1975: Tyneham’s ration of nostalgia

HISTORY stopped at Tyneham 32 years ago. Just before Christmas,1943, the villagers gave up their homes to make way for an army firing range, and the village died.

The villagers of Tyneham never went back. Their bitter and protracted struggle for possession of their homes ended in failure as the Army retained control over a hamlet of tumbledown cottages.

Now, as Army range wardens are working to clear up the remains of the village, has come a reminder of those early war years.

Ration books for everyone living in the village before they were dispossessed have been found by the wardens, in an old corrugated iron shed at the back of Tyneham post office.

Ration books found at Tyneham

Names like Everett, Longman, Colin Driscoll, the postmaster, and William Holland, who lived at Baltington Cottage, are still clearly legible on the tattered and crumbling orange and buff coloured pieces of paper.

And the injunction from the Ministry of Food to write your surname and National Registration Number on the counterfoil before handing it to the retailer is clearly visible, too.

Coupons for sugar, bacon and ham, meat and cooking fats are crossed off in blue pencil, for these bits of paper are the remains of used-up ration books, thrown into a pile by postmaster Colin Driscoll some time in 1943.

And there, it seems, they stayed for 32 years.

“We found them as we were demolishing the old shed at the back of the post office,” said warden Mrs. Jane Cato. “They were under a pile of ash on the floor, with rat holes all around. I’m afraid they all break up very easily,” she added.

Mrs. Cato, the only woman warden on the army range, took the ration books home to her cottage in Lulworth, and is now cleaning them up.

“We hope eventually to put them on show, wrapped in polythene, at Tyneham Church,” she told the Echo.

The church, deconsecrated some years ago, is planned by the Army as a museum and an information centre for the public who use the Army range walks when the soldiers aren’t firing.

The books will take pride of place in the museum, particularly as little else of value has been discovered in the village by the wardens.

“There was surprisingly little of value in the village – most of the villagers must have taken everything they had with them when they left,” said Mrs. Cato.

From a dump near the stream they found a few bottles and old inkwells, from the greenhouse of Tyneham House they took a water pump in perfect working order, and from a farmhouse they took a pair of Victorian scales.

But they found little else to stock a museum of old Tyneham.

So those who knew Tyneham in pre-war years will have to rely on the names in old ration books to spark off memories of life in the village.

Memories like those of Miss Margaret Taylor, whose name appears in faded ink on one of the ration books. Miss Taylor, who lives with her sister in Corfe Castle, is a frequent visitor to the tiny 13th century church, which is maintained by the Department of the Environment at the edge of the village.

“We showed her round the old post office and she was amazed to see the huge tree growing just in front of the building,” said Mrs. Cato. “She remembered giving it to the postmaster as a six-inch pot plant about 40 years ago!”

Published by Bournemouth Evening Echo, Tuesday 16 December 1975

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

1947: Death of Revd. Claude Samuel Homan

HOMAN On May 5, 1947, CLAUDE SAMUEL HOMAN of 72, Parkstone Road, Poole, formerly Rector of Carne, Tyneham, Frampton, Stockton, the Diocese of Salisbury, and for three years Chaplain at Costobello, South of France, aged 78. Cremation at [illegible] Crematorium to-morrow (Friday). Service ; St. Peter’s Church, Parkstone, later. No flowers, by request.

Published by Poole & Dorset Herald, 8 May 1947

[Claude Samuel Homan (1867-1947)]

1945: Dorset’s new Sheriff

Mr. William Ralph Garneys Bond, of Tyneham House, Corfe Castle, Dorset’s new sheriff, was born in 1880, was educated at Eton and New College, Oxford. He served in the Sudan political service from 1905 to 1926 and was governor of Fung (1922-24) and of Dongola (1924-26). He is a Justice of the Peace for Dorset, having qualified at the 1927 Midsummer Quarter Sessions, and is a member of the Wareham and Purbeck Rural Council.

Published in Western Gazette, 6 April 1945

1936 – Tyneham Rectory Roof / Garden Fete


The raising of funds towards meeting the cost of urgently-necessary repairs to the roof of the Rectory, the residence of the Rev. and Mrs. G. Clifford Frend, was the primary object of a fete held on Wednesday in the charming grounds of Tyneham House, which had been lent by Dr. and Mrs. Sauer. Part of the proceeds are also to be devoted towards the expenses incurred in conveying members of the Tyneham Women’s Institute from outlying hamlets to meetings.

The roof of the Rectory is in a very dilapidated condition and far from watertight, and although the rector and Mrs. Frend spent a good deal of money on it when they came into residence in the hope of avoiding further trouble, it was found advisable to call in an architect. The lowest estimate obtained for the work was £735, but with a new scheme the cost has been reduced to £550. Towards this sum promises amounting to about £400 have been received including generous subscriptions from the patron of the living, Mr. John W. G. Bond, C.B., and diocesan funds. The district embraced by the Women’s Institute, which owes its inception to Mrs. Frend, who is the present president, is such a large and scattered one, including Kimmeridge, Steeple, Povington, and Creech Grange, that to enable members to get to meetings in the hut at Tyneham a ‘bus and usually two taxes have to be requisitioned, which represents an expenditure of £10 a year for transport.


Mrs. Sauer, formally introduced by the Rector, declared the fete open and wished it every success. Mr. Frend, in thanking Dr. and Mrs. Sauer for kindly lending the grounds, mentioned, apropos the object of the effort, that the Rectory was practically uninhabitable. It was hoped by that afternoon’s effort to raise sufficient to pay off the amount required for meeting the cost of repairing the roof. The Women’s Institute was quite a young and growing branch, and naturally wanted something to feed on. (Laughter and hear, hear.)

Mrs. Sauer was presented with a bouquet of pink carnations by little Miss Clare Farley-Smith (grand-daughter of the Rector) and cordially thanked on the proposition of Mr. Ralph Bond.


Favoured with brilliant weather, the fete attracted a large number of visitors, who found much to interest them, apart from the pleasure of a stroll through the grounds. A unique feature at night was the flood-lighting of the beautiful Elizabethan house, which is of Purbeck ashlar, commenced in 1567 and mostly built in 1583, although considerable alterations and additions were made by the late Rev. William Bond in 1820. Mr. N. Fitzgerald generously defrayed the whole of the cost of the flood-lighting.

Mrs. W. H. Bond, Miss Margot, Mrs. Ralph Bond, Mrs. Frend and Mrs. Sauer presided at a stall devoted to the sale of miscellaneous articles, whilst members of the Women’s Institute had charge of a produce department and work made by them. Sweets were sold by Miss Margaret Bond and Miss B. Kendrick. Mrs. F. H. Swann was responsible for the serving of teas, whilst Mrs. Bowditch later in the evening saw to the provision of suppers.

Plays, “No Beggars or Hawkers” and “King or Clown?” were presented by “The Barnstormers”; “Estelle,” clairvoyante and crystal gazer, gave demonstrations, whilst various competitions added to the visitors’ interest and augmented the funds. Amongst the side-shows, &c., were a Chinese laundry, run by Mrs. Donald Leney; a treasure hunt, the charge of Mrs. John Evans; bowling, at which the helpers included Dr. Dru Drury and Mr. Ralph Bond; cocoanut shies, in the care of Mr. T. W. Wrixon; darts, Messrs W. H. Clifford Frend, C. H. Bayliss, and G. N. Walton; Mr. D. Squires (Kimmeridge) persuaded “anglers” to fish for bottles in a bath; and a whist drive on the lawn, with Mr. A. Dunning as M.C., followed by dancing to music by Wareham Town Band, were fitting finales to an interesting programme.

Messrs. J. H. Heard and Hy. Grant were responsible for preparing the ground for the fete.

Published by the Western Gazette, Friday 28 August 1936

1935: Unspoilt Worbarrow Bay

unspoilt worbarrow bay

Dorset Beauty – Warbarrow Bay – Unspoilt English Splendour

[By Stephen F Aylett]

Seeing that the majority of our people live inland, it is not surprising that the many charming nooks and coves that form our coastline, should provide the change required by those who seek an environment of contrast for their annual relaxation or periodical excursion.

The ease with which the travelling public may reach their destination is rendered more simple and swift , as each year increases the efficiency of our transport systems, so that to find a quiet retreat necessitates a journey almost as far west as Cornwall; the time and cost of such a distance eliminating a vast number of would-be holiday-makers. Peaceful corners do exist, however, and I want to take the reader, in imagination, to a little beauty spot on the Dorset coast, a small stretch of sea-shore, that remains as primitive and natural as it was in the dawn of civilisation, except perhaps, that the sea, in its tireless onslaught has penetrated further inland, washing out the least resisting of its obstacles. If you already know the place, a brief description of its charms should not be amiss, but if by chance the locality has not been brought to your notice, you are hereby charged to honour and obey the moral rules and regulations which preserve this scenic treasure from the modern Vandal.

The Approach

So then, let us start from East Lulworth, taking the first turning past the Inn, if travelling from Wareham, or the first before, if coming from the west. This road gradually increases in elevation, until it reaches a gradient of one in seven, winding up the side of a tall hill, that at present shuts out all sight of the sea, presenting to the traveller a wall-like bank of grass on his right and the bramble covered slopes on his left, that stretch down and down to the valley below, forming a wonderful panorama of Dorsetshire countryside, with Lulworth Castle at the base, Wareham in the distance and a view that extends over several counties, becoming enhanced in loveliness as our height grows steadily upwards. The only diversions from our contemplation of this verduous landscape are the three gates, through which we must pass, barriers across the road, at irregular intervals, each one under the care of a voluntary attendant who opens and shuts them to facilitate our passage – thus earning the monetary recognition scattered from the windows of the moving car – the gates, being no doubt, the legal symbols of the right-of-way, through which we pass.

Reaching the summit, our road bears to the right and runs down the other side of the hill, to a little hamlet, known as Tyneham, and as we traverse this declining roadway, we observe at our feet, a perspective of our objective, Warbarrow Bay, being the nest-like erosion into the valley below, bounded each side by small hills, that eventually grow to the cliffs on the shore.

The Antidote to Hurry

Those of us who are confined to office or factory every working day of our lives, with no aspect beyond the piles of bricks and mortar that surrounds us and no sound but the clicking of typewriters, ringing of telephones, or throbbing of engines, learn to distinguish inside us a craving for the soothing amenities of nature in the raw, which alone can provide the antidote to commercialism and satisfy the very definite yearning of our mental requirements. After all, just as the hunger-stricken victim suffers from the need of physical nourishment, so that unknown component of our being, that we call mind or soul, insists upon the beauties of sea and landscape. We cannot yet measure the effects of light and colour upon our system, but we know, most certainly, that our brain reacts to them, leaving deep impressions and creating a powerful influence upon our emotions.

Thus, our glimpse of the ocean awakens our sense of the infinite, as we leave the car at Tyneham and pass through a little woodland, a tiny arcadia that is complete with stream, rockeries and footbridges, all in a pleasing and rustic manner, the path ultimately leading us to cultivated fields, by the side of which we pass along, the only remaining track that divides us from the sea.

The Bay

We enter the bay, by the only passage, from the north-east corner and are at last confronted by the unique beauty of our quest, an enchanting little cove, that resembles Lulworth in all respects, excepting that its cliffs are not so high and its shape not quite so circular, but dissimilar in its one important feature of virginity. Here in the full of summer, the sea approaches in gentle progress upon the shingley beach (its only defect), washing the shallow basin of its semi-circular formation with a light blue water, that is pleasingly transparent and offering a particularly safe bathing place, to the few who know of its existence. The eastern side (assuming a circle to contain sides) is the only portion of the beach to be accessible, it being a stretch of piled up rocks of small dimensions, that just represent a whim of the tide in its method of orderliness, but our eye picks out, here and there, the bright hues of a silk sunshade that shelters into enterprising Eve who has manipulated the boulders, to gain a position of advantage at the water’s edge.

The white clay-like substance of the cliffs all round, stretch up to the grassy slopes above reflecting the sun’s rays, to the bay beneath – a fact that would account for the agreeable temperature of the water. The cliffs are so straight, in parts, that they form a rough right angle with the green of the grass at the top, giving one the impression that the bay has been cut out by the knife of a giant hand. There are one or two clefts in the precipices, which have been made by the continuous drainage of the adjoining land, each of which becomes periodically congested by the more crumbly substances of inundated soil.

The only residences are little homesteads that could be counted upon either hand, including the one construction that in any way suggests modernity. These little cots contain natives who were born in them and the visitors who share their humble abodes with their low ceilings, tiny windows and stone floors, during the holiday months are families that have done so from generation to generation, it being recognised that they or their children will continue to do so for all time. Camping and caravanning are strictly forbidden in all, leaving accommodation for the stranger an impossibility.

A Proper Guardian

The owner of the land obviously belongs to the type of landlord who, alas! are becoming few in number, as days go by. The type of person who guards the unspoiled features of his property with a passionate autocracy – and therein lies the secret of this flawless gem, amidst a portion of disfigured countryside – evident signs of his attitude being noticeable in the remains of the two coastguard cottages , the inhabitants of which insisted upon letting them to people, detrimental to the surroundings, with the result that he ejected the tenants and pulled down the cottages. The few existing structures possess the usual appurtenances of their kind, the piles of fishing nets, lobster pots, upturned boats and so on, lying haphazardly about, whilst a small lifeboat house stands by the beach, erected of grey stone slabs, the time stained surface of which seem to have a story of their own.

Looking out of the bay, we observe the passing of small craft, the sails of which seem to sway lazily to the feeble zephyr, a little to the right, or west, we may discern the faint outline of Portland Bill, while right out on the open sea, we catch occasional glimpses of ocean liners, appearing like toys in the distance.

A Sunshine Trap

Thus, as we are lucky with the weather, we are confronted with a picture that will for long stimulate our memory to joyful reflection. This rugged cove with its wealth of unaffected beauty, seems to veritably trap the sunshine which glimmers and sparkles on everything it touches, causing the gently flowing waves to flash a myriad beams of gold, that are lost to oblivion, as the fresh born ripple radiates its new-formed gleam of light, piercing in every direction an atmosphere of azure, the rich blues of sky and sea, that fill the background of our living canvas.

The lapping of the waters mingle to the sound of child laughter, and from above we hear the sharp shrill note of the seagull, as it drifts from cove to cove, along the shore, and amid this harmony of enchantment, we subconsciously detect the humming of a far off aeroplane, the sinister potentialities of which loses its menace, regarded from our blue lagoon, but reminds us, none the less, that only round the corner is the world of every day realities.

One other feature of our surroundings brings us to earth, as we notice the girls along the beach, who unblushingly change their ordinary attire for a costume of scant proportions, in which to romp and bathe in the inviting water. This dates our period to the twentieth century, the day of emancipation for the gentler sex and when we remember that less than a century ago our sisters were forbidden outside the door without a chaperon, which accompanying them to the water’s edge, would watch them decorously enter and leave it – the bathers costume’s enveloping every inch of person, from tip to toe – we realise that our women folk have progressed far along the road of reason.

Lastly, in respect of time, our thoughts might wander above to the cliffs, upon the edge of which are the ancient burial mounds, containing the long silent remains of our Stone Age ancestry, and incidentally, giving name to our dream cove, Warbarrow Bay.

Published by the Western Gazette, Friday 13 September 1935

1935: Tyneham House let

Tyneham House, Corfe Castle, a Dorset property that dates from 1580 and has been owned by one family for 250 years, has been let furnished on lease by Messrs. James Styles and Whitlock (St. James Place).

Published by The Times, Thursday 31 October 1935

The Late Mrs. Mary Wheeler

A beloved personality

Mrs. Mary Jane Wheeler of The Bungalow, Worbarrow Bay, passed away on Tuesday afternoon, at the age of 81 years, following an illness which commenced suddenly on July 30th.

A native of Yorkshire, Mrs. Wheeler had been twice married, and on Friday afternoon she was interred in the grave of her first husband, Mr. John Greenwood, who predeceased her by 52 years, at Southend-on-Sea.

To the small community at Worbarrow Bay, the people of Tyneham, and many more in that cleft in the hills of Purbeck, Mrs. Wheeler’s death has brought a sense of irreparable loss. They mourn the passing of a friend who never failed, and for whom their affection was won by a kindly and sympathetic disposition, and by rare generosity. No-one ever turned to Mrs. Wheeler for help, advice, or sympathy in vain.

Not only residents of that part of Purbeck where Mrs. Wheeler was so loved, but visitors, soldiers, airmen, and others can testify to her goodness. During the days of war, when the military had charge of a look-out station at the Bay, she opened her home to the men, provided hot baths and placing a room at their disposal.

On an occasion when a seaplane descended in the Bay, it was Mrs. Wheeler who provided the occupants with accommodation, giving them every comfort, until such time as they were prepared to depart. Holiday makers, campers, and others have found in her a true friend, always prepared to help them, and to make their stay more pleasant.

Funeral Tributes

Mrs. Wheeler was interred by her own special wish in the vault of her first husband, at Southend-on-Sea, Essex, and among the many wreaths sent were the following:

  • Michael, Lorna, and Patrick: In loving memory.
  • Amy, Arthur, and Norman: With ever loving memory to dear Auntie.
  • Reg., of Australia: In affectionate remembrance.
  • Owen, Idris [Ellis]: Sincere love and sympathy.
  • Winifred and Clarence [Brachi]: With great love and deep sorrow.
  • Florrie and Glen: With loving and deepest sympathy.
  • Maude [Ellis]: With grateful and loving remembrance.
  • Trevor [Ellis]: To dearest Mother.
  • David, Anne, and Mary [Brachi]: With love from her children.
  • Mrs. Norman Briggs: With ever loving memories to a great and noble woman.
  • Mrs. R. J. Oliver and Violet: In grateful remembrance of her kindness.
  • Elsie Schries and Margaret Boston: In ever loving memory.
  • Rev. and Mrs. L. Wynne: In memory of an old friend.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Hill, Olive and Mabel: In very loving memory.
  • Mrs. L. H. Gilbert: In loving memory of a dear old friend.
  • Mrs. Haley and Olga: In loving remembrance.
  • Annie and Julia and Mrs. Warr: In loving memory.
  • Rosetta Fraser: With deepest sympathy.
  • Douglas, Ada, and Tony Wheeler: With love and sympathy.
  • Mrs. H. Cundall: In loving memory of a very dear friend.
  • Mr. C. Bayer: With deepest sympathy.
  • Harriet, Grace, and Sally: With love for the best lady we have ever known.
  • Harriet and Charles Miller: In ever loving memory.
  • Jack and Miggie [Miller]: To our dear old friend.
  • Mrs. Rose: With much love to a dear friend.
  • Mrs. Herd: With deepest sympathy.
  • Percy and Ellen Kerley: In kind remembrance.
  • Mrs. J. Toms: With deep sympathy.
  • The Nurses: With kind thoughts.
  • Mrs. A. Moor-Shaw: In loving remembrance.
  • Mrs. F. J. Wheeler, Alice and Willie: With deepest sympathy.
  • Mrs. Frank Berryman and Mrs. Titchmarsh: In affectionate remembrance.
  • Miss Edith Gamble: In affectionate memory.
  • Mr. and Mrs. C. P. Kirton: With sincere sympathy.
  • Mrs. Walter Ware and Reg.: In loving memory of a dear Gran.
  • Mr. and Mrs. John Annereau: With kind remembrance.
  • Mr. Francis Briggs: In memory of many happy days.

The relatives of the late Mrs. M. J. Wheeler, of Worbarrow, Corfe Castle, wish to thank their many friends for the kind letters of sympathy and beautiful flowers.

Published by Western Gazette, 26 August 1932

1931: Death of Mrs. James Lucas


AN APPRECIATION. – A correspondent writes:

“The death of Mrs. James Lucas, at the age of 80, has broken the last link with the old generation so closely connected with Tyneham Farm. Widow of ‘Shepherd’ Lucas (who died six years ago), she had spent the whole of her married life in this parish, and it was only latterly that ill-health had obliged her to leave in order to be cared for by her youngest daughter. Life must have been very difficult to face, with ten children to bring up on the low wages of 40 years and more ago, but she maintained a quiet dignity and an uncomplaining disposition to the end. She was buried at Tyneham on Saturday in the presence of many children, grandchildren and friends. May she rest in peace.”

Published by Western Gazette, 3 April 1931

[Jane Lucas nee Diskett (1851-1931)]