Recollections of Local Residents
This page within the people section of the website includes residents who have over the years documented recollections of their lives and history in connection with the local area.
Tony Betts is a Fairseat resident and farmer and was a boy living in Offham at the outbreak of World War 2. The aerodrome at nearby West Malling received many dangerous enemy attacks. Tony was evacuated with his school to Worcestershire. At home during school holiday, he and friends, while pony riding, saw a ‘Doodlebug’ crash and explode in a nearby field. Though shocked, they gathered their ponies and continued their ride!
In 2000 Annie Brooker recorded her memories of the Brooker family in Stansted. Joe and Mary Brooker came to Stansted sometime before 1874 and successive generations lived at Stone Rocks, Plaxdale Green Road until 2020.
Lucy Burgess (Clampin) was a young girl when World War 2 disrupted life on her parents’ dairy farm in Fairseat village. Lucy recalls how the government expected dairy farmers to grow cereals and vegetables instead, a change that meant the dairy cows needed to graze on roadside verges, or be fed hay made from churchyard grass. Lucy also tells a fascinating tale about a historic artillery shell.
Joan came to Fairseat with the Land Army in 1947 to work for Col Anderson on his farm at Fairseat Manor. She became the herdswoman and by 1968 was in charge of a herd of 106 Jersey cows.She was on the Village Hall committee for 30 years until 1984 and lived in Fairseat until her death in 2007.
Rosemary Crabtree (née Hooper) is the daughter of Charles Kingsley Hooper whose name appears on the Stansted War Memorial. In this synopsis Rosemary recalls her childhood in Fairseat during the 1940’s and 50’s. Rosemary also recalls with fondness her memories of the Reverend Robert Coulson whose details can be found in the ‘Biographies’ section.
Patsy was ten years old when war broke out. Her family lived at “The Forge” in Tumblefield Road which was damaged by a V1. Her younger sister Hazel still lives there. As a teenager Patsy helped at the Toc H in Fairseat. She is one of the last remaining witnesses to the aircraft that crashed behind the Church.
Originally from Sussex, John spent his final years living in Stansted and was probably the last resident to have seen combat in WW2. He served in the 8th Army as an infantryman. He fought in North Africa and Italy where he was wounded at the Battle of Monte Cassino.
Robert Hills was a small child when the Second World War upset Fairseat village life. Robert recollects his dad as a member of the Auxiliary Fire Service and his work at a nursery in Crabtree Close. When VE Day was celebrated the young Robert was a ‘mascot’ for the silver band that played during celebrations.
Joyce Lindsey was born in Stansted in 1921 and lived in the village until about 1937. Although she has lived most of her life in Ryarsh she has never lost her love for Stansted and has been a frequent contributor to the Parish Notes under the pseudonym “The Voice”. Here she writes of happy and sad times while she was growing up as Joyce Cleave.
Evacuated to Stansted at the age of nine with his brothers and sister to live with their grandmother, Jeff attended the local School. He and brother Stan went on to spend most of their married life in the village and also witnessed the crash of the ME110 behind the Church.
Now a centenarian, Kit spent most of her married life to Stanley living in Stansted. Whilst living in Hildenborough during WW2 she lost her first husband Bill when his ship was sunk. Kit was invited to Buckingham Palace twice: once to receive Bill’s posthumous DSO, and then to receive an award for her work as an Akela.
Captured by the Japanese in Hong Kong, Stanley was a POW and forced labourer for the duration of WW2. He suffered malnutrition which irrevocably damaged his sight, but this did not prevent him from witnessing many atrocities committed against his colleagues and local population. Upon returning to the UK, he met and married Kit, and spent most of his married life in Stansted.
The Brown family moved to Stansted in the 1920s. Sheila attended Stansted School during the war, married Alan Parker in St. Mary’s, lived in Wiltshire for 20+ years before returning to Stansted to help run the family haulage company on her father’s retirement. Both she and Alan were both very involved in village affairs all their lives and were both members of various village Committees, and after many years she is still Secretary of Fairseat Wine Circle! Many of Alan’s village photos and CDs are in the village archives.
Grisell and Hugh Pasteur moved to Fairseat House in 1935 and both lived in the village until their deaths in 1995 and 1984 respectively. Grisell was a prime mover in the establishment of the Stansted & Fairseat Society and the Village archive. She was closely involved in village affairs for over sixty years and this is her account of those times.
John Stacpoole lived in Fairseat over 50 years. As an 18-year-old schoolboy he volunteered for the military and underwent officer training at the OCTU then named ‘Wrotham Camp’. He completed training about the time of VE day, so instead of Europe, he was sent to India where he served very successfully. He later returned to England studied at Oxford and worked in the Colonial Office and then the home Civil Service with great success.
Greta Walker (neé Evans) grew up in Gravesend. With many others, Greta was evacuated to a safer area, but longed for Kent and persuaded her parents to allow her to live with her grandparents in Fairseat. Now a long-established resident of Canterbury, Australia, Greta holds valued memories of Fairseat. In 2009 Greta published her memoirs in a booklet ‘Cameos’ which is available via the link.
Stansted village stalwart Anne Walton’s father said little of what he did in WW2. This was in part because he was bound by the Official Secrets Act. Only after seventy-five years has his role in helping turn the course of the war in our favour been revealed. An insight is provided by Mike Goddings in a synopsis of G/Capt Felkin’s role in MI19.