World War Two in Tollerton


During World War 2 Tollerton residents would have seen dramatic changes in and around the village with increased activity at the airfield and the arrival of many troops. The airport was requisitioned by the Air Ministry on 3 September 1939 and became RAF Tollerton, where pilots were trained and damaged aircraft repaired.

Tollerton Hall and a considerable part of Hall Farm were requisitioned to create a military camp. The following document was issued in July 1940 by the War Department Land Agent (Nottingham District) on behalf of His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the War Department to Mr Brown, owner of this farm, confirms the latter.

This document also sets out a payment of £67 & 30 shillings per annum to be paid quarterly as compensation for the loss of this land.

The Troops

In 1991 Dorothy Singleton gave a talk to the Tollerton Friendship Club in which she outlined the comings and goings of the troops in Tollerton and her involvement with the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS). Some of the following is based on Dorothy’s recollections, augmented by information found on a variety of websites.

The first group of troops to arrive in Tollerton were from the 7th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment, which had been disbanded in March 1919 at the end of WW1 but then reformed on 4 July 1940. An advance party under the command of Major Allbones pitched tents in the wooded meadow south of Tollerton Hall in readiness for the new recruits who would arrive during July. Initially around 197 men arrived but by 26 July there were nearly 700.

Regimental records state that their initial role was to create a mobile strike force with a tank hunting platoon, which would be deployed should the enemy land airborne troops on Tollerton, Newton or Hucknall Aerodromes. Enemy aircraft did actually pass over the camp on 25 August 1940 and anti- aircraft batteries were deployed in its defence. There were no casualties nor were any aircraft shot down.

In October 1940, the battalion left by rail for Theddlethorpe, Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea, where they became part of 205 Infantry Brigade whose role was to defend a twelve mile stretch of the East Coast from Anderby Creek to Saltfleet Haven.

Following the departure of the Lincolns, along came the 7th Battalion Sherwood Foresters. The Foresters stayed until December 1942 when they went to North Africa, followed by the Royal Engineers for a time. However, the latter were moved on to make room for the 507th PIR American Paratroopers, who arrived in March 1944 in readiness for the Allied Invasion of Europe. They arrived by train from Glasgow following a journey across the Irish Sea from Portrush, Northern Ireland where they had previously been located. A fleet of waiting trucks took them from the rail station to Tollerton. It is said that the paratroopers were wowed by their new location and by the great beauty of the Hall and its surrounding countryside.

The land where the troops camped

The Americans made a huge impact on Tollerton, not least because of their sheer numbers. It is suggested that at one stage there were around 2,000 paratroopers at Tollerton but many never returned from their action.

One paratrooper, Gene Sylvester, recalled on a website that Tollerton offered friendly, if spartan, accommodation. On this website he recounted the following ….. “I’d spent the winter in Northern Ireland in a hotel with no heat. So the tents with their little pot-belly stoves were better“. It seems the paratroopers also liked the entertainment in Nottingham, particularly the pubs and dance halls. The

same paratrooper noted that “the last trucks back to Tollerton left at 10 o’clock and the pubs closed then too. It was blackout, but we found our way around“.

Dances were held for the paratroopers in Tollerton and young women were transported in on these occasions. In the book ‘Destination Normandy: Three American Regiments on D-Day’ (2009) written by G H Bennett, there is a brief reference to these dances and a final BBQ, prior to the paratroopers’ assault on France, in which one young women recalled:

We, the girls, had been to the usual Tuesday dance and were invited to the barbecue, with buses laid on to take us but not (this time) with Red Cross escorts. There was food laid on, but also unlimited alcohol. Most of the troops were drunk when we arrived.

An article on the BBC History: WW2 Memories website written by a Nottingham person confirms these visits. In this article she recalled how specially supervised buses took parties of ‘approved’ girls to the American camp at Tollerton for evening dances. “We were counted in and out“. She also made one daytime visit to the camp on a Saturday in late May 1944 where a barbecue was provided.

There is evidence to suggest that the men also created ‘love nests’ on the land near Hall Farm. In fact one book about the 507th PIR refers to these arrangements in greater detail:

“.a small commune existed over on one of the creeks transversing the area, where our guys had pitched a few pup tents. This established a comfortable little site for maintaining some local girls. The site was concealed by a sizeable clump of trees that prevented anyone from seeing what was going on.”

Evidence still exists of their presence on this land as some of the trees bear the ‘carved’ initials of some of the men and their ladies, and a few parachutes. Surprisingly these cravings can still be read some seventy years on though the trees are on private land and are therefore not accessible to the general public.

Tree Carvings Photograph courtesy of Julian Smith

The paratroopers expected there to be a rigorous training programme at Tollerton but it appears that this was not the case. In Bennett’s book it says:

The process of training was disturbed by bad weather, which disrupted plans for mass practice jumps. In the end, the men of the regiment made only one day jump and one night jump during their time at Tollerton and most of the training had to concentrate on map reading, first aid and small-unit tactics.”

A further account of the night jump near the canal describes one paratrooper landing in some nice soft, ploughed earth but with eyes gazing down at him. Once he had pulled himself up and adjusted to the dim light, he recognised this was no ploughed field but a farmer’s vegetable garden and the farmer was in the middle of the plot starring down at him!

Suffice to say, with few practice jumps, the paratroopers had much time on their hands and accounts suggest that many hours were spent playing poker and looking forward to their next adventure into Nottingham or time at the nearest pub, which was, of course, The Griffin at Plumtree.

Plumtree was declared by some senior officers as being ‘totally off limits’ but this did not stop some men from sneaking out! Internet sources recount how one American, John, befriended a young woman in Plumtree whose parents ran the Post Office. Other men would take John’s place on guard duty while he visited Joyce and her family. The accounts tell of this paratrooper taking Joyce’s mother real butter, which they “had to hide so the authorities would not find it“, and boots for her father. Unfortunately John was killed in action but, after his death, Joyce and her parents continued to correspond with John’s family in Ohio.

Some Tollerton lads took advantage of the paratroopers’ desire to get off camp and initiated a local taxi service. Jeff Redshaw, former Tollerton resident who lived on Stella Avenue, was one of these lads and recounted how this enterprising scheme worked in a brief article that appeared in the May 2002 Village Newsletter:

What fond memories l have of Tollerton in the forties when the American soldiers were encamped at Hall Farm, they made us the richest kids on the block.

“A few of us enterprising lads who went to Musters Road School set up our own taxi business, driving without a license? no insurance? I hear you ask, no none of it – we used our bicycles. Each day after school we set up our business outside the gates of Hall Farm to collect our fares. It was the time of the day when the Americans who had finished for the day headed for Nottingham via the bus stop on Melton Road. There is where the taxi came in! We would sit on the cross bar and they would ride the bike to Melton Road, pay the princely sum of half a crown and then we would dash back to collect our next fare.

“The Musters Road ‘Hackney Carriage Association’ would then meet at the chippy on Manvers Road, West Bridgford for a slap up meal of fish, chips, mushy peas and a bottle of pop.

A similar version of this story is told in Ben Wicks’ book entitled ‘No Time to Wave Goodbye’ (2013) but with a slightly different slant, the difference being that, in Wicks’ book, it infers it was the Americans who instigated this arrangement.

Aircrew relaxing at the airfield

Furthermore the airfield, just a few hundred yards up the road, provided a great deal of local entertainment too as damaged war planes came limping in for repairs. These planes could often be seen landing or taking off (or crashing) and on occasion the men were treated to a low fly-by by pilots when the camp was spotted from above. In Bob Bearden’s book entitled ‘To D-Day and Back: Adventures with the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment’ (2014) there is a more vivid account of such antics:

One of our 1st Platoon Squad Leaders had a brother who flew the gorgeous and very fast P-38 twin fuselage fighter plane. This air corps brother would fly to our Company H area and make a 300mph pass down the company street, shaking our tents – some to the ground. Then he’d do a beautiful roll-over and head down the road to the landing strip. Our 507th member then borrowed a bicycle, pedalled down the road, picked up his brother and brought him back to entertain the guys with fighter pilot stories”.

Some men would engage in a spot of fishing to pass the time. In Bearden’s book (2014) it briefly describes their fishing activities, known as ‘scrambled fish’ ….

The small running creeks in the general 507th PIR area also offered other sorts of recreation“. With no fishing tackle ,”they appropriated some very deadly fragmentary hand grenades” and basically blew the fish out of the water.

In this same book, the Tollerton camp is referred to as ‘a tent city, just outside of Nottingham’ with ‘six man tents arranged in rows along dirt streets topped with a layer of coal dust and coal particles’. With no parade ground, the paratroopers would march down Tollerton Lane and video material on the website ‘Critical Past’ ( shows them doing just this.

One Tollerton resident, Pat Boot, recalls as a young girl standing on her bed and watching the men marching past her house.

On the day the 507th PIR got the order to ‘move out’, most of the men assumed it was just another practice jump along the canal. They boarded a fleet of buses but soon found out that they were on their way to Fulbeck or Barkston Heath in Lincolnshire from where they would embark on Operation Neptune – the invasion of France.

The Paratroopers leaving Tollerton

Paratroopers en route to the Normandy French coast

Sadly not all planes landed safely on the Tollerton air-strip. Accounts suggest that RAF Tollerton’s first wartime fatality occurred on 21 October 1939 when a Hampden bomber struck a dummy gun emplacement in the centre of the airfield, killing one man on the ground. The worst event happened on 8 February 1941 when a Wellington bomber crashed whilst training at the airfield and seven men died. There is a plaque at the airport commemorating this tragic loss.

On another occasion in February 1939, two aeroplanes belonging to the Nottingham Civil Air Guard collided as they were approaching Tollerton aerodrome in preparation for landing. One plane crashed in a field on the eastern side of the aerodrome boundary killing the pilot.

Even before WW2 those living near the airfield had got used to planes getting into difficulty. Tollerton residents came to the rescue when a two seater Moth Major plane crashed in a field adjoining Glebe Farm, Tollerton in September 1936. Luckily, on this occasion, the young pilot flying solo managed to scramble out of the plane but with significant injuries. Mrs Chambers, whose family were tenant farmers at Glebe Farm, her son Geoffrey and another local resident – Mrs Wing – were two fields away at the time of the crash and rushed to give assistance. Geoffrey Chambers took the injured pilot to a nearby cottage occupied by Mr Robinson for some immediate first aid and in the meantime several people living near Lenton Avenue who had witnessed the plane coming down also rushed to the scene to help.

This incident and the one in 1939 were both reported in the Nottingham Evening Post.

Memorial to the American 507th PIR and the Re-enactment Event

On 1 June 2013 a memorial dedicated to the 507th PIR was unveiled alongside the village’s war memorial on Tollerton Lane.

Plaque at the War Memorial in Tollerton

The unveiling of the memorial at Tollerton and the Remembrance ceremony were attended by three American soldiers. In conjunction with this, a replica Second World War camp was set up in the paddock next to the church, which enabled local people to gain further insights into those times when the Americans were camped here. The following photographs were taken at this re-enactment in Tollerton in 2013.

Images of the Re-enactment in 2013

Life in Tollerton during WW2

Life in Tollerton was generally difficult during the war but residents tried to embrace the changes and limitations as best they could. The following extracts from old village publications and the memories of past and present residents provide insights into what it was like to live in Tollerton during those years.

Extracts from a Village Newsletter Supplement entitled ‘Tollerton At War’ (May 1995) compiled by Dick Shepherd:

All civilians were issued and fitted with gas masks and everyone was required to register to facilitate the issue of identity cards and Ration Books to all. Households in areas at risk were issued with ‘Anderson’ shelters to be erected in their gardens. Air Raid Precaution (ARP) Wardens were appointed and ARP Posts and Fire Points were set up equipped with buckets of sand and water, and stirrup pumps. To confuse enemy aircraft ‘Blackout’ restrictions were imposed, this meant that all windows and doors had to be obscured to stop any light from inside showing. When outside doors were opened the inside light had to be extinguished, and it was the wardens’ duty to ensure that no lights were showing.

“All car lights had to be hooded and dimmed. By the early part of 1940 food rationing had been introduced, tea, sugar, butter, cheese, meat and eggs to begin with, then other foods were added as imports began to lag. Farmers were urged to increase their output, and a ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign urged everyone to grow vegetables in their gardens, and to keep hens and rabbits to supplement their meat ration. Petrol rationing was introduced, private motorists being allowed enough petrol for 120 miles a month!

“Clothing also came under the ration, everyone being allowed a set number of coupons. Housewives were urged to make-do-and-mend. They were also asked to contribute aluminium pots and pans in the war effort to be melted down and used in aircraft production.

“The ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was well supported in the village and the W.I. arranged supplies of seeds and potatoes for those participating. Savings Groups were formed, and Whist Drives were held to raise money to help the war effort. Mr Leader had a local ‘Warship Week’ National Savings Scheme. The local menfolk also formed fire watching patrols, like most places, to watch out for incendiary bombs in the event of air raids. Dr Russell gave lessons on first aid in his house on Melton Road.

“Occupations such as farming, mining and other essential war work were deemed ‘Reserved Occupations’ and these people were initially exempt from call-up. They were, however, liable to join the Home Guard. The local unit was based at Keyworth, where they had to do drilling and military training under Major Wheater.”

Former resident Mike Connelly has kindly forwarded a photograph of the local Home Guard and provided a few names but alas there are still many whose names remain unknown. His father (Cecil John Connelly known as John) was a member of this Home Guard and was employed as a solicitor for a mining company in Nottingham, regarded as an essential occupation.

Mike Connelly also recalls:

“During the school day (at Tollerton Preparatory School, Tollerton Lane) there were many aircraft flying just above the building. We adjusted to the noise, and eventually were unaware of it. I also remember seeing on the large grass verge leading up to Clipston heavy artillery ammunition stacked up ready to be either used locally, or transported to France.”

Home Guard courtesy of Mike Connelly

Back in 1986, Iris Stirland shared some of her memories of WW2 through an article in the Tollerton Village Newsletter. She and her family had moved to Tollerton in April, 1940. Below are extracts from this article:

“Food rationing meant a lot of thought going into producing wholesome but attractive meals; the neighbours all rallied round and would swap butter for tea, meat coupons for soap and clothing coupons too. There was a terrific ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign. The ladies became really expert growing potatoes, greens, tomatoes and fruit wherever possible. We did not have fridges – just a cold slab in the pantry, and no freezers. We were grateful for any fresh eggs we might get, and used the ‘issued’ dried eggs for cooking or scrambled eggs, they were really quite good.

“The Black-Out was the biggest bugbear – no light to be showing through windows, and remember to switch the light out before opening an outside door. Car and cycle lights had to be hooded at the top, no street lights lit.

“When Winston Churchill made his famous speech: “…. the enemy may land on disused airfields …  we all felt rather scared with our menfolk away. I said l would keep some pepper and a rolling pin handy. A little later l was washing supper pots at the kitchen sink when there were heavy footsteps down the passageway – l went very hot – there was a bang on the kitchen window – l went even hotter. Then a man’s voice called “There’s a light showing through your window” It was our local Air Raid Warden, what a relief! But where was my rolling pin and pepper pot?

“Len (Iris’s husband) reinforced underneath the stairs, as so many people did, as a shelter. During the air-raids on Nottingham, May 1941 l think it was our neighbour who was nearly blind and her little boy were brought round to us. We got under the stairs and l sat in the doorway reading ‘Rupert Bear’ to them. A land mine was dropped outside the Aerodrome. As it whined its way down l read louder and louder saying a prayer as l read. There was a thud but no explosion; the experts dealt with it next day. So many incendiary bombs were dropped we could see all the hedges on fire from Tollerton to Edwalton, and it looked as if the whole of Nottingham was on fire. There was no sleep that night, but we drank endless cups of tea as the neighbours all got together.

“We had to be very economical, there was no dustbin collection. We had to burn as much as we could, in daylight, and flatten all tins. These were then collected periodically along with any other metal available. We were asked to return all glass jars and bottles (with their corks) to the shops for re-use.”

Tollerton was lucky in escaping any major damage unlike areas of West Bridgford where over 60 explosive bombs fell on that fateful night of 8 / 9 May 1941 referred to by Iris Stirland and many properties in that area were destroyed. During these bombings more than 40 people were killed in the basement of the Co-op Bakery on Meadow Lane, Nottingham and many more seriously injured.

Whilst all this was happening, Mr Brown at Hall Farm spent much time walking around his barns clearing out intruders and ensuring the barns were not set on fire by cigarette ends carelessly thrown around. Jim Blackburn, Mr Brown’s nephew, recalled in an article entitled ‘The War Years at Hall Farm, Tollerton’ that despite the military presence “the farm had to carry on, cows needed to be brought in for milking and the other fields cultivated“.

Jim Blackburn also recalled that “eventually on the eve of D-Day the Americans flew off and the place was turned into a P.O.W camp – first Italians and then Germans. 14 foot fences were erected with guard towers“. Members of the Polish Army guarded this camp (POW Camp 169) and some of the prisoners worked on local farms in the area.

Prisoners of War working on a local farm

During this time the W.V.S. Canteen continued at the Rectory until VE Day. Dorothy Singleton recalled in her talk to the Tollerton Friendship Club (1991) that the German prisoners of war decorated the church before they left.

Mrs Palmer, formerly of Medina Drive, in her WW2 memories recalled that a party and dance was held on VE Day for “our friends in the camp and village. Our Polish friends were delighted the war was over finally, but dreaded going back to their own country to be under Communist Rule.”

Children and young people gathered at the Tollerton Victory Party in 1945: Courtesy of Brian Brain

Mrs Marjorie Heathcote and Sybil Seward at the V.E. Party: Courtesy of Olive Townsend (nee Smith)

Bill Stevenson, who lived on Cotgrave Road, recalls that where there was much bunting and a hog roast at this party. The Stevenson family also held a party and bonfire in their garden at 18 Cotgrave Road for all the neighbours. His Dad had two pistols from the airport where he worked and let Bill discharge all the flares that night. They then broke up the pistols and buried them under the floorboards in the lounge! One presumes they are still there; perhaps we will never know.

In the meantime it was not until about 1948 that the War Office, through the War Agricultural Committee, restored the fields of Hall Farm to some order. Jim Blackburn said “Mr Brown must have breathed a huge sigh of relief to call the place his own again. But there’s no doubt the war years had put a tremendous strain on his health and late in 1949 he died at the early age of 62 years.”


During WW2 not only did the troops arrive here but also many evacuees. There would have been very mixed feelings amongst the evacuees who had left their parents and their familiar surroundings to arrive in Nottingham to face the unknown. For some, being evacuated from urban areas provided a new and exciting opportunity to enjoy country life. Some had to learn new rules and restrictions that they had not previously encountered within their own families.

In Ben Wicks’ book ‘No Time to Wave Goodbye’ (2013) he says …. “John Ancliff was an engine driver and can remember the lucky evacuees who were billeted in Tollerton, Nottinghamshire where an American Air Force squadron was stationed. They gave the kids a swell party every so often and things they had never seen.”

Evacuees on arrival at Nottingham Rail Station

Many of the evacuees who joined host families in Tollerton came from the Great Yarmouth area though others came from London. One former evacuee, Danny Daniels from the Great Yarmouth area, has shared his memories despite only being evacuated to Tollerton for a short time. Officially listed as Edwin, Danny was evacuated on 2 June, 1940.

I don’t recall in detail my mother taking me to the station, nor do I remember anything about the train trip that took us from Great Yarmouth to wherever it was that we de-trained. But I know we were taken from that station to the Village Hall where we were given sandwiches and a drink while waiting to be assigned to our new foster homes.

“I also remember that, as the other children were chosen and taken off with their new foster parents, I and one other boy were the only ones left behind. In my case, I learnt that it was because the lady with whom I was to be billeted, Mrs. Seymour, was not able to be present for the selection process. Whether, had she been there, she would have taken me I have no idea. Nevertheless, I was what she received, sight unseen.

“I remember her as a kind young lady in her twenties, I suppose, who, with her husband away in the R.A.F. and a son of her own about two-and-a-half to three years old, was suddenly beset with an eleven year old boy, complete with a pinned-on label and a small suitcase, for an indefinite period.

“They must have been a reasonably well-off family, since their house was a detached two-storey residence at the end of a road which terminated at a large, grassy field. It had a long garden at the back of the house with a couple of apple trees, but the thing I most remember about it was that upstairs it had an indoors bathroom with a real bath with hot and cold running water. Which was just as well – having to see me bathe in a tin tub in front of the kitchen fire on Saturday night, as I did at home, might have been more than she’d bargained for!

“I only knew her as Mrs. Seymour, nor did I know her husband’s name, but her son was called Alan Norman Seymour. At that age, as with many young children, he was unable to pronounce it correctly, so he called himself ‘Allie Nor Seymour’. He was a happy fair-haired youngster, and we seemed to get on well together.

“I think I attended Plumtree School during that June, although I don’t recall it specifically, but I do remember that I sang in the choir at Plumtree Parish Church that summer. My mother, who was able to visit a couple of times, proudly took a photograph of me wearing my cassock and surplice in front of the church. (I may have looked angelic, but that would have been deceiving!)

“Some of the things I remember most vividly were the single-decker red Barton buses with their gas- bags on top; being able to roam over the fields directly from my new front door; the little stream at the bottom of the first field, running through a small coppice, which gave hours of pleasure as I made mud dams across it; and going into Nottingham occasionally, where my sister was employed as housekeeper in the household of the High Sheriff of Nottingham.

“The one thing I don’t recall that summer was any rain! It seems to me that every day was a bright and sunny one, and that I was able to be outside most of the time.

“My stay in this almost idyllic situation was, sadly, not a long one. However I shall always be grateful to Mrs. Seymour and her young son and, I am sure, even though I have no specific memories, of the many people in the Village, for providing care, comfort and much appreciated second-hand love to me, and the many other evacuees arriving from what, by war’s end, would become the British Empire’s second-most bombed town after Valetta, Malta.”

Sincere thanks go to Danny Daniels, who has lived in Canada since 1957, for these insights.

The Mowl family of Tollerton Lane also gave evacuees a home. Firstly there was Stanley who stayed with the Mowl family between 1941-42. David Mowl thinks that Stanley was about 8 or 9 years old at the time.

Then the Mowl family and the Heason family had two brothers between 1942-43 – Roger and Freddy Loveday – who had been evacuated from London. David Mowl, himself a young boy then, recalls going down to the bottom of the garden to the dug out air raid shelter with Roger when German planes were trying to bomb Tollerton Aerodrome. Freddy stayed with the Heasons next door.

Stanley Brown with Haywood Mowl (David’s father): Courtesy of Alison May

Meanwhile, apart from keeping a watchful eye on the troops residing at Hall Farm, Mr Brown was also an Air Raid Warden and in charge of allocating evacuees to their host families. In Jim Blackburn’s account he said the following about his uncle, Mr Brown:

Only a man of such sterling character could have contemplated such a task. He had to persuade people who perhaps had had very little to do with children to take these mites from 6 years old upwards in to their homes for who knows how long. It says much for his powers of persuasion that he only had one failure. One woman refused point blank and never did have any.”

In a newspaper article (Nottingham Evening Post, August 1944) it reported that one family in Tollerton was summoned for refusing to take evacuees from Southern England and a fine of £5 was imposed. It appears that when the evacuees were first taken to this house, the householders shut the door in their faces and emphatically refused to take the evacuees. A compulsory order was issued and the evacuees returned with a policeman and the billeting officer but the children were still refused.

There was another case reported in the Nottingham Evening Post (January 1942) prior to this where a resident living on Lenton Avenue, Tollerton took in an evacuee but then tried to get rid of this boy. She too was fined £5 and ordered to pay £2 2s advocate’s fee for failing to comply with the billeting notice.

Mr Brown and his wife took in two evacuees themselves at Hall Farm; two sisters, Margaret aged 6 years and Thelma aged 12. Within six months of their arrival in June 1940 from Yarmouth, both their parents had died so they remained here in Tollerton. Many years later Margaret Owen, the younger sister, revisited Hall Farm and wrote a poem reflecting on those war years and particularly the American Paratroopers. Entitled ‘Memories’ and written in 1998 here are just two verses from Margaret’s poem:

‘Then through the rumour monger’s drums
We knew at last the day had come.
When the allies moving with all speed
would move to stop those German’s evil deeds.
All leave was stopped, the big push come
Time to write to dad and mum,
To send special love to wives and kids,
To kiss goodbye the campside miss.
Our farewells said, time moved so slow
For no one knew just when they would go.

Grown men all to my child’s eyes
Yet most were boys who left to die,
Where they died l never knew
Those who came back were few.

A third of the buses brought them back
Men slumped in sleep, sprawled like sacks
As if they needed to escape the pain
Of battlefields and bodies slain.
Bright and laughing they left for war
Those who returned were boys no more.’

Those who died in action during WW2

As Tollerton residents strove to come to terms with the changes in their village during WW2, their hearts and minds would have been firmly fixed on their loved ones fighting far away. Very sadly some of these men never did return and they are remembered on the village memorial on Tollerton Lane.

Tollerton War Memorial

The four Tollerton men who died during WW2 are listed below, along with a brief history about each.

Arthur Geoffrey Chambers

Arthur was the first son of George and Agnes Chambers who were farmers in Tollerton. He was a lance bombardier in the 107 (South Notts Hussars) Regiment of the Royal Horse Artillery and was captured at Tobruck, held as a prisoner of war in Italy until the armistice agreement in 1943. At this point he escaped and lived with Italian partisans fighting the Germans. The fleeing Germans surrounded the area and over two days killed 200 people including partisans, civilians and allied soldiers including Geoffrey. Afterwards the Germans took all recognisable documents from the soldiers killed and tried to destroy their bodies. Geoffrey died on 27 September 1944 and is remembered at Padua War Cemetery in Italy.

Joseph Freitas Guimaracs Hackett

Joseph was a lance corporal in the 105 Provost Coy – Corps of Military Police. It appears he was caught up in the German invasion of Boulogne in May 1940, which was being used as an allied hospital base. He died on 20 May 1940 and is remembered at the Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais.

Geoffrey Raynor

A lieutenant on HMS ‘Kestral’, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, a Royal Naval Air Station at Worthy Down. Born in Barnsley, Geoffrey was married to Jean Raynor. and is buried at Barnsley Cemetery, Yorkshire.

William Alfred Randale Foster

William was an Aircraftsman Ist Class with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. A married man, he lived on Medina Drive before joining up shortly after the start of the war. He was posted to the Far East where he was reported to be missing. It appears that the area where he was based was overrun by the Japanese in 1942 and was the location of a prisoner of war camp. William is honoured at the Kranji War Cemetery (Singapore Memorial).

In Remembrance

To the right of the memorial at Tollerton is a bench donated by the Co-operative Funeral Service, Keyworth in memory of those who fell in both wars. Each year there is a remembrance service at the Church and wreaths are laid at the memorial. Cadets from the ATC are in attendance and they march from Medina Drive down to the memorial, where they take up their position in front of the memorial.

Michael Roland’s name was added to the war memorial in 2012. Sadly he was killed in Helmand Province during April that year whilst on a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. He was only 22 years of age and grew up in Tollerton.

Cadets from 2425 Nottingham Airport Squadron Air Training Corps: Courtesy of Phil Gregg