2015 Obituary: Dorothy ‘Grace’ Grant

DOROTHY ‘GRACE’ GRANT Passed away peacefully at home after a short illness on Thursday 13th August aged 88 years. Beloved wife of the late Arthur (photographer). Much loved mum of Geoff and Annette and to Tanya and Mike. Dear grandma of Jamie-Lee, Saffron and Poppy and to Andrew, ‘G-Mar’ of Gracie-May and Harlie-Arthur. Funeral Service in the Church of St Martin on the Walls, Wareham on Friday 21st August at 2.00pm. Family flowers only please, donations if desired for Marie Curie, Wareham Health Centre and The Tyneham Fund may be sent to Albert Marsh Funeral Directors, St Michaels Road, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 4QU.

Published in the Dorset Echo on 15th August 2015

2010: Lingering ghosts of a long-dead England

Tyneham in Dorset was already a museum piece when it was shut down during the Second World War. It never reopened

by David Randall

There’ll be another burial in the village next week. Arthur Grant’s ashes will be interred in the churchyard at Tyneham in Dorset. He left more than 60 years ago, but now the last of him will return to the village that laid down its life for the Second World War.

In 1943, the army needed Tyneham to expand its Lulworth firing range, and so everyone was shipped out. Ever since, the only way of becoming a resident again is to die and be buried here. Arthur is believed to be the last of them. Now there is no one with any memory of this curious place which did not wither or change but simply shut its doors and went away.
Even for the time, Tyneham was a period piece, albeit an ambiguous one. For romantics, it was, in its old ways, a keepsake of a once-unchanging England. For modernists, it was, with its broken roadways, its single telephone, and the Bond family owning all the land, an affront to progress.

But, to a few hundred people, it was home. In the early decades of the 20th century, there was Mrs Manktelow, the widow at Double Cottages, the schoolmistress Mrs Pritchard, old Charlie Miller, the Knights, including Fred and his father, coachman to the Bonds at Tyneham House; Charlie Meech, the odd-job man up at the big house; and Mrs Taylor, the village wise woman.

There were two villages here, really. Down the Gwyle, the coombe that led to the sea, was Worbarrow. Then there was Tyneham proper, with its fields of sheep and its Elizabethan manor house. Closer to the green was St Mary’s church; the rectory, home to parsons grand enough to make use of the tennis courts; Dorset stone homes; the one-roomed school; and The Row, the line of terraced cottages punctuated by the village’s only shop.

By the late 1930s, there were cracks in its chocolate-box façade. The school had closed in 1932. There was no pub; Worbarrow’s coastguard station had closed; there was no electricity, no piped water and no development – unless the Bonds sanctioned it.

Then came the war. A radar station was set up on Tyneham Cap, and, to staff it, the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force arrived. They requisitioned Tyneham House, and airmen were billeted in homes. In November 1943, every villager received a letter. “It is necessary,” it began, “to move you from your homes.” By 19 December, all 225 were gone. Many were under the impression they would return, but in 1947 they were told there would be no coming back. Compensation was paid in 1952 and periodic campaigns were mounted to wrest back the village.

They failed, but concessions were made. In 1975, burials were allowed, and the army’s guns are muzzled on 134 days a year so ramblers and curious civilians can once again come to Tyneham. The manor house was demolished in 1967, and thatched roofs have fallen. But the church is preserved, and the school is a museum. In it are the clothes pegs of pupils, and one bears the name Arthur Grant. His ashes will be in the churchyard, but the memory of him, and some of the spirit of the place he once inhabited, lives on.
Published by, and copyright of, The Independent, Sunday 24 January 2010

2010: Tributes paid to legendary Purbeck photographer Arthur Grant

by Jim Durkin

The family of legendary Purbeck photographer Arthur Grant have paid a heartfelt tribute to a “huge character who will always be remembered with affection and love”.

Arthur passed away peacefully at home last Tuesday at the age of 87, after a brave battle against a protracted illness. He worked as a professional photographer for three decades, with many of his pictures featuring in the Daily Echo and Swanage and Wareham Advertiser.

Son Geoffrey said: “Dad will be remembered fondly, having touched many people’s lives in his role as the photographer in Wareham and Purbeck.”

Arthur is also remembered as one of the last inhabitants of Tyneham village, which was requisitioned by the army and used as a practice area for the historic D-Day landings. The village, heavily damaged, would eventually be substantially restored and opened to the public. Arthur went on to give many interviews for books and television about his schoolboy memories of Tyneham life. In a moving gesture, his family have been given special permission for his ashes to be interred at Tyneham – Arthur is finally going home.

The year before the outbreak of the Second World War, Arthur, aged just 16, joined the Union Castle Shipping Line. He served as captain’s steward on the Capetown Castle, which was converted into a troop carrier and survived a bombing off Northern Ireland. During leave he met young Dorset woman Dorothy Grace Rawles, his beloved Grace, who he went onto marry at Poole in 1953. He is survived by Grace and their two children, Geoffrey and Annette. Arthur also worked as a steward on the flying boats which operated out of Poole and for Australian airline Qantas, where he rose to the rank of deputy flight steward controller. He was honoured to be selected as part of the crew flying the Queen to Australia during her 1954 tour.

After returning to England, to help his sick mother in the late 1950s, Arthur and Grace settled in Mill Lane, Wareham. It was around this time he decided to turn his love of photography into a profession. After retirement in 1990 Arthur became a prolific gardener.

His funeral service will be held at the Church of Lady St Mary, Wareham, on Monday at 2.15pm. The family will be holding light refreshments at the South Street Conservative Club afterwards.

Published by, and copyright of, the Daily Echo, 19 January 2010

1947: Aged Evacuee from Training Area Mrs. C. Miller dies at Stoborough

An evacuee from the much discussed battle training area of the Isle of Purbeck, whose exclusion from her lifelong home at Warbarrow Bay has aroused the sympathy of all interested in the “battle” of Purbeck. Mrs. Harriet Deborah Miller, has died at her home at Stoborough. The fate of the only home she knew in her sixty odd years of married life has still to be decided by the Government.

Mrs. Miller, who was 93, was evacuated in December 1943, and within a week her 93 years old husband, Mr. Charlie Miller, died. By permission of the military authorities, he was buried in his home parish of Tyneham, and ever since his widow has grieved that she has been debarred from visiting his last resting place.

In view of all the circumstances Mrs. Miller decided that her last resting place should be at the cemetery adjoining Wareham Parish Church, where her relatives could visit and tend her grave.

So it was that Mrs. Miller was buried at Wareham, separated from her husband, with whom she lived in the little cottage at Warbarrow for the 63 years of her married life. A native of Kingston, she was for some time before her marriage a teacher at Tyneham School.

The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. John Frith, and chief mourners were Mrs. J. Hodge, Mrs. A. Head, Mrs. G. Mudford, Mrs. E. Woadden, Miss E. Houliston (nieces), Mr. G. White, Mr. A. Head, Mr. F. Hodge (nephews), Mrs. Houliston (sister-in-law), Miss Minnie Miller (cousin), Miss B. Minterne and Miss. W. Minterne (friends and former neighbours at Warbarrow). Others present included Mr. and Mrs. W. R. G. Bond, Mrs. Pryce (representing Wareham and Purbeck Rural Council) and Mr. C. F. J. Durant-Lewis, clerk to the Council), Mrs. H. C. Money, Mr. and Mrs. P. Brachi, Mr. and Mrs. G. Hart and Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Reeks.

Western Gazette – Friday 5 September 1947