Former WWII Evacuee From London Revisits Wootton Courtenay

The Village website has mentioned the visit this week of George and Gill Jackson. George will be Guest of Honour at the postponed VE- and VJ-Day Exhibition on Thursday 29th at the Village Hall, where at 3pm his presence will be recognised with a presentation.

In 1940, George Jackson and his two elder brothers came to Wootton Courtenay as wartime evacuees from West Ham in East London. George and Frank were lodged with the Coniberes at Rose Cottage, and their older brother Fred at a nearby farm. All three attended the village school. All three loved Wootton Courtenay, its people and its peaceful countryside.

George did well – grammar school scholarship, a good job at P&O, National Service in the RAF (extended by his own wish), copiously qualified; and married. He joined Westland Aircraft and rose to a senior position in commercial aircraft sales. George’s first wife Eileen died, but not before he had proudly showed her Wootton Courtenay and the surrounding countryside and villages. A few years later, he married Gill, whom he is much looking forward to bringing to Wootton Courtenay.

Gill and George will have a full programme in and outside the village – some of it private; for example, placing a tribute at the Conibere grave.

They will be welcomed to Rose Cottage by Nicole and Ian Stewart, and to Old School House by Ro and Patrick Hoyte. George will open and be Guest of Honour at the Exhibition at the Village Hall on Thursday 29th.

Another highlight which villagers are warmly encouraged to attend will be around 4pm on Thursday 29th July outside the Church: formally announced by Marcus ‘Village Crier’ Capel – and come rain or shine – George will unveil The Jackson Bench, which he has donated to the village in tribute to both the village and his brothers. It will sit alongside the Coronation Bench by the Coffin Path.

Gill and George also hope to look in at Skye’s Bar when it opens on Friday evening, and if possible, to join the Saturday Ploughman’s Lunch event, also at Skye’s from 12.30pm.

Let’s make a fuss of this returned Evacuee and his wife. His devotion to this village, and the difference it made to his young life, possibly even saving that life from two bombings of his family house in West Ham, is really remarkable. He has some good stories to tell.