Croome Court wartime memories
RAF Defford was a top secret base during WW2, situated on the Croome Court estate...
Geoff Sherwood takes us back in time... to his childhood, and life below stairs at Croome Court in Worcestershire.
This was life before the Second World War; both his parents worked for the Coventry family - his mother was a maid to Lady Coventry.
The Coventry's lived at Croome Court for more than four hundred years.
VI Earl of Coventry and Capability Brown
In the mid 18th century, the 6th Earl commissioned Lancelot Capability Brown to landscape the gardens, which the national trust has spent ten years restoring.
Brown was also asked to design the present house.
Four generations of Geoff's family worked for the Coventrys, and in the massive Croome Estate archive at Worcestershire's public record office his family, the Sherwoods, are part of the history.
Jill Tovey has worked on the archive for the past 20 years, and she thinks they would have been the biggest employer for miles, covering about a quarter of the county, and giving work to hundreds of people.
The 10th Earl of Coventry was killed at Dunkirk and his family left Croome in 1948.
Michael, Albert and Joan
Albert Shorrock first arrived at RAF Defford on the Croome Estate in 1942; he was an airframe fitter.
An RAF base was transferred here from the South coast, to escape the bombing.
He returned in 2008 to what were the hospital blocks, to relive those years with fellow veterans, Joan Gill and Michael Barnard.
Back then, they needed to be quiet so the scientists could settle down to their work.
The job was the development of radar.
Joan Gill was the Commanding officer's driver, and Michael Barnard arrived later, as a 17 year old trainee pilot.
There are few photos of the piece of its history involving the veterans, as photos were largely forbidden because of the radar tests.
All they've got is their memories and, to them, the thought that their recollections will live on is a source of pride.
Hospital Block at Croome Court
One wartime block has already been restored; it's hoped the rest will follow as part of the major restoration plan of the nearby Croome Court, which will allow the public inside this historic building for the first time.
Once home to the Earls of Coventry, it later became a school and then a Hari Krishna commune.
After years of private ownership, the house has been bought by the Croome Heritage Trust, and the National Trust's hoping to raise millions to restore it.
last updated: 14/05/2008 at 08:17
Have Your Say
Tell us your memories of Croome Court
Steve Hopkins (Sakhyaras Prema Das)
Patrick Joseph O'Hare
My name is Joseph Smart
matthew francis o,reilly
Mike Hammond, Evesham
Eric Robinson (now retired to the Wirral)
John Connelly from Billingham
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