

In 1964 she married Rossi Wood in Basingstoke who was an insurance broker. Around 1996, the couple moved to Hungerford and purchased the property at 1 The Croft but renamed it as Croft Cottage (situated between Croft Road and the Hungerford Club). In 2003 , this property was extended to include a 4th bedroom/dressing room together with an ensuite bathroom and larger kitchen/dining area.

Susan used to work as a medical receptionist at the Kintbury surgery in Newbury Street.

Arthur and Maggie Simms (Ref: CR2)

Arthur and Maggie Simms were the parents of Sue Burnell who was a former senior partner at Charles Lucas & Marshall, the well-respected firm of Hungerford solicitors.

Arthur Henry Simms was born on 16th August 1917 and his wife Margaret Green was born in Chipping Norton on 21st May 1916.

In 1939 , the couple were living at 16 Schofield Avenue in Witney, Oxfordshire. Arthur was working as a delivery driver for a retail grocery by 1948 the couple owned their own grocery business in Witney.

Arthur Simms died in 1984 whilst living in Corn Street ,Witney and his wife Maggie died in October 1982.

Unnamed Benches (Ref: CR3 to CR5)

In addition to the benches mentioned above there are three unnamed benches to be found in The Croft. These benches must have been donated by someone in memory of their loved ones but by whom? Maybe the dedication plates on them have fallen off in the course of time and it would be nice for new ones to be added.

Benches in The Hungerford Club sports grounds:

Hungerford Club (Ref: HC1)

This bench was presented to the bowls section of Hungerford Club in May 1999 by the Town and Manor of Hungerford to commemorate the 75th anniversary of its formation.

The land on which the bowling green is situated was originally owned by local builder John Wooldridge who, in 1910, allowed this land to become a sports facility for Hungerford Club. He also donated a fishing hut which was to become the bowling pavilion. In 2007 this pavilion was renovated after generous donations of over £4000 from individuals and local companies were received.

In August 1918, this land was handed over to the Hungerford Club on the proviso that should the club no longer find a use for it, its ownership would revert to the Town and Manor of Hungerford.

The bowls section of the club was formed in 1918 just after the end of WW1 and in 1924 the club was formally affiliated to the Royal County of Berkshire Bowling Association. The Ladies’ Section was established in 1945. Hungerford bowlers have brought numerous important trophies back to the town. The late Denis Brittain, the late Jim Davies and the late Ted Hill all served as County Presidents. Henry Vellender, Alan Bartter, A. P. Bartter and Tom Hooson have won County Rink Championships. Ted Hill and Ron Bailey won the County Pairs.

Denis Brittain (Ref: HC2)

Denis Jack Brittain was born in West Shefford on 18th December 1909 and was the son of John Alfred (known as Jack) Brittain and Margaret Hawkins.

In 1939, his parents were living at the Post Office in Great Shefford and as well as a post office, their premises included a bakery and a grocery. His wife acted as the post mistress and her two daughters also worked there - Gwen as a postal assistant and Jeanette as a post office clerk.

In 1936, Denis married Irene Joy (known as Joy) Williams, the youngest daughter of Jabez and Prudence Williams of Lamborn. They had one son, Nicholas, born in 1938.

In 1939, living at 9 Fairview Road, Hungerford, he worked as a local government officer, employed as deputy clerk to the Hungerford Rural District clerk before becoming clerk to the council himself in 1955.

Denis Brittain served on the committee of the Hungerford Club for a number of years and was an excellent bowls player and snooker and billiards player. His name can be found on the bowls honours board found in the Harry Norris Room (see below for further details) of the Croft Club and on various cups found in the club’s trophy cabinet. His bowling successes included winning the Walmsley Cup Championship, the James Cup Handicap, the Astley Cup Championship and the Phillips Cup Handicap. Denis also served as the President of the Royal County of Berkshire Bowling Association.

In 1953, he took part in the Coronation Cricket match between ladies and men as part of the celebrations of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1952, H.D.R.C. bought The Priory, a large Victorian building with grounds on Priory Road and this was where Denis’s office was based for a number of years. Denis bought a plot of land here in the late 1950s and had a house built known as Sarum Down with an address of 147 Priory Road.

Denis Brittain died on 21st January 1977.

Harry and Lilian Norris (Ref: HC3)

Henry Edmund Norris, known as Harry, born on 10th October 1897 in Knowl Hill, was the son of Henry and Miriam R.H. Norris. His father was a general labourer. In 1927, he married Lilian A Butler at Easthampsted. Lilian was the daughter of William Thomas Butler and Florence E Rose. Her father was employed as a tin smith and lamp maker. Lilian was born on 27th October 1901 in Easthampstead.

Harry Norris was a career service man, enlisting at just 17 in the Light Infantry division of the Royal Marines at Portsmouth on 17th October 1914. Two years later, he took part in the Battle of Jutland.

The Battle of Jutland was a naval battle fought between the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet, under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, and the Imperial German Navy's High Seas Fleet, under Vice-Admiral Reinhard Scheer. The battle unfolded in extensive manoeuvring and in three main engagements (the battlecruiser action, the fleet action and the night action), from 31 May to 1 June 1916, off the North Sea coast of Denmark's Jutland Peninsula. It was the largest naval battle and the only full-scale clash of battleships in that war. Jutland was the third fleet action between steel battleships, following the Battle of the Yellow Sea in 1904 and the decisive Battle of Tsushima in 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War. Jutland was the last major battle in world history fought primarily by battleships.

Fourteen British and eleven German ships sank, with a total of 9,823 casualties. Both sides claimed victory. The British lost more ships and twice as many sailors but succeeded in containing the German fleet. Debate over the significance of the battle continues to this day.
Following WW1 and retirement from the service on a pension, he was a postman in the town and a member of Hungerford Club. He enjoyed his bowls and was one of the team members who won the prized triples cup.

Harry was called up again in 1939 at the start of WW2. In 1941, thousands of young men from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand were sent to Greece and Crete to fight a battle they had no chance of winning and were captured by the Germans. Many of these men including Harry had to endure four long years as prisoners of war. Although imprisoned in Stalag 18A, Wolfsberg, Austria from 1941 to 1945, he survived this ordeal through a mixture of fortitude, ingenuity and a certain sense of humour. In letters to his wife Lilian, Harry reported that he had worked on a farm and had been treated fairly well.

In July, 1945 after his liberation, and following a telegram to his wife, Harry arrived back in Hungerford after his demob from the Royal Marines in Portsmouth.

In his honour, Hungerford club members named the upstairs meeting room “The Harry Norris “. This room is used for club meetings, houses the honours board of the bowling section and is the current meeting place of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes - the Buffs. This lodge known as The John o’Gaunt lodge No.9528 was founded on 15th May 1966.

At the time of their deaths Harry and Lilian were living at 16, the Croft, Hungerford. Harry died on 11th December 1977 in Newbury and Lilian on 27th June 1986 in Battle Hospital.

Benches in St. Lawrence’s Churchyard:

Triple Bench, Ian Morley, Ben Rolfe and Terry Tracey (Ref: SL1)

This bench commemorates Ian Morley, Ben Rolfe and Terry Tracey. It is quite special to me since I personally knew all these wonderful people who volunteered much of their time and service to the town of Hungerford in so many ways, whether it was fund raising for a number of charities or the setting up of Hungerford’s famous Morley Lunches.

The Morley Lunches: The Morley Lunches were established in 1996 by Terry Tracey, Ian Morley and Diane 'Diggy' Tanner. Diggy, known as Diggles by Terry Tracey, married Fluey Robert Hall and they now run the much improved, refurbished and modernised Plume pub and restaurant in Hungerford High Street. The Morley Lunches were arranged for up to 450 pensioners and were often sourced with local fare often supplied free of charge. On 16th March 2006, a special Morley Lunch took place in memory of Terry Tracey who had recently died. At this special lunch, guests were given an engraved glass and a place mat featuring a picture of the three founders to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the lunches. The financing of these lunches over the years has been helped by generous donations from local organisations including Hungerford Town Council and the Hungerford Rotary Club. Local organisers over the years have also included Liz Wilcock, Lyndsey Morley and Ruth O’Neil, to name a few.

Ben Rolfe (Ref: SL2)

Ian Michael Rolfe known affectionately as Ben was born in Marlborough on 22nd February 1962. He was the son of John Rolfe and Avril Hill, and brother to Paul and Joanne. He married Valerie and they had two daughters, Hannah and Emma. Ben worked as a mechanic.

With a smiling face and a great sense of humour, he loved music and in particular the heavier classic rock.

Ben and some of his friends formed a band called Night Prowler, which played many gigs in and around the town and in particular at the Sun Inn and the Railway Tavern, where they became a favourite local band amongst live music lovers.

Ben unexpectedly died on 19th February 2009 and at the time was living with his family in Atherton Crescent.

Ian Morley (Ref: SL3)

Ian Clive Morley was the youngest son of Ray and Joyce Morley and was born in Swindon on 2nd February 1955. His siblings were Linda, Anthony (Tony) and Jane.

In 1976 he married (Josephine) Toni Barry and they had two fine boys named David and Jack.

Ian died tragically on 26th June 1997 aged 42 in a road traffic accident while driving down Liddington Hill to a friend’s funeral. At the time he had been working as a fireman at RAF Shrivenham near Swindon.

Ian was a career firefighter who gave much to the local community serving for many years as a volunteer fireman. He was a sub officer station 5 Hungerford commander who regularly helped to organise the yearly fire brigade crew annual BBQs during the 1980s.

As an insight into Ian’s nature, I am pleased to be able to attach a personal report kindly sent to me by Dean Lavisher who had been Crew Manager at Stn 5 Hungerford from 1996 to 2007.

"Hi Jimmy, I had been in the fire service 9 months when Ian was tragically killed and during that time I can honestly say Ian was a man I’d follow “into battle if I had to”. He was the best leader & firefighter I came across in my whole 12yrs service & he knew everything & us young ones were truly inspired by him. The day Ian was killed will stay with me forever as the guys around were summoned to the Stn by our pagers going off, so we thought we had a fire call; when we arrived there was a police car outside the front of the Stn & we thought they were speed checking us as we turned in one by one. Once inside, the vicar Andrew Sawyer greeted us with our local fire officer from Newbury. They told us to go and wait in the engine bay where we all said to one another what’s going on? If I remember correctly it was myself, Paul Whiting, Eddie Hopcroft & Steve Reay (in those days we could ride with 4). The officer said there was no easy way to tell us but your sub officer Ian Morley had been killed in an RTA near Swindon. As a 22yr old that had not lost anyone I directly knew, it broke my heart.

I went to a few jobs I can remember with Ian as my oic - we had a job near hop grass where a bull being transported in a horse box had got stuck so we had to go & cut it out. It was like a rodeo with lassoes around this bull & a game of tug of war ensued, luckily nobody got injured including the bull. Ian was also a very funny man & the many barn fires we went to he would have us all laughing as we led on the salvage sheets eating bacon rolls from the local farmer. One night we were on standby in Newbury and we’re literally going from job to job , we went from alarms to a bin fire at Greenham to an rtc wash down on the A4 in Thatcham, during this John Barrett (who was driving) had not shut the back locker on the pump where his boots & leggings were so after telling John off, Ian had us driving all over Newbury looking for john’s gear, we never found them but once back at Newbury a taxi driver bought them in saying he found them on Gowrings roundabout. The other thing I can remember is Ian always used to arrange for us all to do the Hungerford Xmas lights (we used to do all of them in the town back then), even put the tree up with a turfor winch outside the town hall—no funny stories but he had a perfect system in place for doing them.

I did once see him in the Stn after he passed, I was at the sink in the engine bay cleaning some kit & I glanced across & just caught a glimpse of what looked like a firefighter in uniform disappear around the side of the back of the engine, Paul Whiting was with me at the time & we searched that Stn from head to toe & found nobody, it could’ve been we agreed Ian as it matched his stature but happened so quick. A couple of occasions shortly after his death after some late night calls when we left the Stn and were parked out by the frt office the watch room lights would come back on as well, I got comfort from this thinking he was still with us."

Terry Tracey (Ref: SL4)

Terence Coulson Tracey known as Terry or Ter was born in Hatherley near Tewksbury in 1943 and was the younger son of Robert Tracey and Amy. In 1939, his dad was a foreman of trades and was working for the Air Ministry.

In 1966, Terry married Sheila M Moore in Richmond, Yorkshire and they had two children Richard and Helen.

Terry joined the Gloucestershire Police and became a detective and upon retirement from the police Terry and his family moved to Hungerford where Ter and She became publicans of the Railway Tavern. Under their stewardship, the Tavern became one of the most popular pubs in the town due to Terry’s charismatic nature. With a lot of support from his many friends at the Tavern, Terry organised a series of charity events often involving pulling heavy lorries.

After his successful reign at the Tavern he became landlord of the Sun Inn on Charnham Street and vastly improved the property by modernisation including a B and B facility.

Terry was later elected to Hungerford Town Council, but his tenure didn’t last long before he resigned on principle because of differences of opinion with other councillors.

After his tenancy at the Sun Inn, Terry became the bar steward at Hungerford Town Football Club for a number of years and mentored Diggy Tanner who eventually took over the reins when Ter and She moved to Lynmouth in Devon to run a B and B business.

Terry died after a short battle with cancer. Following his death in Devon, She moved back to Hungerford to be closer to her children and grandchildren who still live in the town.

Anyone who knew Terry Tracey would describe him as being an honest, straightforward guy who spoke his mind and always maintained his integrity.

Mothers’ Union Bench (Ref: SL5)

This is quite a large bench adorned with seven brass plates celebrating over 140 years of the existence of the Mothers’ Union. Whenever a plaque was added, it was generally to coincide with a generous gift of a tree or plant.

• Silver Jubilee 1977 (Ref:SL6) Gift of a Tulip Tree.

• M.U. Centenary 1988 (Ref:SL7) Gift of Daffodils

• M.U. 80th Year 1981 (Ref:SL8) Gift of a Rowan Tree

• M.U. 1998 (Ref:SL9) Gift of a Crab Apple Tree, a replacement for the Rowan Tree originally planted in 1988 which had died.

• M.U. Centenary 1876 to 1976 (Ref:SL10)

• M.U. 95th Year 1996 (Ref:SL11)

• M.U. 85TH Year 1986 (Ref:SL12) Gift of Crocuses

• M.U. Hungerford 90th Anniversary 1991 (Ref:SL13) Gift of Wintering Flowering Cherry

• M.U. Centenary 1876 to 1976 (Ref:SL14) Gift of Cherry Tree

Brief History of Hungerford’s Mothers’ Union: The Mothers' Union branch in Hungerford was first conceived in January, 1896. It became affiliated to the Oxford Diocesan Branch of the society. The Parish Magazine stated that "the object of the Union is to awaken in mothers a sense of their great responsibility as mothers in the training of their boys and girls, and to organize in every place a band of mothers who will unite in prayer, and seek by their own example to lead their families in purity and holiness of life”.
Rules for Members of the Mothers Union
The rules which the members are asked to observe are “only such as devolve on every parent, yet perhaps on that very account are likely to be overlooked unless from time to time enforced by such reminders as this society gives. They are as follows:
1. Try by God's help to make your children obedient, truthful, and pure.
2. Never allow course jests, bad, angry words, or low talk in your house. Speak gently.
3. You are strongly advised never to give your children beer, wine, or spirits without the doctor's orders; or to send young people to the public house.
4. Do not allow your girls to go about the streets at night and keep them from unsafe companions and dangerous amusements.
5. Be careful that your children do not read bad books or police reports.
6. Set them a good example in word and deed.
7. Kneel down to pray to God morning and evening and teach your children to pray.
8. Try to read a few verses of the Bible daily and come to Church as regularly as possible.

The 4th rule is one, the observance of which needs very strongly to be brought before our people, as it is quite shocking to see the way in which young girls are allowed by their parents to parade the streets and roads at night, without any proper companionship or supervision, and the evils resulting from such carelessness are, and must be, very great."

Alice Rose Walker (Ref: SL16)

Alice was the beloved daughter of Dennis Cryer and Sally Pike, born in 1974 at Savernake Hospital near Marlborough, sister to William Cryer.

During the Millennium Celebrations of 2000 Alice designed the Millennium mug which was given to all school children in Hungerford.

Sadly, Alice died on 12th July 2010 from cancer at the tender age of 35. In 2012, her brother Will and his friend Rob Denty who were former pupils of John O’Gaunt Community Technology School, carried out a sponsored cycle ride from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats, the mostly northerly point of mainland Britain, to raise money for Newbury Cancer Care Trust, which had offered so much support for Alice during her illness. The intrepid duo covered a distance of more than 1,000 miles in just nine days during which they endured some of the worst spring weather for years. Despite gales and heavy rain, they even totalled 130 miles in one day.
Their sterling effort raised over 2000 pounds for this worthwhile cause….bravo for them.

Geoffrey G Wilkinson (Ref: SL17)

Geoffrey George Wilkinson was born in Hendon on 17th May 1926 and was the son of Albert Wilkinson and Violet Perrier.

In 1952, he married Wendy E Dunn in the Reading and Wokingham registration district and they had four children: Annette, Ian, Elizabeth and Susan. He was a true family man.

Geoffrey Wilkinson spent many years teaching at Slough and Eton School. He taught a number of subjects but specialised in commerce which in today’s terms would be business studies. Today in 2020, Slough and Eton School is known as Slough and Eton Church of England Business and Enterprise College, a co-educational secondary academy in Chalvey, Slough, Berkshire for students aged 11–19, with a sixth form of around 83 students studying for A levels. Since the May, 2011 Ofsted report, the school has been described as "outstanding".

After his retirement, Geoffrey and his wife moved to Hungerford around the late 1980s and lived in Sanden Close.

He was a long-serving church warden of St. Lawrence’s Church and his wife Wendy is still very active in church life and is chairwoman of the Hungerford Branch of the Mothers Union.

Geoffrey died in January 2002 in Tilehurst just outside of Reading and at the time of his death he was living in Sanden Close.

Churchwardens: Churchwardens are a bit like church policemen: they are formally elected lay representatives in an Anglican parish, who are responsible for movable church property and for keeping order in church. In the Church of England, churchwardens are officers of the parish and officers of the bishop. Generally, each parish elects two churchwardens annually on or before 30 April and they are sworn in between being elected and 31st July of the same year. Churchwardens are normally (re-)elected annually at the Meeting of Parishioners and can serve a maximum of six years followed by a two-year break. 

Benches on Kennet and Avon Canal towpath:

Bob and Ann Myall (Ref: KA1):

This bench was donated by Bob and Ann Myall was donated in 2002.The plaque reads as follows;

Sit and ponder on this seat
As the canal roams by your feet
Rest awhile enjoy your view
Think of times both old and new.

This verse was written by Ann who appears to have inherited her dad’s anecdotal expertise.

When my parents first moved to Hungerford in the summer of 1961, Bob Myall and Ann Mitchener were two of the first people that I met as a teenager because our families lived in Coldharbour Road. Bob and his parents lived at the top end of the road, I remember his dad George having chickens in the garden and on a couple of occasion he gave my parents of a couple. The Mitcheners comprising of Wilf and Dot always known to us as Mrs. Mitch and their two girls Ann and her sister Joy lived directly opposite us. Our family had quite a relationship with Bob when he was young since my parents had exchanged their council house in Liverpool with his older brother Tony who had been offered a better job in Liverpool. Tony now (2020) lives in Swindon and has just turned 90.

Bob joined the Royal Navy around 1962 and would visit my parents whilst on leave, Bob reached the rank of chief petty officer and it was not therefore surprising that Bob and Ann spent many years cruising up and down the waterways of England including the Kennet and Avon canal, the River Thames,the Oxford Canal and journeys further afield all the way to Lancaster. on their narrow boat. Two of their boats had naval connections called Up Spirits and Misty Navy, their latest boat is called Amber Moon. These boats have been moored on Hungerford Wharf.

Malcolm Bray (Ref KA2):

Malcom Sidney Bray was born in Maidenhead on 2nd November 1940 and died in January 2007.

In 1960 he married Patricia J Fletcher in Maidenhead and they had five children Stuart, Sharon, Linda, Jaqueline and Julie. His parents were probably Sidney Bray and Margarie E.G. De Whytell who had married in Leeds the year before in Leeds.

At the outbreak of WW1 his parents probably moved to Bournemouth at which time his mother was living with Sidney’s young brother while he was away fighting for king and country.

In 2006 Malcolm was living in Southview and when he died in 2007 he was living in the Haven at Kintbury.

This was quite an interesting bench since there was a second plaque attached to the same bench so there was probably a family connection. Eventually I solved this by genealogical research. See below.

Spen Faulkner (Ref KA2 (3)):

Spencer Michael Faulkner known as Spen was born on 15 Dec 1975 in Waterlooville, near Portsmouth. He married local Hungerford girl Cally Drinkwater, the daughter of Kevin and Linda Drinkwater. and they had two children Natasha and Jack. Linda Drinkwater was one of the daughters of Malcolm Bray mentioned below.

Spen joined the Royal Engineers as a Geographic Technician in September 1992 and was based at Denison Barracks, Hermitage near Newbury. He served with 42 Regiment Royal Engineers and was deployed to Kenya, Cyprus, Italy, Norway and Kosovo. He represented the Royal Engineers at Rugby and Skiing.
In 2005 he was accepted for training as an Army Pilot and by 2007 he was flying Lynx helicopters with the Army Air Corps. He served with distinction with 1 Regiment Army Air Corps and 652 Squadron AAC. He saw active service, as a pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan with this Squadron.

During the summer of 2011 Spencer was selected to serve as a helicopter pilot with 657 Squadron AAC. This Squadron operates Lynx helicopters in support of United Kingdom Special Forces. Its UK base is Odiham, Hants. Spencer served as a helicopter pilot with this elite squadron supporting the British SAS in operations in Afghanistan. He was the Air Mission Commander being o/c of the aircraft.

Sadly Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner was one of five servicemen who died when an Army Air Corps Lynx helicopter came down in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province on April 27th 2014.

His funeral with full military honours took place on May 23, 2014 at St John's Church, Newbury.Comrades and friends bore the coffin draped in a Union flag and topped with a wreath of poppies plus a light blue Army Air Corps beret.

As a memory to this war hero two plaques were created.Hungerford ‘s branch of the Royal British Legion and the Town council arranged a small ceremony in which Spen’s name on a brass plaque was added to the war memorial in Bridge Street.

After his death Spen and his family who had been living in army accommodation at Burghfield moved back to Hungerford and with the help of the army charity Forces Support created a memorial patio and arbour at their home in Park Way together with a plaque designed by his children Natasha and Jack which includes the words “ “Miss you forever, love you always. Happy days! We will make you proud.”

Dick and Margery Frankum (Ref KA3):

The location of this bench is in the Town and Manor car park just beyond the Denford Gate.

Florence Margery Ewell known as Margery was born on 10th February 1910 and married Richard "Dick" George Frankum in 1937 in Dover. Dick was born on 27th July 1909 in Woolhampton and was the son of Harry and Grace. Harry Frankum was a miller. Dick and Margery had two children Roger and Christine who were both born in the Oxford registration district. 

In 1939 the Frankums were living in Thame where Dick was working as a bank clerk. On promotion to bank manager in the early 1950’s, the Frankums moved to Hungerford and lived at Conifers on the Salisbury Road.

I first met the Frankums in 1966 when I joined the Newbury District Ornithological Club which was founded in 1959 with the aim of promoting interest in birds and all aspects of their behaviour and habitats. In 1968 Rex Smith and I started bird ringing on Freemans Marsh and would often meet and talk to Dick and Margery about recent bird sightings. A couple of the highlights were a Great Grey Shrike sat alone of the top of a bush and a Hobby being chased by a group of sand martins.

Around 1970, the Frankums started to record their observations on bird and plant life and this resulted in a booklet entitled The Birds and Plants of Freemans Marsh, Hungerford being published in 1975, with an updated version in 1978.This publication showed that Freemans Marsh had a such a varied bird and plant life and would hopefully enthuse young naturalists in Hungerford. Dick and Margery made several contributions to the birds of Berkshire systematic list.

The Frankums were very active members of The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) which is a local wildlife conservation charity that donated this bench in their memory.

Robert "Bob" Maslin (Ref KA4):

The location of this bench is at Dun Mill lock.

Robert "Bob" Thomas Maslin was born in Newbury on the 30th July 1927, the son of Reginald T Maslin and Alice T Pyke. In 1939 his parents and his brother Raymond were living at 109 Enborne Road. His father Thomas was a farm labourer and his brother Reg was a wood machinist.

It seems that Bob married twice, first in 1946 to Nellie Amos and then to Mary Palmer in 1977, both marriages taking place in Newbury.

Bob lived in Clarkes Gardens for a number of years before moving to Barton End, Alton.

At the time of his death in January 2005, he was living in Alton, Hampshire. 

Benches in The War Memorial Recreational Grounds in Bulpit Lane:

Hungerford Tragedy Memorial (Ref: TM1)

Commissioned by Hungerford Town Council with the generous support of The Royal County of Berkshire ad Newbury District Council.

This bench is in memory of the 16 people murdered by the gunman Michael Ryan on 19th August 1987 .

War Memorial Avenue: 

There are eight benches as you walk along the avenue with four on the left and four on the right but only one of these has a dedication on it, details of which are given below.

John W Luthwaite (Ref: WA1)

Presented by the family in loving memory of John W. Luthwaite, Clerk to the Parish Council 1956-73.

John Westrom Luthwaite was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne on the 2nd September 1915 and was the son of John William Luthwaite and Elizabeth Westrom.In 1942 during the WW2 he married Emmie Amy Bradbury in 1942.Known as Jack and Amy , they had two children Susan A and John W.I travelled to Newbury with both of their in the early 1960’s .
Jack became the town clerk in 1956 and carried on until his death in 1973.My father knew Jack quite well and described him as being as straight as an arrow.

Benches in the Cricket Ground:

West side: There are many un-named benches around the ground. Those with memorials are:

Nick Waters (Ref: CC1)

Nick Waters 38. 29-04-81 to 27-10-2019. "Forever in our hearts".

Nicholas Jeremy Waters was born on 29th April 1981 in the Reading and Wokingham registration district and was the son of Jeremy and Debbie.

Jonathan Alan Barrett (Ref: CC2)

In Loving Memory of Jonathan Alan Barrett, 1969-1009. "You'll never walk sit alone."

Location: westside mid-wicket. 

Jonathan Alan Barrett known as Jon was the son of Alan Barrett and Margaret Chivers .He was born in Savernake Hospital on 29th August 1969 and died on 24th June 2009 aged 38.
His cremation memorial stone can be found in St. Saviours cemetery in Eddington.

Bill Ralph (Ref: CC3)

In memory of Bill Ralph, 2nd XI Keeper From 1948-1972.

Location: westside mid-wicket. William Thomas Ralph (Bill) affectionately known as Princey was born in Hungerford on 14th December 1924 and was one the sons of Thomas W Ralph and Alice Dangerfield. He was the brother of Ivy Wells, the first lady Mayor of Hungerford. He was married to Hazel and had three daughters Bridget, Elizabeth and Ruth. During WW2, when he was aged only 14, he worked as a stable boy at Seven Barrows farm. He then later trained to be a very skilled bricklayer.

A family man, Bill enjoyed his gardening and was the wicket keeper of Hungerford’s 2nd XI from 1948 until 1972. In 1953 he took part in the Coronation Cricket match in which Hungerford Men played Hungerford Ladies.

At the time of his death on 7th January 2011, Bill was living with his wife Hazel at Priory Avenue. His daughter Ruth and her family also live in Hungerford. At the time of writing this article (2020), Hazel has just celebrated her 93rd birthday.

His cremation memorial stone can be found in St. Saviours cemetery in Eddington.

The Downgate Memorial seat (Ref:CC6)

This is a long bench with multiple inscriptions. 

David Yates added "Yes Jimmy had it put up on the cricket field in memory of all the customers that died during my reign as landlord of the Downgate. Most of them were groundsmen there, God bless them".

Wally Dennis (Ref: CC4)

In Memory of Wally Dennis aged 93.

Wallace Denis was born in Hungerford in 1913, the son of Edmund Dennis and Annie Wild. His parents married in Ecclesall in Sheffield and his sister Elsie was born there.

In 1943 Wally married Gladys Ferrand in Saddleworth near Oldham. They had one son Lester who was born in 1947.

He was part of the construction team that built the entrance from the High Street to Priory Road after WW2 and later became postman until he retired in the late 1970s. After retirement he worked for Lord Rootes as part-time water keeper looking after the stretch of River Kennet behind Eddington Mill.

Wally had lived all of his life in Hungerford. Homes included Lower Farm Cottages, 10 Eddington and, at the time of his death, he was living in the flats at Portdown, Park Street. He died on 1st March 2002 aged 93.

Jeffrey Harris (Ref: CC5)

In Memory of Jeffrey Harris aged 82.

Jeffrey Owen Harris was born in Hungerford on the 6th November 1926 and was the son of Caleb and Maria Harris. At the start of WW2, he was living with his parents and sister Joyce in Priory Place. His father worked for the GWR as part of the engineering and maintenance staff.

He died on 27th March 2009 aged 82.

John Miller (Ref:CC7)

In Memory of John Miller aged 82.

John Miller died suddenly on 6th January 2010 aged 81. He was from a large family with brothers Bob, Bill, George, Bert, Charlie and Walt. His sisters were Mildred, Winnie and Jean. His wife was Joyce.

Mick North (Ref:CC8)

In Memory of Mick North Aged 75.

Jeffrey Michael known as Mick was born on 18th July 1937 and died on the 30th December 2012. He was keen cricketer and footballer having played for Hungerford. He had a nickname of Shatters since he would complain that he was shattered from all the sports that he did. He had two children - Holly and Simon.

He could often be seen strutting across the cricket field early evening for a couple of pints in his favourite pub…The Downgate, in which he would often hold court on all sorts of subjects  - particularly sports.

Basil Kenchington (Ref: CC9)

In memory of Basil Kenchington 1923-2015.

Basil was born in Hartley Wintley in 1922 and was the son of Edgar Kenchington and Laura Watmore. In 1966 he married Pat Creighton and they had a son Kevin. Basil died on 23rd March 2015 aged 93.


West side: There are many un-named benches around the ground on the east side. Those with memorials are:

Roy Newcombe (Ref: CC10)

Roy Newcombe, 1936-2019. 1st XI 1958/93. Hon. Life President, Chairman, and Umpire.

Location: eaststside mid-wicket. 

Roy Miles Newcombe was born in Brentford in 1936 and was the son of Alfred Newcombe and Iris Luck. He married Gill and they has three children Jane, Marion and Stuart.

One of Roy’s passions in life was cricket and he played for Hungerford 1st X1 from 1958 until 1993. He was made an Honorary Life member of the cricket club for his services to the club which included his long playing history, chairmanship of the club and his stint as an empire.

Roy died on 7th April 2019 and was aged 83… quite a good innings.

Ray Brown (Ref: CC11)

In memory of Ray Brown, 1955-2013. Sit, remember and smile.

Location: eastside mid-wicket.

Raymond Stewart Brown, affectionately known as Spider, was born on 29th August 1955 in Newbury and died on 26th November 2013. His cremation memorial stone can be found in St. Saviour's cemetery in Eddington.

Colin Goodall (Ref: CC12)

Presented In His Loving Memory By The Family Of Colin Goodall, 1938-2001,

Location: eastside mid-wicket.

Colin Douglas Goodall was born on 30th September 1938 in Newbury and was the son of Sidney Goodall and Winifred Jupp.

During WW2, Colin and his brother Graham were living at The Hill in Kintbury.

Colin was married to Annabella and they lived in Coldharbour Road. Her cremation stone can be seen in St. Saviour's cemetery. Her children were Diane, Snowy, Nicholas, Shaun and Darren.

Colin worked for Humphreys stone masons in Park Street and died in August 2001 aged 62.

Benches in the Garden of Remembrance in St. Saviour’s Church Yard:

The Garden of Remembrance (the cremation area) in the grounds of St. Saviour’s Cemetery provides four benches where visitors can relax and reflect. Each of these benches has been donated by the families of loved ones who are interred there either as graves or memorial stones. The locations of these can be found using the index that I created on the Hungerford Virtual Museum website.

Ivy Wells (Ref: SS1)

Ivy Wells was a Hungerford stalwart: her praises are extolled in several obituaries recorded in the pages of the Hungerford Virtual Museum.

She was born on 27th February 1933 in Hungerford, the youngest of 6 siblings including Bill (Princey) and Eddie Ralph. Her parents were Thomas Ralph and Alice Dangerfield.

Ivy married Anthony (Tony) Gibbs in 1953 and they had three children, Graham, Karen and Stephen, whilst living in Bulpit Lane and then the family moved to Atherton Crescent. At both homes, Tony kept immaculate gardens.

In 1988, she was elected Mayor of Hungerford and was the first woman to serve in this role. However, since Ivy’s death, there have now been numerous lady mayors, two of whom have led the council on two separate occasions. Their dates of office are given below:
• 1988/1989: Ivy Wells
• 1995 Janette Kersey
• 1996: Jean Hutchings
• 2000: Christine Jennings
• 2001: Jean Hutchings
• 2002: Janette Kersey
• 2006: Gwyneth Bullock
• 2009: Elizabeth Cardwell

Ivy Wells died in St. Margaret’s hospital in Swindon after suffering a stroke when aged 61. There is also a memorial bench to her in Hungerford High Street.

Tony and Bessie Smykowski (Ref: SS2)

Tony (Tadeusz) was born in Poland on 19th May 1927 and died on 4th February 2014. His wife, Bessie, died just 9 months later on 12th November 2014.

Tony married Bessie Webb in Marlborough in 1949 and they went on to have five children: Sandra, Anthony, John Stephen and Karen. The boys were all known affectionately as “Smackers”. Tony had three loves in his life: his family, his garden and of course his Jack Russell.

James Milne Harris (Ref: SS3)

Captain James Milne Harris O.B.E (JMH) was born 7th February, 1896 in Umzinto, Natal, a former British Colony in South Africa between 1843 and 1910.

JMH and his wife Lily were one of the first owners of a property in Barnards Court (No 2) just off Morley Place and moved there around 1978. Lily died in 1980. JHM died 5 years later in September 1985 aged 89 while a resident at Edgecombe Nursing Home, Hampstead Marshall. More information on this man can be found here.

David Patrick Halligan (Ref: SS4)

David, affectionately known as Doggy, was born on 24th June 1986 . He was the much-loved elder son of Paul Halligan and Caroline Hitchins. He was a fan of reggae music and lurchers (hence his nickname of Doggy) and would sometimes join his dad Paul on his fishing trips for pike and eels.

At the time of his death he was working for much respected local thatcher Bob Boulton. He died in tragic road traffic accident on 10th August 2010 at Tangley near Andover. Doggy lived with his parents in Church Way.

Benches in Harvey’s Stream in Eddington:

Benches in Freeman’s Marsh:

Andrew Leigh Bridges (Ref: FM1)

Andrew Leigh Bridges, affectionately known as Westwood, was born on 22 February 1992 in Winchester and  tragically died near the Kennet at Eddington on 26 May 2019.  As a sign of love, friendship and affection, the bridge was adorned with many floral tributes to this young man who had died at the age of 27.

His parents were Alan Bridges and Shirley Cutts and the details of his inscription perhaps give an insight into this chap:

Your Wings Were Ready But Our Hearts Were Not
Fly High & Be Free

Westwood, who worked as a gardener and a tree surgeon, used to frequent the Prince of Wales pub in Kintbury and often spoke about his concerns for nature and the environment.

Dennis and Barbara Simmonds (Ref: FM2)

Dennis Simmonds and his wife Barbara were a much-loved Hungerford couple who contributed much to the community.

Barbara was the first secretary of CHAIN and a prominent member of the Wives Group and took part in many of their theatrical productions along with Dennis. Both Barbara and Dennis served on the original guiding committee of CHAIN  and helped it to become the much valued, volunteer group serving the community of Hungerford. Dennis took a real active part in CHAIN  building up over 30 years’ service.  Amongst his duties, he had been controller of transport and odd job man carrying out general repairs around the CHAIN office which used to be in High Street but is now in Church Street.

Dennis was also a trustee of the Hungerford Church Charity serving alongside Denis Cryer and was an executor of the wills of Charles and Ada Fry who made very generous donations to St. Lawrence’s Church, the Methodist Church in Bridge Street and CHAIN following the sale of their property on Salisbury Road.

During  Hungerford’s twinning process with Ligueil, Dennis served on the committee and, with my father Ernie Whittaker who was mayor at the time, was part of the delegation visiting Ligueil, together with Jack Williams. My father had studied  conversation French at Newbury College in the previous year especially as he would be giving a speech whilst in France.

Denis Charles Simmonds was probably born in 1928 in London. He married Barbara A Vincent in Salisbury in 1951 with whom he had two sons - Paul and John.

Dennis died suddenly on 14 March 2011 following a heart attack and his wife Barbara died on 23 October 2010. At the time of their deaths, this lovely couple had been living at Wynbush, in Priory Road. 

Derek Arthur Hawkins (Ref: FM3)

Derek Arthur Hawkins was born in 1949 in Woolwich, South London and he died on 12 July 2013.  He married Irene T. Noonan in 1971 in the Reading Registration District and they went on to have two daughters - Sorrel and Alice.

When he died, he wished to have a humanitarian service (not mentioning God or a faith) and for a bench to be installed along the banks of the River Dun.

Albert Walter (Ref: FM4)

Albert D. Walter, known affectionately as “Wink” lived on the marsh for many years.  He was born on 22 August 1914, the son of Eli Walter and Ada Louise Racey. In 1911, his parents and eight siblings were living in Priory Place.  His father was born in Shalbourne and worked as a labourer on the roads. By 1939, his parents had moved to Freeman’s Marsh, although the official address was given as Smitham Bridge Road.

In 1933, Wink married Ella Jose Lloyd and they had one son, Brian T Walter, born in 1936.

He enlisted in the Royal Berkshire Regiment and volunteered for airborne forces. Private Walter successfully completed his parachute training and was posted to B Company, 10th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, and took part in Operation Market Garden (Arnhem) which involved an assault on the Rhine crossing.

Pte Walter was killed in action on 19 September 1944, aged 30, and was given a field burial near the Boschlust farm, north of Amsterdamse Weg, east of Harderwijkerweg, Oosterbeek.  He was reinterred at Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery on 7 September 1945.

An account of the action in which he was killed is given by former Pte. George Taylor, in the book by Martin Middlebrook,  “Arnhem 1944: The Airborne Battle”:

Initially, the advanced guard had landed on the 17th September with the 10th Para dropping on the 18th over drop zone “Y” at Gingle Heath, the area that Pte. Dixon and the KOSB had been holding the day before. During the night and early morning of the 19th, they moved in the direction of Arnhem to occupy the high ground on the North West of the town. Their movement was blocked by strong units of “Hohenstaufen” 9th SS Panzer Division on the crossroads near De Leeren Hotel at the Amsterdamse Weg.

As we have seen in the report about Dixon, Allied Intelligence had ignored the evidence of these large German formations in the area.

Now bloody fighting was taking a heavy toll as much hand to hand combat took place. Sections were dispersed, killed, wounded or taken prisoner. Pte. Albert Walter aged 30 years died sometime during Tuesday’s fighting and was initially buried at the side of the road at Amsterdamse Weg before being moved to the Arnhem /Oosterbeek War Cemetery.

Follow this for more about Private Walter's death and memorial.

In July 2020, this memorial seat which had been installed on Freeman’s Marsh in 2000, was restored by Martin Taylor of Eddington.

Robin Tubb (Ref: FM5)

Edwin Sidney Tubb was born on 2 December 1938, the elder son of Edwin Raymond Tubb and Jean Bushnell. His younger brother Brian was born a year later in 1939. What is interesting is that Edwin Sidney was always known as Robin and his dad was always known as Ray.

In 1965, Robin married June Martin and they had two sons, Gary and Andrew.

Robin served his apprenticeship and obtained his City and Guilds qualifications in carpentry and went on to teach this at Newbury College over many years. His carpentry skills were often used by the Town and Manor for special purposes.

Robin Tubb was the fourth generation of his family to hold the post of Bellman and Town Crier, following his Great Grandfather Edward Bushnell, Great Uncle Sid Bushnell and his mother Jean Tubb. Robin was appointed in 1957 when only 17 years old and he held the record as the world’s longest serving crier.

In September, 1978 Robin Tubb hosted the inaugural meeting of The Ancient and Honourable Guild of Town Criers in Hungerford. Eleven criers attended from Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Kent and Sussex.

His service to the Town and Manor of Hungerford was extensive: as well as serving as town crier for 55 years, Robin also served as assistant bailiff and was Constable of the Town and Manor of Hungerford in 2006/07.  He also served as  the Buildings Secretary to the Town and Manor.

At the annual Hocktide luncheon on 2 January 2007, Robin Tubb was honoured on the occasion of his 50th anniversary as town crier in a speech of thanks given by Greg Furr, who was Constable of the Town and Manor of Hungerford at the time. At this luncheon, Robin was presented with a gold-plated, solid silver bell.

Sadly, following a brief illness,  Robin died on 3 January 2012, aged 74 but the end of the Tubb family serving as bellmen and town criers is not over since his nephew Julian Tubb has stepped into his uncle’s shoes. At the time of writing(2020), the family’s tenure has lasted 140 years.

Would you like to place a memorial bench?

If you were thinking of placing a memorial bench in Hungerford you need to approach the Recreational, Amenities and War Memorials Committee of Hungerford Town Council or Jed Ramsey the CEO of the Town and Manor of Hungerford and furnish them with the following information\;

• The type and cost of bench – any pictures/specifications/designs would be helpful
• The reason for the bench – who is it a memorial for and the wording of any inscription
• Is there a particular place you wish to place the bench
• What is the plan for maintenance and upkeep of the bench – would this be done by yourself?
• Do you wish the bench to be gifted to HTC so that the council would be responsible for maintenance and it would become one of their assets