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A Miscellany of Memories: Pages 2 & 3

My days in Hodnet by Mrs. Molly Tricket

Easter 1939 and I was employed at Thomas and Charles, also known as the “Top Shop”. My friend Dorothy Gray was also employed there.

I remember Mrs. Charles and her sister, Mrs. Pace, often came shopping, both were very lady-like and a joy to serve.

Thomas and Charles was a very busy little shop, we sold menswear, ladies and children’s clothing, knitting wool, fully fashioned stockings for special customers, boots and shoes also shoe laces for those who only came into the shop for a chat.

We also took in boots and shoes to be repaired, with many extra knee high boots to be soled for the German-speaking Jews, who were at Hopton House Farm during the war. Mr. Davies and his son Roy were kept busy at their cobbler’s shop in Marchamley.

Mr. Cornes, who ran the shop, was called up for wartime service, leaving his wife in charge. One day we girls were standing by the shoe shop window, waving to the soldiers in a passing convoy, and much to our surprise one of the army trucks stopped and Mr. Cornes jumped out wearing his khaki uniform.

Some years ago I visited Mrs. Cornes in Cross Houses Hospital and confessed to her our teenage behaviour; she was amused and assured me Mr. Cornes would not have minded.

I was married during the war and Mrs. Alice Williams of Station Cottage made my wedding dress, white satin bought from Thomas and Charles.

I left Hodnet thirty-seven years ago, but I still remember some of the pre-war years in the village.

The garden party held at Hodnet Hall every summer was a special occasion, with villagers young and old taking part. There would be bowling for a pig, clay pigeon shooting, dancing on the lawn and a flight for an aerial view of Hodnet.

The District nurse would be seen on her bicycle, making her calls in the village. Mr. Wilson, the vet, would also be seen on his bicycle visiting the local farms in the area.

The annual Circuit Rally for the Methodists was held in the Lyon Hall. There would be an afternoon service, with special guest speakers, followed by a tea party. My cousin Phyllis and myself would help to prepare the sandwiches, we would also wait on the tables. Mr. Boydon of Market Dray ton and Mr. Jack Ridgeway, the village blacksmith, were the local preachers.

Mr. Tom Gregory and his wife, Sarah, lived in a little thatched cottage in The Back Lane. Tom worked for Dr. Hall, taking him round his patients by pony and trap. Over the years Tom learnt to drive a motor car and became the Doctor’s chauffeur. Tom was made redundant when Dr. Hall retired. Dr. Harvey took over the practice and Tom became his gardener/handyman.

Sarah Gregory was a jolly person, always trotting round the village, lending a hand when needed. Sarah passed away in August 1943 and Tom went to live with his son at The Cottage, Station Road, Hodnet.

Medal for RAF Veteran

A Wartime veteran has been awarded the Imperial Service Medal after retiring as an officers’ mess steward at RAF Tern Hill.

He is Mr Edward Thomas Gregory (65) of The Cottage, Station Road, Hodnet.

The medal was presented to him last week by Group Captain David Toon, the Commanding Officer of RAF Tern Hill.

Mr Gregory was born in Hodnet and started work as a steward at the mess in 1937. He joined the RAF Regiment In 1940. After training as a Bofors gunner he joined 2876 Squadron RAF Regiment and served at Farnborough and in Cornwall before taking part in the Normandy landings. As a corporal in his unit he helped to defend a landing ground which was the temporary home of a rocket firing Typhoon squadron based near the beach head.

Retired

He accompanied the fighting through Normandy and into Belgium, Holland and Germany. He returned to Tern Hill officers’ mess in 1945 and retired in June last year.

In this photograph Group Captain David Toon is seen presenting the medal to Mr Gregory, watched by Mrs Hannah Gregory.

Three generations of Gregorys

MiscMemsP03A

Edward Thomas Gregory (Ted) receiving a medal.

MiscMemsP03C

 Tom Gregory outside his thatched cottage, Back Lane.

MiscMemsP03B

John Edward Gregory, b. Aug 1936, trying to escape from the Top Shop girls, 1939.

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