Second World War

Bombing Raids

A divergence battery was set up on Breakheart Hill, to the West of the village to create a smoke screen to give the impression enemy planes were over Gloucester. Several bombs fell around the area. On the night of Friday, 30th August, 1940 several high explosive bombs fell on Longhope and Blaisdon just after midnight. A few days later on 5th September more bombs fell, this time on Blaisdon. After a raid on Bristol on Monday, 2nd December of the same year, a few planes found their way North and two high explosive bombs fell on Preece Moor Farm at 9:30pm. A spitfire was abandoned near Longhope after the pilot lost conciousness [1].


It is a known fact that many evacuees came to Gloucestershire to escape the bombing raids on London and The Midlands. Some of these evacuees even came to Longhope and were accomodated in the Manor House. The late Ian Cameron remembers a swimming pool in the grounds of the Manor House that he helped clean and fill with water before the war. However, the pool became polluted with rubbish and bean cans from the evacuees.

Dig for Victory

During the Second World War, the plants on the sides of May Hill were replaced with farmland as part of the Dig For Victory campaign. Many species of plants and wild flowers were lost in this process as the land was turned over for growing barley [2]. It was found, though, that due to the stony nature of the soil on May Hill that not many of the crops survived.

Many trees were cut down from the Forest of Dean by thousands of women who joined the Women's Forestry Corps to provide much needed wood for local Saw-mills. They were given the nick-name of "Lumberjills" by the local lads.



After the Second World War a collection was made from the villagers to raise money for a war memorial in the centre of the village. A total of £2,600 was raised of which £600 was spent purchasing the current recreation ground so that "it could be used by the villagers forever" and a further £600 spent on building the then pavilion. Other money was put towards levelling part of the ground for a cricket pitch.

In May 2005 a special ceremony was held to commemorate the six servicemen from Longhope who lost their lives while fighting during the Second World War and to further mark the fact that the Recreation Grounds as a war memorial. A six-tonne stone donated and positioned by George Read was placed on top of a time capsule buried a few days earlier assembled by children from Hope Brook C of E School. Mr. Sweet of May Hill officially unveiled the stone during the ceremony before the stone was blessed by Rev. Martin Thompson.

The Lost Longhope Boys [3]


A.H.J. Beard was known to his family as ‘Fred’ and was the eldest son of Harry and Bertha Beard, of Pound Cottage in Longhope. He had 2 brothers, Cyril and Phillip, and a sister Barbara. Originally he joined the Somerset Light Infantry in May 1940, and was posted to the 10th Battalion, crucial, as it was this battalion that formed the 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion in 1942. They began earnest training for D-Day early in 1944, and it was on that day, 6th June 1944, that he was killed.

Late on 5th June the Battalion boarded Stirlings of 620 Squadron RAF at Fairford RAF base, with the intention of bolstering the first parachute landing troops who had taken Pegasus Bridge and others near Caen. It was a successful operation for those who made it, but Fred was in one of the two Stirlings that crashed with the loss of all on board after German flak. He is buried with the rest of the men from that aircraft in La Deliverande War Cemetery in Douvres in France.


Lawrence was the eldest child of Hugh and Laura Lloyd, Hugh being the Baptist Minister at the Zion Chapel in Longhope from 1928 to 1938. He had sisters Doreen, Marjorie, Nancy and Christine, and brothers John and Kingsley. He attended Crypt School and worked at the Taxation Offices in Gloucester before joining the RAF in 1940.

After Initial training in Paignton he was deemed suitable to begin further training as a Pilot, and in January 1941 he joined a convoy to cross the Atlantic to Canada where much of the Pilot training was taking place. He had completed 3 months of flying Avro Ansons when he was involved in a fatal accident on 12th April 1941. Lawrence was interred in Brandon Cemetery, Manitoba, Canada.


Reginald was the second son of Admiral Sir William Nicholson, and joined the Royal Navy as a boy in 1916. His father moved to live at Hill Court, Hope’s Hill in the 1920’s and it was there he met his wife Margaret Hamilton Pringle who was then resident at The Manor with her parents Captain and Mrs Pringle. They married in Longhope Church in 1927 and went on to have a daughter Margaret Eleanor.

In 1937 Reginald joined HMS Glorious as Lieutenant-Commander, and was in the North Sea and on the bridge on 9th June 1940 when she was hit by salvos from the German battleships Gneisenau and Scharnhorst. 1207 men were lost, including Reginald. There were only 43 survivors, most being picked up by a Norwegian trawler.


Charles was the second son of Herbert and Ethel Worner, of Southampton. He had an older brother Phillip and 5 sisters Edith, Olive, Margaret, Elizabeth and Phyllis. Charles attended King Edward VI School in Southampton and then decided to pursue a farming career on a family farm in Twigworth. He met his wife Marion Townsend, of Blakemore Farm, Longhope and they married in Longhope Church in November 1943.

By then Charles had completed 2 years of training as a Pilot Officer with the RAF. In May 1944 he was posted to 9 Squadron at RAF Bardney in Lincolnshire where he successfully completed 18 operations as Pilot of a Lancaster bomber. On the 19th op they were to bomb a huge network of caves and tunnels being used as stores for flying bombs, but were hit by flak and crashed with the loss of all on board. The crew including Charles, are buried in Clichy Northern Cemetery, on the edge of Paris.


James, or Jim, was born in Glamorganshire to Francis and Sarah Wright, and was one of four; he had a brother Frank and two sisters May and Phyllis. Jim moved to Longhope and worked at Forest Products in Huntley before marrying Gladys Poole, daughter of Fred Poole of the Yew Tree in Huntley, in Longhope Church 1939. The couple had 2 sons, Bernard and Joffre, and lived in Latchen House.

Originally Jim had enlisted for the Gloucestershire Regiment in 1940, but after fighting in North Africa, found himself in the 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers who, in October 1943 landed in Italy and were fighting to take the area north west of Naples. It was here that Jim was killed in action. He has no known grave, but is commemorated on the Cassino Memorial in Italy.


Kenneth was the only son of Harry and Helena Wright, who lived at the Railway Cottages in Longhope. He had two sisters Amy and Ruby who were all three brought up by their Aunty Olive as sadly Helena died when Ken was five. In 1937 he joined up for 12 years with the 2nd Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, and as a regular was one of the first into Europe after war was declared.

They landed in France in October 1939, and continued training and exercises for many months during the ‘Phoney War’. Germany invaded the Low Countries in May 1940 and the 2nd Battalion Glosters were in the front line of fighting. Whilst retreating to Dunkirk, part of their battalion, including Ken, was bombed and strafed by German Stuker fighters, and heavy losses were incurred. Ken was killed on 19th May 1940. He has no known grave, but is commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial.


Alistair was the second son of William and Johann Lane and lived in Barnwood and The Laurels, Huntley. His father was apprenticed at Fielding and Platt and went on to become General Manager of Gloucester Plating Company. After attending Sir Thomas Riches School, Alistair was called up for National Service, then joined the Police Force, in Gloucester and Bermuda.

In 1965 Alistair enlisted in the Army as a Military Policeman, serving mainly in Germany as part of the British Army of the Rhine, but also doing a stint in Aden at the time of the uprising in 1967. In Germany he met his wife and they married shortly afterwards, having two children, a girl Kirsty, and a boy, Callum. In 1973 Alistair, now Sergeant, was detached from his usual duties as Interpreter and Military Policeman, to do an emergency tour of duty in Northern Ireland. It was here in County Tyrone that he was involved in a fatal traffic accident. Alistair was interred in Huntley Churchyard.


  1. J. Rennison, "Wings over Gloucestershire", Aspect, 2000.
  2. McLean, V., "May Hill: Paintings and Drawing by Valerie McLean", Fineleaf Editions, 2006.
  3. Jo Phelps, private communication, 2013.
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