Emery Down Lychgate War Memorial

The 22 names inscribed in memory of those who fell in The Great War are:

Lieutenant C.L.C. Bowes Lyon, Black Watch
Private A. Broomfield, R Sussex Regt
Private H. Broomfield, Hampshire Regt
Private J. Broomfield, East Surrey Regt
Captain C.N. Cory, R Field Artillery
Private A.T. Gates, Coldstream Guards
Private F.W. Godwin, Canadian E F
Captain A.K. Hargreaves DSO, Rifle Brigade
Captain L.R. Hargreaves MC, Irish Guards
Private H.C. Hoad, Middlesex Regt
Private G.E. Kilford, Canadian E F
Private T.P. Payne, Machine Gun Corps
Lance Corporal P. Peckham, Hampshire Regt
Private F. Rogers, Hampshire Regt
Private F.T. Sheardown, Hampshire Regt
Private F.A. Turner, Hampshire Regt
Private T.F. Turton, Royal Marine Light Infantry
Private F.W. Veal, R Fusiliers
Private A. Warwick, Queen’s R West Surrey Regt
Lance Corporal C.S. Whitehorn, Hampshire Regt
Private S.H. Whitehorn, New Zealand E F
Air Mechanic J.A. Witt, R Naval Air Service

The 4 names inscribed in memory of those who died in World War Two are:

Private C. Monk, Middlesex Regt
Sergeant Pilot C.F. Richards, RAF
Flight Lieutenant J.P. Trench DSO, RAF
Flight Sergeant F.E.W. Veal, RAF

About the Lych Gate

Initially the vicar and churchwardens had decided not to have a war memorial in the ecclesiastical parish of Christ Church, Emery Down and that the names of those who had died in the Great War should be inscribed on the proposed war memorial for the civil parish of Lyndhurst.  Local opinion must have swayed this decision as by December 1919 subscriptions had begun to be received.

The story continues in the following extracts from the New Forest Magazine [from the archives of the Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst]:

“War Memorial subscriptions received, including : Mrs Cory £10; Mr and Mrs Witt £1; Mr G. Whitehorn (Bank), Mr F. Broomfield, Miss Bessie Broomfield, the Misses Wiltshire, 5s.each; Mrs Primmer, Mrs Sarah Veal, 2s.6d each; Mrs Wiltshire (Gritnam) £1.”  December 1919

“After some discussion regarding the Lych Gate, but without coming to any definite decision except to deplore the delay and the continued postponement of the work owing to the illness of both the Architect and the Builder.”  March 1921.

“We are glad to be able to state that the Lych Gate, our War Memorial, has at length been begun, and we hope that by the time these words appear in print it will be nearing completion.”  May 1921.

“The Unveiling and Dedication of the Lych Gate in Memory of the Men of Emery Down who died in the Great War will take place on Sunday the 17th of July at 3 p.m.”  July 1921.

“The account of the unveiling and dedication of the Lych Gate in memory of those from this village who died in the Great War will be given in our next issue.  It may, however, here be mentioned that the churchyard wall which was in a very dilapidated condition has been repaired at a cost of £11, and the east gate has been painted.”  August 1921.

“The Unveiling and Dedication of the Lych Gate in memory of the men of Emery Down, Bank and Gritnam who died in the Great War took place on Sunday, July 17th at 3pm.
“The first part of the service was held in the Church, and the latter part at the Lych Gate.  An appropriate address was given by the Rev. A.C. Crick, Vicar of Pennington, who took for his text Psalm 118, 20 “This is the Gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter into it”.  He spoke of the Gate of Baptism, the Gate of Repentance, the Gate of Confirmation, the Gate of Holy Communion and the Gate of Death, through which our brave soldiers had passed to glory.  The Unveiling Ceremony was performed by Mr. Hargreaves, who lost two sons in the war, and as he said the words: “In proud and loving memory of the men of this Parish who fell in the Great War, I unveil this Lych Gate,” the deepest sympathy was felt for him in the performance of a task at once so painful, so affecting and so nobly undertaken.  The words of Dedication were read by the Rev. C.H. Compton, Rector of Lyndhurst, and the names of the fallen, 21 [sic] in number, were read by Capt. Trinder.  As the Voluntary, Miss Lucas, our Organist, played effectively “These are they that came out of great tribulation.”  The singing of the hymns, two of them unaccompanied, was well rendered by the choir reinforced by the presence of Messrs. E. Whitehorn, T. Whitehorn, F. Veal and W. Whitehorn.
“The Church was filled to its utmost capacity and there were as many outside Church as in it.
“Many beautiful wreaths were placed in and about the Lych Gate.
“We much regret that the Architect, Mr. Horseman, who with much taste and feeling designed the Lych Gate, was prevented by continued illness from being present.”  September 1921.

“The Lych Gate account was submitted [to the Parochial Council on the 6th of October] as follows:









By Subscriptions




Messrs. Gale and Son




Interest on Deposit




Architect’s Fee




Faculty Fee




Printing Services










“This leaves in hand a balance of £9 2s. 10d. and it was decided–

(i) That Oak seats according to the original design shall be made, estimated to cost £5; (ii) that the names of the fallen should be filled in with black cement, estimated to cost £3; (iii) that the following inscription should be put on the front beam: “Lest we forget” (1914-1918); (iv) that two hurricane lamps should be bought which could be hung on hooks on dark nights and which could be easily detached.”  November 1921.

“The paving of the lych-gate and the draining of the path from the lych-gate to the church have been carried out at a cost of £17 3s. 6d., towards which a generous friend anonymously gave £16.  We are very grateful for this act of generosity.  The work in connection with the lych-gate may now be regarded as finished.  May it ever be regarded as a worthy memorial to those to whom we owe more than we can say.”  February 1922.

In the April 1922 issue of the New Forest Magazine, it was revealed upon the death of Colonel Leathem, a long-term resident of Emery Down, that he had been the anonymous donor.  With regard to his generosity, the report states ‘On several occasions the Vicar was reluctant to take the money offered as he felt the Colonel was giving more than his fair share.  But he always replied, “I must do it.  It is my way of showing how greatly I appreciate living in this beautiful forest.”

Nota Bene – Sadly documents in Hampshire Record Office (Ref. HRO 143M83 PB4) show that there was considerable, sometimes acrimonious correspondence, 1920-1922, about the cost of the work and the payment of the bills.


Emery Down Women’s Legion

Please help us with location and any names.

The above photograph was given to current residents of Silver Street, Emery Down.  They were told it was taken in Emery Down Village Hall in the Great War.  However, the hall was not built until the 1920s.  Can anyone help us to identify the location or any of the people pictured?  If so, please email the group.

Home Comforts for Fighting Men

The whole Empire was involved in the war effort.  Requests for war-time comforts came directly from fighting units or were gathered by individuals or charities set up for the purpose.  The list of items needed, an example of which is shown below, gives distressing evidence of the human cost of the struggle – and of a country very different from the one in which we live:-





Cap flaps



Casualty bags

Cholera belts



Jug covers

Kit bags

Knee caps

Lavender bags



Operation shirts




Pyjama legs







Stump socks




The above list was compiled from a Hampshire organisation’s ledger, Hampshire Record Office, W/C2/3/2.

The following extracts are from the New Forest Magazine, in the archive held at the Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst:

“Our [Emery Down] School Children have made 51 pairs of mittens and 18 shirts which were sent to our soldiers at the front, and collected amongst themselves 11s. 7d. for the Daily Telegraph Belgian Fund.  25 articles made at the Vicarage have been forwarded to the soldiers at the Front”.  February 1915.

“Lyndhurst Work Party.  This Work Party began on August 10th, and was wound up on February 25th.  A sum of £154 10s. 8d. has been contributed by over 280 subscribers.  It has sent 692 garments (including pairs of socks) to the Hospital Ships at Netley, and has allotted 282 garments (including socks) to regulars going to the Front, and to the recruits of Lord Kitchener’s Army …”.  April 1915.

“Mrs Ballard (Emery Down) has sent Miss Chawner one hundred pairs of beautifully knitted socks and forty-nine pairs of mittens since the beginning of the war.  This is certainly a record for the district when it is remembered that the knitter is over 80 years of age.  Mrs Ballard intends to continue her good work ‘for the duration of the war’.”  March 1916

“The Lyndhurst and Emery Down band of knitters still carry on faithfully.  This year, in addition to mufflers for the Navy, we have sent fifty pairs of socks to Col. Boteler, DSO, RA, for his Ammunition Column, fifty pairs to the Hampshire Depot, twenty five pairs to the ‘Westminster Gazette Comforts for Fighting Men’ and twenty five pairs to the French Wounded Emergency Fund.  … Mrs Ballard is still one of the most regular and energetic workers and must soon have another 100 pairs to her credit.”  February 1918

“Mrs Ballard, Emery Down, has now knitted 200 pairs of socks for Soldiers and Sailors.  Considering her advanced age this is really a great achievement and, if not altogether a record, must approach very nearly to one.”  October 1918

Who was Mrs. Ballard?

  • Born Mary Griffin – one of three children – in Chittlehampton, Devon in 1833.  Her father, James, was a cooper.  Her young brother, John, was a carpenter and lived in Devon all his life.
  • Mary and her elder sister, Jane, went into domestic service; by 1861 both were working in London, Mary was a Cook.  Jane married George John Lock, a Coachman, on 28 July 1862 in Willesden; Mary was one of the witnesses.
  • By 1871 Mary was Cook to Henry H. Slade at Northerwood House, Emery DownJohn Ballard was his Butler.
  • John and Mary married on 3 March 1875 in Byfleet, Surrey.
  • In 1881 John and Mary Ballard lived at Hill House, Emery Down. John was a yeoman (or farmer) and Mary’s niece, Anne Lock, lived with them.
  • John, described as a ‘farmer of Pikes Hill’, died on 24 March 1889 aged 47; he was buried at Emery Down on 29 March 1889; his personal estate was £326 19s.
  • Mary Ballard returned to work and was Cook to Benjamin N.H. Jones, retired Lieutenant 6th Dragoon Guards; in 1891 he and his household were at the Crown Hotel in East Everleigh, Wiltshire.
  • Mary Ballard had retired and returned to Emery Down by 1901; her niece, Annie Fleming (now widowed) lived with her.
  • In 1906, Mary was accepted into the Emery Down Almshouses.  Her old age pension in 1908 was 2/- (two shillings) per week.
  • Mary Ballard died on 22 Jan 1919, aged 86—her great achievement was complete.  She was buried in Emery Down Churchyard.  (Her niece Annie remained in Emery Down and died in 1925, aged 60.)



How We Used To Live – Emery Down Local History Project

The local history group for Emery Down and the hamlets around Lyndhurst

The How We Used To Live local history project encompasses talks, exhibitions and hands-on exploration of the past.  Focusing upon people and houses in Allum Green, Bank, Blackwater, Emery Down, Gritnam and Swan Green it also encourages local inhabitants with long memories to reminisce about their lives through an active oral history programme.  Talks are held annually from October-April (not January) at 7.30pm in Emery Down and Bank Village Hall, SO43 7EB.

Life in Lyndhurst in the Great War

What is special about the civil parish of Lyndhurst?

Lyndhurst was an important training and gathering place for troops, this was especially true in the Great War.  Camps were established on The Race Course and The Bench before embarkation overseas; troops were billeted with local families; Bombing and Trench Mortar Schools and a War Dog Training School were based nearby.

The ‘Immortal’ Seventh Division camped in and around Lyndhurst in September/October, 1914—a plaque in Appletree Court commemorates them.  A memorial window in the Roman Catholic Church is dedicated to Major W.A. Kennard DSO, 13th Hussars, Adjutant of The Northumberland Hussars and to the Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and men of that Regiment who gave their lives in The Great War.

Lord Moulton (John Fletcher Moulton), Director-General of Explosives, Ministry of Munitions, 1914-1919, lived in Bank, Lyndhurst and is buried in Emery Down Churchyard.  Read about him at the Internet Archive.

Everyone Did Their Bit

The Great War affected both rich and poor; the whole nation became involved.  Many families lived in this locality all their life, married, and were related to many other families.  The death of one man could affect several families as a grandson, son, brother, cousin, nephew, uncle, father, friend or workmate.  On the Home Front people worked together to support the men on the Front and care for the wounded.

The involvement of everyone and the bond that villagers had for relatives and strangers alike during the Great War is evident in the following extracts from the archives of the Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst:

“WHERE GOOD-BYE IS SAID.  Visit to the Camp in the New Forest.  The Commonplaces of Farewell.  (From Our Special Correspondent.)  LYNDHURST (Hants).  This normally peaceful little place in the New Forest is having a surprising time.  For the last three weeks the military have taken possession of it, and it is impossible to get a bed, or to be shaved, or even to buy a stamp unless you are willing to take your place in a queue of soldiers.  It would be indiscreet, perhaps, to say exactly how many are concentrating here before being shipped to the front, but there are many thousands from various parts of the world, and the landscape for miles is dotted with their tents.  …  The Common-places of “Good-bye.”  The hotels were full after the first few days of the concentration, but the people of the little town threw open their houses, and soon there was not a bed or a couch that was not occupied.  It is not exactly a place for laughter.  The platform of the railway is rarely without officers or men seeing someone off, say the last few desperate commonplaces, and then striding off to escape into the reassuring bustle of the camp.  A Wednesday in September 1914.  Extract from an undated newspaper cutting.

“The Parade Services I held while at Lyndhurst were an inspiration.  The prayer card issued by the Chaplain-General was greatly appreciated by officers and men.  I arranged for the distribution of 15,000 of them in the Division, and they were eagerly accepted by all from the Generals downwards.  On many an occasion in the after days I came across these cards tucked away in the lining of the caps of dead and wounded men.
“They were happy days at Lyndhurst, where the [7th] Division remained for a fortnight.  The future stress of awful losses was only a bare possibility then, although it was on the horizon of many men’s hearts; but at the time it was ignored, for many of the officers had their women folk staying, either in the village, or near at hand; and the lawn of the ‘Crown,’ the Divisional Headquarters, was a bright and happy centre of pleasurable intercourse.”  From: With The Immortal Seventh Division by the Rev. E.J. Kennedy, Chaplain Major to The Expeditionary Force, also available online at the Internet Archive.

WAR RELIEF FUND.  Six guineas were given from the Church funds and upwards of six pounds from the proceeds of a concert were sent from this parish to the War Relief Fund.”
“OUR HARVEST THANKSGIVING SERVICES.  … we owe God our deepest gratitude … for the way in which the Navy has kept open our trade routes, and protected our shores, and for the wonderful way in which this war has united the various peoples of our mighty Empire together in the bonds of loyalty and patriotism.  … no country has been treated with more wanton cruelty … than poor innocent Belgium, whose sufferings have stirred our deepest feelings of sorrow and indignation.  We have therefore decided to … give our alms at the Harvest Festival to the Belgian Refugee Relief Fund …”.  New Forest Magazine (NFM) October 1914 – Emery Down.

“WAR BABY SCARE.  It is satisfactory to note that the number of illegitimate children born in this Sanitary District during the past year has been much the same as in former years.  It will be remembered that the 7th Division was stationed in this District for some months, and throughout the year some thousands of troops have likewise camped in the District; and it was publicly stated that illegitimacy would go up by leaps and bounds.  It is therefore a pleasure to me to be able to remove so serious an allegation which was put upon a well-behaved body of men and equally upon the younger women of the community.”  Annual Report on Vital Statistics and Sanitary Condition 1915, submitted by Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Henry Anderson; New Forest District Council – Sanitary Authority.

“FRUGAL WOODMEN – PORTUGUESE TREE FELLERS IN NEW FOREST.  Away in the heart of the New Forest, rather off the beaten track, is a tiny Portuguese colony, self-contained, industrious, and contented.  …  Weeks ago men from Portugal were set down here to cut timber for the Home-Grown Timber Committee, and if you have good eyesight you can see them looking in the distance no bigger than ants, moving among the trees they have felled.  More than a hundred years ago the New Forest … gave thousands of loads of oak and beech for the building of warships.  To-day it is giving vast supplies of pine for the trenches in France.
The colony is not large – 26 men in all – but in five weeks these men have cut down and prepared for use nearly 16,000 trees.  In appearance they are young, dark, and handsome, of medium height, and not imposingly robust; but they are splendid woodsmen; quick and thorough.  Already they have made huge inroads into the plantation called Slufters, which was given into their hands, leaving vast open spaces strewn with the dismembered stems and little of fallen trees.  They are hard-working and frugal.  Their working hours are from dawn to dusk, and when the day’s toll is over they show no inclination to wander from the plantation.  Their wants are few.  Meat has now place in their diet.  They are satisfied with bread, potatoes, salt cod (‘bacalhau’ they call it), and only water from a brook beside the wood; and not more than five or six of them are smokers.  A few shillings a week cover the whole cost of their simple but strenuous life, and the rest of their earnings go home to Portugal to form funds for the purchase of parcels of land on which some day they hope to settle down.  A FOREST EXPRESS.  Not far from Slufters, in a plantation more prettily named – Highland Water – soldiers and Irishmen are plying the axe and the saw for the good of the nation.  You come quite unexpectedly upon the signs of their presence as you are walking along a lane a few miles from Lyndhurst.  Emerging from a narrow, sunspangled glade a single diminutive railway track comes through the tall bracken and forms a loop beside the road.  …  Here and there, gradually gnawing their way into the plantation, are other parties of soldiers and labourers brought from Ireland; some felling trees, some cutting them into trench and pit props, poles for wire entanglements, and pickets, some piling up the brushwood for burning.  …  In this plantation, out of about 450 acres of Scots fir, some 300 acres are to be cleared; and it is anticipated that when the work here and at Slufters is in full swing the two plantations will yield 500 tons of timber a week.  These, however, are only two out of a number of lumber camps established in various parts of the New Forest and in the private estates adjoining it.  Saw mills have been set up in several places, and Canadian lumbermen as well as English sawyers are at work through all the hours of daylight, helping to keep pace with the demand for timber not only at the front, but in the collieries at home.  The Times, Monday, July 24, 1916.

“WAR NOTES AND NEWS.  The Secretary of the Lyndhurst War Savings Association will be at the Parish Room every Wednesday from 5 to 5.30 to receive subscriptions of 6d. or upwards.  Mr. Lloyd George reminds us that every penny lent to the Government at this time will ‘back up our brave young boys’ at the front and help to end the War”.  NFM February 1917 – Lyndhurst.

“An interesting article appeared in The Times of December 6th on the collection of horse chestnuts for munition making.  The writer says that 36,000 people made collections, … that the collectors were mainly children and that Lyndhurst , Minstead, Emery Down and Bartley between them sent 17 cwt. 23 lbs.  Sir Louis Dane had allowed his stables to be used to spread them out for drying, to prevent them heating.  Acorns had also been collected in response to an appeal from the Admiralty but this was less successful as only Lyndhurst and Emery Down had responded to the appeal.  They collected and sent 26 bushels and Sir Louis Dane again lent his stables for spreading, turning and drying the acorns.”  NFM January 1918 – Lyndhurst.

“We are asked to abstain from writing depressing letters to our soldiers at the front.  It is surely up to us at home to bear our small privations without complaint.  By writing to our soldiers about them we only depress them and don’t help ourselves”.  NFM May 1918 – Emery Down.

“Hampshire Regt. Prisoners of War Fund.  Letters and receipts have been received from the Committee for the above Fund acknowledging £99 13s. 11d., the amount collected in Lyndhurst, and their appreciation of the efforts which the collection of so large a sum must have entailed”.  NFM August 1918 – Lyndhurst.

“IMPORTANT NOTICE.  The Ministry of National Service desires to direct attention and to make it widely known that, whereas there are a considerable number of men over military age employed in keeping lawns and flowerbeds in order, it is most needful that as many as possible of such men should be allowed to assist in the more important work of agriculture at least up to the end of the harvest.  It is hoped therefore that, having regard to the food position and the crisis through which the country is passing, all employers will do their utmost to release such men for work in the harvest fields”.  NFM September 1918 – General Section.

“VEGETABLES FOR THE FLEET.  A special notice has been sent that Vegetables are needed for the Fleet.  The Lyndhurst Depot is at Brooklands Stable Yard where vegetables are received on Wednesdays at 3.30.
AN APPEAL.  The Director General of National Salvage urgently asks the public to save all kinds of fruit stones and nutshells, which are needed for making the charcoal used in anti-gas masks.  They must be thoroughly dried before storing.  Miss Sykes, Elcombs, Lyndhurst, will be pleased to receive any quantity and will forward them from time to time.”  NFM September 1918 – Lyndhurst.

“DOGS IN BATTLE – MESSENGERS, SENTRIES AND GUARDS.  In the early months of 1917 a War Dog School of Instruction was formed by the War Office and Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson, who has devoted his life to training dogs for military and police purposes, was appointed commandant.  The school started at Shoeburyness, but was recently moved to Lyndhurst, Hants.  Gamekeepers, hunt servants, and shepherds were called up from the Army to be instructed and to assist in the instruction of the dogs.  At first the dog recruits came entirely from the Battersea, Birmingham and Liverpool Homes for Lost Dogs, and many a dog has thus been saved from the lethal chamber, and has done excellent national work.  …  The police have also been of great assistance in sending unclaimed dogs, and finally the public were appealed to for gifts of dogs.  …  The skill, courage and tenacity of these dogs has been have been amazing.  During heavy barrages, when all other communications have been cut, the messenger dogs have made their way, and in many cases have brought messages of vital import.  Sometimes they have been wounded in the performance of their duties, and there is a wonderful record of the determination with which wounded dogs have persisted in their duty.  In the same way, the record continues of successful message-carrying through darkness, mist, rain, and shell-fire, and every sort of difficult ground.  …  a dog ran six kilometres in 20 minutes, while in another case a dog carried back a map of an important position in 20 minutes when a man would have taken an hour and a half to bring it in.  …  The breeds that have given the best results for this work have been collies, sheep dogs, lurchers, and Airedales, and crosses of these varieties, while in several cases Welsh and Irish terriers of the large type have given excellent results.  …  In conclusion it may be said that the dogs all love their work, and have ideal surroundings at the training ground in the New Forest glens and glades.  Here unvarying kindness and devoted service govern their management.”  The Times, Monday, December 9, 1918.

“On St Martin’s Day, November 11th 1918, a day which will surely be memorable in the annals of history, the joyful news reached Emery Down between noon and 1p.m. that the armistice had been signed at 5 a.m. and that the terrible awful struggle had ceased at 11 a.m.  Right had conquered over Might and the hearts of all overflowed with gratitude to God”.  NFM December 1918 – Emery Down.

Pte A. Broomfield R. Sussex R. – Emery Down

The above is an inscription on the War Memorial in Emery Down, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, England.  The Emery Down Lychgate Project is currently researching all the names inscribed on the Lychgate to Emery Down Church – the lychgate is our war memorial.  So far we have been unable to identify the above soldier through the 1911 census, service records, or casualty records on the Commonwealth War Grave Commission website.  Can anyone help us to identify A. Broomfield, please?  The position of the inscription suggests the name was inscribed last.  The lychgate was unveiled on 17 July 1921, and the report of the ceremony states that 21 names were inscribed.  However, there are 22 names listed of those who fell in the Great War.

Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital at Bartley – Heathcote (later Beechwood) Hospital

Beechwood Hospital

On November 7th 1914, Colonel and Mrs. Heathcote kindly started a Red Cross Hospital in their house, “Beechwood”, Bartley, with 16 beds (the number of beds increased to 20 in 1915).

Mrs. Heathcote acted as Commandant of the Hospital, which was entirely run by V.A. Detachment Hants 26.

Dr. Gurney-Dixon was Medical Officer, whose services were voluntary.  The success in the treatment of nerve cases was very marked.

The Hospital was closed in Feb 1917, after treating a total of 102 cases.

Above text and images: Hampshire Record Office: 173A12/A1/2/1 and 173A12/A4/2/2/1 (transferred by the British Red Cross from the Balfour Museum of Red Cross History in Hampshire).

“Beechwood” and the Heathcote Family

In the late 1850s “Beechwood” became the home of Louisa Malcolm.  Louisa was the daughter of Evelyn John Shirley, M.P. and widow of Neill Malcolm, J.P., 13th of Poltalloch, whom she had married in 1843 (as his second wife) and who had died in 1857.  Her younger sister Selina, Dowager Lady Heathcote inherited the house from her in 1887.  Lady Heathcote lived there with her three unmarried daughters, from 1889 until her death in 1901; she employed the architect William Butterfield to make improvements both to the house and the parish church.

Selina’s son by her husband The Right Honourable Sir William Heathcote, Bart, P.C. (5th Baron of Hursley), inherited “Beechwood” from his mother: Charles George Heathcote was born at 43 Eaton Place, London, on 1 Oct 1843.  A graduate of Oriel College, Oxford (B.A. 1865, M.A. 1870), Charles married Lucy Lyttleton Vachell on 15 May 1884 at Hursley.  “Beechwood” became the Heathcote’s family home in 1901 when Charles and Lucy moved there from Hursley with their five children: one son and four daughters (their second daughter, Sybil Annesley, had died in 1898, aged 12).  Several members of Lucy’s family moved with them: Georgina Vachell, her mother; Horace Annesley Vachell—the author—her brother; and Lydia Vachell, her niece; in 1911 another brother, Guy Courtney Vachell, was also at “Beechwood”.

At the time of The Great War, Charles—a Justice of the Peace—was Major (retired) Northumberland Fusiliers, and formerly Lieut.-Colonel 1st Volunteer Battalion Hampshire Regiment.

The Heathcote’s son, George Malcolm Heathcote (a school teacher), was deemed to have enlisted in 1916 due to his civilian work with the British Red Cross.  As Officer Cadet, The Inns of Court Officers Training Corps he was gazetted to Reserve of Officers, 2/Lieut. Coldstream Guards on 5 February 1919.

Charles’ brother, Arthur Malcolm Heathcote, lost both his sons in the Great War: Lieut. James Shirley Heathcote, Coldstream Guards (d. 28 August 1917); 2/Lieut. Martin Arthur Heathcote M.C. (3 Jun 1916), Royal Fusiliers (d. 18 August 1916).  Horace Vachell lost his son too: Captain Richard Tanfield Vachell, Royal Flying Corps (and 1st Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers), d. 1 August 1915; his home address was “Beechwood”.

Charles died in 1924 and Lucy died ten years later.  The Heathcote family sold “Beechwood” in 1937.

For further information on V.A.D.s and Auxiliary Hospitals click on the British Red Cross in the Great War link.


Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital at Hill House, Lyndhurst

The Red Cross

In 1911 the Red Cross had established three detachments of the Voluntary Aid Organisation in the Lyndhurst area.  Mrs. R.G. Hargreaves (of Cuffnells) was the first Vice-President, Miss Chawner (of Forest Bank) was Honorary Secretary and R. MacDonald Esq. (of The Red House) was the Honorary Treasurer.  Three detachments were formed:

  • Hants 26 with Mrs. Heathcote (of “Beechwood”, Bartley) as Commandant
  • Hants 112 with Miss M. Whitehead (of The Nook) as Commandant;
  • Hants 182 with Mrs. Boteler of (Ballard Lodge, Clarence Road) as Commandant.

From 1915 onwards Mrs. Hargreaves was Commandant of Detachments Hants 112 and 182.

“The Red Cross Local Committee met on Monday January 18th 1915 to discuss matters in connection with the proposed V.A.D. Hospital at Hill House.  It was decided to place the Hospital unreservedly at the disposal of the County Director to be made use of as need may arise for either English or Belgian soldiers.”
New Forest Magazine, February 1915.  (From the archives of the Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library.)

Hill House Hospital

The Red Cross Detachments were mobilised in 1915, and undertook to equip and run Hill House Hospital, Lyndhurst, which was generously handed over with a nominal rent by Canon Oldfield and his family.

Equipment was given or lent, by the residents of Lyndhurst, and the hospital was opened on 24th March 1915, with 23 beds.

The Hospital was run by a Committee of Management, with Colonel C. Heathcote, of “Beechwood”, Bartley, as Chairman.

Patients were received from the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, for the first six months, and later from the New Zealand General Hospital at Brockenhurst.

Dr. Gurney-Dixon and Dr. Syer Barrington White, were Voluntary Medical Officers at the Hospital.

A Ward was reserved for Canadian and Portugese wood-cutters employed in the Forest, and for soldiers from the Bombing and Trench Mortar Schools established in Lyndhurst.

A total of 1,016 patients were treated; the cost of care per in-patient was £4 2s 9d.

The Hospital was closed on 31st July 1918.

Above text (excepting the extract from the New Forest Magazine): from Hampshire Record Office: 173A12/A1/2/1 and 173A12/A4/2/2/1 (transferred by the British Red Cross from the Balfour Museum of Red Cross History in Hampshire).  Used with permission.

“HILL HOUSE HOSPITAL.  In consequence of the removal of the New Zealand patients owing to the opening of a Convalescent department in connection with the Brockenhurst Hospitals, the Committee of Hill House decided, after consultation with the County Director, to close the Hospital, but not to dismantle the building before October, so as to be able to re-open if required.  During the three years the Hospital was in existence over 1000 patients have been treated there and the Committee have received grateful letters from the N.Z. General Hospital Brockenhurst and the Bombing School, Southern Command, and the Heads of the Canadian  and Portuguese Lumber Camps in acknowledgement of the care and attention given to patients.”
New Forest Magazine, September 1918.  (From the archives of the Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library.)

For further information on V.A.D.s and Auxiliary Hospitals click on the British Red Cross in the Great War link.



Red Cross Voluntary Aid Organisation – The Winning Detachment

During The Great War a cup was given by Miss Mary Grace Powell (of Brooklands) for Competition between the Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs) in the Lyndhurst area.

The Winning Detachment comprised:

Miss Constance Margaret Aitchison who was the daughter of Rear-Admiral Henry Compton Aitchison and Constance Fanny Lushington of Rosiere (who married in 1889).  Through her mother Madge was the great-granddaughter of the 17th Earl of Erroll.  Born in 1891, Madge was brought up at Shrubbs Hill.  At the time of the 1911 census Madge was staying with her great-uncle—Francis Compton Esq. M.A., D.C.L., D.L., J.P., at Blackwater House.  After The Great War Madge continued her voluntary work and joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service shortly after it was formed in Sep 1938.  Madge held the rank of Company Assistant (8 Nov 1938) and Subaltern (30 May 1941); in World War Two her ATS number was 192409.  Madge moved from Lyndhurst to live in Romsey in the mid-1960s.  She was a keen golfer.

Mrs. Dolly Mills—Dorothy Lily E Witt married Harry Albert Mills in 1915, when she was 18 years old.  Dolly, born in Poole, Dorset, grew up in Basingstoke where her father was a butcher.  Harry’s father, Edward Boyes Mills was a gardener at Park Hill, and Harry’s brother, Charles Edward, was the gardener at Holmfield.  Harry’s eldest sister, Rose Martha, married William Herbert Nicholls who died on 22 July 1917 in Mesopotamia.  Harry and Dolly became Landlord and Landlady of the Crown and Stirrup Inn, Clayhill.  Dolly excelled at flower arranging.

Miss Annie Blake was the youngest daughter of Moses and Elizabeth Blake of Merton Cottage, Silver Street — Moses was the Parish Clerk and Sexton, Emery Down Church.  Aged 16, Annie started work in domestic service locally, in London and Dorset.  She worked her way up from Scullery Maid to Cook and attended Mrs. Marshall’s School of Cookery.  Upon returning to the Forest, Annie worked for the Dalrymple family at Bartley Lodge and then for Miss Powell at Brooklands.  During The Great War Annie continued to work for Miss Powell whilst also cooking at Hill House for the Red Cross.  In 1920 Annie left Miss Powell’s employment to marry Frank Broomfield, a widower; they lived at Lilac Cottage, Bank with Frank’s daughter, Elizabeth.

And one other auxiliary nurse – unnamed on the back of the photograph – can you help us to identify her please?

Miss Mary Grace Powell (1867-1958) was the daughter of Lieut.-Colonel William Martin Powell, she lived at Shrubbs Hill and then Brooklands, Lyndhurst—where she took over the running of her father’s household when her mother died.

Her younger brother, Edward Weyland Martin Powell, fought in the Boer War and was awarded the DSO (1901).  On the Reserve of Officers when WW1 broke out: Major Powell served in the Royal Field Artillery, was mentioned in dispatches, created a CMG (1918), a CB (1919), and awarded the Legion of Honour.  He was given the Brevet of Lieut.-Colonel, Reserve of Officers, 1 January 1917, and the honorary rank of Brigadier-General on 26 February 1919.

Brooklands became the Brigadier-General’s home, so in her later years Grace Powell lived in Pennington, in a house she named “Brooklands”; she died in the Fenwick Hospital on 14 July 1958.

For further information on V.A.D.s and Auxiliary Hospitals click on the British Red Cross in the Great War link.