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Memories 1919 to 1939: Taken from ‘Notes on the Life of Victor Alfred Hodgkins’

Born at Charney Bassett in 1919.

Went to old Charney School at 5 years old. From about 7 had a very strict headmistress, who gave us a really good education.

Left school at 14 in 1933 which was near the end of the great depression.

Could not get a regular job, but always managed to earn equivalent to a wage doing any odd job I could.

After about 1 year and 9 months, managed to be taken on by the Buckland Estate (run then by Lady Fitzgerald a friend of Queen Mary) as an apprentice carpenter. Quite a decent job in those days. Went to London to work in the London house twice a year, great experience.

Although a very good job, needed more wider experience. I especially wanted good class joinery so after a lot of persistence managed to get into a good joiners-shop in 1938 at Wootton near Boars Hill.

Learnt a great deal in a short time there but very hard work, everything done by hand, no machinery.

1939 War was looming, the Government introduced conscription for 20 year olds, the first batch called up in July. I was 20 in August so would have been in the second batch, but War broke out on 3rd Sept 1939, but because I was in what was rated then as a reserved-occupation I didn’t get my call-up for another 7 months. I need not have gone then even.

Went to Reading for my medical and opted for the Royal Engineers being a joiner and a few weeks later got my papers to report to No1 Training Battalion at Shorncliffe barracks, near Folkestone was the second man to go from Charney.

[Family had to move from New Road to Belchers Cottage, then after 11 months to Hazeldene (taken from Notes for guidance)]

[some photos from the war are included on the World Wars Page – click here].