Digging Deep Now

A Memory of Upper Boddington.

A pleasant comment on my last memory, made by Mr Steve Flora, whom I’ve never met, has prompted me to tell some more stories about Upper Boddington.
On November 25th, 1944, a Wellington Bomber; no. LN242, took off from Chipping Warden airfield.
Unfortunately it developed engine problems. I am sure that the pilot did all he could to control the aircraft but, with fields all around, the plane hit the Manor House, a four storey building I believe. The house stood on the outskirts of the village, near the Church. I won’t go into more detail, a full record of the disaster can be found in the archives of The Banbury Guardian.
The remains of the ground floor was renovated and the Ministry Of Defence built a new house for the owners - in 1950 it was Mr Sam Brooks and his wife.
I have forgotten the name of the farmer who lived in the renovated house but he was well known to my parents, which was fortunate as my father had to convince him to shear our three dogs. The way it came about was that our dogs, two Golden Retrievers and a Saint Bernard had eczema and it had to treated as soon as the outbreak began. This wasn’t possible with their coats so the vet suggested they were sheared.
They stood for the operation and all excess hair was removed from tail to neck. The dogs seemed to enjoy the new sensation and played together like young dogs. The eczema cleared up in no time and their coats grew back.
With poor bus services and a lack of car ownership in those days, an important service for rural communities was provided by the forerunners of the present couriers. They were called carriers in those days and one of them was Mr Cherry, he lived in.the house on the opposite corner to the Carpenters Arms in Lower Boddington. First he had a pony and trap and later, a small van. He would carry goods for you to Banbury or nearby villages or pick up parcels and return them to you. He was very diligent and even if it was late evening he would deliver.
Mr.Jeavens performed a similar service in that he was a taxi driver. A very pleasant man and vey voluble, he could keep you amused with stories on almost any subject. He lived, on Towns End Lane, with his wife, in the house almost opposite the footpath past the Methodist Church
Next door to him was Mr and Mrs David Dyer, an Agricultural Contractor. He was a very strong man, I once saw him pick up a 56lb weight in each hand and “ring” them above his head. Occasionally I had a weekend or holiday job helping with hay baling or corn threshing.
This last job I hated as I was in charge of clearing the chaff and cavings from the end of the threshing machine. The air was thick with dust and particles but you had to carry on while the machine was in operation. David’s brother, Gwylam, lived in the farm half way down Boddington Hill, on the right.
On the opposite side of the road from David Dyer lived Frank Brooks. He was a bachelor and had some fields off Welsh Lane, running down towards the reservoir. His large stone built barn was down there, probably a luxury home conversion now.
Many evenings I would walk down to his house and spend an hour or two, just sitting in the firelight while he talked of the old times, he also gave me a cigarette occasionally!

David Adkins, whose parents lived at Stoneleigh Farm, was a friend of mine and I well remember the occasion when he asked me to help him move a large ex army lorry from Lower Boddington up to his farm . He had bought it from David Dyer and as it had a large flat back, it would carry bales etc, it also had four wheel drive but the fuel pump didn’t work. This was where I came in handy. With the side panel removed from the bonnet, I sat on the huge nearside mudguard, facing backwards, left hand holding on to the radiator stay, milk bottle of petrol in my right hand, air cleaner removed from carburettor.
Now, while we were ticking over at the road side , I could just about keep a slight dribble of petrol into the air intake of the carb. but, on the move, it became a series of lurches and spluttering from the engine, which just added to my problems of steady pouring. Anyway, we lurched up the hill and made it to the farm. I believe it did sterling work once the fuel pump was fixed. In later years, David and his wife, Daphne, bought Owens bus service and together ran a successful bus service. Years later I met them again and he told me a story of how he and a friend brought a Traction Engine back from somewhere in Africa! I hope he wrote a book about it as it was a riveting story and well worth repeating.

Well folks, I’m 85 now and memory doesn’t work as well as it should so this will probably be my last contribution, hope some people find it interesting,

Added 28 January 2021


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