Next meeting: Thursday March 8th at 2.00pm in Kirton and Falkenham Village Hall.
Speaker: Helen Fraser.
Subject: Memories from Stage and Screen.
Competition: A theatre programme.


The WI membership fee has now risen to over £40 and, at our committee meeting, it was announced that there had been some ‘unrest’ amongst other WIs regarding this increase. I wonder what form this ‘unrest’ took? Throwing yourself in front of the King’s horse perhaps? Actually, when you consider how the money is distributed: £11.70 to the National Federation, £9.30 to Suffolk East Federation and £20 retained by our own WI, it does not seem too exorbitant. One way of saving money that has been suggested is that the London Head Office should close and be relocated to Denman College in Oxfordshire, the WI’s centre of learning. Our committee considered this a good idea but I wonder how it would strike those who actually work in the office and have probably put down deep personal roots in the capital.

Our talk this month (February) was by Jane Bradburn and was headed ‘Kirton of Old’. Because of the title’s antique wording I thought we were going to delve right back into the mists of time, maybe as far as the Doomsday Book, but no, the information we were given was mainly centred on the Second World War. Evidently, Jane spent a lot of her period in Kirton interviewing elderly local residents, one of whom, I’m sure, must have been Mrs Joan Cone, well known in the village. Back around the Millennium, Joan gave Kirton and Falkenham WI a talk about her residence in Kirton when the speaker, booked for a July meeting, was unable to attend. Joan told us she had spent most of her long life in the village, and I noticed that the events in her earlier account were identical, in places, to what Jane Bradburn told us this month.

Joan spent her childhood years at the Hollies by the Green which, at that time, was hedged and had cows on it. Before the war the village boasted two pubs and three shops plus the services of four greengrocers, a butcher, a baker (but not, I think, a candlestick maker) and a milkman. Jane B told us about this and of the evacuees and soldiers that were quartered in Kirton during the war. There were also several plane crashes in the area: three German and two Allied aircraft. A Whitley bomber was shot down in Rectory Lane and four Canadians and one Englishman lost their lives. Pews are dedicated to them in Kirton church. Recently the family of one of the Canadians came over here and brought his photo which can be seen on a window sill in the church. The young man was only twenty one when he met his death. Land Army girls worked on the farms and, of course, there was a large Dad’s Army contingent who had to go on duty in the evening after having slaved all day at their ordinary jobs. A chap called Arthur Smith recalled how one of the German planes crashed near his home, the pilot having bailed out, and his mother then invited the man in for a glass of water and some buns! The village policeman was called but refused to come, making the excuse that he had no idea what to do with the prisoner. Eventually policemen from further afield arrived and took him away.

V E Bines


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