Newspaper coverage

Account of an Evacuťe

Newspaper Coverage

The following are extracts relating to Kimpton from local newspapers during the 2nd World War:


June 30th

The arrangements for purchasing the present village Hall and adjacent land for the erection of Kimptonís new Village Hall having fallen through, the Committee have obtained on a long lease, a suitable site a land on the left side of Hall Lane from the owners, the Nuffield Trust.



June 1

At a public meeting held in the Village Hall a Friday, Mr C.H. Harding presiding. It was decided that the proposed new Village Hall shall be the main war memorial, and that for this purpose it shall be called the Memorial Hall. In addition, plaques or tablets are to be placed in the Parish Church, one with the names of those who fell in the last war. The names of those who fell in this war are to be inscribed on the 1914 - 18 war memorial in the High Street. Further, there will be a Garden of Memory attached to the new hall if it is at all possible, as well as a record kept not only of those who fell but also of those who served in his war. Dr Probyn raised the question of the expense of running the Hall, and suggested that if possible, an endowment fund be started. In a statement by Mr C.E. Canham (Hon. Treasurer of the New Hall Fund) it was revealed that £1230 has been raised towards its cost, and it was decided to send a circular to everyone in the parish appealing for financial support. The New Hall Organising Committee, which has been functioning for the past 18 months with the addition of the Vicar (the Rev R.T. Ingram-Johnson) and Mr H. Batchelor (Chairman of the Parish Council) who convened this meeting, is now to act as the War Memorial Committee.


June 22

Over the signature of Mr C.H.Harding a printed appeal, headed "Kimpton Parish War Memorial" has been sent to every householder in the Kimpton Parish for donation. It sets out the decision of the public meeting held in May by the Parish Council as to the form the memorials shall take and mentions that there is much thankfulness that, though many bombs of various kinds were dropped in the district, there were no casualties.


September 7

The leasing of the ground upon which the Memorial Hall will be erected was signed by the four trustees.




May 11th

Flags that fluttered here, there and almost everywhere formed the only conspicuous sign in most Hertfordshire villages on the morning of VE Day that a new epoch in history had opened. The villages, so quick in resistance to a callous enemy when they were being attacked from the skies, were still undemonstrative in these happy hours of thankfulness and calm rejoicing.

May 18th

Thousands of people in Hertfordshire on Sunday attended Thanksgiving services for victory in Europe. Thanks were given for all who laid down their lives that we might be free. Parades were mainly composed of various Civil Defence Services and other organisations who have made notable contributions to victory on the Home Front. In Kimpton there was a united service in the Parish Church on the Sunday, with a collection for the "soldiers, sailors and airmenís Families Association and the Red Cross Prisoners of War Fund. The war Memorial was floodlit and adorned with flags. A band paraded the village on VE day with an effigy of Hitler being carried around. There were fireworks and bonfires in the villages, and a free dance at the Village Hall. Victory peals were rung on the church bells and two Thanksgiving services were held in the Parish Church. Following VE Day a Victory Ball and social was held, followed by another social in the village Hall the following evening. Saturday was the childrenís day, with sports being arranged. A fund to give Kimptonís serving men and women a great welcome was launched on VE Day.


June 1st

The Proposed new hall at Kimpton is to be the Parish main War Memorial, and will be named the Memorial Hall. In addition plaques or tablets will be placed in the Parish Church.


August 17th

Announcement that Japan had surrendered came at midnight Tuesday night 14th August, with celebrations on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Account by Ruth Austin, evacuee from London, of her stay in Kimpton adapted by Juliet Morton for the drama "That was Kimpton That Was", July 2000.

"On September 1st 1939 my council school in Stoke Newington, London, was evacuated. We left about 10 o'clock in the morning in big double decker buses which took us to Kingís Cross, where we caught the train. We all wore our name labels and had our gas masks of course and a little haversac, oh and sixpence. I lost mine and was very upset. After a long dayís journey, we arrived tired and bewildered at the village hall in Kimpton. Miss Pam bustled and organised everyone and everything. The evacuees were chosen by by different families and the leftovers including my brother, sister and me were taken with about 26 others to the Moss Home, next to Recreation ground and now known as Meadow Cottage.


It was lovely, a real home. We girls were all in a dormitory - about ten of us in one room. We had 2 wider beds for 2 girls each - they slept top to toe - nobody minded and then the other beds were narrow but only one person was in each one. There were less boys so they had smaller dormitories. My sister was ten, my brother 5 and I was eight.

Where Mrs Wedd has her sitting room, that was where we ate and the playroom which was quite new was in a sort of extension and the washrooms were there too. We were allowed one bath a week. We were so well looked after: there were toys, a lovely orchard and of course the Recreation Field. Right up at the top of the Rec there were swings and a seesaw but it was the hill we really enjoyed. We rolled and rolled all the way down from top to bottom. It was a favorite game.

Of course it was all new to us - weíd never been in the country before - never seen a farm, an oak tree, corn growing in the fields. We learnt such a lot, we Londoners, - we saw cows being milked, by hand ofcourse, at the farm at the end of the village, found mushrooms in the fields and oh the bluebells! We had to get used to the Hertfordshire accent too. Life was hard though you could see that. Even amongst the children in the home. There were some who didnít have hardly any clothes. There was a box in the home, I remember, of clothes given to the home for them.

We went to the village school - all of us - and there was a big hall with folding glass and wood doors which chopped the hall in four for the different classes. Mr Patrick was the headmaster, a kind man but strict mind you.

We came home for lunch because there wasnít such things as school dinners in those days. There was a cook in the Home and a Matron and two nurses who looked after us. They were good to us all but when they were called up, that was the end of the Home , it was all shut up. We were taken on by families in the village to start with and then later we were evacuated to Bedford. Iíll never forget Kimpton though, I learnt so much and people were so kind."

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