Supporting the local community
News by Subject
Essex-&-Suffolk-Water With thanks to Essex & Suffolk Water for funding support of this website through the Abberton Reservoir Community Fund.


News items relating to local history

PAWS February – A Sea Dog called Bamse

A Sea Dog called Bamse (WW11 Canine Hero)

After disembarking from the Hurtigruten cruise ship in Honningsvag, northern Norway, Peter Garner’s attention was caught by a large statue of a St. Bernard on the quayside (see right).  After reading a plaque on the wall he realised this dog called Bamse was a very special dog.  On returning to England he unearthed this story….. Continue reading


PAWS October – A Sailor’s Life

Phil Lyons, presenter of A Sailor's Life, with JackiePAWS October – A Sailor’s Life

At the October meeting, our president, Jackie, welcomed Phil Lyons who had come along to talk about A Sailor’s Life.

Phil started with the fact that 21 men from Colchester and the surrounding villages had served at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805. At that time Britain had the greatest navy in the world, with 108 ships but after the battle, they possessed 152 ships as they had captured those of the French and Spanish.

Boys as young as 7 served on board, often at sea for over 2 years before setting foot on terra firma. Crews were recruited by press gangs and quota men who rounded up paupers and criminals to serve in the navy. Interestingly 2 of the Colchester men joined voluntarily.  Life on the ships was a mixture of boredom, terror and sheer hard work. It took 8 men to hold the wheel in calm weather and 12 men in a storm, then there was always a danger of catching the wheel and being thrown overboard.

Food was poor with maggots in the meat and weevils in the ship’s biscuits, but men did not complain as at least they were fed. To prevent scurvy, Nelson provided his sailors with onions not limes!  The best part was the daily ration of grog, a mixture of half a pint of rum mixed with 4 parts of water, and a gallon of small beer served daily.  This provided the men with 200 units of alcohol a week!

The sailors slept in hammocks, caught rats for fun and were flogged for any misdemeanour.  50% died from malaria, yellow fever or typhus and many were wounded in battle. Desertion, mutiny and cowardice were hanging offences!

So was a sailor’s life a merry life? I leave you to decide.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting is our 10th anniversary celebration on the 22nd November, as such it will be closed to non-members. You can find details of all our meetings and speakers on the diary of the home page of this website. If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring either of the following committee members:

  • Alice Holmes 01206 735510, or
  • Jane Anderson 01206 735505

Countdown to Zepfest

ZepfestCountdown to Zepfest

Zepfest will open 1 year, 11 months, 25 days, 3 hours, 16 minutes ago and tickets are now available, click to book.  Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Zeppelin L33 landing in Little Wigborough, the weekend of 24th & 25th September offers a lot of fun.  Hours are 2pm – 8pm on the Saturday and 10am – 4pm on Sunday.  Tickets are £10 adults, £5 children 7-15.  Zepfest takes place in Copt Hall Lane, Little Wigborough, CO5 7RD.

Tickets will be on sale at the gate, but due to ticket numbers being limited you are advised to book online well in advance.

Attractions include:

  • Daily programme of illustrated Talks,
  • Zeppelin archive film and audio show,
  • Static Displays about Zeppelins and the L33 with artefacts, memorabilia, photographs and documents,
  • Zeppelin art display,
  • WW1 aircraft, vehicles and simulators,
  • Flypast of WW1 aircraft from Stow Maries (weather permitting),
  • Walk the crash site and compare it with official 1916 photos,
  • Demonstrations of equipment by the Great War Living Historians,
  • Live music, singers and dancers (including Crossover Band on Saturday evening),
  • Activities for children,
  • Stalls of many kinds,
  • Heavy horse wagon rides,
  • Model T Ford car rides,
  • Kidz Kartz and Bouncy Castle,
  • … and much more!



Car Park Closure

wigs-village-hallClosure of Car Park – Notice from The Wigboroughs Village Hall Management Committee

The old Village Hall in School Lane, Great Wigborough and the site on which it stands are the property of the villages of Great and Little Wigborough and public access is not automatic.

To affirm this, at least once a year, for a period of at least one week, the car park will be closed.

This is to advise you that the next period of closure will be from 28th March to 4th April 2015.  No access or egress will be possible during that period.

Jinny Gale