On Wednesday 10th April 2013 I was fortunate to join 53 other people at the Titchmarsh Clubrooms to hear a remarkable series of accounts of Titchmarsh at war. We were privileged to hear an intimate account of wartime life in the village and learnt about the rationing, blackouts and air raids of the 1940s. These amazing stories were made poignant by the presentations relating to the lives and deaths of individuals within the village, told by their descendants and others who brought the stories to life by making them deeply personal.
We saw old documents and photographs, and along with the information gathered from discussions with villagers, a vivid picture of life during the two world wars was painted. We were told the life stories behind some of the names on the war memorial, and how experiences in the Second World War changed the village forever. It was especially moving to hear from villagers who remember those times. We left the Clubrooms knowing more about the history of the village, but more important we also learnt from the legacy of those who were there then and who are here now, and who generously shared their recollections with us.
Have you heard about the bombing of Molesworth airfield while it was still being built or of the strange explanation offered by the gentleman discovered languishing in the well by the Lower Green? These are just two of the fascinating stories we have heard recently in our continuing efforts to collect as many memories of old Titchmarsh as we can. And we are now receiving information and queries from much further afield. These have included a request from Western Australia seeking information about relations who were married in the church here in the 1840s and the memoirs of Brian Conisbee from Cromer who was once an evacuee in the village. Incidentally, Brian would like to hear from anyone who remembers him.
There are not many people who can identify a Lancaster bomber from a blurry photograph, but there is an eight year-old at the school who can! We discovered this when Mrs Milton gave us permission to talk to the children about Titchmarsh during the war. What a rare treat that was, and so now we working on other materials to help the children learn more about their heritage.
There remain many gaps in our archives. Two areas that we would particularly like your help with are (1) the school choir performing for the BBC (was it sometime in the 1950’s?) and (2) the Land Army girls who lived and worked in the village in the wartime. Were you one of them? If you have any information, stories or photographs about either of these, we would be delighted to hear from you.
In response to our article in the last edition of the Titchmarsh Times, we have five new members join the project. We are very excited about this because it means that we are able to delve much deeper into the village’s history. We are undertaking research on a broad range of themes from the biographies of those named on the war memorial to the influence of the Lilford Estate on the growth of the village. We have also opened our own blog to record the progress of our project and to develop the on-line archive. The address is Http://titchmarshvillage.wordpress.com
Thanks to the sterling efforts of our cameraman Bert Ash, we have well over six hours of filming for our DVD of Titchmarsh in 2012. This is being edited to make a short, entertaining record which will be available later in the year.
Finally, if we haven’t had your information and photo of your house history, please let us have it now. The final closing date for the photo book is 31st January 2013. We already have 70 house histories for the book which, along with the DVD, will be a valuable record of our village today.
Contact details: Sylvia [firstname.lastname@example.org], Ian  & Terry [31 High Street]