A Little North Hinksey History: A Village At War
I’ve been driving along North Hinksey Lane for nearly ten years on my way to the Fishes. A few months ago I discovered that at the back of Botley Cemetery, close to the Southern By-pass, is a Commonwealth War Grave. Alongside a number of graves from World War I lie 516 graves from World War II. Botley was a regional RAF cemetery and held burials for casualties from stations in Berkshire and adjoining counties. The dead included victims of training accidents, as well as those who died of wounds or disease.
The following week I met a guest in the pub who lived in North Hinksey as a girl during the war. She said she remembered hearing the Last Post being played all too regularly at funerals in the Cemetery. She also told me they stored new tanks up on the unfinished by-pass (Crusader tanks were built by MG in Abingdon and Morris at Cowley). Most surprising, she told me that her father rented the outbuildings at the Fishes and established a small factory there making bullets for the war effort.
The war grave section at Botley has the familiar Portland stone markers and is impeccably kept. Walking down the rows, it’s impossible not to be moved by the youth of the dead men, and the poignant dedications, so often by parents who had lost their precious sons. The roar of the by-pass a few yards away highlights almost unbearably the way the world rushes by, heedless.
If anyone has any more details of how North Hinksey was touched by the War, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Jo Eames