Memories and Pictures - Page 11

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Share your comments, memories and pictures of Pamber Heath or simply ask a local history question. I will do my best to answer you quickly. Click/touch to E-mail me and attach a picture if you have one. E-mail address will be published unless you ask me not to.


Page 11

Feb 25, 2007 Dear Mr West,

A relative living in Ashford Hill leant me your very interesting book on the history of Pamber Heath, a place where I spent many happy weeks as a child at my grandparents' place - Lone Pine next to Barrie Stroud's shop. My father James Francis Smith is, I am absolutely certain, the Jim Smith in the school photo on p 107. He was born in London in November 1907 and moved to Ashford Hill with his parents (who I believe came from there) following a prolonged strike involving the trams in London, my grandfather (James Smith) being a tram driver (pictured below with two of his grandchildren).

James Smith and grandchildrenMy grandfather was subsequently employed by the Oppe's as the gardener and they lived in a cottage on the Red House estate until the mid to late 1940's.

My father went into the Navy at the age of 15 and survived the sinking of HMS Valerian off the coast of Bermuda during a hurricane on the 22nd October 1922. He was the youngest person on board and about 30 survived out of a ship's company of approx 115.

This brings me to a memory I have of a photo of my father as part of a newspaper article detailing his survival. I assume it was from a local paper at the time and wonder if you could tell me whether there is anywhere other than the National Library where I can view the Hants and Berks Gazette of that time? Unfortunately when my grandfather died the section of raft and newspaper cuttings that were in a glass case were burnt, on my father's instructions. My father died in 1999, aged 91.

Yours Sincerely, Susan Smith

Answer: Dear Susan, Thanks for your interesting E-mail about your father and grandfather. I was aware that your grandfather lived at Lone Pine as my father-in-law told me when I was researching my book.

The only place that I know of to look at the Hants & Berks Gazette is the Basingstoke Library, situated in the Basingstoke Town Centre shopping complex. They have it all on microfilm - one roll per year of newspapers since it was first published in 1878. The library has a printer-reader so you can print a copy of the article.

Kind regards,

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