The corner of a South African field that is for ever Hampshire '“Â Nostalgia
We all know the verse written by Rupert Brooke:Â If I should die, think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England.Â The line comes from The Soldier,Â which he wroteÂ in 1914.
Although it is mainly used in the context of the First World War it has come to be used in remembrance ofÂ any serviceman who dies abroad including, as here,Â South Africa.
I found this photograph, right, whileÂ looking through a collection of pictures belonging to TonyÂ Davis who had no idea what it was or why he had it in his collection.
But after doing some researchÂ Â I discovered these graves are in South Africa and all belong to members of the Hampshire RegimentÂ after an event which happened towards the end of the second Boer War.
On Easter Sunday, March 30, 1902, a party of 105 soldiers, NCOs and officers from 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment got on a trainÂ at their base at Barberton after being ordered to Johannesburg 220 miles away.
At one pointÂ the line does a reverse curve, bending Â first one way then the other. The train,Â travelling aboutÂ 80mph, came off the rails onÂ the second bendÂ killing 42 soldiers,Â all of the Hampshire Regiment.
'¢Â I am hoping some local sailors might be able to tell me more about theÂ vessel in the picture belowÂ right. Small sailing craft have never been my strong point.
It was takenÂ in Langstone Harbour at low tide and in the distance is the Royal Oak pub. To the right of it isÂ the oldÂ water mill and to the right of that theÂ Â now famousÂ black, former four-sail windmill. Both mills have now been turned into residential use.
The windmill was built aboutÂ 1730 but by 1934 was derelict and had been turned into a home by 1939. The watermill, built in the early 1800s, operated two 10ft wheels to work on different tides. Between the two mills was the mill store.
'¢Â I wonder how many remember The Home Stores, a small grocer's in Bedhampton Road, Bedhampton, just west of the Golden Lion pub? InÂ the days when corner shops could only open until midday on a SundayÂ there was nowhere to buy groceries. It meant a trip to Bedhampton village as The Home Stores remained open, quite illegally I am told.
'¢ On the facing page we see the Flying Scotsman on tour west of Bedhampton inÂ 1966. I believe it's Saturday, September 17, 1966, and the train had run from Victoria to Brighton before heading to Eastleigh and Salisbury. On the left, behind the trees, is Bidbury Mead recreationÂ ground.