The Story of Heyford (Extra): Dear Diary – April 1952

April 1952

Dear Diary,

There’s still a lot of talk in the village about the train crash last September. The Liverpool Express to London came off the rails just out of the Weedon tunnel. We’ve been learning about it in school. The train, engine 46207 Princess Arthur of Connaught, was travelling at over 60 miles an hour when it left the rails and tipped over the embankment into a field just off Furnace Lane. Several people were injured and some killed. Four carriages were damaged but the last two were full of boys returning to boarding school and their carriages stayed on the rails.

The farmer living opposite, Reg Collins, filled his milk churns with water for the injured and Mrs. Collins cycled down to the Post Office to send telegrams to relatives as there is only one public phone in the village. The Army from Weedon Depot were called in to help and ambulances arrived. The Salvation Army and WVS supplied constant tea and ripped up sheets from local families to make bandages. Most of the villagers helped in some way.

Sad news for the Royal family. The King died in February and Big Ben rang once for each of his 56 years. His daughter, Princess Elizabeth was on holiday in Kenya when she was told that she would become our new Queen. I bet the journey home was long.

A Scout group is to be formed by Mr. Woods the headmaster and Mr. Wilkinson. There are about 20 boys, they are to have pack names like Peewit & Kingfisher and will meet every week in the school hall.

If the weather’s fine, we’re going on the bus on Saturday to Everdon Stubbs to see the bluebells. I hope the ‘townies’ haven’t been on their bicycles and, as usual, gone home with basketfuls of the flowers. They’ll be dead before they get home and we shan’t see them again until next year.

Builders are still very busy putting up new Council houses along Hillside Road and Hillside Crescent. People are putting their names down hoping for one, especially those who are over-crowded at home. I have family who would love to get out of their little cottage at the bottom of Furnace Lane and some who are planning to get married next year, so I hope they are fair in choosing.

I’ve been in trouble this week, that’s why I’m spending more time in my room. On our way home from play the other night my friend suggested we go cherry-knocking. “I’ll hold the gate open, you go and knock the door” she said, so muggings here did just that, and guess what, the minute I knocked the door she was off down the street, letting the gate close behind her leaving me stranded on the path in front of the house.

I might have been able to talk my way out of it if I hadn’t been wearing my bright red duffle coat. “You should choose your friends more carefully” said mum. Grown-ups are no fun.

Polly

Letter published in The Prattler – April 2020

 

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