Memories of Mrs. Millicent Mary Hickman (née Meade)

Mrs. Hickman was born in 1909, her brother was born in 1913 and died in September 14th 1996. Both were born in the village, in fact Mrs. Hickman is the oldest person living in the village who was actually born there. The family originally lived in a house that was on the site of what is now The Nelson Public House car park (NB Mrs. Hickman now lives in Speight Close which is approximately 200 yards from her birth place - she has lived in Winthorpe all her life - the house which was formerly on what is now the car park was knocked down 30 years ago). Both of them attended Winthorpe School.

Mrs. Hickman's brother Walter Harvey Meade was working in Bradley's clothes shop on Stodman Street, Newark in 1940 when he was called up at the age of 27. He joined the 2/8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters. He spent some time in Kent possibly on air raid duty and also some time in Inniskillin in Northern Ireland (Mrs. Hickman is unclear about what he was doing there). Walter eventually went over seas. Mrs. Hickman thinks that he only served in Italy, and was not with the Foresters in North Africa.

Whilst in Italy Walter saw Naples but didn't think much of it. He was taken prisoner along with some of his comrades in Italy and it was when he was being marched to a P.O.W. Camp along a dirt track that had a ravine next to it that he and several of his mates made their escape by rolling down the hill and making a run for it. Walter was hit in the thigh by a bullet. The bullet severed a nerve in his leg which gave him what was called a dropped foot (thus the iron on the boot), however Walter and his comrades made it back to allied lines (presumably he was carried).

Walter was eventually sent to North Africa and from here he sent his family a letter, which fortunately arrived the day before the M.O.D. missing in action letter. He was then sent from North Africa to Neath in South Wales. Walter was then taken in an ambulance, escorted all the way by a Red Cross nurse, to his home in Winthorpe. After a while he was sent to Harlow Wood where the boot and iron were fitted. Mrs. Hickman states that he spent some time in Harlow Wood before being sent to an M.O.D. requisitioned hotel in Buxton, Derbyshire. Walter was discharged from the army in 1944 or 1945; he received an army pension and a disability allowance.

Walter returned to Winthorpe living for a short while with his sister and her husband but eventually moved to what were formerly the Almshouses on Chapel Lane in Winthorpe that were derelict but were done up by Notts. Community Housing. Walter also returned to his pre-war job at Bradley's clothes shop but was restless there and looked for another job. He got a job as a grounds man at Syerston Aerodrome (thus he had changed forces from army to R.A.F.). He was later transferred to Cranwell and finally to Newton, it was to be his last position in the R.A.F. and he retired from Newton in 1975.

Walter never married but his sister says that he was very domesticated. He died on September 14th 1996 in Newark Hospital from gangrene - this may or may not have been caused by his war injury. He was cremated at Grantham and his ashes were brought back and interned in the garden of remembrance at Winthorpe church.

Mrs. Hickman worked at Randall's clothes shop before the 2nd World War, however when her husband Arthur, who she married in 1940 just before he was called up, was conscripted in 1941 into the Royal Auxiliary Service Corps she took over the running of her husband's grocery store even though she knew nothing about running the shop. She recalls people trying to get extra rations and also the shortages of food.

She remembers the bombing of Ransome and Marles and recalls how she hid in Randall's cellar (this occurred before she married). She also recalls how anybody who had a vehicle were asked to help move the bodies out of the rubble, and how her husband who had a delivery van had no hesitation in giving a helping hand. Slightly later on in the war in wintertime, she remembers a German bomber dropping a mine on Winthorpe Aerodrome, killing many Polish airmen who were camped out on the airfield. The explosion broke many windows in Winthorpe. Mrs. Hickman states that there was no air raid siren or any warning at all.

Mrs. Hickman cannot recall any evacuees coming to live in Winthorpe, but remembers the R.A.S.C. commandeering Winthorpe Hall, and that the A.T.S. were billeted at the Grange a large house that was situated where the Spinney now is.

Mrs. Millicent Mary (Milly) Hickman. (neé Meade) Published date unknown.

Courtesy of The Resource Centre. 

June 2007.

  

NOTE.

The parachute landmine was dropped on Winthorpe Airfield on the 14th November 1940 with no casualties.

Mrs. Hickman was buried on the 11th January 2000 in the gravyard of All Saint's Church, Winthorpe.

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