The Way We Were: The dimension of dreams

Lathbury Park and Church

Lathbury Park and Church

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CITY historian JOHN TAYLOR takes another walk down memory lane...

As yet, it seems impossible to travel back through time, and that’s perhaps just as well, since, cosseted by our modern standards of comfort, hygiene, and medical care, no doubt the discovery that awaits would sadly disappoint our often rose tinted perception.

And yet in the mind the past always seems present, and here we may voyage wherever we wish.

And when imposed upon reality, such imaginings seem to flee this dimension of dreams, and through their ethereal being awaken those scenes which are laid in the past. As when from the gates of Lathbury Church one sees Miss Daphne Trevor, approaching in the company of her father, along the pathway from Lathbury Park.

For this is her wedding day, and she wears the gown that her mother had worn, and on her finger will sparkle a ring of diamond and sapphire, the gift of the groom. For he had been the best man at her brother’s wedding, and could it have been then that she had first harboured those plans for her own future happiness.

The only daughter of William Trevor, and his wife Emily, Daphne lived with her brother and parents at Lathbury Park, and had been instrumental in raising a village section of the Baden Powell Scouts, which, under her supervision, became one of the finest in North Bucks, indeed winning a silver cup as the best troop in the district. Following the outbreak of the First World War, she became a nursing sister, to be firstly attached to the VAD Hospital at Barford Hill, Warwickshire, and then to the institution at Brooklands. But when the VAD Hospital at Tickford Abbey, Newport Pagnell, was opened, it would be there that she continued her duties, earning respect for her kindness and devotion.

As for her brother, having volunteered for service at the outbreak of war he went to France in early 1915, and, having seen much hard fighting, was gazetted to Captain for his excellent work in the field.

But he was subsequently invalided to light duties, although whenever able he would join in the local concerts to entertain convalescent soldiers. As at the Tyringham Military Hospital one evening in 1916, where, to accompaniments played by their mother, Daphne sang popular songs, and her brother performed several humorous items.

As the friend of her brother, whom he had known since their youth, Daphne had made the acquaintance of Captain Richard Pemberton who, as an officer in the Suffolk Yeomanry, saw much active service, until severely wounded a month before the Armistice. And from their acquaintance would blossom romance, and then, in the aftermath of the war, their engagement. And with Richard having secured a position at the Treasury, at their wedding it would be a member of the Foreign Office who was the best man.

With the church beautifully decorated, the service was choral, and with the reception held at Lathbury Park, a large marquee accommodated the 200 guests. Then to a rousing send off, and the ringing of the church bells, during the afternoon the couple left for a honeymoon in the south of France, while in the evening the ladies were invited to tea at Lathbury Park, and to view the beautiful wedding gifts. Daphne and Richard would make their home at Bilsdon, Ipswich, but several years later would again be acquainted with Lathbury Church, to attend the memorial service for Daphne’s father.

In fact despite all of the sacrifice made by their generation, soon there would be further tragedy in the form of another war. And for the same cause; and which would only bring further bereavement.

So let the past dwell in the province of dreams, for romantic expectance – at least in this world – is never to be how we’d wish it to seem.