VE DAY

There were 45 men and women from Great Alne and Kinwarton who served in the Second World War.  Their names are honoured on an oak plaque that hangs in the Memorial Hall, along with another plaque commemorating those who served in the Great War.  Great Alne & Kinwarton Memorial Hall is of course a listed war memorial.

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Further details can be found on the History page of the Hall website.

 

Three of the soldiers listed on the memorial board died in the conflict - Herbert Lloyd, Jack Tillesley and Kenneth Wakefield. Their obituaries are shown below.

Lloyd, Herbert Henry

5253750 Private, 8th Battalion, Worcestershire- Regiment.

144th Infantry Brigade, 48th Infantry Division.

Killed in Action at Dunkirk on Wednesday 29th May 1940. Age 21.

The son of William Henry, a local farm worker, and Florence Lloyd (nee Wright), of Great Alne. He was born in Great Alne and educated at Great Alne School.

Commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial, Nord, France.

He is also commemorated on the Saint Mary Magdalene Church Memorial, Great Alne.

Tillesley, Jack

402600 Sergeant, Staffordshire Yeomanry.

Died on Friday 26th March 1943. Age 29.

The son of Harry and Alice Tillesley of Great AIne. His uncle Roland Oliver Tillesley also fell.

Buried in the Sfax War Cemetery, Tunisia.

He is also commemorated on the Saint Mary Magdalene Church Memorial, Great Alne.

Wakefield, Kenneth George John

40035 Squadron Leader (Pilot), 69 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

Shot down and killed in a night-time photo-reconnaissance mission over Le Cour de Breel, Normandy, on Tuesday 8th August 1944. Age 29.

The son of Alfred Thomas and Mary Gertrude Wakefield, originally from Henley-in-Arden

After being widowed Mary lived at Alne Cote, Great Alne.

The husband of Margaret Joyce Yrene Wakefield (née Fenwick), the daughter of Rev’d G W Fenwick , the Rector of Kinwarton with Great Alne

Buried in the Breel Churchyard, Orne, France. Collective Grave.  He is also commemorated on the Runneymede Memorial, the Saint Mary Magdalene Church Memorial, Great Alne, and St Mary the Virgin Church Memorial, Kinwarton.

 

Roland Tillesley, Jack Tillesley’s uncle, also died in the war and is buried in Great Alne churchyard.

 

Tillesley, Roland Oliver

14300311 Private, Pioneer Corps.

Died in Keighley, Bradford, West Yorkshire, on Sunday 22nd November 1942. Age 37.

The son of Edward and Sarah Tillesley, of Great Alne.

The husband of Frances Helen Tillesley of Great Alne.  His nephew Jack Tillesley also fell.

Buried at Saint Mary Magdalene Church Memorial, Great Alne.

 

 

Rev Frank Wain wrote about wartime in Great Alne in his book Great Alne – A History   An extract is given below.

‘It is worth recording that when an American bomber crashing at Temple Grafton produced the loudest bang every heard locally, the children of Great Alne School dived under their desks without waiting to be told, while those of Haselor School knew nothing at all about it until much later on, although so much closer to Temple Grafton.

It does appear that Great Alne was bombed twice.  A string of bombs fell along the ridge of Alne Hills, ending suspiciously near the Maudslay Motor Company, which in 1942 had recently settled in, and naturally enough was blamed for attracting enemy bombers to the quiet countryside.  It is more likely, of course, that a pilot was jettisoning the remainder of his load so as to return home empty and appear to have fulfilled his mission.  The only loss of life was that of a goat, considered to have died of surprise.  The only serious damage was to the greenhouses of the old Hall, which were scheduled for demolition in any case.

The other occasion at Great Alne was a couple of years earlier.

Electricity had not long arrived and the only house with an outside light over the door was Greystones Cottage, belonging then to Mr Arthur J Bowen, a retired builder.  One night in the blackout he carefully switched it on and even before the wardens had time to shout “Put that light out”, down came the bombs!  They fell on the road beyond the Boot Inn and did no damage - but this time it was Mr Bowen who had the blame!

Presumably this was on 26th August 1940.  Those who remember are certain that there were two incidents.  Possibly it was one of these pilots who bombed little Walcote, dropping a string of incendiaries in the gardens behind the houses there.

Alcester’s bomb was a much bigger affair.  The crater it made is marked on a map in “Spring Onions” by Duncan McGuffie, a Kinwarton farmer - now out of print.  It fell on what we now call Springfield Nurseries, within a few yards of that very special part of the railway system, the Alcester to Bearley (stopping at Great Alne) Branch of the Great Western Railway.’

 

Diane Wright MBE has lived in Great Alne all of her life.  She kindly contributed some memories of her childhood during the war that are recorded in Great Alne - A History Revisited.  An extract is given below.

Then the war started and we had to carry our gas masks everywhere we went.  We had to have a lesson about when the siren went off.  The teacher would shout ‘Bomb!’ and we had to get under the tables and desks and sometimes in the schoolhouse because that had shutters on the windows.  We had about 20 children from Coventry and 3 teachers came with them and they lived with families in the village.  Our kitchen at the pub was the ARP post and had a sign over the door.  It was quite noisy in the middle of the night if they dropped their tin helmets!  The one thing that I did like – they had the phone put in and we were allowed to use it. After the war my Dad had to pay for it to be put in our name.

We did have some raids at night and a warden went round every night and banged on your door if there was a glimmer of light. You were told it because you had to put blackouts At all your windows.  If there was a raid at night some of the mothers came with their children to go down our cellars because their Dads were in the Forces.

The field opposite The Boot was ours and I loved playing up there.  We could see the Hall grounds with lovely gardens with flowers and a big fishpond and along the edge of the spinney was a golden chains tree, rhododendrons, a walnut tree and a cherry tree and 2 lovely lodges at the end of the drive.  The Hall had to go when the Maudslay factory came.

They came and put a big searchlight in our field and soldiers lived in the cricket pavilion and grounds.  One night they dropped a bomb by the fishpond and as we were an inn my parents took people in if possible.  The District Nurse and her husband from East Lodge had my parents bed and they slept on chairs and the soldiers slept in the bar and lounge.  Not much sleep that night! The next day they came to collect the bomb after they had taken the detonator out.

My Dad had a lot of market gardening and we had some Italian prisoners to help and most of the war we had a German prisoner living in our house until he was allowed to go home.

My Mum and Dad kept as much of the war as they could from us but we still had a happy time. We went to the mops and circus.  We went sometimes to the old school at Aston Cantlow for a film show.  We walked across the fields in the dark with a lantern or flashlight. I liked the going but it would be dark going home through them.

Only some of the big houses had a car. Some had a motorbike with a sidecar and everybody had a bike. But a lot of people walked. Sometimes they had a dance at Great Alne village hall.  Mum and Dad would have the bar and I would sit behind the bar and watch.  It seemed full of airmen and soldiers stationed at Snitterfield aerodrome. The local girls from around the village came in their pretty frocks.  Some made clothes from blackout material and parachutes. But I still feel lucky living in Great Alne in wartime. We always had food.  We did not have many sweets and had to save our coupons for them. Most cottages had chickens in their gardens and had a pig.  We did have a few bananas and oranges. Mother would have to queue in Stratford for a long time.  When she was nearly at the front they would say ‘Sold out! Come back next week!’

At the start of the War my Dad was too old to join up as he had been in the last War, so he started a Local Lads Fund.  Most Saturdays customers brought stuff to auction; a lady at the Mill House had dances at the village hall; Mrs Edward had a whist drive. When the War was over we had a big party at the village hall and my mother and some of the other ladies that helped get the money presented it to the Local Lads and Ladies who had been in the War.