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Penn pub’s historic chimney to be dismantled, brick by brick, and restored

The leaning tower of pizza: the pub/restaurant’s chimney stack will be carefully dismantled so the old oak beam over the inglenook that’s been supporting it for years can be subtly reinforced.

MAJOR construction work is needed at Penn’s oldest pub, the Crown, to stop parts of it falling down.

The pub’s owners, Greene King, are ready to spend millions improving the pub and upgrading it to their highest restaurant category after they received planning permission following two years of talks with planning officials. 

Now, a detailed report from structural engineers shows just how much the 450 year old pub is showing its age – and how various alterations over the years haven’t helped its stability.

The engineers say expert work will be needed to stabilise the Grade 2 listed building:

  • The landmark chimney stack will be dismantled brick by brick as the stack is leaning towards Church Road.
  • While the stack is dismantled an old oak timber beam, spanning the internal inglenook which supports the stack, will have a galvanised steel beam inserted behind it to enable it to support the chimney stack for several more years.
  • Once the chimney stack bricks have been cleaned and carefully refurbished they will be put back exactly as they were.
  • The metal frame windows and leaded glass panels will be removed, refurbished and replaced.
  • Bricks beyond restoration on the south east corner of the pub will be replaced with identical new bricks and matching mortar.
  • A failed arch over the entrance will be strengthened with stainless steel rods invisible to the naked eye and ground floor windows will be strengthened. 
  • Drains will be rearranged to stop rainwater soaking ground level brickwork as it does at present

Because the pub is a listed building in the Penn and Tylers Green conservation area, council permission is needed before work can begin.

Tylers Green couple distraught as Thames Water continues to devastate their garden

A poo-r show: the Frizoni’s show garden submerged in sewage. Picture published in Bucks Free Press

A COUPLE who would have been entering the village’s Open Gardens display this month will instead look out on a scene of utter devastation.

Patrick and Jane Frizoni’s beautiful garden at Dell Cottage in Church Road was flooded with raw sewage last November when an adjacent sewer fractured, creating a sinkhole and pouring its contents over the garden. It was the third time in a year they had suffered flooding from Thames Water pipes.

At the time Thames Water said “sorry, we’ll finish the job by Christmas”. Seven months on Thames Water told the Bucks Free Press “sorry, we’ll finish the job by mid-June.”

Mr Frizoni told the newspaper: “Our garden is my wife’s pride and joy but it’s been a disaster for us.  First it was covered in sewage and now it’s been fenced off and dug up.

“We’ve lost our privacy and they haven’t offered us any compensation.  It’s an appalling situation.

“My wife and I are just ordinary people who had a lovely house.  Now we’re just sitting here, unable to do anything about it.  It makes me very angry.”

The situation hasn’t been helped by Thames Water’s cack-handed approach to communication.

They haven’t told the Frizoni’s (or anyone else) exactly what they are doing. They haven’t told the Horse and Jockey pub, whose car park they have put out of action with their heavy machinery, when they can expect to get their car park back. This blog has asked them  nicely twice a month for the past five months what’s going on, but the requests have been ignored or met with “we’ll get back to you.”

*It never rains but it pours…The Penn to Hazlemere Road by the Curzon Avenue junction was closed for three days last month when a pipe burst while workers were repairing the damage caused by a previous fractured pipe.  The work is attempting to stabilise the entire area, which was the site of a natural pond before it was filled in and a house built on top.

A chance to stop and stare…and win £500

SO WHERE do you think this is?  A clue: it is on the Penn and Tylers Green Fun Run course.

This month there’s a lovely quiz available, with an astonishing £500 prize, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our Super Fun Run Day.

A booklet, called Hidden in Plain Sight,  has been produced inviting you to identify 40 landmarks taken from unusual picture angles. Some are easy; some not so.

All the photos, printed in black and white, have been taken on the 3.7 mile fun run course, which goes from the common, down St John’s Road, Manor Road, Amersham Road, past Hazlemere Library into Highfield Way, Rose Avenue, Ashley Drive and back to the common.

This year’s Penn 7 and Fun Run, on 15 June, is being held in memory of Elaine Cullip, the event’s most consistent runner, who died last year.

Elaine, of Ashley Drive, suffered from dementia in her final years and all the profits from the fun run, and this booklet, are being donated to the Lewy Body Society, which funds research into the type of dementia from which Elaine suffered.

You have plenty of time. The booklet, costing £8, is available from Tylers Green Village Hall and the competition answers don’t have to be returned there until 31 July. It’s also available for sale at the Horse and Jockey, the Red Lion, the Old Queen’s Head, John’s Barbers in Rose Avenue and Joe Gleeson’s butchers.

The fun competition is the brainchild of long-time fun run stalwart Bill Sadler whose son Chris chairs the fun run organising committee and whose company, Kimble Solar, is generously sponsoring the quiz.

Local news

We don’t normally enjoy the Northern Lights this far south, but as Dev Churaman’s picture shows, the sky lit up red and green last month. Picture published on the Hazlemere Residents Facebook page.

Estate cut off – A woman had to be cut free from her vehicle after a two car crash at the junction of Wheeler Avenue and Church Road, Tylers Green on 11 May. The roads were blocked for nearly three hours – isolating Wheeler Avenue and its adjoining roads –  while police, fire and ambulance personnel  attended the scene. Further details have not been given by the emergency services.

Paraglider plungeA paraglider who eyewitnesses saw fall from just above tree level in Penn Wood on 8 May seemingly escaped with minor injuries. He was seen getting into a van and been driven away.

Bakery closes – Progress Bakery, a small independently-run shop in Amersham Road, Hazlemere, next to the Crown pub, closed last month with owner Sarah Gannon blaming rising costs and the aftermath of lockdown.  There’s been a bakery on the site since 1895. The closure comes eight months after the Wenzel’s bakery chain opened a new shop nearby at Hazlemere Crossroads and two and half years after the nearby Holy Trinity Church opened its Atrium cafe.

New president David Harris, of Kingswood Road, Tylers Green has been elected president of the  countryside charity, the Chiltern Society. He has been a driving force in the establishment of Penn’s Jubilee Wood and the takeover of Common Wood by the Penn and Tylers Green Residents’ Society, assisted by the Woodland Trust.

Year 4 children at Manor Farm Community Junior School in Rose Avenue, pictured above, played music and sang a number of songs at a schools concert in the Royal Albert Hall – a performance, said head teacher Dave Compton, which proved one of the highlights of his career in teaching. Picture: Manor Farm Community Junior School. 

Farewell Herbert – Penn’s oldest resident, Herbert Druce, died at his care home last month  aged 109. He spent over 100 years living in the village before moving to a care home in the Midlands to be nearer his daughter. You can read about his remarkable life in the February 2023 edition of this blog – just click the archive section at the bottom of the page.

Player-coach Charlie Losasso, a former winger with Reading under-21s, has been appointed player-coach of Penn and Tylers Green Football Club.

Gomm Valley decision – The Planning Inspectorate’s judgment on the Gomm Valley planning application is likely to be delayed until after the general election on 4 July. Planning inspector Matthew Woodward concluded his inquiry into Taylor Wimpey’s plan to build 540 houses and other facilities between Cock Lane and Hammersley Lane, Tylers Green on 21 May. However, he will need to be sure his decision on the controversial plan doesn’t get dragged into the election campaign. Consequently he is likely to play safe and wait until later in the summer before publishing his verdict.

Schools summer fetesTylers Green Middle School holds its summer fete on 21 June; Curzon School, Penn Street and Manor Farm Schools, Hazlemere on 29 June and Tylers  Green First School on 6 July.

Christine Walker’s creative design to advertise the village Open Gardens day, adorned the letter box in Church Road, Tylers Green.

New election boundaries: same old confusion

Quackers! The Widmer Pond duckings on the left are in Conservative-held Wycombe; the ducklings on the right are in Lib-Dem held Chesham and Amersham. Mother Duck guards somewhere near the invisible, non-sensical boundary line.

Incidentally, the  Chepping Wycombe Parish Council area is on the left while the Penn Parish Council area is on the right. So any pond-related issues have to be agreed by two different sets of parish councillors. 

THERE WAS a lovely story during the Chesham and Amersham by-election three years ago when Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and his son were cheerily wandering down Elm Road stuffing leaflets through doors only to be told by kindly locals they were canvassing in the wrong constituency – Chesham and Amersham was on the other side of the road.

Hardly surprising however. For reasons hard to fathom this area has been a mish-mash of boundary lines for years.

When the Boundary Commissioners reviewed Parliamentary constituency boundaries that would take effect from next month’s general election, there was some hope common sense would prevail.

Alas not. If anything this election’s erstwhile canvassers, not to mention the voters, will be more confused than ever.

There’s been so much housing development over the past few decades merging and melding once identifiable village communities into one mass, the poor old commissioners were on a hiding to nothing to try and make sense of it all.

The former Horse and Groom in Elm Road had a dividing line through the middle, with the snug in Tylers Green and the bar in Penn!

Elm Road still remains a dividing line – the Red Lion is still in Chesham and Amersham while the Old Queen’s Head, down the road, is in Wycombe constituency.

But the commissioners have added some new head-scratching conundrums.

In Tylers Green, for instance, people living at one end of Coppice Farm Road and Ashley Drive find themselves in the Wycombe constituency, while people at the other end are now in Chesham and Amersham. Similarly, folk in St John’s Road and Hillside Road remain in Wycombe  while those in adjoining Manor Road are in Chesham and Amersham.

Chepping Wycombe Parish Council, which serves Tylers Green, Loudwater and Flackwell Heath, now finds itself straddling three Parliamentary constituencies – Wycombe, Chesham and Amersham and a revamped Beaconsfield.

Hazlemere and Holmer Green have found themselves hoisted from Wycombe into Chesham and Amersham, but their adjoining community of Widmer End is in the altogether new constituency of Mid Buckinghamshire – a vast constituency stretching from Widmer End in the south to Waddesdon in the north.

Meanwhile, over the valley, the good people of Marlow now find themselves in Beaconsfield, while Marlow Bottom is in Wycombe and Bisham, just over the bridge, is in Maidenhead.

It isn’t only photo ID voters will need this time round. A detailed map might be helpful.  

Change of bus services after Arriva fails to arrive

In Wycombe, Arriva’s blue buses will be replaced by Carousel’s red buses. Will the area’s political complexion undergo a similar colour change?

CAROUSEL Buses will take over the Penn to High Wycombe bus route from 28 July after the previous operator, Arriva, said it was closing its Aylesbury and High Wycombe depots and ditching virtually all its routes in the area. 

The Penn service will run three times an hour during the morning and evening weekday peaks and every 30 minutes during the daytime and Saturdays. There will be an hourly services on Sundays.  The last bus from High Wycombe every day will leave at 8.10pm.

The Penn service will also revert to its old number – route 31 – after Arriva changed the route number last year to 11.  

Carousel said it will offer bus services “very similar” to existing services throughout the whole Wycombe area.

Arriva said it had been unable to make a profit out of local services, but there had been an increasing number of complaints from passengers in recent months over unscheduled and unannounced cancellation of services. It’s expected most Arriva staff losing jobs with the company will be offered work with Carousel.

*One thing that used to annoy many locals was Arriva’s insistence in describing its Penn destination as “Penn Pond”. There is, of course, no such place.  The pond on the common is called Widmer Pond and has been so since it was first named many hundreds of years ago.

In fact, if you want to be pedantic about it (and why not?) as the item above points out,  only half of the pond is in Penn as the boundary with Tylers Green runs right through the middle. Carousel intend to write on their destination board,  “Penn: the pond”.  At least it’s more accurate, particularly as the bus stop just about scrapes into Penn.

Tylers Green councillor becomes youngest mayor

Our youngest mayor prepares for his weighing-in ceremony.  Picture: High Wycombe Charter Trustees

TWENTY ONE year old Nathan Thomas, a councillor for Tylers Green and Loudwater, has been elected as almost certainly the youngest ever mayor of High Wycombe.

Mr Thomas, of Hawthorne Crescent, Hazlemere, is already the youngest member of Buckinghamshire Council. 

He was  first elected in 2021 when he was 18 and taking his A levels at Holmer Green Senior School. He has been Wycombe’s deputy mayor for the past year, and is chairman of Wycombe Young Conservatives. 

One of identical twins, he attended Manor Farm Infant and Junior Schools and then Sir William Ramsay School before moving to Holmer Green School to take his A levels. He enjoys cricket and Formula One. 

The role of Mayor of High Wycombe is one of the oldest titles in the country. The first mayor was elected towards the end of the 13th century and Nathan is the 552nd, or thereabouts considering there have been a handful of disqualifications and resignations along the way. 

The  mayor-making ceremony is  unique in Britain because the mayor is weighed at the beginning and end of his or her term of office – a custom that began in medieval times indicating that if the mayor had put weight on during his or her year of office they had been eating too much on taxpayers’ expense!

A millionaire’s playground or a haven for nature? Planning row over future of a Penn field

Penn Grove: Owner Tristan Ramus wants to convert the field behind the five smaller trees at the top of the picture into an orchard and recreational space.   Picture: Sara Agar Interiors

A VERY 21st century planning row has erupted in Penn over the future of a very ordinary field in the middle of a highly protected landscape.

In one corner is investment manager Tristan Ramus, described as one of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs, who lives in the luxurious mansion, Penn Grove in Witheridge Lane.

He wants to convert the field at the back of his property into an orchard with 60 fruit trees, bee hives, a wildflower meadow and a nature pond which he says will enhance biodiversity in the area.

In the other corner are Penn parish councillors who say the scheme is nothing more than “an attempt to develop agricultural land and convert it to a garden”.

They say it will urbanise the landscape and don’t agree it will increase biodiversity. Another objector, Julia Messenger, has told the council it’s a “cynical ploy to create a millionaire’s playground”.

The field is in Green Belt and the Chilterns Natural Landscape (formerly called Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – AONB). Buckinghamshire Council rejected a grander scheme last year which included a fairly substantial building to house tractors etc because it didn’t enhance the AONB, and in any event the land’s lawful use is only for agriculture.

This time round Mr Ramus is proposing to replace the previous large  building with two smaller ones and argues that developing an orchard with bee hives amounts to agricultural use. Buckinghamshire councillors will consider the issue later in the summer.

Village show’s new website in a class of its own

PENN and Tylers Green Village Show has an impressive new website to make things easier for those wishing to enter various categories for this year’s show next month.  It takes place on Saturday 13 July in Tylers Green Village Hall.

All of the categories are displayed and explained from cookery to arts and crafts; flowers to veg… plus some new ones. The family class this year is to make a scarecrow, using any materials and lots of imagination.

Check out all the details on https://www.pennandtylersgreenvillageshow.com

The fire that burned for 29 days

Pictures: ITV News

ONE OF the biggest pollution incidents ever to occur in this area was brought to a close on 23 May when a combination of heavy rain and bulldozers put out a fire in Hazlemere that burned for 29 days.

Neighbours living nearby had to keep their doors and windows closed, even when temperatures reached 20c, and many said they suffered from breathing difficulties as volumes of smoke engulfed their properties. 

There was additional concern because no-one knew for certain what the smoke contained or even identify what the material was that caused such a prolonged blaze.

The fire started on wasteland off the Amersham Road, not far from the Gravelly Way junction on the other side of the road.  Bellway Homes, who have acquired the land for housing development, said that on 25 April large concrete barriers protecting the site were pushed aside and an enormous amount of rubbish was fly-tipped before being set alight.

The fire brigade settled the worst of the blaze but the fire had spread underground ensuring that smoke continued to emerge from the area and affect nearby properties. 

It wasn’t until 9 May, eleven days after the fire started and after persistent complaints from neighbours, that the Environment Agency asked for examples of the burnt material to be tested to see if it was a hazard to public health. The results of the tests are still awaited.

Buckinghamshire Council, which said last month it wants to see fines for fly-tipping trebled, is trying to identify who tipped the rubbish, but local reports suggest that security cameras surrounding the site were not working at the time of the incursion. 

The poet who battled for Penn

Sir John Betjeman. Picture: BBC

JOHN Betjeman, the celebrated poet whose death 40 years ago was commemorated last month, was an occasional visitor to Penn, which he described as the “Chelsea of the Chilterns”. 

Not sure if that was meant as a compliment or not, but he was a fan of Holy Trinity Church, noting that “within and without, the church has the charm of old watercolours.”

In 1965 he lent his considerable support to a campaign to prevent the 1831 Penn Almshouses, opposite Holy Trinity, from demolition to be replaced with the Penn Meads flats, designed by the eminent modernist architect Sir Hugh Casson. 

The Penn Almshouses Betjeman and locals battled, in vain, to save.

Betjeman became vice president of the group set up to fight for the almshouses – which eventually morphed into the Penn and Tylers Green Society – and he wrote a personal letter to Casson suggesting that his design – “attractive as it is in itself” – should be built elsewhere.

That battle may have been lost but it led to the (partial) winning of the war. Six years later, at the instigation of the society, conservation areas were established in Penn and Tylers Green, later to be amalgamated into one. Even today the society is ever-ready to bite the ankles of any developer who wants to drastically alter the protected bits of this “Chelsea of the Chilterns.”

Regional news

Adamski Park – A Georgian-born billionaire Mikheil Lomtadze, aged 48, has bought Wycombe Wanderers Football Club from  American millionaire Rob Couhig, 75, for an undisclosed sum. Mr Lomtadze, who made his fortune from a technology company in Kazakhstan, where he lives, says he plans to “integrate data analytics and technology to elevate the club’s performance to new levels.”

Policeman shot Armed police shot a man in Downley after a policeman was allegedly shot in the leg with a crossbow and another man in his 60s was stabbed in School Close, on 10 May.  Jason King, 54, who lives in School Close, has been charged with a number of offences, including wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. The police officer and the other victim are now recovering. 

Skin centre – A centre for skin conditions, ranging from skin cancer to plastic surgery requirements, was officially opened last month at Amersham Hospital.

Studio rejection Plans to build a film studios on former gravel pits off the Marlow by-pass have been refused by councillors who agreed with planning officials that would  be unsuitable development within the Green  Belt.

Foster care perks – In an attempt to encourage more foster carers the council has produced a package of perks for them which include  a full council tax rebate, free parking in council car parks and free access to leisure centres.

Kidnap arrestA man has been arrested on suspicion of kidnap after he was seen removing a woman from the boot of a car at Beaconsfield Services. The woman, in her early 20s, is in a safe place while police inquiries continue.

Supermarket battle – Aldi, the cut price supermarket, has applied to build a new store on a former garage site virtually opposite the existing Tesco supermarket in London Road, Amersham.

Micklefield stabbing Three men have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a man was stabbed in Tilling Crescent, Micklefield on 18 May. The victim is in a stable condition in hospital.

80 years ago this month: Relief over D-Day quickly turns to fear as V-1 rocket explodes in local school sports field

Continuing our monthly look at what was happening here in 1944.

June 1944

MOST people in Penn and Tylers Green knew that D-Day had begun before the first reports of paratroopers landing in Normandy was announced on the eight o’clock news on Tuesday, 6 June, 1944.

There had been a constant drone of aircraft flying over the village for most of the night. By dawn one young lad looked up and saw so many aircraft travelling south “they almost blocked out the light”.

So by the time the BBC announcer John Snagge, who lived in Stoke Poges, read out the official announcement at 9.30 that D-Day had begun there wasn’t much anyone could do but wait and see and carry on as normal.

Children went to school – locals in the morning; refugees/evacuees in the afternoon – and adults went to work. Those with family members or friends serving in the armed forces didn’t know whether their loved ones were involved or not. The secrecy surrounding the greatest maritime invasion ever known – and taking place just 200 miles away –  was absolute.

There was, of course, no 24-hour news; no TV; no internet. People could only get news from the regular BBC broadcasts and from the newspapers. The reports that were appearing were positive but realistic in recording there were considerable casualties.

A famous picture from the D-Day landings. Picture: D Day Museum, Portsmouth

The next day members of the Penn and Tylers Green branches of the Red Cross and St John Ambulance spent several hours on the common with their collection tins. “The great extra needs caused by the invasion brought a special appeal,”  one collector told a local paper. They collected £71/4/8d which they made up to £100 from their own funds.

The Penn and Tylers Green Women’s Institute, meeting in the village hall that week, urged its members to knit more socks and operation stockings in anticipation of greater need.

In High Wycombe, the mayor, Cllr John Avery, addressed fellow councillors: “Since our last meeting historic events have been happening. It has been brought home to us all how immense is the effort this country is making, in common with our Allies, to rid the world of an evil philosophy.”

It really was brought home the following day, Thursday 8 June. An RAF aircraft, possibly returning from a D-Day mission, crashed near the railway embankment by Hatters Lane railway bridge off the A40, miraculously missing houses but setting fire to trees. The pilot and navigator were both killed. The reason for the crash, or their mission, was never made public.

But the disaster wasn’t the only reminder that the war was far from over.  The Ministry of Information reported that in the days following D-Day many people thought they were now safe from the war. They were wrong.

The first Doodlebug explodes in Bow. Picture: Imperial War Museum

In the early hours of 13 June the first V1 rocket hit London, killing six people in Bow.  These “pilotless planes”, as they were first called, were Hitler’s terror weapon which he believed would still win him the war.

A week later, on 19 June, the first “Doodlebug” exploded in this area – landing without causing casualties in a sports field by the Royal Grammar School, off  Amersham Road.

And then, towards the end of the month, details of those killed, wounded, missing or captured in Normandy came filtering in. 

Flt Lt  Arthur “Buster” Brown, the only son of the famous aviator Sir Arthur Whitten Brown, whose ashes are interred in St Margaret’s, Tylers Green, died on D-Day when his Mosquito crashed in Holland. He was 22 and is buried in his parents grave.

Sergeant Donald White, aged 24, who lived with his parents in Old Park, Hammersley Lane, Tylers Green, was also killed in action on D -Day. He was a member of airborne forces parachuting into enemy territory. 

But, as ever, life went on in that memorable June:

War hero marries – At Penn Street Church villagers turned out to cheer the marriage of local nurse Sylvia Todd to a Polish war hero Jan Mondschien. Born in Warsaw in 1912 Jan had just completed his Masters degree in law when the Nazis invaded Poland. He immediately joined the Polish army and commanded a platoon of cyclists because of a shortage of horses.

He fought so bravely against overwhelming odds he was awarded the Polish Cross of Valour two days before being captured. He managed, however, to escape and cross into Hungary where Polish diplomats  gave him false papers and money and after a hair-raising journey he travelled to France to continue the fight. When France fell, he again managed to escape, this time being picked up by the British in a boat that just about survived being torpedoed.

He successfully trained as a pilot and flew 44 dangerous missions. A bout of diphtheria landed him in hospital where he met Sylvia and the pair immediately fell in love. Although only 11 days after D-Day his Squadron Commander granted him an unofficial 48 hour pass for the wedding.

After the war he accepted a permanent commission in the RAF and in 1955 was awarded an MBE. A year later he changed his name by deed poll to Monsell and retired in 1966 as a Wing Commander. He and Sylvia had three children but sadly, two years after retirement at the age of 56, he died.
  • The village welcomed home its first repatriated prisoner of war –  Private Derek Hawes, of The Larchlands, Tylers Green – who had been captured in France just before the Dunkirk evacuation in May 1940. Prisoners who were usually ill or disabled were exchanged through arrangements made by the Red Cross. Early in the war the Germans were reluctant to release any prisoners but after thousands of their troops were captured in North Africa they had a change of heart.
  • In Wycombe, two local women married American servicemen who were based in the town. One, Shiela Line, was presented with a floral bouquet in the shape of a V for Victory, while the other, Irene Stockbridge wore a veil of lace sent by the groom’s family in New York. A number of British women married American servicemen in the war and were known as GI brides.
  • The London Gazette reported that Sgt Norman Stretton, of Elm Road, Penn had been “mentioned in dispatches” for his “gallant and distinguished service” in the Middle East.
Recycling went on in earnest throughout the war. Here, Penn and Tylers Green guides collect waste paper in New Road.
  • A memorial service was held in St Margaret’s, Tylers Green, for Squadron Leader Hilary Caldwell, aged 43, who died in a plane crash on a diplomatic mission in Spain. He had married in the church only two years earlier. He is buried in Madrid but his name is on the Tylers Green war memorial.
  • The Ministry of Town and Country Planning announced that Tylers Green would be exempt from housing development after the war because of its agricultural importance. Local farmers, meanwhile,  were invited to see a demonstration of the new mechanical milking machines at a Bourne End farm. 
  • The Ministry of Food announced its travelling van would be arriving in Penn and Tylers Green  on the afternoon of 27 June with new ration books,  but people must remember to bring their identity cards to claim one.
  • Burnham Beeches announced its swimming pools would be open for visitors in the summer now that D-Day military vehicles had left.  However, unlike pre-war, there would be no costumes or towels for hire and visitors were advised to bring their own crockery if they were staying for refreshments. 
  • And a local pigeon achieved fame winning the Wycombe Homing Society’s June race from Northallerton in Yorkshire to Wycombe. It covered the 192 miles in five hours and 25 minutes…perhaps encouraged by the hundreds of planes flying over its head!

One of the Flying Fortress American bombers flying over the Wycombe area that early D-Day morning  on its way to bomb enemy positions near Caen was called Tomahawk Warrior…an aircraft that just nine weeks later would leave a tragic and indelible mark on the Penn and Tylers Green community.

Local battalion’s memorable battle

Troops from the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry on Pegasus Bridge

ONE OF the most significant operations of D-Day involved men from the 2nd Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, who were part of the 6th Airborne Division at the time.

At quarter past midnight on D-Day the soldiers landed in gliders in  enemy territory and captured  two vital bridges over the River Orne and the Caen Canal.

They secured the bridges and held on under heavy fire for 13 hours  before they were relieved by troops who had earlier landed on the beaches.

One of the bridges was later renamed Pegasus Bridge after the emblem of the British Airborne Division – a name it keeps to this day. An exhibition about the operation is being shown at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock until 22 September. 

You can contact this blog at peter@pennandtylersgreen.com The blog will be updated as necessary during June, but the next full update is on 1 July.