In May 1943 nine schoolboys at Downside, Stratton-on-the-Fosse were killed when a pilot of the Fleet Air Arm flying a single-seater machine crashed on the Public School grounds. The boys were all watching a cricket match when the accident happened and they were buried together in a communal grave in the monks’ burial ground in the precincts of Downside Abbey.
In Timsbury the events of World War Two continued to bring sadness to families in the community. News was received of the death of Corporal Sydney Henry Jefferies who was drowned crossing a river while on active service in Africa. A member of the church choir he was also well known in local football circles. The sisters of Gunner Walter Fielding heard that their brother was a prisoner-of-war in Japanese hands. . Between March 42 and May 45 Walter was moved to Changi POW camp where he died on 7th May 1945 and he is buried in Kranji War Cemetery, Singapore.
Leading radio mechanic Fred Edmonds, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edmonds of 5, The Council Houses in Newmans Lane was also reported missing at sea presumed dead. There was better news of Gunner Wilf Bridges, however. Wilf who was serving with the R.A.F. in Ceylon had a greetings message broadcast on the Home Service on Sunday October 3.
Back home the children of Timsbury Primary School completed a successful year in connection with the war effort. The School Savings Group reached the record figure of £674 and they had also collected 336 pounds of hips and 960 pounds of horse chestnuts. These were dispatched to the factories for the production of rose hip syrup and glucose. Children from the school could report in addition the collection of a vast amount of waste paper.
At a meeting of the Timsbury Comforts Fund it was decided to give each person serving abroad £1 as a Christmas comfort. It was reported that there were now over 140 people in the forces. The treasurer of the Comforts Fund, Albert Lewis, said that since the war had begun nearly £700 had been collected.
The Blue Caps Harmonica Band and Concert Party performed at the Y.M.C.A. Hall in aid of the Y.M.C.A. and the C.M.P. (Broken Circle) Prisoners-of-war fund. The musical trio comprised of Capt. C.E.G. Pitman on the violin, Pte. E.J.V. Smith (piano) and Miss Greta Pow (vocalist). Meanwhile the Timsbury Choral Society was honoured by a visit from Walter Horler, the conductor of the Newquay Orchestra and Choral Society. He came at the special invitation of Madame Hilda Lewis, the conductress of the Timsbury Choral Society and he was very impressed with what he saw
A fancy dress procession for the children of Bloomfield took place on Whit Monday followed by a football match on the Glebe Field between married ladies and single ladies. The match ended in a win for the singles 1-0. The fancy dress winners were Gordon Rowe, Sheila Berry, Jack Berry and Eileen Bird.
Timsbury Domestic Rabbit Club’s first open pen show was held in the Church Room in aid of the Timsbury and District Nursing Association and was a great success. The schedule comprised 15 classes in the open section and 9 in the members’ group and there were 260 entries in all. Miss Eshelby gave a cup for the best conditioned rabbit in the members’ class and this was won by Albert Lewis with a dark Siamese sable.
Finally there was a tragedy at Camerton early in 1943 when a 2 year old boy Tony Young was drowned in the Cam Brook. He had gone to the Gordon Bridge with his playmates to see the swollen brook which had risen from its normal 9 inches to 4 feet. Tony was pulled out and artificial respiration was attempted but to no avail. A verdict of accidental drowning was recorded by the coroner.