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Radwinter’s Wartime Harvest Camp

Further information has come to light over the camp set up to house wartime schoolboys helping with the Radwinter harvest.

In the winter issue I reported that David Richardson , who lives at Hazelbury House in Water Lane had told me that his house, once called Apple Pie Mead, was originally the site of an orchard thought to have been called Nine Acres. According to my original correspondent, Mr B G Slater “The camp site was in a field abutting onto the eastern side of Water Lane and not far from the village. In it were pitched several old army bell tents and a large marquee. In a lower corner of the field latrines were dug, hidden behind a canvas screen. For the six crucial weeks when additional hands were needed most, the camp was manned (or boyed) by shifts of those aged sixteen and upwards under the supervision of three masters. Each boy went for a stint of a fortnight.

Thanks to help from Antony and Anne Wordsworth we now have corroboration about the site of the camp and details of some of the people there. In June last year a Mr and Mrs Frank and Anne Whitehead stayed with Antony and Anne at Little Brockholds Farm and this Christmas sent them a collection of photographs which Frank Whitehead’s father had taken at the Camp from 1943 to 1945 showing activities at local farms.

Collecting water for Radwinter Camp

Frank had come to the camp with his father. The photograph above shows the campsite with Lower House Farm, where they collected their water, in the background. The man on the right of the picture is Mr Henry Young, art master at Leyton County High School, the same school from which our original correspondent, Mr B G Slater cycled to Radwinter.

The camp itself with the bell tents is in another photograph. Mr Whitehead tells us that a group of farmers were invited to tea at the camp one Sunday and these are possibly depicted in the following photograph.

Local farmers take tea at Radwinter Camp

The third photograph shows the harvest being gathered. Rick building appears to be in progress with the empty wain having presumably just delivered its load.

Rick building at Radwinter

Finally we have a picture that Mr Whitehead thinks was taken at New House Farm. He says that the farmer may have been Mr Freeman but he can’t be sure after so long.

Can anybody identify the locations and the individuals in any of these photographs?

With Mr Freeman at New House Farm?

Contact: Michael Southgate, Village History Recorder

Telephone 01799 599478

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