Audio Recordings: Wartime Memories of Les Case and Edith Faulkner

Les Case (00-25.55) and Edith Faulkner (25.55-45.33) with John Rawlins

Edith Faulkner with John Rawlins (Contd.)

These oral history recordings are undated, and begin without formal introduction. The first is a continuation of a conversation with Les Case about his memories of life in the Home Guard from the days it was known as the Local Defence Volunteers. It also contains a conversation with Edith Faulker, which continues in the second clip.

Memories of Les Case

Les Case has many amusing anecdotes to tell interviewer John Rawlins. With manoeuvres taking pace twice weekly, there are many stories to tell, including several around a mock “attack” on Chipping Norton involving an early visit to the White Hart for a drink. (00-6.50)

The discussion goes on to talk about the evacuees which the Case family took in, names of Donald and Colin Slater. Les recalls the weekly visits of parents from London by bus and tells another story around the driver’s refusal to take individuals on the return journey if they had taken vegetable from the allotments. (6.50-11.30)

We move on the Les Case’s time working at the Prebendal, and summaries of the way in which troops had been accommodated, beginning with the Medical Corps in the early days of the war.

Some discussions around who might have had the role of ARP Warden, and names include Henry Walker at Milton, and Ernie Barrett in Shipton.

One of Les’s jobs during Mrs Wainman’s time at the Prebendal was to look after the football fields as part of his gardening duties. He has other stories including the way in which football players were “volunteered”.

World War Two Evacuees at the Prebendal in Shipton
WW2 Evacuees at The Prebendal, 1940s

Some effort is made to remember names of people working at the Prebendal, including Mr Adams the Butler and Harry Hedges among the gardeners, and Bill Hedges, porter at Shipton Station.

Mrs Wainman and her four sons are discussed in more detail, as well as her farm. This was kept mainly for hunting horses, perhaps 14 of them, which were ridden by the boys when on leave. Jack Baker’s father is mentioned by John Rawlins, and some discussion around that family is glossed over. (11.30 – 25.55)

Edith Faulkner

Edith was the daughter of ‘Shepherd’ Faulkner, well known for his shepherding skills. Edith rode a bicycle into old age. She lived in Upper Shipton.

In these clips ( from 25.55 ) there are questions posed by John Rawlins on various topics around life during the Second World War.

We start with an inconclusive exchange about fire watching, which Edith was pleased not to be involved in, given the need to “get up on the downs” to do the job.

We move on to a mention of evacuees, but Edith was not involved as she had “no room”, and then move on to a discussion around the billeting of troops, at St. Michaels, the Tillyards (Americans) and at Shipton Court (Grenadier Guards – initially in the stable yard).

Edith goes on talk about the sewing groups run by Mrs Hall, as discussed in the conversation with Win Miles elsewhere. Her involvement was in the packing and delivery to Chipping Norton under the auspices of a Mrs Sword(?). Edith remembers the presentation to Mrs Hall of a clock to commemorate her efforts as president of the British Legion (1937).

Discussion of the YMCA and wartime piano recitals and the whist drives arranged – amongst much else – by Dr Scott.

Vivid memories of the incendiary bomb in Shipton School yard, as well as the bombs dropping over Coventry “like onions dropping down”, visible from upper floors in the Court.

Pre-War Memories of the Prebendal

Edith remembers names around her time working at the Prebendal in “Mrs Hornby’s time”, with a Mr Everett working in the gardens, his wife working in the kitchens and a “Margaret” the head housemaid. Around (36.50) memories are quite difficult, as Edith tries to recall the sequence of owners at the Prebendal. Edith recalls a connection with Tate and Lyle, but does not relate that memory to Dr and Mrs Hinde [ cf: ]

We move on to the layout of the Prebendal, including the servants’ quarters, hall and drawing room, kitchen, pantry, and cellars.

Other Wartime Recollections

From [42.38] and into the second short clip, the discussion reverts to the world wars, and the activities of Edith’s brother Tom in World War One, and his later time working on buildings in Walsingham, Norfolk, and his death in a works accident.

Among names mentioned in discussions around the fallen are Walter Barrett, Reginal Watton, Kenneth Wright and John Wright, with some speculation around ages and addresses. “A lot of people would like to forget it”, says Edith as the conversation ends.

Further Notes about Edith Faulkner from Journal 19

Edith Faulkner entered Mrs Hall’s employment in 1933, at the age of twenty-six, as her personal maid, caring for her clothes and tidying up as well as doing light housework, returning home daily to Upper Shipton. She came in from the main road through a discreet wooden door, past the former squash court to the laundry, then down a covered way to the kitchen and staff area, totally screened from the gardens by a side wall.

The housemaids wore long dresses, white aprons and starched caps, and the butler or footman a green waistcoat. She recollected Mrs Ward the cook from County Durham, an Austrian parlourmaid, and Mr Belcher the butler who was married and who lived in one of the modern, semi-detached  houses at the west end of Plum Lane, the head gardener (who wore a top hat to work) occupying the other.

Of the outdoor staff, she also remembered Charles ‘Matey’ Wiggins, a bent old gardener, who apparently asked for a rise on his ninetieth birthday, and got it! A married herdsman lived in  what is now the Dower House, while unmarried cowmen slept in the bothy in the stableyard.

She recalled a tennis court on the north side of the House and a croquet lawn at the southern end of the garden, next to the upper lake or swimming pool.


Taped interviews with Edith Faulkner by Mary McNeill and John Rawlins.

Taped interviews with Edith Faulkner and Graham Arundell by Trudy Yates.

Taped interviews with Irene Carpenter and Betty Scott by Janet Wallace.