The Way We Were: More war memories from Bow Brickhill, by John Taylor

MPMC Sue Malleson, Bow Brickhill Village Historical Society
MPMC Sue Malleson, Bow Brickhill Village Historical Society

In this centenary year it is pleasing ti know how many town and village historical societies are taking a keen interest in the role their communities played during the First World War.

Local residents fired up by these projects invariably add their enthusiasm to the exhibitions they stage and, as with the Bow Brickhill Society mentioned last month, the publications they produce.

In fact Bow Brickhill has a particularly fascinating past, including a conscientious objector, a POW who survived the war but died from the effects of captivity, and even a little girl who was apprehended for picking the Duke of Bedford’s flowers.

And so there is perhaps scope for similar research into the Second World War.

Shortly after this conflict Red Cook came to the village after marrying a local girl called Marjorie Smith. During the war he had seen action with the Royal Marine Commandos, and afterwards served as one of the TA men chosen to line the coronation route of the Queen.

Tragically, when employed by the Terrapins of Bletchley, he was killed when his lorry collided with two other vehicles near Ampthill. Of several nefarious tales regarding landlords of the village pub, one was fined for not attending Home Guard duties.

As for members of the regular forces, for their recreation there was a corrugated iron structure near the village green. In the aftermath of the war this was extensively reconstructed thanks to the generosity of a London barrister who lived in Bow Brickhill.

In a past article the story was told of the painting of a famous artist of A Village Choir, set in Bow Brickhill’s All Saints Church. In fact the choral tradition is still maintained, with new recruits invited to contact Sue Malleson.

Sue, a stalwart of the village historical society, also has a choral tradition, and in the photo alongside this week’s article you can see her during her secretarial days with Scicon, prior to singing at the firm’s barbecue party.

Several times she had been asked by a friend to sing with his group Brigadier Fosdyke’s Travelling Show “but I never realised that I would be singing at my own firm’s party”.

And as for me, I’m off for a cold shower.