Just Getting On With It

Just Getting On With It

Frank's story, as told by Rosemary Cleaver

Frank Hall was born in Hampshire in 1923. His mother died when he was 10, and Frank and his sisters were sent to live with their grandfather, aunt and uncle in Stonesfield. Here they were brought up in a village where water came from wells and transport was a strong pair of feet.

Frank's love of gardening inspired his aunt to give him an allotment and at the age of 11 he was expected to provide vegetables for the large family. He kept this plot for 70 years.

When war was declared Frank joined the Home Guard before being called up in 1942. After training with the Oxford & Bucks Regiment, he spent his war years as a driver in the newly formed Sixth Airborne Division. He took part in the Normandy Landings, the Ardennes fighting and the Rhine crossing. After service in Palestine he left the army in 1947 with memories enough to last a lifetime.

Frank married Jean in 1952 and went to live in Bladon, where they were both very much part of village life. As verger at the parish church Frank played a vital part in the arrangements for the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill.

Always aware of the hardship – and comradeship – of service, on his return to Stonesfield in 1969 Frank began to organise the poppy collections for the British Legion, a job he performed for the next 40 years.

At 85 Frank has decided to give up the allotment. He still has his garden with the greenhouse, the flowers, the fruit and the vegetables.

Frank's story will certainly be read by people interested in his wartime experiences, but also for the light it sheds on the changes the twentieth century wrought in the little Oxfordshire village of Stonesfield.

£9.99 paperback  102pp   black and white photographs
Published by the Wychwood Press, 2009