July 19, 2020|
Evelyn Maulden – Bells rang for her wedding just after D-Day
I was at school at Rookesbury before the war – we had no electricity or running water, in fact the water supply was due to a massive ram pumping water up from the river.
When the the house was taken over by the RASC in 1940, this proved to be a blessing in disguise, as the army engineers installed both electricity and running water.
When the war started my mother organised a canteen for the troops in the Victory Hall. There was a huge coal range on which I learned to fry eggs for them. It was very much appreciated, especially by the Canadian troops later on.
I had been working in Naval Hospitals and from 1942 I joined the staff at Beverley, which was the maternity home for Naval wives, moved from Southsea when heavy bombing of Portsmouth started. I enjoyed this time, and we had far less bombing than Portsmouth, although before I came to Beverley there were quite a few unexploded bombs and incendiaries – in the Square and on the outskirts.
On June 24th. 1944, just 3 weeks after D-Day, James (Maulden) and I were married in St Nicholas church. The Square was still full of army lorries and troops and when I came down the steps from Wickham House they gave a big cheer. Mr. Chappell the chief bellringer, rang the bells for a very long time – I think that apart from after Alamein, this was the first occasion since 1939 that they had been heard.
In May 1941 Evelyn’s husband, Cdr. James Maulden watched the sinking of the Bismark from his battleship King George V. Rather than a feeling of triumph, he says ‘There was a great feeling of pity for the German sailors as we stood down from action stations.’
Evelyn’s mother was Mary (nee Duncan), the wife of Dr. Kinnear the village doctor for many years. In a talk to the Wickham History Society she described the start of WW1 in 1914:
‘There was a fleet review due at the weekend, and on the Friday we watched the ships assembled off Spithead. But then appeared two German airships which circled over the fleet and then flew towards Wickham. By the next morning the whole fleet had sailed off.’
Evelyn Maulden (née Kinnear)