Wartime in Hartfield

These photos, collected by several people including Mike Parcell, Tommy Mitchell and Laura Medhurst are so redolent of another age with the preparations for war and the Victory Celebration tea party for VE Day are simply worthy of a larger audience. With the 75th Anniversary of VE Day in 2015 can you add any names to the few written on the back of the photos which will be added below. A better copy of the tea party photo has been uploaded – June 2016 – which can be further enlarged by clicking twice.


Dedicating the new Armstrong Siddeley Ambulance.

New-Ambulance-blessing New-Ambulance-blessing-group



Two new pictures of the same event showing the scouts


Double deck spartan ambulance interior!


The Fire Brigade with Tender and Water Pump Trailer


The Fire Brigade in Tin Helmets at the Fire Station behind Central Garage


This large group is a panorama stitch of 3 photos and is probably from the same occasion as the picture below. One young man sitting far right in the bottom row is also standing at the left in the photo below and maybe Edwards. CLICK to enlarge.


We think this is the Volunteers Group photographed at the top of Church Street


The children of Hartfield and parents at the VJ+1 Day August 16th 1945 celebration meal. CLICK TWICE to enlarge and see if you can recognise anyone! Initially we know that the man 4th from the left with his hands on his hips is Mr Chapman the butcher whose shop is in clear view. His wife is next to him nearer us. The first young man at the table on the left who was identified as Edwards by Tommy Mitchell appears to be the same as the young man on the left of the Volunteers Group in the picture above and may be wearing the same clothes so could date the pictures to within hours – or possibly days!

Names written on the back of copy of this picture held by Tommy Mitchell:
From left standing, Mr & Mrs Cadell, Edith Knight, Miss Jarrett, Mr & Mrs Chapman, Mrs Edwards (snr), Mrs Holman

9 comments on “Wartime in Hartfield
  1. David Dickson says:

    I am Sheilah Fenton’s brother and lived at Upper Hartfield from 1936 till 1961 when I married and moved to Tonbridge as it was a more convenient train journey to London!!! Is it possible to e-mail me the war time photos as I feel that I must know some of the folk in them. During those war years you seemed to know everyone in the village. I was in the choir at Coleman’s Hatch and played cricket there, but played football for Hartfield. I was also in the Hartfield Players in the time of George Philcox, George Marchant,Jane Rooth etc.

    • HartfieldHG says:

      Hello David, thanks for getting in touch. I will send you the pictures in the largest format I have – which is not very large along with the comments including some names on the back. Occasionally, as in the picture of the fire brigade I have 2 lists with slight variations! It would be good to have somebody on board with an intimate knowledge of those wartime years. I might ask you more questions! If you have a Facebook account I have just set one up for Hartfield History which is currently ‘private’ (can only be seen by people I add) but I can add you to this if you wish and we can correspond that way as well!

  2. David Lester says:

    I have just been made aware of a WW1 man called Percy Muggeridge who I believe was born in Hartfield c1892 he also had connections with Colemans Hatch. He was a member of the 11th. Royal Sussex Regiment, one of the Southdown Battalions and survived the war, do you please have any information about him or members of his family. If you have a look at my website you will have an idea of what I am trying to achieve.
    Best wishes, David.

    • HartfieldHG says:

      David, I passed your note on some time ago but so far have not had any response. I will send a reminder!
      Further to above November follow-up:
      I understand from Mike Parcell that he has been in touch with the grandaughter of Percy Muggeridge who he knows very well and that she would be happy to correspond. In addition, Mike knows that Percy was a brick maker who built his own house with his own bricks – and a lot more besides! Mike even has one of the hand-made bricks. It seems that, although the name Muggeridge is well known in these parts, not one of them was buried in St Mary’s nor Holy Trinity.

  3. Betty Allen says:

    Does anyone remember the evacuees from kent in 1941.

  4. Roger Barton says:

    I am looking for any Info on Americans who worked on Aspidistra in 1942, a powerful radio transmitter built by RCA New York and the reason the wireless station was built on top of Ashdown Forest. The site was excavated by the Canadians. .A man named Harold Robbin was the engineer. I understand that the Americans lodged at the Hatch Inn and could possibly be RCA employees sent over in uniform to install the transmitter and Ariels

    • Graham King says:

      Hi, The Imperial War Museum hold some good photographs of the construction of the site including the some showing the Canadian troups and their excivators. The photos were taken by Cecil Williamson who I am researching. There is also a good recorded interview with Harold Robin the chief engineer of Aspidistra – he discribes how the Canadians were paid in beer and worked for about 6 weeks on the site. Also there is quite a lot of detail in Ellic Howe’s book The Black Game’
      The National Archives have a lot of documents relating to Aspidistra, most of which are now ‘open’.
      Robin went to America to learn about the RCA transmitter but I do not know of any other American involvement in setting up Operation Aspidistra.
      Hope this helps.
      If any one reading this has any information on Cecil Williamson I in the war I am interested.
      Graham King

  5. bob toynbee says:

    Cannot supply any information about Americans , but can say that the reason Aspidistra was installed in Ashdown Forest was as its first choice of location ; Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire; was vetoed by the RAF due to the height of its masts; potentially interfering with planes landing on the airfields.

    • HartfieldHG says:

      I believe the location was in direct line of site of the coast and the Continent making it ideal for broadcasting propaganda.

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