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Memories of Wiltshire

My Memories of Living in Westbury Leigh 1940-1944

The Village c1965, Westbury Leigh
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The house shown in the foreground of this photograph was the home of my Uncle, Percy Drury. This was sometime around 1940/42, I do not know how long he resided there. I lived at 115 Westbury Leigh with my grandparents Percy & Annie Drury. My grandfather was a flower pot maker and worked at the local brickyard. Why my grandparents went to live in Westbury remains a mystery to me, they originally came from Nottingham. I went to live with them just after the outbreak of the 2nd World War. I understand it was because my Father who was a regular in the Royal Navy and my Mother was engaged on War work it was felt I would be better looked after by my grandparents. I have wonderful memories of Westbury Leigh, Tanyard Lane, Sandhole Lane where it was reputed a horse & cart and the driver were buried in a fall of sand perhaps a local myth.

Correction to Earlier Comment.

The Village c1965, Westbury Leigh
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On my previous comment I said that Sandy Hole lane was opposite the Bell pub, sorry this of course should have been the Phipps Arms pub.
Bob Porter

Choir Boy/Organ Pumping

Church of The Holy Saviour c1955, Westbury Leigh
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I remember being in the choir at the church during the time of my evacuation to Westbury Leigh sometime during the 1939-45 war. I also pumped the organ which was at that time quite hard work for a young lad (but I think the pay was better). The fun was to watch the tell tale small lead weight that showed how much air there was left to play the organ, there was also a similar tell tale that the organist could see. The game was to nearly let the air run out especially on air hungry hymns such as 'Onward Christian Soldiers'. Needless to say I did not last very long pumping the organ!

An Evacuee in 1940

The Village c1965, Westbury Leigh
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I remember my first home in Westbury Leigh was with a family called Rowe, they seemed fairly old people to me (then a ten year old boy) but now I am eighty I don't suppose they were. One of the brothers, a Charles Rowe, owned two cinemas, the Vista in Westbury and the Palace in Warminster, and I was allowed as a treat to go to the Saturday morning children's show. The second family was Mr and Mrs Sampson, he owned the barber's shop next to the road leading to Dents glove factory and near to Elkins garage, so I got free haircuts from Mr Sampson, not so good as free pictures. I was then moved again, I was too much I suppose for Mrs Sampson, to a family called Cornish, he was a train driver on the Great Western Railway, they were good old steam trains then, no free train rides on the footplate though. My next home was with a family called Mead. Mrs Mead had two dissimilar twin... Read more

Evacuated From London to Westbury.

The Village c1965, Westbury Leigh
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I too was evacuated to Westbury when I was about 7 years old, some time around 1940 to 1941. I lived on Warminster Road. We stayed with a family originally from Sydney, Australia. I remember when the street lights came back on, I was with my mother and we followed a man on his bike, lighting up the street gas lights. At that time it was as good as going to today's Disney World. I was so thrilled. The simple things back then were so nice, unlike today where the kids have all the high tech items. I also remember all the Americans stationed there, as well as a lot of Italian POW's. We all seemed to get along well. I was back there about 10 years ago, and things had not changed a whole lot. It's nice to look back on all the memories. Trips to Warminster and Bath caused big excitement. I also remember a cafe in town in Westbury called "The Witches Calderon Tea Room" which... Read more

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