D-Day 6/6/44

Rare colour film of the invasion forces, many of whom embarked from Weymouth and Portland,

Somerset Voices: Ernest Redwood (b1897)

Ernest Redwood started working on a farm when he was twelve years old at a wage of sixpence a week. He helped with everything, milking, ploughing, cider making and sheep shearing. Ernest lived in Milverton all his life. His father kept two pigs a year that were slaughtered. His mother would cure the pigs and prepare hams and pork. Lard was made from the pigs fat and she used to make ‘scrap cakes’ with the lard.

Listen to Ernest and read the transcript.

The Second front

Whilst clearing out a friend’s house in Bournemouth following her death, Robert Mott found a letter by Betty Marston, who served in the RAF as an armoury truck driver. The letter is a fascinating account of the D-Day landings.

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Census maps from 1871 now online

Digital versions of the original Registration District maps from the 1871 census (Catalogue reference RG 18/1-110) are now available to browse and download at cassinimaps.co.uk.

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Somerset Voices: Bill Redding (b.1908)

Bill Redding ran a blacksmiths shop in Lime Street, Nether Stowey, a village on the northern edge of the Quantocks. He and his father did the metal work for gates, bonded wheels for the wheelwright, repaired ovens, shoed carthorses, and looked after the local hunt’s horses. Bill Redding retired in 1976 after working in the shop for 53 years. At the time this recording was made the blacksmith’s in Nether Stowey was still operating.

Listen to Bill and read the transcript

Edward Tompkins

Whilst not my own family line , readers may be interest in A record of the ancestry and kindred of the children of Edward Tomkins, sr: late of Oakland, California (deceased), by Edward Tompkins. Published by and printed for the compiler, 1893. This 65 pages booklet was digitized by Google on Jan 17, 2008.

Download or read the book here

Swanage (1889)

This article on Swanage and the surrounding area by W. Armstrong Willis first appeared in The Gentleman’s Magazine, Published by F. Jefferies in 1889.

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Somerset Voices: Dennis & Isobel Puddy

Dennis Puddy began as an apprentice at Westlands and stayed with the company all his working life. He became an aircraft assembly fitter working on aeroplanes during the war and afterwards on helicopters, for which Westlands became famous. His was a reserved occupation, so he was unable to join the army. Isobel Puddy worked in the Bristol Post Office telephone exchange from 1940 to 1955, the year she married Dennis. During the bombing of Bristol in 1940, her family sheltered under the stairs rather than in an air raid shelter, because her father was frightened of being buried alive.

Listen to Dennis & Isobel and read the transcript.

Charles Darwin and the Beagle

This podcast from the National Archives is an investigation into the real reasons behind the celebrated voyage of HMS Beagle (1831-1836) and the momentous decision by Captain Robert FitzRoy to choose Charles Darwin to accompany him.


D-Day heroes hailed at the airfield where mission began

A Nigth-time operation considered to have been key to the success of the D-Day landings during World War Two 65 years ago will be remembered at the long since disused Tarrant Rushton airfield where it started.

Read the full story in the Wester Gazette.

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