A LITTLE KNOWN BATTLE, CRUCIAL TO THE SECOND WORLD WAR WAS SECOND WORLD WAR VETERAN’S UNTOLD STORY.
Cyril Stotesbury who has died aged 96 years was awarded France’s highest honour – the Legion d’ Honneur in recognition of his service in World War 2.
Proud holder of France’s highest award Legion d’Honneur
Mr. Stotesbury served in the Infantry, landing in France on D-Day and eventually reached the notorious concentration camp of Bergen Belsen.
The Legion d’ Honneur
Cyril took part in the assault crossing of the River Seine in August 1944, just after D-Day. He was part of the British 43rd ( Wessex Divison ) in one of the most important actions of World War 2. It has been described as an ‘ epic battle ‘ upon which the success of the war depended.
It is important to capture the moments of those far off days and preserve Cyril’s vivid memories for posterity and plans were made for Cyril to return to France in his 90s so that his vivid memories could be filmed for posterity, but increasing frailty and the passage of time intervened making it impossible.
Cyril was presented with the Legion d’ Honneur medal by Consul Honoraires for the Republic of France, Commandant Francois Jean from Brighton at a ceremony on the Isle of Wight in December 2016. The presentation was filmed by Steve Feeney.
Presentation of the Legion d’ Honneur by Commandant Francois Jean
The 20th May 2021 is the 80th anniversary of the first airborne invasion in history. But for the COVID-19 pandemic, I would be on the island attending the commemorations on this wonderful, unforgettable island. Alas most of our Cretan friends, who took part in the struggle for freedom in the dark days of the 1940’s have passed into history.
Photographs : Tony Knight photography & MEDIA 44 – (0)1962 – 852124
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Monks collecting alms may be a daily occurrence in Thailand, but in Winchester, it probably a first. The monks made a keenly awaited visit to Winchester at the invitation of the local Thai community.
The monks began their walk through the city, meeting small groups waiting to present them with their offering of alms for daily living , receiving the customary blessing for their acts of merit.
The prolonged Covid-19 pandemic has made it more difficult for Buddhists to attend the Cittaviveka Monastery at Chithurst between Petersfield and Midhurst to make their offerings. Visiting times and conditions are restricted and may be viewed on the monastery’s website.
Pra Ajan Gavelesko and fellow monks pause by the King Alfred statue in Winchester Broadway.
Words and pictures : www.Tony Knight photography & MEDIA
A small contingent of Monks from the Cittaviveka Buddhist Momastery at Chithurst near Petersfield have made a pastoral outreach visit to members of the Buddhist community in the Southampton area.
A familiar daily sight in Thailand,but highly unusual in Southampton, a line of 4 monks in their familiar olive coloured robes processed through the city’s Above Bar.
During the short visit, alms and necessities for daily living were donated by those present.
Communal chanting, a token ‘ presentation ‘ of alms and a promise to return to the community when possible concluded the short community nexus. The monks then withdrew to consume their daily meal under the protecting boughs of the surrounding oaks.
Photographs & words : Tony Knight photography & MEDIA
Bicester Village Outlet takes on a special feel at Christmas
Gone are the long sunny days as Autumn turns towards Christmas and the prospect of presents. Whatever the weather the windows of the famous brands sparkle and scintillate, reflecting the golden decorations, which make shopping at Bicester Village so magical.
Access from London and the provinces is simple, with good road and rail links.
Bicester Village Outlet railway station.
Frequent services to Bicester Village.
Festive displays of tempting goods.
The shopping village takes on a woodland glade appearance.
Departing guests take Christmas home with them.
Words and photographs : Tony Knight photography& MEDIA
Winchester Cathedral choristers join in the fun of the pancake race.
It was a case of youth triumphing over age as the St Bedes Primary School team ran away with the trophy in Winchester Rotary’s inaugural pancake race, outside Winchester’s ancient and famous Cathedral’s west front.
The winning team from St Bedes Primary School display their trophy
The first pancake race was organised by the Winchester Rotary Club and was staged in front of Winchester Cathedral, who benefitted from funds raised.
Twenty teams enrolled for the race on a straight course lined with spectators, cheering their teams on, in the windy weather, which made tossing pancakes a tricky task.
Winchester Cathedral choristers first relay speed along the track.
Former Winchester Mayors : Councillors Dominick Hiscock, Therese Evans, Jane Rutter and Richard Izzard prepare for their relay race.
The ‘ Old Mayor’s team ‘ warm up their frying pans ! All together…….
The Winchester, Winnall TESCO supermarket team
Tesco and Sainsburys supermarket teams battle it out.
Sainsburys limber up
Sainsburys Badger Farm Team
Don’t smile – your’tash is on the move !
What’s cooking ? Rotary members look after the prizes
The Trophies were printed on a 3-D printer, innovative technology make for unusual prizes. Each one took about 15 hours to print.
Cutting edge technology used to produce the commemorative medals and trophies.
Former mayor Cllr. Dominick Hiscock at speed.
Worthy Down AGS ( SPS ) Adjutant General’s Corps put up a strong team.
A determined effort, as this competitor struggles against the gusty wind to keep his pancake on board.
Councillor Richard Izzard flips his pancake with skill.
Rotary member, professional videographer Steve Feeney films an interview with the Dean of Winchester, The Very Rev’d Catherine Ogle.
ROTARY VIDEO is on U-TUBE ” WINCHESTER PANCAKE RACE 2019 “
Flippin good show ! Nicky from the Sainbury’s team completes her run.
Great fun, posing for the press photographers and tv crews.
Taking a break !
More usually known for their superb choral singing in the Cathedral, today It’s Hi Ho, Hi Ho ! It’s off to the pancake race we go.
Words and photographs : Tony Knight photography & MEDIA
The 2018 Kathina ceremony took place at the Cittaviveka, Buddhist Monastery at Chithurst, West Sussex on Sunday 11th November. The wet weather which had threatened the morning’s events, rolled away as guests arrived.
Guests made their donations of rice and food, making their way into the Dhamma Hall for refuges and precepts.
This beautiful floral peacock took 2 days to assemble and was the center-piece of the tributes
Always popular with the gathering is the moment they get to give offerings of rice. This year over 40 monks and nuns passed along the rows of eager adults and children.
The rice Pindapat and meal offering.
After the rice offering, the monks and nuns selected food for their meal.
Tributes of money given during the day was announced during the afternoon as £10,000 for the benefit of the upkeep of the Monastery.
An opportunity for the young to learn to how pay their respects too.
The offering of the Kathina Cloth is preceded, by processing three times around the outside of the Dhamma Hall.
Small tokens of respect are given by the children to the Monks and Nuns in the Dhamma Hall during the presentation of the Kathina.
Monks and Nuns and guests assemble in the Dhamma Hall.
During the day many friends met to celebrate together.
Words and pictures : Tony Knight photography & Media.
Cittaviveka was the first Ajahn Chah monastery to be established outside of Thailand. Started by Ajahn Sumedho, its establishment coincided with Ajahn Chah’s visit to Britain in 1979. The property includes Chithurst House, its adjacent Dhamma Hall, and Hammer Wood with many meditation kuṭīs (huts). There is also the Rocana Vihāra for nuns and Āloka cottage for their female guests.
Members of the Buddhist community from across the south of England celebrated the annual Kathina festival in October 2017. Food was laid out on tables in the ground, as people arrived with food
Monks emerge from the Dhamma Hall for the rice and meal offerings accept
Those attending lined the outside of one wing of the cloister, around the edge of he lawn, into the other end of the cloister, and wound its way into the grounds as monks passed by collecting alms.
Monks collecting contributions of rice
Children play an important part, joining in the rice offerings making it a family event.
A meeting of friends.
An important part of the day is the offering of the Kathina cloth, which is carried around the Dahmma Hall three times in procession.
The offering of the Kathina cloth
A few minutes rest in the cloister
The celebrations are an opportunity for friends to get together
Those attending, defer to the monks, who prepare to enjoy the culinary offerings
The monks circulate around the tables choosing their favourite treats.
Monks on their way to the Dhamma Hall
Entering the Dhama Hall.
After enjoying the donated fruit, cakes, sandwiches and other goodies, celebrants join the monks in the Dhamma Hall.
Celebrants gather in the Dhamma Hall to hear the monks chanting
The Dhamma Hall is an inspiring conversion of a former cow shed, which has been enlarged and beautifully crafted from fine English Green Oak to provide a space for quiet contemplation and rejuvenation of mind and spirit.
The Buhdda, which is the focus of prayers and offerings
Accepting offerings of rice
The Kathina celebrations are held at Chithurst Monastery annually in October or November.
STOP PRESS : The 2018 Kathina celebrations will take place at Chithurst Monastery on Sunday 11 November 2018.
Words and pictures : Tony Knight photography & MEDIA
The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens are truly ” Garden for All Seasons. ”
The gardens are beautiful throughout the year, even when in repose in wintertime, but snow adds an extra dimension to any visit.
Just walking through the garden is peaceful with robins tame and trusting who will feed from the hand, if you keep still and don’t frighten them. This friendly little Robin adds a splash of colour against a blanket of snow.
Searching for crumbs in the snow near Jermyns House, this Robin is a colourful little friend.
Jermyns House in the snow.
Signs of spring brought a sense of optimism, until the ‘ Beast from the East ‘ struck, temperatures plummeted and sub zero temperatures brought snow over several weekends. This change in the weather caught out some early bloomers, which shone bravely through the layer of snow.
With sun low in late October 2018, music wafted through the trees. In the pre-Halloween trail for children and adults, issuing an open invitation to make the music themselves.
Making music in the Sir Harold Hillier gardens in Autumn.
As the soil temperature falls, muting the colours with the trees and plants in the garden entering their winter sleep, the Centenary Border has a last burst of colour. The gardens are about to display a few quiet months, presenting a different aspect.
Whenever you visit there is something special, as you walk through the slumbering beds. Yet even then buds are visible on the Rhododendrons, waiting for the returning sun to awaken the spring growth around them, encouraging them to burst forth and heralding another colourful pageant to play throughout the coming year.
What could be more satisfying, returning home with tingling toes and hands, looking forward to sitting by the fire with hot buttered toast and tea, looking forward to next spring in the gardens !
The Centenary Border, Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Autumn.
Words & photographs : Tony Knight photography & MEDIA.
Mary Ellis, Air Transport Auxiliary pilot.. once again Playing In The Clouds !
After the service were Spitfire tributes – hear audio whilst you read this report.
AUDIO LINK: Mary Ellis Memorial Service SPITFIRE DISPLAY over Northwood House, Cowes Isle of Wight, 24th September 2018
The elderly woman behind me in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Cowes, sang with gusto, in her clear, rousing soprano.. ” We plough the fields and scatter… ” She is a link between my generation and the formidable, wonderful woman, for whom the congregation had gathered to pay tribute – ‘ Spitfire Girl ‘ Mary Ellis.
Throughout the service, memories rolled back the years to Mary’s first flight as a young girl, as a passenger in a bi-plane of Alan Cobham’s Flying Circus in the1930’s; hearing an appeal for women pilots on the BBC ‘ wireless ‘; joining the Air Transport Auxiliary. Mary had also told of landing a four engine aircraft only to be confronted by the ground crew, disbelieving that she was the pilot.
Group Captain Anne-Marie Houghton, who shared here memories.
Group Captain Anne-Marie Houghton recalls Mary telling her that on 6th June 1944 she had flown above the English Channel and on her return journey noticing that the flotilla of ships, seen earlier in the morning, had departed in the afternoon – D-Day had begun the push for freedom on the Continent. Group. Capt. Houghton realised that on the same day – 6th June, she too was flying in the same airspace, on the same date, as Mary had many years before.
Guard of Honour
Cllr. Lora Peacey-Wilcox of the Isle of Wight Council.
Paying their tribute, Alec Anderson and Peter Cobb, both National Malaya and Burma Veterans Association members.
Mary’s niece, Rosemary Martin, on the right of the photograph, raises a glass of Champagne to her aunt’s memory.
Rosemary Martin, Mary’s niece, felt that her aunt would have been ‘ astonished ‘ at the gathering as she was very modest. ‘ ‘ Mary was never frightened and did just get on with things. ‘ Reverend Andrew Poppe told the congregation that Mary’s contribution was ‘ immense. Her place in the history of the nation and the knowledge of what she did in those heady days of World War 2 have brought her to the forefront…. she was a beacon of what women can do. ‘
Captain Anthony Brindle KSG remembers being taught to fly by Mary’s husband Don Ellis
Biggin Hill Spitfires fly past in tribute
The distinctive sound of a Merlin engine heralds the arrival of a Spitfire.
The gathering of press and guests gasped and fell silent – the Spitfire, piloted by Dan Griffiths approached at speed and climbed into a loop above Northwood House, Cowes, Isle of Wight. He then gave a display that thrilled and excited all there. Weaving, looping and rolling around the sky, all too soon the display was over and having been ‘ playing in the clouds ‘ as Mary had been won’t to do, he victory rolled the Spitfire a final time and gave our ‘ Spitfire Girl, ‘ Mary the traditional farewell, dipping each wing in turn. Her beloved Spitfire then disappeared into the clear blue skies.
Dan Griffiths in his Spitfire from Biggin Hill
Photographs and words : Tony Knight photography & MEDIA.