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Village Life

A General in Peacetime

Bletchley war memorialThe Bletchley war memorial (not to be confused with the Old Bletchley war memorial) is on what’s now The Queensway, Bletchley, in front of the Knowles School.

By Guest writer John Taylor.

This is part two of three. I posted part one three weeks ago; A Naval Man in Buckinghamshire, and Part two, A Retired General in World War 2 just last week.

It was June 1946; World War 2 had ended just ten months earlier. Lieutenant General Harold Blount of the Royal Marines had fought in WW1 with honours and retired aged 57, a few months before WW2 broke out.

Blount used his military experience and commanded A Company of Bletchley’s Home Guard throughout the war, but now there was peace.

In June 1946 about 300 representatives from various branches from the British Legion’s North Bucks group attended their group rally at Bletchley. It was the first rally since the war and coincided with the Silver Jubilee of the British Legion’s foundation in 1925.

Under the command of General Blount as President of the Bletchley Branch, many veterans from World War One were included.

They assembled in the market field, and ‘it would have been difficult to find a wrong-footer amongst them.’

The site of the Market Field is under what until about 18 months ago was a Sainsburys supermarket and car park. Access to the field had been from Duncombe Street, in a gap between two houses. None of the houses between the Market field and Duncombe Street now remain.

War Memorial
At a public meeting in November that year it was decided to add to the Old Bletchley war memorial the names of all those from the parishes of Bletchley and Water Eaton who had been killed in the war, regardless of religious denominations.

A committee would be appointed to organise the necessary appeal for funds. It was hoped to be able to clean and permanently illuminate the memorial but permission for adding the names had to be obtained from Bucks County Council first.

When permission was granted General Blount financed the up front cost of renovating the memorial, re-blacking the existing names, and adding the inscription.

Today, the memorial is in fine condition. You can find it just off the East end of The Queensway, set back from the road but in front of the Knowles School.

Harold Blount's graveHarold Blount is buried in Woughton on the Green churchyard. In the background you can see the wall and private gateway to the grounds of Woughton House. He shares the grave with his sister Minna Blount, who had passed away in 1937, aged 61.
In the grave to our right is buried his sister Edith Annie Blount, who passed away in 1954 aged 85, and his brother Oswald, who was buried in 1971, at the age of 91.

Rifle Club
General Blount was still the President of the Bletchley Home Guard Rifle Club. At their annual general meeting at the beginning of January 1947 he described 1946 as having been a ‘phenomenally successful year’.

The club had won many competitions including the Bucks County Championship and the Astor County Cup. The Astor Competition had been set up in 1904 by Viscount Astor, to promote civilian rifle clubs.

As for domestic matters, in October 1947 a girl aged about 16 was needed at Woughton House:

‘Live in, other staff kept. Comfortable place, good wages, plenty of free time. Bicycle provided. Apply General Blount.’

Also in local matters General Blount was now a member of Newport Pagnell Rural District Council; though retired he kept himself busy.

British Legion
Having long been President of the Bletchley branch of the British Legion, the General was awarded the gold badge, the Legion’s highest honour, at their annual dinner in October 1960.

In making the presentation Major V. Goldsworthy said that the General had attended each of the three Remembrance services every year during his 15 years.

After a very full life Lieutenant General Harold Blount died on August 13th 1967, aged 85. He was interred in Woughton churchyard with his brother Oswald and sisters Minna and Edith Annie.

Many thanks to Charlotte Hall for her help with this series.

This post's photos were taken with a Pentax camera and lenses.

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