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'The Longest Day'

St Mary's News

Letters to the Editor

'The Longest Day'

In Recognition of the 60th Anniversary of D-Day 6th June 1944 How many Allied troops were involved in D-Day? On D-Day, the Allies landed around 156,000 troops in Normandy. The American forces landed numbered 73,000: 23,250 on Utah Beach, 43,250 on Omaha Beach and 15,500 airborne troops. In the British and Canadian sector, 83,115 troops were landed (61,715 of them British): 24,970 on Gold Beach, 21,400 on Juno Beach, 28,845 on Sword Beach and 7,900 airborne troops.

11,590 aircraft were available to support the landings. On D-Day, Allied aircraft flew 14,674 sorties and 127 were lost. In the airborne landings on both flanks of the beaches, 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders of the RAF and USAAF were used on D-Day. Operation Neptune involved huge naval forces, including 6,939 vessels: 1,213 naval combat ships, 4,126 landing ships and landing craft, 736 ancillary craft and 864 merchant vessels. Some 195,700 personnel were assigned to Operation Neptune: 52,889 US, 112,824 British and 4,988 from other Allied countries.

By the end of June (D + 5), 326,547 troops, 54,186 vehicles and 104,428 tons of supplies had been landed on the beaches. As well as the troops who landed in Normandy on D-Day, and those in supporting roles at sea and in the air, millions more men and women in the Allied countries were involved in the preparations for D-Day. They played thousands of different roles, both in the armed forces and as civilians. How many Allied and German casualties were there on D-Day, and in the Battle of Normandy? "Casualties" refers to all losses suffered by the armed forces: killed, wounded, missing in action (meaning that their bodies were not found) and prisoners of war.

There is no "official" casualty figure for D-Day. Under the circumstances, accurate record keeping was very difficult. For example, some troops who were listed as missing may actually have landed in the wrong place, and have rejoined their parent unit only later. In April and May 1944, the Allied air forces lost nearly 12,000 men and over 2,000 aircraft in operations which paved the way for D-Day.

Total Allied casualties on D-Day are estimated at 10,000, including 2,500 dead. British casualties on D-Day have been estimated at approximately 2,700. The Canadians lost 946 casualties. The US forces lost 6,603 men. Note that the casualty figures for smaller units do not always add up to equal these overall figures exactly, however (this simply reflects the problems of obtaining accurate casualty statistics). Casualties on the British beaches were roughly 1,000 on Gold Beach and the same number on Sword Beach.

The remainder of the British losses were amongst the airborne troops: some 600 were killed or wounded, and 600 more were missing; 100 glider pilots also became casualties. The losses of 3rd Canadian Division at Juno Beach have been given as 340 killed, 574 wounded and 47 taken prisoner. The breakdown of US casualties was 1,465 dead, 3,184 wounded, 1,928 missing and 26 captured. Of the total US figure, 2,499 casualties were from the US airborne troops (238 of them being deaths).

The casualties at Utah Beach were relatively light: 179, including 60 missing. However, the US 1st and 29th Divisions together suffered around 2,000 casualties at Omaha Beach. Naval losses for June 1944 included 24 warships and 35 merchantmen or auxiliaries sunk, and a further 120 vessels damaged. The total German casualties on D-Day are not known, but are estimated as being between 4,000 and 9,000 men. Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the Battle of Normandy.

This figure includes over 209,000 Allied casualties, with nearly 37,000 dead amongst the ground forces and a further 16,714 deaths amongst the Allied air forces. Of the Allied casualties, 83,045 were from 21st Army Group (British, Canadian and Polish ground forces), 125,847 from the US ground forces. The losses of the German forces during the Battle of Normandy can only be estimated. Roughly 200,000 German troops were killed or wounded. The Allies also captured 200,000 prisoners of war (not included in the 425,000 total, above).

During the fighting around the Falaise Pocket (August 1944) alone, the Germans suffered losses of around 90,000 including prisoners. Today, twenty-seven war cemeteries hold the remains of over 110,000 dead from both sides: 77,866 German, 9,386 American, 17,769 British, 5,002 Canadian and 650 Poles. Between 15,500 and 20,000 French civilians were killed, mainly as a result of Allied bombing.

Thousands more fled their homes to escape the fighting. Compiled by Norman Date, Hon. Secretary, Bristol & District Branch, Merchant Navy Association - from information supplied by the D-Day Museum, Southsea.

Competition Winners at St Bernards School

Harry Chilcott

Three children from St Bernards School were thrilled to be amongst the winners of a competition run by Bristol Traffic Police as part of an initiative aimed at slowing traffic near school gates. The children designed their own signs as a reminder to drivers to slow down and three were chosen as prize winners.

Ella Callard and Tom Mounter with Bristol Rover Players

Nineteen schools were involved in the presentation which took place on 20th April at Ashton Court. Ella Calland, Thomas Mounter and Harry Chilcott enjoyed a great afternoon and received book tokens presented by Bristol Rovers players. The sign displaying the winning design by Ella Calland will be erected in May in Pembroke Avenue.

D-Day 6th June 1944 By member Ray Buck Merchant Navy Association

In April 1943 and after entering the Board of Trade Office in Gloucester Road, Avonmouth, I was asked by the Superintendent, Mr Harris, whether I would mind a letter 'V' being stamped on my Seaman's identity card. Having of course no idea what the significance of this was, I readily agreed. It was not until June 2nd 1944 as I was paying off the tanker 'D L Harper' that I found out the reason for the addition to my ID card. The same Mr Harris informed me that I was expected to report to the Operational Pool in London immediately and was given a railway warrant. I joined about another 30 guys on the London train leaving from Temple Meads.

On this train was P Hosegood of the Avonmouth MIlls Company and Bill Escourt who lived in Shirehampton. Having arrived in London we were accommodated at the Bata Shoe Warehouse in Commercial Road, three floors up and very spartan. On the 4th June both Bill and I were directed to the Victoria & Albert Dock where we joined the ship 'Empire Capulet' managed by the Blue Funnel Line. We were replacing the Chinese ratings who had prudently departed the ship.

The ship was 'down to her marks' with every bit of space taken up with troops and vehicles including tanks. That evening we left the dock and eventually anchored off Southend to await the dawn of the 6th of June. At noon on D-Day we joined a vast convoy and sailed to our objective, Sword Beach. Overhead the skies were filled with allied aircraft and we anchored close to the battleships 'Warspite and Ramilles' and were surrounded by cruisers, destroyers and rocket firing landing craft, all firing continuously.

We were kept busy working the winches and the two jumbo derricks and in co-operation with the Royal Engineers we off-loaded the tanks, transport and ammo from Number 2 hold. Earlier that morning a Norwegian destroyer had been sunk in our anchorage by German torpedo boats, causing very heavy loss of life (note 3). We also had a German coastal battery firing at us and every now and again a destroyer would go in at full speed and engage it. Although the German air force constituted no major threat to the landings, there were at least 22 sorties by aircraft over the beaches and we were unlucky enough to be targeted by one.

Cannon shells hit the 'Rhinos' (big square pontoons with an engine on the corner) which were tied alongside and were full of men and transport. This caused a fire and many injuries. The casualties were retrieved and we left the beaches and returned to Southampton where the injured were taken to the military hospital at Netley. So it was that on that historic day I finally discovered the significance of the 'V' on my identity card. Yes, it stood for that infamous word 'Volunteer'.


1      This year 2004 is the 60th anniversary of the invasion. On the 6th June alone 864 merchant ships were involved. At least 156,000 troops were landed on the day.

2       Sword beach was the area between St Aubin and Ouistreham and was the objective of the British 3rd Division.

3   The Norwegian destroyer 'Svenner' was sunk by German torpedo boats whose torpedoes passed between HMS Warspite and HMS Ramilles, hitting the Svenner in the boiler room. She broke her back and sank.

Norman Date
Hon. Secretary, Merchant Navy Association

Coffee Day in Aid of Cancer Research UK

Come and join us at 6 Churchleaze, Shirehampton on Saturday 5th June from 9am until 4pm, for Tea/Coffee/Ploughman's Lunches, Cakes and Knick-knacks. Do hope you can make it!

MP visits Primary School

Last week Year 6 pupils from Shirehampton Primary School had a visit from local Labour MP Doug Naysmith. The visit was part of a global campaign by OXFAM to encourage us all to consider that over 100 million children around the world do not have access to an education. The children from Shirehampton wrote and performed poetry, presented a piece of drama, wrote a letter to Tony Blair and sang a song they had adapted from Pink Floyd's 'We Don't Need No Education'.

This hard work was aimed at trying to persuade the government to give more help to those children who are unable to get an education. Doug Naysmith praised the children for a most entertaining presentation and complimented them on their thoughtful questions. He has promised to pass the letter on to Tony Blair and the children of Shirehampton Primary are waiting to see if their contribution will help 100 million children all over the world.

Rededication of Shirehampton Public Hall

A Service of Rededication of Shirehampton Public Hall will take place on September 29th at 2.30pm by Canon Christine Froude, on the 100th Anniversary of its opening. From July 5th - to obtain tickets which are available free - please ring Norman Sims on 0117 982 3180.

Avon (University Settlement) Community Association

The above organisation will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 2nd June, 2004.

The meeting will be held at 115 High Street, Shirehampton commencing at 7.15pm. Anyone interested in the work of the Avon (University Settlement) Community Association will be very welcome to attend.

Founding of the "Flying Angel"

The Mission to Seafarers was founded in 1856, but it had its beginnings some years earlier when John Ashley, an Anglican priest, started visiting ships at anchor in the Bristol Channel in 1835. He found no one from the Church has been near them before. He was so moved by their isolation and need that he gave up a secure living to devote his life to serving them.

John Ashley built a cutter named "Eirene" which he fitted with a chapel below decks and used to visit ships at anchor in the Bristol Channel. In 15 years he visited 14,00 ships and sold more than 5,000 Bibles and Prayer Books to seamen. John Ashley's work soon inspired Anglican ministries ... in other ports, and it was decided in 1856 that there should be one organisation to co-ordinate and expand this ministry to seafarers. It was called the Mission to Seamen and in 1858 it adopted an angel as it's sign, inspired by a verse from the Book of Revelation:         

"Then I saw an angel flying in mid-heaven with an eternal gospel to     proclaim on earth, to every nation and tribe, language and people." The MIssions to Seamen changed its name to "The Mission to Seafarers" at a service of blessing and rededication in Westminster Abbey on 4th April 2000 in the presence of The Princess Royal, president of the society. At the same time, the society's flying angel symbol has been modernised, the fifth change to the angel in the society's history.

Canon Jones said the angel will still be instantly recognised by seafarers as representing a welcome, friendship, help and people they could trust. Today the Mission cares for the spiritual and practical needs of all seafarers in 300 ports worldwide through a network of chaplains, staff and volunteers. In over 100 ports it runs centres where seafarers find hospitality, help, recreation and telephone and postal facilities so that they can keep in touch with home. Chaplains handle a variety of problems for seafarers.

Unsafe conditions, poor or insufficient food, non-payment of wages and denial of medical treatment are among the problems seafarers ask the society to take up on their behalf.

Penpole Point - Haunt of my Childhood Days

A place where my memory clings Surrounded by country, a joy to the eye And the woods were the nightingale sings High in the sky this lovely spot stands With a dial stood proud on it's crest Initialled by hundreds upon it's broad crown And a vane that points out to the west And just down below are the docks and it's ships Where the channel and Severn unite And the Welsh hills beyond when the sun goes to rest Is indeed a most wonderful sight For miles to the shore, green pastures abound A thicket stands out here and there Where fox was once hunted by huntsmen and hounds A sight which is now very rare On it's rock-bound slopes the Hawthorne tree grows In May-time it gives one delight When it breaks into blossom it looks at it's best And 'Penpole' is all dressed in white A great hunting ground for the kiddies to play A spot which all lovers are fond A health-giving place for the sick to relax In the breeze from the channel beyond Penpole has seen many ships come to port And bade many ships farewell Saw Cabot's start out on adventure Back in the old days of sail Many a beacon has lighted it's brow To celebrate victory at war But through the long ages old Penpole still stands As it did in the days of yore So let's hope this spot of beauty Shall be from trowel and brick kept free to remain the Penpole of yesterday To greet all the ships in from the sea Ivor G Weeks 1936 (Thank you for your donation to "SHIRE" funds)

Normandy Veterans Association The Bristol Branch of the Normandy Veterans wish to thank the Public for generous donations they made at the collections at Shirehampton on the 23rd and 24th April, and also to the businesses who allowed us to collect at their premises. A special mention also to Tubb & Ann (Butchers) for their continued support to our Association. John Brodie Shirehampton Public Hall

The Balcony Seats

It was about a year ago when we asked for your help with the balcony seats. Thanks to the generosity of everyone concerned we have reached our target and we are pleased to announce that the refurbishment of the seats will commence on June 8th, the work taking approximately 3 weeks to complete. However the hall still needs your help!

We now require volunteers to help clean the metal frames before the seats are reinstated. No skills are required - just plenty of elbow grease and soapy water. So if you have the time to spare and would like to do something worthwhile on the morning of Saturday the 12th come along and join us. We will provide the cleaning materials, the encouragement and the refreshments!

For more details contact Jeanette Cossey - tel. 01179 829 963.

Design a Cover

As you will have seen in last month's 'Shire' we have now made a start on the book charting the 100 year history of the Public Hall, for launch in November at a history exhibition. We are throwing down the gauntlet to all you clever artistic people out there - and the Art Exhibition proves you've got the ability - to design a front cover for the book. This is by way of a competition and the prize will, of course, be the pride and privilege of seeing your design in print.

The artwork needs to include the title 'Shirehampton Public Hall - Serving the Community for 100 Years', but how and where this is placed is up to you and will have to fit in an area approx 7" x 9.5". The history project committee will judge entries and decide which is most suitable for the character of the book.

As this is a community project, including as it does reminiscences, factual detail and photographs from local people, it seems fitting that we should also exploit local artistic talent - so we look forward to receiving entries at the Public Hall (to Jeanette Cossey please) by mid-July. Whilst on the subject of the book, does anyone recall there being a Welcome Home party in the Public Hall for servicemen returning from the Second World War? We know there was one for the First World War, so perhaps there was some sort of celebration for the Second. Again, please let Jeanette know.

Many thanks

Judy Helme

New Allowances Will Help Recruit More Foster Carers

The allowances received by foster carers in Bristol - for looking after children and young people - have increased. The new allowances came into effect this Spring and are part of the city's drive to recruit and retain more foster carers. Councillor Graham Robertson, Executive Member for Social Services and Health said: "Last year we agreed that we urgently needed to increase the allowances given to foster carers to cover the costs associated with looking after children and young people.

"I am delighted to formally announce this latest round of increases which will help our drive to recruit and retain foster carers in the city." Foster carers receive an allowance for each child or young person placed with them. The aim of the basic allowance is to cover the cost of looking after a child or young people and to pay for items such as food and clothing. For children aged 5-7 the allowance is increasing from 103.22 per week to 123.62 per week or for a teenager aged 13-15 from 130.41 to 153.86, an increase of more than 17%.

Allowances are also given for pocket money, birthdays, Christmas, religious festivals and holidays. The city council is particularly keen to recruit people willing to look after teenagers and carers from black and minority ethnic communities, but would urge anyone interested in fostering children to contact them. You can be single, married, divorced, have children of your own or none at all.

To find out more contact the Recruitment Team on 0117 954 8545 or log on at

Lawrence Weston Drugs and Alcohol Project

Our aim is to give a good quality service to the communities of Sea Mills, Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston and Avonmouth, that is both useful to drug and alcohol users and their families. We now have workers in the Doctors' Surgeries in Sea Mills, Shirehampton, Lawrence Weston and Avonmouth.

To make an appointment please contact your Doctor or Lawrence Weston Drugs and Alcohol Project - ask for Michael for Sea MIlls and Lawrence Weston or Tracey for Shirehampton and Avonmouth - on 0117 987 4294. We offer a full range of services including ear acupuncture, detox treatment, counselling, Family Support, Benefits Advice, Harm Reduction Service and Drop-In. For further information telephone 0117 987 4289 or 0117 987 4294.

Watkins (Bennett) Rob

I would like to thank my family and my step-son Barrie and wife Rosemary for their wonderful help and support in my sad loss of Rob, together with my thanks to their children and grand-children. To Brent, a friend for many years, my grateful thanks, and also to the friends that were there for Rob when he needed them when at Southmead Hospital.

Thanks also to Bob Chubb for the beautiful service he gave and Stenner and Hill for their kindness and help. I appreciate also the many cards I received and the excellent buffet provided by the Steward of the Avonmouth Working Men's Club. Very much appreciated also is the collection made from neighbours and the many people who attended the service at Canford. God Bless you all! May Watkins and family (Thank you for your donation to SHIRE funds)

Car Boot Sale

Sunday 6th June, 8am-1pm at Avonmouth Rugby Club, Barracks Lane. Cars 5 - Vans 7. Toilets and refreshments available

I'm Still Standing Disco

A successful evening Local businesses were generous in contributing raffle prizes to a recent event organised by DJ GarryB. The disco theme was 'I'm Still Standing', and the purpose of the event was to raise money for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Duchenne is the most severe form of muscular dystrophy, which results in sufferers being confined to a wheelchair by the age of nine or ten.

Research is being carried out into a treatment which will reduce the severity of the condition, keep sufferers walking for longer, and generally improve the quality of their lives. During the evening a raffle and auction raised money for the Trust Fund for a little boy called Matthew, who is eight. The money will be used initially to send Matthew and his sister to Disneyland in Paris so he can meet Mickey Mouse, and then to provide other resources to help make his life more comfortable. Many thanks to all who helped.

Lollipop Lady Received an Award from the Lord Mayor

Early one morning in 1973 my Section Sergeant said "I want you and Wpc Biescheval to go forth into the wilderness and meet a fellow believer in road safety, where the mighty Lower Street traffic flow passes Barracks Lane tributary. Be there at 8.15am and see the appointed person and see whether the mechanical beats may be stopped safely to allow the flocks of children across the road to the house where they learn the three Rs". Precisely at the appointed time we saw a shining white light appear over the horizon (actually it was the steps on the corner of Kingsweston Avenue).

As this vision got nearer we saw it was a woman attired in a white coat, headgear and carrying her staff of office - a lollipop bearing the words "Stop-Children". She said "My name is Betty Young and I have been appointed by high authority to see the flocks of children across the mighty Lower High Street." We said "We know why you are here - we have to see if you can stop the mechanical beasts safely without causing any accidents". The new Disciple of Road Safety performed her duties for the next score and ten years diligently in all winds and weathers. During the 30 years she wore out 3 lollipops, numerous white coats and an assortment of headgear.

But it was not all milk and honey. There were those who drove past her "Stop-Children" sign, nearly causing an accident incurring her mighty wrath whereby she contacted the local law enforcing authority - the police! A breed which now almost appears extinct! The offenders were called before the Magistrate who made them pull out money from the pockets of their garments and pay it to the Authorities. One failed to appear and was found guilty in his absence. I later found out he had emigrated to a foreign land to avoid the wrath of she who must be obeyed. A messenger brought instructions from the Chief Citizen (the Lord Mayor - Councillor Bill Martin) inviting her to his Mighty Temple on College Green on Monday 10th May 2004.

Our Road Safety Disciple, now advanced in years, grabbed her Bus Pass and mounted a FirstGroup bus for the journey to the Mighty Temple on College Green. Awestruck by the size and grandeur of the Council Chamber she was surrounded by other citizens who had also been summonsed by the Chief Citizen. So this was the place where the Blessed Councillor "Speed" Murphy spoke on behalf of his constituents! At last her name was called and a citation was read out by Sheree Eugene (former HTV presenter).

The Lord Mayor warmly greeted her and shook her hand thanking her for her years of loyal and devoted service. His Worship then presented our Road Safety Disciple with a certificate of Commendation which she may keep for ever and ever. But the story does not end there because even to this day at 8.15pm and 3.00pm this white-clad figure can still be found stemming the flow of the mechanical beasts along the mighty Lower High Street, seeing the flocks of children safely to and from their homes. Enough of this nonsense! Congratulations Liz (Betty) - there are numerous parents who owe you a deep debt of gratitude for their safety over the past 30 years.

The community salutes you!


Avon Wildlife Trust

Dear Editor I would like to inform the people of Shirehampton and surrounding areas that I am the local official Representative for the Avon Wildlife Trust. My job is to enrol as members all people who are interested in wildlife and who would like to make a monthly donation by direct debit. John Blanks, 16 Kingsweston Avenue, Shirehampton, Bristol BS11 0AN. Telephone: 0117 982 6851

Lifeskills Volunteer Guides Needed

Each year some 30,000 youngsters in the Avon area needed medical treatment for injuries, many of which could have been prevented. LIFESKILLS - Learning for Living helps children understand the risks and prevents them having to learn - the hard way. What does a Volunteer Guide do? There are 10 lifelike, indoor scenarios in the Lifeskills centre and each is like a real-life TV or theatrical 'set' complete with sound effects. Each is designed to illustrate particular hazards and Guides take small groups of children around the scenarios, explaining the key safety messages as they go. Many have an exciting, interactive element - much to the surprise and delight of the children. I have to fit my volunteering around childcare - can I do this? Sessions fit neatly into normal school hours.

What is more, we need most of our Guides in term time only. So if you are looking for a volunteering opportunity, which fits around your family commitments, then Lifeskills is the perfect solution. How much is there to learn? All training is at your own pace and you don't need to be a genius. Written notes explaining all the scenarios are given to Guides and induction also covers general issues such as health and safety and communication with children. You 'shadow' an experienced Trainer Guide before undertaking your first supervised tour and only 'go solo' when you feel you are ready. Can I afford to help? Expenses are refunded so you will not be 'out of pocket' from helping us.

We also provide a free polo shirt and sweatshirt which identifies you as a member of the Lifeskills team. Is it difficult? No - you will soon become caught up in the enthusiasm of the other Volunteer Guides and the children themselves. The youngsters are usually aged 10-11 years and each Guide takes just 3-4 children at a time. Before long you will find yourself answering their questions without a second thought and helping them get the most out of their visit. Will it suit me? Do you like children? Are you enthusiastic?

If so, then you have what it takes to be a Volunteer Guide. If you have a good sense of humour that is helpful because although safety is serious 'Lifeskills - Learning for Living' is also fun. The building is fully accessible to people who  use wheelchairs. Why does Lifeskills need more Guides? Lifeskills opened in January 2000 and is a huge success. A growing number of schools and children want to visit. We rely on our Volunteer Guides to show children around so we need extra Guides to show even more children around the centre.

Will I get on with the people? The Guides are a friendly group from a variety of backgrounds, with different interests and of differing ages. The one thing they have in common is they enjoy making a contribution to their community through working with children. They will do all they can to make sure you feel 'one of the team'. Do I have enough time? If you can spare 5 hours per month then yes, you do. This is enough to help with 2 'sessions' showing children around, although you can choose to do more if you wish.

A session lasts for about 2 hours including a quick briefing with the other Volunteer Guides. Sessions start around 10.00am or 1.00pm. They are planned well ahead and you decide which one suits you best. I'm interested - what do I do now? If you have not already done so, call the Lifeskills Office on 0117 922 4511 and say you are interested in joining the team. You will be offered the chance to meet the staff, join a group of children and find out for yourself how enjoyable and rewarding being a Volunteer Guide is.

The Create Centre, Hotwells, Bristol BS1 6XN

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Shire Newspaper will be held on Monday, 5th July 2004 at 5.30pm in the Methodist Church Hall. All members of the public are invited to attend this meeting.

Bob and Helen Brandt

We were delighted to see Helen and Bob the other day when they popped in to see us on their way back from a holiday in Cornwall. Bob is now painting full time and very successful. They both are very involved in the production of the Link, the bi-monthly magazine for all the parishes in their Norfolk locality.

Helen has been making rustic scenes in wood, which have farm buildings, houses and a church (as you can see in the photo). She has been selling them at street fairs and has now raised over 2,500 for the Langham Village Trust, which aids local projects.   Hasn't she done well.  


Wartime Pic

To the Librarian, Shirehampton Library Thank you for sending us the SHIRE Magazine, it is much appreciated and very informative, keeping us in touch with the various activities being carried out throughout the village. We read an article mentioning you would like photos taken during the period of the war years in Shire and we are enclosing one of a party to celebrate VE day. It may bring memories flooding back to the residents of Fairford Road and Lower Barrow Hill Road.

I used to live there and remember a victory bonfire being lit, it was so fierce it actually burnt the pavement and road. There was also an incident of a couple of the younger element lighting up the oak tree on the corner of Barrow Hill Road and Groveleaze with fairy lights. Another of my memories is of the street party, with long tables and plenty of delicious food laid out for all the residents. It was a great effort by everybody and being young I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I am also enclosing a photo of a class I partook in during my educational period in Shire Junior School. You may recognise some of them, especially the girls.

Hopefully we will keep receiving the 'Shire' for many years to come. Thanking you once more. From Maureen and Brian Swai Queensland, Australia

Preferred Foods

We have more birds than usual in our small garden this summer. I had blamed the local moggies for their absence, but since we put out a variety of seeds to supplement peanuts, birds of all shapes and sizes have visited, while the cats seem to have called a truce. My favourites are Goldfinches which delight us with bright flashes of colour and their tolerance of our visible presence, and Robins which sit on the gate picking up the gleanings from the feasts of other birds hanging on the nearby feeders.

The Tits had shown little interest in last year's nest-box after a brief inspection in February which promoted me to remove the old nest. Should I have left it - to save them a job? Had I not provided the most tasty food for them? Or should I, as a well-known magazine recommended, have scrubbed the box out with disinfectant? The mind boggles. Yet even since I started writing this, they have been back. Mid-May is mild, and hope springs eternal. Which reminds me that our local schoolchildren, like the birds, have their preferences - and at lunchtime come to buy them in the village. One mid-day I found the fish-and-chip shop full of people, mostly schoolboys.

They were queuing quietly and in an orderly manner when the proprietor (kindly) beckoned the two or three adults to the head of the queue, the boys politely made a space - while I waited for my order, a small boy put an errant crisp packet in the bin for me - there was no larking abut. Outside there was some litter, but not much. A few pupils were quietly eating their snacks on the Green - again no rubbish and no fooling. This was how it should be. Thank you Portway School.

Brenda Dammers

Obiruary Canon John Smith

As many of you will recall, Canon John Smith, former Vicar of St Mary's, died earlier this year on 7th January 2004. Canon Smith was born on the 5th April 1918 and grew up in Ashley Down and went to Bristol Grammar School, later St Catherine's College, Oxford. He was brought up as a Baptist and perhaps his upbringing at Horfield Baptist Church made him look with a sharper eye at the Church of England.

In 1942 he obtained a BA degree at St Catherine's College and in that same year he went on to Ripan Hall, Oxford to study theology before ordination in 1943. Canon Smith served two curacies, the first in Birmingham and the second at Christ Church, Hengrove, Bristol - the diocese he was to serve for the remainder of his ministry.

In 1944 he married his wife Barbara and later had two sons - Andrew and Simon, and in 1949 he was appointed Vicar of St Chad's, Patchway. Canon Smith remained there until 1958 when he became Vicar of St Mary's, Shirehampton. Not only did he run a busy parish, but integrated his enthusiasm for radio broadcasting by writing and presenting religious programmes for Radio 2 and 4, often working in collaboration with the producer, Peter Firth (now Rt. Rev. Peter Firth, ex Bishop of Malmesbury).

On Rogation Sunday 1961 Canon Smith devised and led a live broadcast from Penpole Point, Shirehampton which is still remembered by many to this day! His last parish was St Alban's, Westbury Park, where he moved in 1972. Under his guidance it became one of the earliest local ecumenical projects. In 1977 John became an Hon. Canon of Bristol Cathedral and retired in 1983.

The following year he became Canon Emeritus. From the early 1960s up to the mid 180s Canon Smith led 13 pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Iona, Assisi and the Passion Play at Oberammergau. Not content with just sitting around during his retirement, Canon Smith became Chaplain at Hortham Mental Hospital, a position which was very close to his heart. Canon Smith's funeral service was conducted by his old friend and colleague - the Rt. Rev. Peter Firth at St Albans, Westbury Park on Tuesday 20th January 2004.

God bless you John, you were a much loved priest during your time in Shirehampton and will be much missed by all who knew you.


Results from the Golf Club

Gentlemen English Blind Medal - May 2004 Div. 1         Paul Weare       71-5-66 Div. 2  Reg Furber       69-6-63 Div. 3  Eamon Brady      80-13-67 Div. 4 D. Lenz 95-28-67 Wednesday Medal - May 2004 Div. 1     Richard Gorny   65-6-59 Div. 2  John Hayfield    77-13-64 Ladies Anniversary Qualifier & Extra Medal Silver:     Mrs J Michalis  85-13-72         Mrs J Robertson 92-19-73 Bronze:         Mrs D Lilley    106-34-72        Mrs M Norman    106-27-79 April Medal & LGU Health Perception Qualifier Silver:         Mrs K Cowley    80-8-72          Mrs P  Cecil     91-18-73 Bronze:        Miss E Bealey   107-35-72       Mrs A Hawkes     109-36-73

The club celebrates it's Centenary Year (1904-2004) with a number of high profile competitions throughout Centenary Week in July, as well as our usual weekly and weekend competitions which run through the year. We also have a very active Social Committee with many organised events which take place in the summer and winter months. There are still a number of Memberships available for Ladies and Gentlemen - details of which can be obtained from the Managing Secretary, Mr Adrian Hobbs on 01179 822 083 - or via our excellent web-site at

Watch it!

We have all got used to the passage on the Portway which has a 30 mph speed limit. A fact to remember if you happen to be driving out of a side turning onto the 30 mph patch of the Portway. However, I forgot that from where it joins the Avonmouth Roundabout the Avonmouth Road is also a 30 mph restricted area.

So when I had driven under the M5 bridge and was at the beginning of Lower High Street doing 40 mph I got pulled in by a policeman all in leathers with a motor bike. Result - a Saturday spent in the Create Centre learning how to slow down and a 60 fine. The worse bit now is that all the family are forever twitting me about my speeding fine making me a criminal.

St Mary's News

Hi folks! My first piece of news is that our Cowboy Evening and our May Day Bank Holiday Lunches and Teas made over 1,000 towards much needed church funds. Thank you once again to Theresa and Colin Momber for the "Cowboy Evening" and to Gill Sawyer for all the cooking and preparation necessary to provide the lunches and teas - no mean feat I can assure you! Also thanks to all of you who attended both events. At our recent Annual Parochial Church Meeting Gill Sawyer and Derek Ford were both re-elected as Churchwardens to serve for another 12 months. Thanks are also due to Gill Bridge and Colin Pope who this year decided to stand down.

Their past services have been very much appreciated. Nick Broad and Mike Gillard have been elected to serve in their places. We welcome them - in what may prove to be a controversial year! On Tuesday 8th June 2004 a Tea Dance will be held in the Church Centre from 2 until 4.30pm. Tickets are available from Jayne Powell or pay at the door. All proceeds will be donated to the work of Christian Aid. On the same evening a new Alpha Course is due to start. If you wish to know more about this, then please speak to Canon Christine. She will be delighted to tel you what is involved. Andy Schuman, our new Curate, together with his wife Alice, son Asa and Daughter Thea will be joining us this month and will be living in Severn Road. Andy is to be ordained Deacon at Bristol Cathedral on Sunday 27th June 2004. We look forward to his arrival and in the future he will be in a position to relieve the pressure on Canon Christine.

I am confident he will enjoy his curacy with us. Now some advance information about our Patronal Festival Celebrations early in July. On Saturday 3rd July we shall be holding our Summer Fayre from 10am until 12 noon. Cream Teas will be served from 12.30 to 4pm. The Church will also be decorated with flowers - come and see St Mary's at its best! Tim Forder, our Organist will also be on hand to play your favourite hymn time - requests please to the Church Office. This will give Tim the chance to locate the music should your tune not be a well known one! The next day - Sunday 4th July - Holy Communion at 10am - this will be Andy Schuman's first service. Our Guest Speaker at that Service will be Mr Keith Thomas from South Africa. He will be talking about "Sunflower House Children's Hospice" in South Africa.

I am sure he will have some very interesting information for us all. On the Monday (4th July) the Bristol Citadel Salvation Army Band will be performing a concert of music on the Village Green. Should the weather be inclement then the concert will be in church. The concert will commence at 7.30pm. Please give this your support - a retiring collection will be given to the Salvation Army Band to be used in whatever way they feel is appropriate. Before we leave Easter behind, take a look at the photograph of June Gosling and Canon Christine in their Easter Bonnets. A prettier sight you could not wish to see! (I bet I've earned some 'Brownie Points' with that comment!).

May I appeal to you all to keep your eyes open to protect our church building and churchyard from theft and vandalism. Recently the metal spike from one of the churchyard gates was stolen, which means the gate cannot now be fixed in the closed or open position. Also three 14 year old youths were found in the Choir Vestry and made to give a satisfactory explanation for being there. After they left it was discovered there was grafitti on the stonework of the South Porch which faces Pembroke Road and a Fire Extinguisher had been removed from the porch. It was later found abandoned in the Churchyard. Also, if you own a dog please do not exercise it in the Churchyard!

This can cause offence when you allow your pet to 'water' the gravestones or worse! Please respect those who work so hard to keep our Churchyard looking neat and tidy. Finally, on a brighter note, on Sunday 2nd May 204 Steve Simmons was presented with a Royal School of Church Music Medal to commemorate 40 years as a Chorister at St Mary's. Congratulations to you Steve - we must be unique with 95 years service between us!

Bye for now - C.M.E.

When I Survey

I continue with the theme of my last "When I Survey" i.e., Being Old. A dear friend who has died recently, Anne Shells, has published a series of small books of poems. Her latest is called "Being Eighty Plus" and one of the poems is called "M". What a lovely day to go out and about! But bother, "M" is coming Why? Boring, boring "M", so boring, plain and thin, Sad affliction, a trying voice. O God, unbearable. She came and told me things I didn't know before; Childhood of conflict, squalor, rejection, pain, And she told me ... more. Well, I'll never forget. She wanted to hold my hand, and kissed me goodbye. After she left, I wept. She needed me, But, far, far more, I needed her. Now here is a cheerful little poem called "NHS" Knees, hips, ears wearing out with all these years. Hips, ear, knees not what they were - Do your best please Now ears, knees, hips renewable, hooray - thanks to the NHS. God bless the NHS. Being 80 Plus is published by the Abbey Press, Glastonbury at 1.85. I shall finish with the beautiful Association Prayer of the Retired Clergy Association Come, Lord, come. Establish our faith, renew our hope, deepen our love, refresh us again with the vision of the holy city where your word is heard, your will is done, your presence is adored; the city we have longed for, and at our journey's end welcome us home, to live with you in your kingdom among the unfading glories of the courts of heaven. Amen.

Very Reverend A. H. Dammers

Killer Sofas Could Go Up in Flames

Bristol City Council Trading Standards officers are warning people to take care shopping for a new sofa following reports of thousands of dangerous sofas and suites of furniture flooding into the UK from Poland. The majority of sofas are made using imitation leather and poor quality fittings which are highly flammable foam and present a highly significant safety hazard.

The sofas are being sold throughout the UK at bargain prices through car parks, door to door or through small advertisements in local newspapers where the sofas are often described as 'unwanted gifts'. Phil Parkyn of Bristol's Trading Standards department said "We suspect these sofas are now being offered in Bristol so, unless there is a bona fide address at which you can view the suite, our advice is not to bother. "Similarly be wary of ads featuring mobile phone numbers," he continued. "If you see an advert you are concerned about, please contact us on 0117 922 3444 or 0117 922 3838.

And if you see a sofa at a car park sale or in an unusual situation we would like to know." The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations were introduced in 1988 following publicity after a number of deaths in house fires over the Christmas period. These regulations, together with other measures such as the use of domestic smoke detectors, have saved lives. However, even so, in UK homes in 2001 there were 2,404 fires originating from furniture involving 85 deaths and 887 other casualties.

For further details about safety requirements for upholstered furniture, contact the local trading standards department on 0117 922 3444 or visit the website at standards.

For more information please contact Corporate Communications on 0117 922 2650.

New Books at the Library


158.12 Harrison, Eric The 5-Minute Mediator
615.822 Costa, Larry Massage, Mind and Body
791.4372 Sterling, Martin Martinis, Girls and Guns


Blunt, Giles The Delicate Storm
Brown, Dan The Da Vinci Code
Cox, Josephine Lovers and Liars
Ellmann, Lucy Dot in the Universe
Gee, Maurice The Scornful Moon
George, Elizabeth Missing Joseph
George, Elizabeth For the Sake of Elena
Greenlief, K.C. Death at the Door
Gregson, J.M. The Wages of Sin
Hart, Erin Haunted Ground
Hutchinson, Meg Sixpenny Girl
Johnson, Jeannie Like an Evening Gone
Lightfoot, Freda The Girl from Poor House Lane
Lynch, Sarah-Kate By Bread Alone
May, Peter Chinese Whispers
O'Flanagan, Sheila Dreaming of a Stranger
Rankin, Ian Watchman
Shreve, Anita All He Ever Wanted
Straczynski, J. Michael Demon Night
Weir, Arabella Stupid Cupid
Jones, Jane Wenham Perfect Alibis
White, Antonia Frost in May

Letters to the Editor

Photographic memories

Dear Editor

You will find enclosed copies of the original photographs for (1) Robinson Hare (Film Star) visit to the "Cheer Up Club" to celebrate its 21st birthday. To the right of the photo I am the baby in my mother's (Eileen) arms and my grandmother Margaret Allsopp is the white haired lady at my mother's right shoulder.

(2) The three ladies performing on stage at the "Old Hut" in this picture are from left to right Margaret Hannah Allsopp, Sadie Brown and Mrs Coles.

(3) The group of ladies are the "Cheer Up Club" on holiday in Cheltenham. My grandmother Margaret Hannah Allsopp is second from the right with my mother Eileen, aged 10 years. I do hope that you find them as interesting as I do and maybe some of your readers may recognise family or friends amongst them

Yours sincerely Janet Witcombe (nee Kays)

Dear Editor

First many thanks for keeping me updated with Shire News. I read with interest your letter about the Portway School Rugby Team, also Margaret Hedges' letter about Ken Perry in the April edition, also Ken Perry's thoughtful reply from Warwickshire. I have another photograph of Portway School Rugby team that may be of interest to Ken, that of 1956.

Back Row Left: John Penney, John Matthews, Mike Booker. Middle Row: David Lloyd, Peter Larsen, 'Bunny' David Green, Derek Ford (present Church Warden at St Mary's), Tony Cuttiss, 'Jammer' James Hughes. Front Row: Christopher Tanner, Mike Scanlon with the ball (I am told he now runs the Sea Cadets), Harvey HIll, Frank Cummings and Gordon Knowles (myself).

Picture taken by Jammer James (the only team member who could afford a posh camera in those days) at Kings Weston House Playing Fields.

I was at Portway School from 1952 to 1957. I would like to drop Ken Perry a line, have not seen him for about 30 years.

Many thanks
Gordon Knowles, Weymouth, Dorset