Boxley Memories

 It was a year ago that I interviewed Ted Wingrove who grew up during the war years on Vinters Farm which stood at the top end of Huntsman Lane, now completely lost to houses in the Snowdon Road area.  Ted should not be confused with his uncle Ted who ran Grove Green Farm (also lost to housing).

Sadly Ted died in April and we can share more of his memories.  Long ago Vinters Farm had hop gardens and cherry orchards but apart from one orchard these had disappeared and the Wingroves were running more of a market garden.  There were no longer horses, tractors were introduced and produce would be transported by lorries as far away as Brentford Market in London.  When Detling Airfield was bombed in August 1940 there were so many killed that the Wingrove lorries were diverted to pick up coffins.  As an aside, the devastation at Detling was so awful that people on buses travelling by next day were ordered not to look for fear of the effect on public morale.  Throughout the war events involving large losses of life would be suppressed by the Government for the same reason.

After D-Day German prisoners of war began to be brought back to England.  Many were held in camps around Kent and brought by coach to work on farms such as Vinters, Grove Green and Newnham Court.  There were also Italian p.o.ws.  Ted remembers how extremely hard the Germans worked, though at Boarley Farm Bob Beeby complained about Italians being quite lazy.  

Many prisoners remained here until 1948.  When Ted attained military age he joined the Navy and when home on leave his father told him to change out of his uniform so as not to upset the Germans!

The picture above shows a group of German prisoners on Vinters Farm

Robin Ambrose