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WW2

 Home GuardThe casualties in World War Two (WW2) were not as high as in WW1 and Chewton Mendip escaped relatively lightly. There is no definitive list compiled of the people who served in WW2. This is a picture of the Home Guard taken c 1944. This picture was published in the Wells Journal in 2007 and was supplied by Jeffrey Wilson of Langport who had researched the home guard in Somerset. Jeff Ford has added the names listed below. A picture of the Green brothers can be seen in the page about Burges’s Coombe.
 Top row, left to right.
 Seward Heal, Geoff Church, John Bartlett.
 Middle row
 Bob Stock, he lived in the old cottages opposite Double Farm. Fred Whitfield, not known, Claude Green, Will Randall, Vic Church, Stan Ball, Graham Pullin and Frank Hewish.
 Front row
 Herbert Ford, Mr Anderson, Brian Green and Joe Keen.
One person missing from the list of Chewton Mendip residents who were involved with home defence was the Earl Waldegrave who was in the Territorial Army.
Another person missing from the picture is Cecil Stevens who was a second lieutenant in the Home Guard but he died of a heart attack on 11th April 1943 .
The only person to have been killed in action was Arthur Ricketts. He was a member of the Somerset cricket club before the war. He is recorded on a plaque in the Church and on the war memorial in the churchyard as R Frank Ricketts, sergeant in the RAF. A database (www.cwgc.org/)  of British and Commonwealth service personnel who lost their lives records him as Sergeant Richard Frank Ricketts (638601), the son of James and Maud Ricketts and husband of Winifred Maud Ricketts of Leyton Essex. His date of death is given as 4thOctober 1943 and he is buried or commemorated in Hanover cemetery
One person who was a resident of Chewton Mendip with a retrospective link to WW2 was Herbert Wallace Le Patourel. He had the unusual distinction of being the only person to have been awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross who lived to tell the tale.He was born in Guernsey an won the Victoria Cross in WW2 whilst serving with the Royal Hampshire Regiment in North Africa in 1942.He won his VC for leading an attack on a machine gun with four men who were all killed but he pressed on alone. His VC was awarded posthumously because they thought he was dead but he recovered from his wounds and returned to duty. He lived in Ford House in the Litton Road after the war until he died in 1979.
 WW2 BunkerA permanent reminder of the military presence in Chewton Mendip is the bunker in Chewton Priory woods. The signs of communications trenches connecting this shelter which was presumably used by sentries watching the High Street can also still be seen.
Less visible is the site of the former Home Guard  dugout on Chew Down a the top of Chew Hill and the location of the anti aircraft gun in the lay by near Rush Hill near Farrington Gurney.
A number of the locals with long memories have stories about the impact the war had on their childhood. Jeff Ford remembers how the locals were able to supplement their rations by rabiting.
Ken Church did not serve in the forces but was conscripted into the mines.
A number of children were sent Chewton Mendip as evacuees and their memories are quoted in a number of sources. One example is the memories of Sid Elias who lived in Ivy Cottage near Burges’s Coombe.
One ‘evacuee’  family lived in what was then called Navestock but is now the Old Vicarage. John Albert was a London barrister who moved his family out of London just before the war started. Despite his legal background, or perhaps because of it, he allowed his home to be used as a safe house for Jewish refugees. Subsequent records show that the government knew about the Nazi’s extermination programme but either did not believe the reports or chose to ignore them.
John Albert joined the Somerset Light Infantry and was sent to India. He came in contact with the soldiers who have been in the terrible prisoner of war (POW) camps  run by the Japanese. Navestock then became a unofficial convalescence home until the unfortunate men were fit enough physically and mentally to return to their homes.
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