Betty Bicker-Robinson: memories of WW2

At the beginning of the war I was in my early teens, and each year we used to go hop picking on My Pye’s farm for about seven weeks. Whenever the air raid siren went off, and the German planes came over, we used to have to run into the woods for shelter in case the airmen might see us and use a machine gun.

Mum would give us ‘hop pocks’ (big yellow sacks) to put over our heads. It made is feel safe but I don’t think they were much good except perhaps for camouflage.

As soon as I left school Mum found a job for me down at Cobham Hall, where I noticed a good looking boy, Ernie Bicker, who also worked there. He was the son of the head gardener. However, Mum soon disapproved of our friendship so she sent me away to work in the Land Army, eventually ending up in Gloucestershire, driving Fordson tractors.

I was stationed at Bishops Cleeve, near the well known as Cleeve Hill (the highest point in the Cotswolds) and billeted in a former Priory. The entrance hall had a rather grand, wide marble staircase, however we slept in bunks six to a room, giving a rather different impression.

Each day we had to cycle about 10 miles to work at 7am and, of course, the same distance back again to the billet in the evening. We were given a small packed lunch but didn’t have any opportunity for a drink of water all day until we arrived back.

After about a year I returned to Kent (rather to Mum’s disapproval) working then on the farm of Mr Lawrence, a much respected man in the village, and after whom Lawrence Drive was named.

Mr Lawrence had hired a large field in Thong, not far from the airfield, in order to grow potatoes. One day while a small number of us were working in this field, one of our planes was in trouble while stuggling to reach the aerodrome, coming down so low that tragically it hit two of our women workers and killed them. It was awful.

One was my friend Florrie Vousden’s mother and the other was Mrs Redsell’s sister.

On another occasion a plane came down at night hitting a house at Henhurst in which Mrs Dines was sleeping, and sadly killed her. The whole house was very badly damaged. She left two sons, Frank and Dickie.

During the later stages of the war ‘Doodle Bugs’ (flying bombs) were really frightening. For as long as you could hear the sound of their rapid, loud pulse you knew they were still flying, but as soon as the engine cut-out they fell from the sky and exploded on hitting the ground with a massive bang. It was the poor Londoners who bore the brunt of it. We were the lucky ones.

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Archaeological excavation in Cliffsend

A major archaeological excavation has started in Cliffsend ahead of the construction of the new Thanet Parkway station.

Led by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, the excavation will continue over the winter and is expected to be completed by March 2021.

The project will add significantly to the growing understanding of the archaeology of the Isle of Thanet.

Please click here to read the full article:

https://kccmediahub.net/major-archaeological-excavation-in-cliffsend-ahead-of-thanet-parkway-station-construction745

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‘Christmas verse’ by S.W.A.G.

Kentish Santa (photo courtesy of Bill in Hoo). The photo that inspired it all…

On the first day of Christmas Santa gave to me, a massive credit card bill.

On the second day of Christmas Santa gave to me, two spoil heaps and a massive credit card bill.

On the third day of Christmas Santa gave to me, three days of covid tests, two spoil heaps and a massive credit card bill.

On the fourth day of Christmas Santa gave to me four grubby trowels, three days of covid tests, two spoil heaps and a massive credit card bill.

On the fifth day of Christmas Santa gave to me five old diggers digging, four grubby trowels, three days of covid tests, two spoil heaps and a massive credit card bill.

On the sixth day of Christmas Santa gave to me, six S.W.A.G.S. a kneeling, five old diggers digging, four grubby trowels, three days of covid tests, two spoil heaps and a massive credit card bill.

On the seventh day of Christmas Santa gave to me seven missing hob nails (ouch), six S.W.A.G.s a kneeling, five old diggers digging, four grubby trowels, three days of covid tests, two spoil heaps and a massive credit card bill.

On the eighth day of Christmas Santa gave to me eight air raid shelters, seven missing hob nails, six S.W.A.G.s a kneeling, five old diggers digging, four grubby trowels, three days of covid tests, two spoil heaps and a massive credit card bill.

On the ninth day of Christmas Santa gave to me nine tons of roof tile, eight air raid shelters, seven missing hob nails, six S.W.A.G.s a kneeling, five old diggers digging, four grubby trowels, three days of covid tests, two spoil heaps and a massive credit card bill.

On the tenth day of Christmas Santa gave to me ten trees a hugging, nine tons of roof tile, eight air raid shelters, seven missing hob nails, six S.W.A.G.s a kneeling, five old diggers digging, four grubby trowels, three days of covid tests, two spoil heaps and a massive credit card bill.

On the eleventh day of Christmas Santa gave to me eleven meters of railway track, ten hugging trees, nine tons of roof tile, eight air raid shelters, seven missing hob nails, six S.W.A.G.s a kneeling, five old diggers digging, four grubby trowels, three days of covid tests, two spoil heaps and a massive credit card bill.

On the twelth day of Christmas Santa gave to me twelve open test pits (call the Saftey Elf), eleven meters of railway track, ten hugging trees, nine tons of roof tile, eight air raid shelters, seven missing hob nails, six S.W.A.G.s a kneeling, five old diggers digging, four grubby trowels, three days of covid tests, two spoil heaps and a massive credit card bill.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

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Some hoard inspired poetry

In response to the Hoards and All advent calender our members have gone all poetic. Here are a couple from the trenchs:

A hoard is like this is one of a kind
Our ancestors left it for us to find
Buried for years in all its glory
For Sophie to dig up and tell us their story
(Nicola)

On opening five, man alive
How did that treasure all survive
Below the ground safe and sound
Just sitting, waiting to be found
(Bill)

Bronzes abound
Out of the ground
Below a bronze age mound
Delighted to be found
(Anon)

Another page has turned
A battle axe appears
What have owner in tears

Perhaps a metal worker's hoard
An offering, a simple rite
Better crops my Lord
Whatever you like

The soil is removed, with little motion
The axe shines after restoration
It's just a notion
Did it see any action?

Sophia's restoration
A wonder to behold
Keep fingers crossed
Might be another load
(David)
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Advent calendar for archaeologists

Click here for a special advent calendar:

https://calendar.myadvent.net/?id=59835fb6e6bc74462a17be9760db2b13

The days focus on the Boughton Malherbe hoard and are brought to you by Dr Sophie Adams.

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