Good evening everyone,
Its been a productive couple of days with forty two possibly new memorials found in Taunton and I've still got two churches and a college to do. I also managed to replace the tarpaulin over the door replaced after finding it leaking in the rain the over night, I have also added to it to hopefully give me a bit more protection from the worst of the weather. Talking of the weather the temperature dropped dramatically last night and my heater kicked in!
A couple of incidents from the last couple of days, kids let off a large firework or bird scarer which made me, the cats and lot of other people jump and this afternoon a large branch fell of a tree in the car park onto a car and set alarms off, luckily only scratches to the car by the look of it. Missy, the nearly bomb proof cat freaked out at the branch, and went and hid, got to be a first for her!
I'd like to say a couple of thank you's, Jeff and Sue who I've known since Chrimbo 2013, they took me out for tea in Taunton and have bought the cats some toys and to Corel for giving me a very large discount on Paint Shop Pro, I can now straighten all the images that are 1.5 to 2 degrees out after a fall with the camera last year - its cheaper than a new camera!
Friday I move on to Bishop's Lydiard...
Well it was a wonderful weekend in some excellent company, I think everyone enjoyed themselves ;)
I headed off this morning after saying my goodbyes to those that were left and headed for Taunton, I started off in sunshine and ended up arriving in the rain. I had to be at Wilton Church for a radio interview with the BBC (not sure when it will be broadcast), this was chosen as the cross in the churchyard was unrecorded when I found it last year, the church on that day was locked, today it was opened up for us and I found another World War Two memorial window that isn't or wasn't on the system. One thing I need to check on, I was told a long while ago the the Imperial War Museum was told to record all the war memorials in the 1950's, mentioned it today on the interview but need to double check it.
I'm hoping to stop at Bishop's Lydiard at the weekend and all being well get the Somerset section of Exmoor done, that will be a big chunk of difficult terrain done!
I've finally managed to get access to the internet, its not fast but it will do.
Good evenning everyone,
As I've no access to the internet yet again I'm writing this offline to be posted when I can connect again.
I was up early so that I could unplug and get my bucket out of the pub whilst the cleaners were there, on that note I need to say a big thank you to Theresa and the team who spoilt the three of us all week. It was to be a long day with just shy of forty miles done, I did stop for a charge at Help for Heroes in Downton as it was going to be such a long run. I was stopping at Shaftesbury Tesco, the last time I stopped there it was a noisy night, this time it wasn't thank goodness. There was still the problem of the kids rides tripping out and had to nip in and get the switch reset until the batteries were charged.
Today's run wasn't as long in distance but it was in time, the unforecast thunderstorms made me stop and sit them out, the last forecast I had seen was for a dry and sunny day! Well I sat it out on the edge of the road and tried to film some of it, as normal the camera was looking the wrong way! Just as I was putting the waterproofs on and the rain easing a lady rode up on her horse to check I was ok.
I pottered on to RNAS Yeovilton which was to be my stop for the night, I was also pointed towards three unrecorded memorial on the station.Once I'd dropped the trailer and cats off I headed to the Fleet Air Arm Memorial church to meet the chaplain and for photos.
There was absolutly no wifi at the station other than what I could get on my phone.
It was to be a short hop of around 9 miles to Langport, I did a couple of churches and graveyards on the way. Once at Tesco I had some time to myself and headed out for a shower at the local sports centre, easier said than done! I had to be a member and they don't do showers...
I pottered back to Tesco and spent the rest of the day programming and collecting pennies.
A day of not doing a lot other than going through images again and collecting pennies. I headed up to Bowden's Crest campsite at around five c'clock and managed to have that much need shower. Its the start of a weekend that may involve some alcohol, luckily two of the boys, Sully and Jacko, turned up last night and we had a practise run ;)
Once I get a connection to the internet I'll get some pictures online.
We have had quite a lot of interest already and we are exploring the option of a BBQ or Curry on the Saturday night. The gist of the weekend is just have a get together, a few beers and a bit of banter. If anybody wants to bring along a musical instrument and entertain us that's fine. I know some people have old military vehicles, it might be nice to see them.
Price guide as folows
These prices are some example costs
Apologies for the lack of updates again, I've been nowhere other than Tramper and the shop. I have been busy programming and renaming headstones, a boring but very important bit of what I have to do. One problem I've had over the last couple of days is I've not been one hundred percent, picked up a bug somewhere, spent a lot of yesterday a sleep, no loss really with the way the rain was coming down!
Statistics so far are:
I knew Hampshire was going to be a hard county purely by the amount of military establishments there were and have been, I think its the only county with all three military services in it! I started with 2105 known memorials on the system, after removing duplicate entries and some Victoria Cross (VC) graves that shouldn't have been recorded I have got it down to 2070. As the Isle of Wight used to be Hampshire this was covered in fifteen days, I also found some duplicates there, around ten if I remember correctly. this is again one of the anomalies with the way the War Graves are recorded is they are by World War Two county, in 1974 county boundaries changed in some cases, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole used to be Hampshire like the Isle of Wight, now they are part of Dorset.
I've added an extra field to the database and will time plods on add the current county where appropriate to the system in the hope it makes things easier in the long run...
As I travel I obviously find those that have died whilst in service but do not get recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website, these tend to be post World War One and pre and post World War Two, I think I've mentioned this before. I have some data that I have found by searching the internet and adding it to the database, I have still to finish a lot of it though and again as time plods on I'll add it.
The grave and cemeteries is not up to date by a long way for Hampshire, I have more than eleven thousand grave images, in fact without the help of Andy and Alan Wedge I would probably be still in Portsmouth photographing Haslar Royal Naval cemetery! Nearly four thousand graves in there from the mid eighteenth century on...
Using the "old county ground" I have covered more than two thousand six hundred miles at an average speed of six miles per hour, a long way very slowly! I was very lucky with Portsmouth Kingston and Milton cemeteries, the plots are virtually all toe to toe so I was able to trundle up and own the rows taking photographs, I did more than eleven miles in Kingston cemetery alone! There was a downside, in Milton cemetery I was busy looking at the headstones, not the ground, I failed to see a grave that had sunk by roughly a foot, I think it would be fair to say I stopped suddenly and sharply! I now have some new scars from where I was thrown forward in to the handlebars and box, a lesson learned, one eye on headstones and one on the ground...
The wildlife of Hampshire has been mixed, I enjoyed hearing the cuckoos at the start of spring and was pleased to see hedgehogs, or as I described them, hooligans doing so well in Warsash, I still haven't managed to see a smooth snake though...
the cats for the most part have enjoyed themselves I think, whether it was at Ryde Tesco catching all the voles and shrews or Missy trying to imitate a Savannah cat and trying to catch the hawking swallows on the campsites. I still get a lot of criticism about having cats with me but it is outweighed by all the people who are pleased to see a cat a) on a lead and b) happy with its environment. I can only think of one episode recently when Missy, the almost bomb-proof cat got upset, Hamble-le-Rice, I was trying to find a D Day memorial that had disappeared, I was told to ask at the yacht club, i duly did, two gentlemen were coming out carrying bits for a sail, Missy went bonkers trying to get away, the only thing I can think is that she thought the long floppy sail bag was a huge snake.
The collections are down, I collected just over £2,000 pound in Hampshire and I finally found out why, Tesco and other businesses have taken a lot of grief over charity collectors, unknown charities, unknown collectors etc, I could very well be one of those complained about so they have tightened their rules and procedures, I didn't find out about this until I think it was the end of June and couldn't understand why up until then. I again have a letter that I hand in when I arrive at the store and they are happy for the bucket to stay on the trailer whilst I'm out, I won't ask to collect in the lobby though anymore, if I'm asked or invited that's a different thing.
On the subject of collecting, I need to say thank you to ten of the eleven council areas that gave me licenses to collect throughout Hampshire, the only one that didn't was East Hampshire and when they phoned me in March spoke to me as if I was a complete imbecile and didn't know what I was doing, the press enjoyed hearing about this when I was in Petersfield, obviously like ammunition to have ago at the council with,. I have just emailed all the councils with my collection returns. I will point out as a lot of people are surprised to find out that I need to have a licence to collect money for charity in public places, if you don't its fraud, you also need a letter of authority from the charities to say you are allowed to collect on their behalf, I have all these if anyone wants to see them, it nearly as rare as hens teeth for me to be asked though.
The highs and lows of Hampshire
In all I've enjoyed Hampshire and its countryside and residents, warm and welcoming for the most part, parts of Portsmouth left me frustrated with the attitude of some of the youngsters but as I've been told "Welcome to Pompey".
Another short update tonight, I've just spent more than half an hour talking to two absolutly brilliant gentlemen, a father and son, both served in the Merchant Navy, the father (94) in World War 2 on the Arctic Convoys, he was presented with the Atlantic Medal (?) along with 234 others and didn't want people to know! Well I shook his hand and can say I have been to the memorial at Poolewe where at lot set off from.
I can honestly say I feel proud and honoured to yet again meet a person who helped keep this country free :)
I need to say a big thank you this week to two companies that have sent me some paint and bearings, Pronto Paints sent me some NATO Green paint to protect the new bits on the scooter and Schaeffler UK, or as I've grown up knowing them, INA Bearings they are just across the river where I grew up :)
Anyway thank you both for helping me, it is greatly appreciated.
I'm afraid there not been a lot happening so the updates are few and far between...
It has been humid the last few nights and not the best for sleeping. I've been sorting out some of the bits on the scooter and trailer such as new tyres, getting some bits painted, new bits that is, thank you Pronto Paints for the NATO Green paint, this means they match the original paint work :)
I'm hoping for a slight alteration on the new mudguards over the next day or so, other than that all done and it will be Somerset here I come! Oh, nearly forgot, I've been busy working on the grave images getting them renamed etc, trying to get them online is a different matter, I saw a news article today about the Knoydart peninsula (I think that is what it is) and they seem to have better internet access than parts of England and Wales!
The important bit first, I won't be going home this Christmas, there are a number of reasons. I will be staying in Gloucestershire ready to start the county on the 2nd January. Family upset but in a car only a couple of hours away where as for me it four days each way.
Some statistics tonight as Hampshire comes to a finish, no mileage yet though until I actually leave in a week and a half. It is only memorials as well as I have approximately nine thousand image backlog for the graves from the last couple of months.
The Isle of Wight date I suppose should be included in this though I will do that at a later date.
As is normal locked churches, redundant churches etc have played a major part in a lot of the missed ones, there also memorials that have gone missing for whatever reason. The only memorial vandalised in the county that I have seen was the D Day memorial in Royal Victoria Park and has been reported to the police, incidentally the local paper phoned me about it today and I suspect it will need a lot of work to repair it.
Yesterday I was chauffeured around by Andy Wedge who is now also a registered volunteer with the Imperial War Museum and over time will try and get to the memorials in the county that I haven't been able to do. We covered a lot of ground and had a trip to Southwick Park, we weren't sure if we would get in as the home of Royal Military Police (RMP), Royal Air Force Police and Royal Navy Police. The RMP have a museum there and after the usual checks we were directed there to see Colonel Jeremy Green who gave us both a cup of tea and I explained what I do. I only had one memorial listed as being on the camp, this was to the Non Commissioned Officers who lost there lives in Cyprus, we came away with forty-five possible new/unrecorded memorials. This is where I have to be careful as the RMP Museum has previously been in Woking and Chichester and the memorials may well be recorded there, as I don't have the records yet for Surrey or Sussex I can't check.
A major highlight for both of us yesterday was getting to see the D Day map room.
Another interesting bit we found yesterday was at the D Day Memorial Hall in Southwick, the weather vane depicts a slice of action from D Day, the camera lens I had with me wasn't good enough to get a picture and I'm hoping Andy's picture will be better, if it is I'll post it on here.
As Andy is now a volunteer for the Imperial War Museum it has reminded me that they are always looking for help, whether it be boots on the ground like myself and Andy or whether its doing data entry (updating or adding information) from people like us, all they ask is that you can do eight hours a month, if you would like to help drop me an email or message on Facebook or Twitter, to quote Tesco "Every little helps", I do believe there are a couple of perks if you are into our history though the IWM would need to tell you about that.
Another thing I learnt yesterday was the fact that Hampshire is Britain's oldest county, though we know its not as old as Wales ;)
Apologies everyone, its another late update,
A long couple of days catching up on the memorial data, I haven't even looked at the grave images for the last month and a bit! I got a bit worked up tonight about what should be updated memorials, I have a huge list some of which were worked on before I started Hampshire. I work on 10/12 figure grid references (bit of a nerd thing), when I get to memorial location I photograph the grid reference on the GPS, it can if I choose tell me what the accuracy is, normally 9 to 12 feet.
With playing catchup I remembered whilst out with Andy Wedge on his mobility scooter we looked for two memorials in Stokes Bay, Gosport. With the data I had they were updated recently, ah yes, only about one kilometre out! How many have i thought "oh thats recent, ignore the data" and its way out! I can't back track as I have deleted the images of the GPS! I suspect only time will tell...
I have emailed the Imerial War Museum to let them know, also I will be over writing the data that has been previously enetered and will be saving the image data from the GPS from now on.
The imperial War Museum annouced last week some of the parameters of what they record are changing, this means that my war Grave and Memorial site will record some bits that are no longer classed as Memorials, I will try and work through the changes when I get them.
Tomorrow I head out in an automobile, I'm being chauffered around the locality to try and do some of the bits I've struggled to get to, anybody in the area of portsdown, Twyford beware of a slow moving vehicle with a man in front with a red flag...
I'll start tonight with two bits of news, the British Legion in Neley has closed and is up for sale, there is a memorial plaque or tablet in there that I haven't been able to see as it is boarded up, I was able to get hold of a representative of the company selling it and inform him of its presence and if possible save it, well unless its already been moved.
The other is the D Day memorial in Royal Victoria Park has been vandalised by people using stone to carve there names into the slates, I am not an expert but there appeared to be damage to the slate due to this. A local Parish councillor who I have just been talking to has just gone to the police station to report it as neither of us could get through on 101.
Other than those bitsnot a lot has been happening. Tomorrow I aim to get Netley Military cemetery done and out of the way, that will be Hampshire nearly done, oh, and I found another gold postbox in Hamble-Le-Rice :)
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