as seen by the
Herts Advertiser & St Albans Times - 1944 (February)

Whst's History Page

The source of the text shown originated in the Herts Advertiser.  It has been re-typed so may have some errors within it - for these we apologies.  Please refer to archived material if in doubt.

Ja Fe Ma Ap  Ma Ju Ju Au Se Oc No De

4th February p3



The thrill and joy of an unexpected meeting, in the Middle East, of two brothers serving in different units is described in letters which have been received by their parents, Mr. and Mrs. F. Dickerson, of 1 Necton-road, Marford, Wheathampstead.

Lance-corporal Fred G. Dickerson, of the Royal corps of signals, the elder son has been in the Middle East for three years, and although he has corresponded regularly with his parents, home has seemed a very long way off, especially as he has been engaged in the heavy work of following in the wake of the Eighth Army as it chased Rommel and his men from El Alamein onwards, maintaining and extending signaling communications. His experiences have been vividly described in verses which he has composed and the radiographs he has sent home have borne sketches of many scenes familiar to the serving man. His faithful companion has been a dog named "Busty", a stray animal to which he became attached. "Busty" takes the place of Fred's old pal for fourteen years at his home in England.

Then one day in January Lance-Corporal Dickerson received a communication signed by his younger brother, Sergent Joseph Dickerson, of the R.A.F. who went out to the Middle East in December. It bore a postmark and address which gave him the joyful knowledge that someone from home was joining the surroundings he had known for a long time.

The Meeting.

Twenty-four hours after receiving his brother's letter, Fred had obtained leave and was being conducted to Sergeant Dickerson, in a N.A.A.F.I canteen. "Do you know who this is?" he was asked. Describing the thrill, Lance-Corporal Dickerson wrote, "I know during the first few seconds I had a lump in my throat."

Then Joe declared. "Why, you have grown short and brown."

"No, Joe." replied Fred, the elder, "it is you who have grown."

"He is quite six inches taller than me." Fred wrote to his mother. "The last time I saw him it was the other way round. Not only that: he is quite broad and fat in the face."

Fred slept the night in his brother's tent, and they parted the next day. But, as he points out, the meeting may be only the first of many. "I do hope so." he says, "We will be writing to one another quite often, and will, I suppose, receive each other's mail very quickly"

In pre-war days Fred was a chorister, bellringer and server at Wheathampstead Parish Church, and was employed as Welwyn Garden City before being called up. He is a capable musician, playing several instruments.

Joe volunteered two years ago when he was eighteen. He was a keen member of Civil Defence in the village and later of the Home Guard before satisfying his desire for more action by joining up.

This meeting of kith and kin testifies to the bond or affection which home life - the very opposite to the disintegrating influences of the Nazi regime - will always engender in England and the democratic countries. It is touchingly expressed in a set of verses, entitled "Home." which Lance-Corporal Dickerson has written, showing as it does, how the boys carry with them visions of all that is dear to them, and which act as the mainspring of their faithful devotion to duty and determination to see things through to the end.




After four years of happy war-time association, Managers, teachers and children of St. Helen's Schools, Wheathampstead, and the children of his own evacuated school bade farewell, on Friday, to Mr. E. G. Fookes, who has retired from the acting-headship of Argyle L.C.C. Senior Mixed School, London.

In 1938 231 children of the school were evacuated to Wheathampstead. Since the death of their Headmaster (Mr. A. J. dear), Mr. Fookes has taken charge, and has won the esteem of all by the conscientiousness which has characterised his work, and in art, in particular, his gifts have been greatly appreciated.

Mrs Fookes has been assisting in the Senior School, where she has rendered extremely valuable service. She has resigned her appointment.

The Rev A. M. Baird-Smith (chairman of the School Managers) presided at Friday's gathering, and was supported by Miss Upton Robins and Messrs P. Mitchell and T Thomson (Managers).

He said one thing that happened during the Battle of Britain that was particularly pleasant was the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Fookes, and he was sure that from the start is was felt they were going to be a great help. The Managers were most grateful to them, and felt they could not allow Mr. and Mrs. Fookes to go without showing their appreciation of the service they had rendered. this took the form of an electric clock, which he presented to Mr. Fookes.

Headmaster's Tribute.

Mr. W. J. Housden (Headmaster of St. Helens School) said he had no reason to alter the opinion he formed of Mr. Fookes on the day of his arrival.  He paid tribute to the very conscientious manner in which Mr. Fookes carried out everything he did. The children of Argyle School ought to be particularly grateful to him. Mrs. Fookes, he recalled, used to assist, without pay, by teaching the girls when they were at the village Hall and Helmets hall.

Since 1940, Argyle School had been joined to St. Helen's and shared the same building. One memory he was sure Mrs. Fookes would leave behind was the cultured teaching she had given the girls. He assured both that they would really be missed.

The Headmaster asked Jean Dunham to present to Mr. and Mrs. Fookes an enlarged photographic view of the village, from the staff and scholars of Wheathampstead.

On behalf of the senior boys of the handicraft class, Harold Brooks presented an electric reading lamp made from one of the oak posts which formerly stood in the grounds of the school. this was in recognition of the tuition Mr. Fookes has given the class in geometrical drawing.

Miss A Young, senior member of the assistant staff, presented an electric chandelier, in oak, complete with shades, on behalf of evacuees, old boys and girls and the present staff and scholars.

Mr. Housden asked Mr. and Mrs. Fookes each to accept a book token as a personal gift from himself.

In acknowledgment, Mr. Fookes framed in delightful style, a reply which indirectly paid high testimony to the village to which he unexpectedly came on the outbreak of war, the school building, its boys and girls, the good staff, generous Managers and "the finest Headmaster who was always only too anxious to help and to show every consideration." He thanked all for their kindness in giving them that "tremendous outlay of presents."

Mrs. Fookes also replied saying, "We cannot be missed half as much as we shall miss all of you."



As the result of a dance held on Saturday by the Youth club, 2 has been sent to the Merchant Navy Comforts Service and 3 12s is to be spent on games equipment for the Club.

Home and Garden Show - A general meeting will be held at the School, on Monday, February 14th, at 8 o'clock to discuss proposals for a show this season. All interested invited to attend. (Advt)

The Annual Party for children of the Sunday School of the Congregational Church was held in the Church Hall, on Saturday, about 45 children attending. Seven or eight workers, under Mesdames J. Henderson and Allen, prepared the tea, and afterwards there was a display of conjuring by Mr. J. Pring of Hatfield, which a number of parents attended.

At the Recent December Examinations of the royal Schools of Music, the following pupils of Miss Elsie M Toyer were successful: Transitional Pianoforte, Marie Coates, Patricia Chivers. Elementary Pianoforte, Doris Smith, Daphne Saward, Theodore Goodman (East Hyde) Credit. Primary Pianoforte, Barry Euinton, Roger Euinton. - (Advt)

11th February p3


Stars in Battledress made their second appearance at the Folly and gave a performance in the Methodist Ha!l, on Friday, in support of the Red Cross Prisoners of War Fund; the visit having been arranged by Mr. W. J. Hunt as one of a series of local efforts for the cause, which will benefit by the Sum of 15 a result. In spite of the fact that 'flu had depleted the ranks of the artistes, a good programme was enjoyed by a large audience.

The annual meeting of the Wheathampstead Ambulance Fund was held on Friday. After the presentation of the income and expenditure account to December 31st, 1943, which .showed a satisfactory balance in hand for the current year's working, the main business of the evening was taken up with a discussion on the recent report in the "Herts Advertiser ", on the Wheathampstead Parish Council's adverse criticism of the condition of the ambulance. The Secretary reported the receipt of a letter from the Guardians' Committee to the effect that no inspection of the ambulance had ever been made by an official of that body, so that they were in no position to report adversely or otherwise on its condition. The Secretary also reported that upon his return from the Parish Council meeting at which the matter was discussed, he immediately contacted the principal driver of the vehicle and was reassured as to its ready condition for any call which might be made. In view of these facts, Mr. Sparrow assured the Committee that he would make a public statement at the next Parish Council meeting regarding his misinformation on the matter and would clear up any doubts that parishioners might have in regard to the incident. The Committee were reelected en bloc.

18th February p3 A meeting, held at the Senior School. on Monday to consider the possibility of organising a home and garden show in the Summer felt regretfully compelled to abandon the idea in view of the small attendance. 

A successor to Mr. E. G. Fooks, who retired at the end of last month, Mr. Rees John Lewis has been appointed to the staff of St .Helen's School. Mr. Lewis comes from Hereford, and has had considerable teaching experience in various parts of the country. He is married and has two daughters. one of whom is serving in the A.T.S. The other is training for the teaching profession. 

The death occurred in hospital, on Monday, after an illness of four years, of Mrs. Dorothy Irene Maud Medcalf, widow of Mr. William Charles Medcalf, and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. Henley. of Brewhouse-hill.  She was 47 years of age. A life-long resident. she married her late husband while he was serving as a regular soldier in the Essex Regiment. He was invalided out after being wounded during service at the Dardanelles in the last war, and later joined the Royal Army Pay Corps. He died in 1920. Mrs. Medcalf was a member of the Mothers' Union Branch and Women's Institute until her health broke down. She leaves two soldier sons - Craftsman W. C. Medcalf, of the R.E.M.E., and Corpl. G. Medcalf, of the Irish Guards.

Older residents of New Marford will hear with regret of the death of Mr. William Frederick Ansell, who before he went to Canada about thirty-five years ago, was a bricklayer in the employ of the late Mr. Fenwick Owen. He was a son of the late Mr. W. Anse1l, of New Marford, who was also in the employ of Mr. Owen for a great many years, and of the late Mrs. Anse1l, and was a regular attendant at Wheathampstead Parish Church and a keen follower of local footba1. He. died on January 20th at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan at the. age of 59. Mr. Ansell's three sisters are Mrs. E. Munt of Heath-road, St. Albans: Mrs. M: Slough; of New Marford: and Mrs. E. Saunders, of Guesserts-road. Welwyn Garden City. A brother Mr. Harold Ansell, lives at Hounslow. Deceased leaves a widow. two sons and four daughters.




The farming community has suffered a loss by the death, which occurred on Thursday of last week, of Mr. Leonard John Glover, of Home Farm, Delaport, Wheathampstead. He was sixty-three years of age. A native of Staffordshire, he commenced farming at the Hyde Farm, near Luton, and after sixteen years became the tenant of Home Farm, Delaport, which he had farmed for the past eighteen years. Mr. Glover was particularly successful with pigs, and for nine years, in three consecutive periods of three years before the war; he held the challenge cup for pigs at the Christmas Fat Stock show at St. Albans. He was also successful with bullocks.

He was a member of the St. Albans and Watford District Committee of the Herts War Agricultural Executive Committee, and was held in high esteem by fellow members and farmers and by residents of Wheathampstead and Gustard Wood, where he was an A.R.P; warden. 

Mr. Glover married Miss Margaret Brooks, of Stroud. Gloucestershire, and leaves, besides the widow. a son who is serving with the R.A.F. in South Africa. and three daughters - Mrs. J. Preece, Miss E. H. Glover, who is a dispenser at the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, Gosport, and Miss. M. Glover.

The funeral took place on Tuesday, at Wheathampstead Churchyard, the Rev. A. M. Baird-Smith officiating. At the first part of the service, in the Parish Church, the hymn, "Abide with me". was sung Mr. E. G. Lee, at the organ, played "O Rest in the Lord " at the close.

The mourners were Mrs. Glover (widow ), Mrs. J. Preece and the Misses E. H; and M. Glover (daughters). and Messrs: James, Frederick and Arthur Glover (brothers). 

Others present were Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Norbury; Mr. P. Mitchell, Head Warden, Lady Beach-Thomas and Miss G. Williams (representing the Wardens of Gustard Wood) ; Mr. G. H. Hartop, Chairman, Mr. E, J. Edwards, District Officer and Mr. Dolphin Smith (representing the St. Albans and Watford District Committee of the Herts, War Agricultural Executive Committee); Countess Reventlow; Col. B. Walker; Mrs. I; V. Raikes and Miss Raikes; Mrs. P. Mitchell; Mrs. A. M. Baird-smith; Mr. W. Pope Genge and Mr. F. A. Green (representing Messrs. Rumball and Edwards, St. Albans) ; Mr. E. G. Rabbetts (representing Mr. R. C. Ebbs); ,Mr. T. Thomson; Mr. G. Lake; Mr. F. Ivory (representing Miss Upton Robins); Mr. A. R. Oliver; Mr. P. M. Whitmore; Mr. and Mrs. A. L. White Mr. J. Debenham (representing Mrs. Cherrington) ; Mr. A. R. Pariter; Mr. T. S. Blowey; Mr. H. Batchelor; Mr. H. Westwood; Mr. S. W. Lamb; Mr. and Mrs. H. G. Hill; Mr. H. Creasey; Mr. F. Heather (representing Col. J . Paterson) ; Mrs. G. Spicer; Mr. and Mrs. W. Goody; Mr. and Mrs. H. Eyre; Mrs. T. .Dunckerley; Mrs. S. Andrews; ,Mrs. L. Tew; Mr. A. E. Stapleton; Mr. E. J. Crockett (head gardener at Delaport) ; Mrs. Crockett. and members of the staff at Home Farm.

Floral tributes included those from Mr. and Mrs. G. C; Norbury, Major H. G, Norbury, the partners of Messrs. Rumball and Edwards, and Messrs. George Lake and Son. Luton.

25th February p3


In the report in last week's "Herts Advertiser " of the funeral of Mr. L. J. Grover, of Home Farm; Delaport, the following mourners, inadvertently omitted from the list supplied to the "Herts Advertiser" representative, were in attendance: Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Preece, Mr. Broadbent and Mrs. Skeggs. Captain J. T. Preece (Mr. Glover's son-in-law) was unable to be present owing to mi1itary duties.

Army Cadets' Dance.- No. 1 Platoon of E. Company of the 7th Battalion Herts Army Cadet Force held a dance at the Senior School, on Saturday, to raise funds to meet expenses incurred in running the Platoon football team. The hall of the school was well filled. Dancing was to music by the Kimwood Band, and Sergt.-Major Corble was M.C.  Spot prizes were awarded, and there were also two competitions.  Arrangements for refreshments were in the hands of Mesdames S. Thornton, A. W. O'Brien and G. Mundin. The sum of 10 was realised as the result of the effort, which, it is hoped, will be repeated in the near future for the same object.

The Funeral of Mrs. Dorothy Irene Maud Medcalf. widow of Mr. W. C. Medcalf, and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. Henley; of Brewhouse-hill, took place on Saturday at the parish churchyard. The first part of the Service in church, conducted by the Rev. A. M. Baird-Sniith, included the hymns, "Abide with me" and " Peace, Perfect Peace." The mourners were Craftsman W, C. Metcalf, of the R;E.M.E.. and Corporal G. Medcalf, of the Irish Guards (sons) ; Mrs. C. Henley (mother); Mr. and Mrs. W. C.Henley (brother and sister-in-law); Mr. and Mrs. C. V. Wren, and Mr. and Mrs. P. Bates (brothers-in-law and sisters); Messrs. G. Martin and B. Jordan (cousins), and the Misses Joan and Peggy Henley (nieces). Deceased's father was prevented by ill-health from attending. The Women's Institute was represented and also sent a wreath.

Go top