Posts Tagged ‘Military’

Seventeenth Lancers

October 14, 2015

This item was found whilst clearing my sister’s house. My nephew thought it might be a family piece and brought it to me. I’m fairly certain it has no old family connection, but I don’t know what it is or where it came from. It is a piece of military insignia.


The centre is occupied by the royal crest – lion, unicorn and shield etc. Immediately below is the 17th Lancers motif of a skull with ‘or glory’ written under it. Near the bottom it says Seventeenth Lancers and battle honours in the Crimean war are named as well.

I think, but having no real military expertise, I’m not certain that this is a helmet badge, sometimes called a chapska plate. A similar one seen on the web was altogether posher – made of white metal which probably means silver. This is just pressed bronze, perhaps.

Any further information gratefully received. Thanks

Another Kesby Grave

October 9, 2013

My own immediate Kesby ancestors don’t seem to have had the money for grave stones but if we look to the family of my Great Great Great Uncle, James Kesby then we can find a good grave with a lot of family history on it. It is at Smarden churchyard in Kent. Smarden is a little village about 8 miles west of Ashford in Kent.


The grave starts by commemorating Kate who was James’ wife. She was Irish in origin – Miss Kate Mahon who was born in 1848. She married James Kesby in 1868 at Birr in County Offally. She had the dubious pleasure of having two of her sons killed in World War 1. They are remembered on the same grave stone.

This is Thomas


And this is Percy


Next listed on the grave we have James Walter Kesby who was the brother of my Great Great Grandfather, Fred Kesby. James was a professional soldier and the father of the 13 children that Kate bore him. They travelled and amongst the children, one was born ‘at sea off India’.

Eleanor Emmeline was their last born, in 1888. She married Thomas Rutherford in 1911. As far as I know the couple had three children.

So, a grand grave for a bit of history.

Rural Life

September 11, 2013

I am very lucky to live where I do. I’m on the edge of a village in mid Wiltshire. The village has all you need for day to day living – a co-op shop, a chemist, a post office, a newsagent, hairdressers, pubs and takeaways are all there.

From my vantage point on the sandstone ridge I look over the village and onto the chalk downland. I have a perfect view of the changing seasons – both the natural world and that of the farmer.

Yes, there are minus points. Whilst we have an excellent medical centre in the village, it pays not to need accident and emergency services. They are miles (20ish) away. And of course, you can’t expect village shop prices to be as low as in town supermarkets.

For some, an unexpected sound is that of shells, mortars and machine guns. The top of the chalk downland is Salisbury Plain which has been a military training area for 100 plus years. We locals barely notice the military noises which is only occasional anyway. It usually causes no real disturbance in local life.

Now here’s a photo, taken from my home in late August 2013.


This shows the slope leading up to the top of Salisbury Plain and agriculture is in progress on the slope. A huge tractor is hauling a huge seed drill. The fields, harvested such a short time earlier are already being planted with a new crop.


Modern cameras are good, but this is half a mile away from me, the photographer.

Up on top of the hill there is a bit of military installation.


It is obviously some kind of communication tower – it may be some microwave device to help guide aircraft. It is topped off with two little red lights which in our house we call Uncle Gordon’s light. Uncle Gordon was a town dweller although old age has made him move in with his rural dwelling daughter. He found the bleak emptiness of pitch black Salisbury Plain quite intimidating and regarded these lamps as a little bit of friendly civilization in the wilderness.

I, personally, am not a great lover of the military area for I’d love to be able to roam freely. But in terms of wildlife preservation, the fact that the area is de-peopled is a godsend. An occasional shell burst in this vast tract of land does very little damage and the wild life thrives.


Imber – Then

January 9, 2013

Every now and then a little gloom must fall into the life of a happy nerd. Imber can create that feeling that not all is right with the world but maybe things are improving, albeit close on 70 years too late for some people.

Imber was a remote and rather pretty village set in a valley high up on Salisbury Plain. The little rhyme about the place goes:

Little Imber on the Down
Seven miles from any Town.

This is Imber as was.


It was a friend’s granny who lived in the marked cottage. This photo is taken from the West, looking in to Imber village. The terrace was known as The Dring. I cannot be sure, but these could be amongst the old cottages replaced by newer, drier but more soulless properties in 1938.

The War Department had all the land around Imber but it came as a shock to all when, on 1st November 1943, the authorities announced that the residents of Imber must be gone with all their possessions by 17th December.

There was a war and the residents had no option but to leave.

They all said they were promised they could return when the emergency was over. That never happened.

But from time to time people can visit what now calls itself Imber. We’ll take a look at that tomorrow.