Appendix 1: HC VERNON and MASONS:
Appendix 2: Vernon Trees
Appendix 3: Atcherley Family
Appendix 4: Hilton Main Colliery:
Appendix 5: Letter
Appendix 1: HC VERNON and MASONS:
PROVINCIAL GRAND CHAPTER OF STAFFORDSHIRE
In writing up the history of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Staffordshire from 1850 onwards, I must record my grateful thanks particularly to Mr. Richard Leveson Vernon, a great grandson of Henry Charles Vernon for the loan of the latter's Masonic diary for the year 1848. This is in a particularly good state of preservation and was not only a great help to me but gave a clear indication of E. Comp. H.C. Vernon's very busy Masonic life, particularly as in those days travelling was no sinecure. I also acknowledge the help given to me by E. Comp. J.M. Hamill, the Librarian of the United Grand Lodge and other Companions, not only of the Province but of others, amongst whom were E. Comp.
A.G.J. Mickleburgh the Grand Superintendent of Bristol and the Staffordshire Provincial Grand Scribe E, E. Comp. S.C. Loweth. Perhaps I have dwelt too much on the first Grand Superintendent but he was the one who was responsible for the foundation of Staffordshire Provincial Grand Chapter.
HENRY CHARLES VERNON
The first Grand Superintendent of the Province of Staffordshire was Henry Charles Vernon who resided at Hilton Park, Shareshill, near Wolverhampton and was descended from a family with military and naval connections. One of his ancestors being Admiral Vernon, well known as 'Grog' Vernon, who served this country with great distinction and was actively engaged in the Battle of Portobello in 1739. His father was Henry Charles Edward Vernon, a Crimean veteran and a Major General in the 10th Light Dragoons, who was initiated on the 19th January 1802 in the Lodge of Harmony (now 255) Richmond Surrey when he was a Captain. It is interesting to note that in 1800 he assumed the surname Graham by Royal Licence on inheriting maternal property, and therefore was initiated as H.C.E. Vernon Graham, as was his son, Henry Charles but in 1838 the family discontinued to use the surname Graham.
Our first Grand Superintendent was born on the 9th January 1805 and died on the 26th February 1886. Apart from his Masonic activities he was a Justice of the Peace, a Deputy Lieutenant and was appointed High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1867. He had a second residence in Malvern, Worcestershire which explains his close connections with that Province. The family no longer reside at Hilton Park but it is of some interest that when our present Provincial Grand Master, W. Bro. Stanley Barrington, was looking for likely sites for the Major Wilson Keys Memorial Fund, this house was considered. Unfortunately because of certain restrictions, negotiations could not proceed. The family at that time owned considerable land and also an interest in coal minerals. In the nearby Church at Shareshill there are plaques of bequests made by the family and a stained glass window as a memorial to H.C. Vernon, the son of the Grand Superintendent who died at the early age of 26.
On the l1th March 1828 he married Katherine, daughter of Richard Bryce Williams, Esq., of Cardiff and it could be that his Masonic interest in Bristol was in some way connected with his in-laws, for he was initiated on the 13th April 1831 in the Royal Sussex Lodge of Hospitality No. 221 (now 187) Bristol, passed on the 11th May 1831 and raised on the 8th May 1833 in the same Lodge. In 1835 he became a joining member of the Clarence Lodge of Mariners No. 81 Bristo1 and also of the Moira Lodge No. 408 Bristol, occupying the Worshipful Master's Chair in both Lodges in 1835 and 1836 respectively.
I am indebted to E. Comp. Mickleburgh for an extract from the Minutes of Moira Lodge of the 26th July 1836, which states that the Worshipful Master (Bro. R.B. Callender) informed the Lodge that having been elected Master in the year 1831 and no Brother having since been elected to that office, he could not consistently with the Constitutions remain in the Chair; but this not being the time by the bye-laws for the election of Officers, he thought the brethren could not at present proceed to such an election. He therefore begged to move that Bro. H.C. Vernon Graham being the W.M. of a Warranted Lodge be requested to take the Chair until the time appointed for the election of a Worshipful Master. This was seconded by a Brother Burroughs and carried unanimously. Brother Graham was immediately conducted into the Chair". On the 5th October 1834 he also became a joining member of St. Peter's Lodge No.607 (now 419) Wolverhampton. On the 3rd April 1848 he also became a joining member of the Lodge of Light, Warwickshire No. 689 (now 468), but had resigned by the end of 1851. He was appointed Provincial Senior Grand Warden of Staffordshire in 1835, and in 1847 was installed as Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Province, an office which he held until he resigned in 1853. In 1848 he was appointed a Senior Grand Warden of the United Grand Lodge of Eng1and and two years later, as well as being he Deputy Grand Master of Staffordshire he was installed as the Provincial Grand Master of Worcestershire under Patent dated 20th June 1850 an office he held until 1863.
In Royal Arch Masonry he was exalted on the 5th June 1834 into the Chapter of Charity No. 221 (now 187) Bristol and became a joining member of St. Peter's Chapter No. 607 (now 419) Wolverhampton in 1846 and of the Sutherland Chapter No. 660 Burslem (now defunct) in 1847. He was installed as 3rd Principal of the latter Chapter in 1848 and presumably proceeded through the Chairs, that is if that Chapter had not ceased to meet soon afterwards. He was appointed First Assistant Grand Sojourner in 1848 and in 1849 was designated by Supreme Grand Chapter as the M.E. Grand Superintendent of Staffordshire, a position he held for four years. When he resigned as Grand Superintendent of Staffordshire in 1853, he was appointed M.E. Grand Superintendent of Worcestershire, a position he held until 1866.
-3Apart from his interest in the Craft and the Royal Arch he had connections in other Masonic Orders. In the Ancient and Accepted Rite he was Perfected on the 24th of August 1855 in St. Peter and St. Paul Chapter (now No.6) and promoted to the 30° on 31st October 1855, to the 31° on 14th October 1856 to the 32° on the 13th October 1857 and was elected to the 33° in 1860, becoming a Grand Captain General in 1861, a position which he held until 1868. In the same year he was appointed Grand Secretary General and in 1862 appointed Grand Treasurer General and in 1869 Lieutenant Grand Commander which he resigned in 1871.
In the Knights Templar he was installed into Beauceant Preceptory and on the Consecration of Godefroi de Bouillon Preceptory in 1853 he was installed as its first Preceptor by his brother George Augustus Vernon. He was appointed Second Great Captain in l854. It is recorded by V. Em. Kt. John Francis Moxon in his history of the Province of Staffordshire and Shropshire of the Religious and Military Order of the Temple, that at the Consecration of Richard de Vernon Preceptory in 1857, Charles Henry Vernon became Provincial Prior or Provincial Grand Commander of Worcestershire, which office he held until 1886.
The first Meeting of the Provincial Grand Chapter of Staffordshire was held on the 21st May 1850 at the Castle Hotel, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire under the Banner of the Chapter of Perseverance No. 674. This Hotel which was situated in High Street, Newcastle is now a Supermarket and has been since about 1975, although the facade has been retained as it was a listed building. A copy of the original Minutes are as follows:
The circumstances in which E. Comp. H.C. Vernon was designated as first M.E. Grand Superintendent is not clear but it is assumed that as he was the Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Province and a very active Mason that he was the obvious choice for that office. One can only conjecture the reason for holding the Meeting at Newcastle-under-Lyme instead of under the Banner of St. Peter's Chapter, Wolverhampton which was much nearer to Hilton Park. There are two explanations, the first one being that in 1849 a Provincial Grand Lodge Meeting was cancelled at Wolverhampton and held at Newcastle-under-Lyme because of the cholera plague which had then struck Wolverhampton and its districts resulting in the death of 1500 and it being thought not wise to hold the Meeting at Wolverhampton. On the other hand it could be because he was a member of the Sutherland Chapter which met at the Castle Hotel, Newcastle and he preferred to hold the Meeting under the Banner of the Chapter where he had or was occupying one of the Chairs.
Fortunately all the Minute Books since 1850 have been preserved and are in the possession of the Provincial Grand Chapter. The Minutes of the first Meeting are beautifully written but unfortunately, apart from Comp. G.A. Vernon, no initials of the Companions are recorded nor are the numbers of the Chapters.
However I am indebted to E. Comp. Hamill for a copy of the Freemasons Quarterly Review for June 1850 which gives a full list of the Officers appointed.
Appendix 2: Vernon Trees
Jennie's family trees
Entries: 14227 Updated: Mon Jun 17 15:19:09 2002 Contact: Jennie Macfie
Most info given here comes from Burkes Landed Gentry 1863, Burkes Peerage 1891, Armorial Families 1910, notes from family conversations, emails from relations
Index | Individual | Register | Download GEDCOM
1Edward VERNON b: 14 DEC 1584 d: 16 JUN 1657
2Mary Catherine Grace Elizabeth VERNON
2John VERNON d: 13 MAR 1670
5George VERNON d: XXX 1786
+Caroline Catherine YEATES
4Edward VERNON d: 1765
5Caroline Catherine YEATES
+Maud (Muriel) VERNON
3Henry VERNON b: 1636
+Margaret LADKINS b: XXX 1639 d: 1699
4Henry VERNON b: 1663 d: 24 JUL 1732
+Penelope PHILLIPS b: XXX 1697 d: 25 JAN 1726
5Henry VERNON b: 13 SEP 1718
+Henrietta WENTWORTH b: XXX 1720 d: 12 APR 1786
6Anne VERNON b: XXX 1744 d: 23 MAR 1797
6Henrietta VERNON b: XXX 1745 d: 1828
6Lucy VERNON b: XXX 1746 d: 1783
6Henry VERNON b: 21 MAR 1748 d: 21 OCT 1814
7Henry Charles Edward VERNON -GRAHAM b: 28 SEP 1779 d: 22 MAR 1861
+Maria COOK b: XXX 1784 d: 3 OCT 1827
8Emma Penelope VERNON
8Henry Charles VERNON b: 9 JAN 1805
9Henry VERNON b: 16 DEC 1828 d: 19 FEB 1855
9Augustus William VERNON b: 15 JUN 1834 d: 6 AUG 1834
9Augustus Levison VERNON b: 30 SEP 1836
9Frederick Wentworth VERNON b: 8 JAN 1839
9William George VERNON b: 8 APR 1840
9Edward VERNON b: 16 JAN 1844
8William Frederick VERNON b: 7 NOV 1807
+Elizabeth SHUTTLEWORTH d: 3 MAR 1853
8George Augustus VERNON b: 31 MAY 1811
+Louisa Jane Frances CATOR
9Edith Henrietta Sophia VERNON
9Louisa Jane VERNON
9Muriel Isabel VERNON
9George Edward VERNON b: 8 NOV 1843
9Bertie Wentworth VERNON b: 26 OCT 1846
9Herbert Charles Erskine VERNON b: 28 SEP 1851
7Frederick William Thomas VERNON-WENTWORTH b: 20 SEP 1795
8Louisa Mary Henrietta VERNON-WENTWORTH
8Henrietta Frances Elizabeth VERNON-WENTWORTH
8Thomas Frederick Charles VERNON-WENTWORTH b: 20 OCT 1831
+Harriet DE BURGH
9Augusta VERNON-WENTWORTH d: 1861
9VERNON-WENTWORTH b: 1 JAN 1863
7George Augustus Frederick VERNON b: NOV 1798 d: 1815
6William VERNON b: XXX 1749 d: JUN 1775
6Caroline VERNON b: 1751 d: 1829
6Jane VERNON b: XXX 1752 d: 1805
6Levison VERNON b: XXX 1753 d: 21 SEP 1831
5Thomas Phillips VERNON b: 20 NOV 1719 d: 1755
5John VERNON b: 20 JAN 1720 d: 16 MAY 1747
5Edward VERNON b: 1721 d: 1794
5Penelope VERNON b: 6 JUN 1722
+William Duckenfield DANIEL
5Elizabeth VERNON b: 17 JAN 1724 d: 28 JAN 1726
5Richard VERNON b: 18 JUN 1726 d: XXX
4Edward VERNON b: 28 DEC 1665 d: 1742
+Thomas DU PONT
4George VERNON b: 15 AUG 1667 d: XXX
4Thomas VERNON b: 1674 d: 4 APR 1742
Jennie's family trees
Entries: 14227 Updated: Mon Jun 17 15:19:09 2002 Contact: Jennie Macfie
Most info given here comes from Burkes Landed Gentry 1863, Burkes Peerage 1891, Armorial Families 1910, notes from family conversations, emails from relations
Index | Individual | Ahnentafel | Download GEDCOM
Display pedigree in table format
/Edward VERNON b: 14 DEC 1584
d: 16 JUN 1657
| | /Henry VERNON
| \Margaret VERNON
/Henry VERNON b: 1636
| | /George VERNON
| \Maud (Muriel) VERNON
/Henry VERNON b: 1663 d: 24 JUL 1732
| | /William LADKINS
| \Margaret LADKINS b: XXX 1639 d: 1699
/Henry VERNON b: 13 SEP 1718
| | /Robert PHILLIPS
| \Penelope PHILLIPS b: XXX 1697 d: 25 JAN 1726
/Henry VERNON b: 21 MAR 1748 d: 21 OCT 1814
| | /William WENTWORTH d: 1614
| | /William WENTWORTH b: XXX 1594
| | | \Anne ATKINS
| | /William WENTWORTH
| | | | /Thomas SAVILE
| | | \Elizabeth SAVILE
| | /Thomas WENTWORTH d: 15 NOV 1739
| | | | /Allan APSLEY
| | | \Isabella APSLEY
| \Henrietta WENTWORTH b: XXX 1720 d: 12 APR 1786
| | /Henry JOHNSON
| \Anne JOHNSON d: 19 SEP 1754
/Henry Charles Edward VERNON -GRAHAM b: 28 SEP 1779 d: 22 MAR 1861
| | /Arthur GRAHAM
| \Penelope GRAHAM
/Henry Charles VERNON b: 9 JAN 1805
| | /John COOKE
| | /George COOKE b: 1676 d: 1741
| | /George COOK b: XXX 1710 d: 1768
| | | | /Edward JENNINGS
| | | \Anne JENNINGS b: 1681 d: 1736
| | /George John COOK b: XXX 1735 d: 1784
| | | | /Thomas TWYSDEN
| | | \Catherine TWYSDEN d: 1765
| | | | /Francis WITHERS
| | | \Catherine WITHERS
| \Maria COOK b: XXX 1784 d: 3 OCT 1827
| | /William BOWYER
| \Penelope BOWYER b: XXX 1745 d: 1821 Augustus Levison VERNON b: 30 SEP 1836
| /Richard WILLIAMS
Appendix 3: Atcherley Family
Sons of Francis Topping Atcherley, Lt Col 35th Regt, by his wife Emma Arabella, dau of Francis Harris Heward of Toronto.
1. Richard Topping Beverley Atcherley, gent, b 1866. M. Caroline May dau of William Wynne Ffoukes:
Issue: Mary Elizabeth Hope & Hester Mary.
2. Major General Sir Llewellyn William Atcherley, Kt Bach 1925, CMG, MVO, Col late RASC. Maj Gen 1918. Controlle of Salvage at War Office 1917. M. 1897 Eleanor Francis dau of Richard Micklethwaite JP DL. Res Fulford Villa, Fulford, York.
2/1. David Francis William Atcherley, RAF , 12/1/1904.
2/2. Richard Llewellyn Roger Atcherley, RAF., 12/1/1904.
David Francis Atcherley, born West House, Buxton,
died Marton Hall, Salop, 1887
Married: Caroline Frances Amhurst Stacey, b Kent.
Dau of Courtney Stacey (b. 10/10/1789, Sanding Place, Maidstone)
& Charlotte Daniel-Thyssen (b.12/7/1800, Rochester)
CFS died 1898.
Isssue Rosamund Minnie Margaret Atcherley, married E. France-Hayhurst.
David Francis Atcherley appointed by the Bishop of Durham Attorney General 29/1/1835.
Air Vice Marshal D F W Atcherley
David Francis William b: 12 Jan 1904 d: 8 Jun 1952
CB - 1950, CBE - 1946, DSO - 1944, DFC - 1942.
(Army) - 2 Lt: xx xxx 1924, Lt: xx xxx xxxx.
(RAF) Fg Off: 19 Mar 1927, Flt Lt: 5 Nov 1930, Sqn Ldr:: 1 Feb 1937, Act Wg Cdr: xx xxx 1939, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1940, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Mar 1942, Act A/Cdre: 14 Jul 1944?, Gp Capt (WS): 14 Dec 1944, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1946, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1947, AVM: 1 Jul 1950,
xx xxx 1922: Attended Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
xx xxx 1924: Officer, East Lancashire Regiment.
19 Mar 1927: U/T Pilot, No 5 FTS.
20 Feb 1928: Pilot, No 2 Sqn.
xx xxx xxxx: QFI Course, Central Flying School.
xx xxx xxxx: Pilot/QFI, 'D' Flight, Central Flying School.
5 Aug 1930: QFI, RAF College - Cranwell.
16 Oct 1931: Flight Commander, No 28 Sqn.
29 May 1933: Flight Commander, No 20 Sqn.
21 Jan 1936: Attended RAF Staff College.
2 Jan 1937: Air Staff, HQ No 16 (Reconnaissance) Group.
27 Sep 1938: Officer Commanding, No 85 Sqn. (Hurricane)
xx Jan 1940: Staff, HQ No 60 (Fighter) Wing, Air Component of the BEF.?
xx May 1940: Officer Commanding, No 253 Sqn.
xx Jun 1940?: Officer Commanding, RAF Castletown.
xx Feb 1941: Officer Commanding, No 25 Sqn. (Beaufighters, Wittering)
xx xxx 1941: Officer Commanding, RAF Hawarden.
xx xxx 1942: Officer Commanding, RAF Fairwood Common.
xx xxx 1942: Officer Commanding, No 323 Wing?, DAF.
8 Oct 1943: SASO, HQ No 2 Group.
xx Dec 1945: AOC, No 48 Group.
15 May 1946?: AOC, No 47 Group.
xx Oct 1946: Director of Air Support and Transport Operations.
xx xxx 1948: Commandant, Central Fighter Establishment.
21 Jan 1950: SASO, HQ Fighter Command.
xx Feb 1952: AOC, No 205 Group.
David Atcherley and his identical twin brother, Richard, become a legend in the RAF. Their father was an Army officer, who took up ballooning before the first world war and would eventually rise to the rank of Major-General. Rejected for RAF service on medical grounds he entered the Sandhurst instead. His wish to fly was achieved after a couple of years in the Army, when he was accepted for secondment to the RAF. Proving to be as excellent a pilot as his brother he was able to have his secondment converted into a permanent transfer. Whilst at the Central Flying School, Wittering, he and a fellow pilot were detailed to fly two airmen to Halton to participate in a tennis tournament. for the return flight, David made a typical Atcherley suggestion, that they see who could perform the most slow rolls between Halton and Wittering. Having completed over 100 in the 65 mile journey, he won comfortably but on arriving back at Wittering, their aircraft where covered in a film of oil thrown out by the gyrations of their flight. Their flight commander, Basil Embry, then pointed out to them the AOC was due to make an inspection the following day and that their aircraft had better be clean by then. Setting about the job themselves, they gracefully cleaned their aircraft and the following day had the two cleanest aircraft on display.
One of the units based at Castletown at the time was No 801 Squadron FAA and when they where detailed to carry out deck landing practice, he decided to pay his respects to the Captain of the carrier. Landing unannounced, he made a successful landing but promptly disappeared down an open lift shift, wrecking his aircraft but giving him a photograph for use on his Christmas cards that year. It was at Wittering whilst commanding 25 Squadron that his career nearly ended. Whilst taking off, he mistook an obstruction light for a flare path light as a result of which he collided with a tree shortly after take off, breaking his back. However, this did not stop him flying, although it did require six ground crew to get him into and out of his aircraft. During a conference at the Air Ministry, the matter of night fighters was brought up and when asked what type of aircraft would make a good night fighter, he suggested the Messerschmitt 110 which had an uplifting effect on the others, somewhat different to the effect a similar remark had had on Goering when Adolf Galland had requested a 'Squadron of Spitfires' during the Battle of Britain.
He found himself working alongside Basil Embry yet again when in 1943, he returned to Britain becoming Embry's Senior Air Staff Officer at 2 Group. Embry often flew on operations as 'Wg Cdr Smith' and it was not unusual to see David Atcherley sitting beside him on one of these 'jollies', once he even flew with his arm in a plaster, having broken it the night before during a mess party.
Appointed AOC of No 205 Group in Egypt, within six months he became the centre of a mysterious disappearance whilst flying a Meteor FR10 from Fayid in Egypt bound for Cyprus. His aircraft never arrived in Cyprus, no radio message was received from him and no sign of him or his aircraft was ever found despite an extensive search being carried out by RAF, Israeli, Turkish and USAF aircraft.
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Air Marshal Sir Richard Atcherley
Richard Llewelyn Roger b: 12 Jan 1904 r: 4 Apr 1959 d: 18 Apr 1970
KBE - 1956 (CBE - 1945, OBE - 1941), CB - 1950, AFC - 1940, Bar – 1942, 1st Prize, 'R M Groves' Competition - 1924
Plt Off: 31 Jul 1924, Fg Off: 31 Jan 1926, Flt Lt: 13 Nov 1929, Sqn Ldr:: 1 Apr 1937, (T) Wg Cdr: 1 Mar 1940, (T) Gp Capt: 1 Mar 1942, Act A/Cdre: 9 Jan 1944?, Gp Capt (WS): 9 Jul 1944, (T) A/Cdre: 1 Jan 1946, A/Cdre: 1 Jul 1947, Act AVM: 31 Jan 1949, AVM: 1 Jan 1951, Act AM: 20 Dec 1955, AM: 1 May 1956,.
xx xxx 1922: Flight Cadet, 'A' Sqn, RAF College. (Flt Cdt Sgt)
31 Jul 1924: Pilot, No 29 Sqn. (Snipe - Duxford)
xx xxx 1925: Attended Central Flying School.
xx xxx 1925: Pilot/QFI, No 29 Sqn. (Snipes – Duxford)
26 Oct 1925: Pilot/QFI, No 23 Sqn. (Snipes – Henlow)
4 Aug 1926: QFI, Central Flying School.
6 Oct 1928: Pilot, RAF High Speed Flight.
10 Oct 1929: QFI, Central Flying School.
9 Dec 1929: Flight Commander, No 23 Sqn.
13 Oct 1930: Flight Commander, No 14 Sqn..
xx Sep 1934: Test Pilot, Experimental Section, RAE.
xx Jan 1937: Attended RAF Staff College.
1 Jan 1938: Air Staff, HQ Training Command
1 Jul 1939: Staff of AM Sir Charles Burnett, Inspector-General of the RAF.
xx Oct 1939: Officer Commanding, No 219 Sqn
xx May 1940?: Officer Commanding, Air Element BEF, Norway.
1940: Officer Commanding, RAF Drem.
1941: Officer Commanding, No 54 OTU - RAF Church Fenton.
1942: Officer Commanding, RAF Fairwood Common.
1942: Officer Commanding, RAF Kenley.
11 Apr 1943: AOC, No 211 Group - Tripoli
1944: Gp Capt - Training, HQ Fighter Command.
1944: Head of RAF Section (Temporary), Training Section, HQ AEAF.
1944: Deputy Head of RAF Section , Training Section, HQ AEAF.
xx xxx 1945: Commandant, Central Fighter Establishment.
xx xxx 1945: SASO, Commonwealth Tactical Air Force.
xx Sep 1945: Commandant, RAF College - Cranwell.
31 Jan 1949: Chief of the Air Staff, Royal Pakistani Air Force.
1 Jun 1951: AOC, No 12 Group
xx xxx 1953: Head of RAF Staff - British Joint Services Mission, Washington.
20 Dec 1955: AOC in C, Flying Training Command.
Richard Atcherley, universally known as 'Batchy' gained a reputation together with his twin brother, David, as a practical joker, despite which he was an exceptional pilot and a charismatic leader. Their father, a retired army major and then Chief Constable of the West Riding of Yorkshire (he was recalled during WW1 becoming Major-General Sir Llewelyn) had taken up ballooning in the early part of the 20th Century. They attended Oundle School and both applied for admission into the RAF as Flight Cadets at the RAF College, Cranwell. Richard was accepted whilst his brother was turned down on medical grounds. In 1927 he was selected to fly as a member of the School's aerobatic team and remained a member for the next two seasons.
In 1929, he was selected as a member of the RAF High Speed Flight which was tasked with flying Britain's entries in the Schneider Trophy Air Races. Selected to fly N248 in the competition, he unfortunately turned inside a pylon and was disqualified, however he subsequently went on to set records at 50 and 100 km of 332 and 331 mph respectively. Another aspect of the work of the High Speed Flight was exhibited in 1929, when 'Batchy' with G H Stainforth as navigator, took part in the King's Cup Air Race. They flew a 2 seater Grebe and won the competition at an average speed of 150.3 mph. His success in the Schneider Trophy and King's Cup Air Races had brought him fame around the world and in 1930 he was invited to take part in the Chicago Air Races in the USA. On arrival it was apparent that his demonstration of aerobatics in a standard British light aircraft would fall short of the American experts in their specially designed high performance aircraft. Therefore he decided to give a display of 'crazy flying', in which he flew the aircraft as though it was being flown by an unqualified pilot. His display was so spectacular that he was asked to return the following year, although by then he had been posted to Amman in Trans-Jordan with No 14 Squadron and this annual visit to the USA had to start with a flight home to the UK in his own aircraft.
Whilst serving in Palestine, he carried out night flying/navigation experiments which he would later perfect into an approved night landing system. Another of his eccentricities at this time was his menagerie, which included a pet lion which he often took flying with him. Prior to leaving the Middle East, however, his antics caught up with him, when he carried out an aerobatic display over a tennis party which included the AOC, Sir Cyril Newell. Court Martialed, he lost 50 places in the seniority lists and was prevented from attending the RAF Staff College.
Whilst he was in Chicago, he witnessed some experiments in Air to Air Refuelling and was immediately fascinated by them. As a result in 1934 he found himself posted to the second of his initial ambitions, the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, where he was able develop his ideas on air refuelling alongside other methodes then being tested. He also continued his previous experiments in night landing systems and even suggested that aircrews should wear specially designed flying suits based on the ski-suit (another common feature today). Following his tour at Farnborough, he was allowed to attend the course at the RAF Staff College at Andover from which he had been previously been barred.
Appointed a staff officer at HQ Training Command, he was tasked with increasing the output of the command, which required both aircraft and airfields. He used his own aircraft for both searching for suitable airfield sites and for visiting Public Schools. He set up the Public School's Air Cadet Wing, whereby Schools' OTCs were affiliated to RAF Stations and at least two masters in each school were responsible for the training of OTC cadets in air matters. He went further, setting up annual camps for these cadets with Air Experience in Ansons and initial flying training for selected cadets in Tiger Moths. His brother David also assisted him and when unable to run the last camp before the war, David successfully stepped in and took over.
With the German invasion of Norway, he was sent to organise the airfield at Bardufoss for the Gladiators of No 263 Sqn and later the Hurricanes of 46 Sqn. In order to make the landing ground safe. it was necessary to clear the snow from the runways. With limited resources, he was able to coerce the local population to undertake the task. With the situation in Norway becoming untenable the RAF personnel were ordered to evacuate and burn their aircraft. However, not wishing to lose valuable aircraft, he and 'Bing' Cross (OC, No 46 Sqn), decided to attempt the evacuation of the Hurricanes and Gladiators by landing them aboard HMS Glorious rather than destroying and abandoning them in Norway. The actual landing of the squadrons aboard the carrier was a complete success, but unfortunately it was sunk on it's way to Britain.
On his return to the UK, he assumed command of RAF Drem in Scotland, where he continued development of his night landing light system, eventually adopted by the RAF and known as the 'Drem' system. Later at Fairwood Common, he was replaced by his brother and many of the station personnel did not even notice the change. At Kenley he often flew with the Wing but after protests from the squadron commanders that he could not see the enemy quick enough and when asked by the AOC in C to stop flying with the Wing he readily agreed. However, the next day the AOC in C, was informed the 'Batchy' had been shot down and was at that moment was somewhere in the English Channel.
Rescued from the Channel having been wounded in the engagement a period of recovery was followed by a posting to the Middle East, where having been promoted Act A/Cdre in the Western Desert Air Force he crashed a new Kittyhawk, incurring the wrath of new AOC, AVM Harry Broadhurst. As a result he found himself returned to the UK as a Group Captain.
Whilst at HQ AEAF, he had proposed the idea of a Central Fighter Establishment and when the idea was eventually put into action in 1945, it was logical and appropriate that 'Batchy' should become it's first Commandant. This unit was responsible for developing new tactics and assessing new fighter designs. The dropping of the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki removed the need for the planned Commonwealth force of which he was to have been the SASO and instead he became the first ex-Cranwell cadet to become Commandant of the RAF College. Here he developed a technique whereby he inspected the whole station, permanent staff, cadets and apprentices whilst flying inverted in his personal Gloster Meteor. He was also responsible for returning Cranwell to the glory of its pre-war years.
Leaving Cranwell, he then proceeded overseas to take command of the newly created Royal Pakistan Air Force which came into being following Indian independence and partition. Here he set about giving the new service the firm foundations needed for a growing air force and established its own 'Cranwell'. Rejoining Fighter Command, as AOC, No 12 Group after which he moved to the USA to take over as Head of the RAF staff attached to the British Joint Services Mission. Having managed to fly both the Hunter and Swift in Britain before leaving for America, he was able to add to his total there when he was allowed to fly the F86 Sabre, CF-100, although even he was unable to persuade the US General in command of the base to allow him to fly the prototype F-100 Super Sabre. In his final appointment as AOC in C, Flying Training Command he introduced the Jet Provost into the training syllabus and recommended the adoption of the Gnat as the RAF's new advanced trainer. Following his retirement from the RAF, he retained his connection with aviation by joining the Folland Aircraft Company as Sales Director, a post he held until 1965.
Appendix 4: Hilton Main Colliery:
Cutting from Newspaper:
WITHIN a year of commencing their operations, the sinkers of the new shaft at Hilton Main Colliery have nearly surmounted their greatest obstacle - the water-bearing strata - and they are hopeful that by the time another year has passed they will have arrived at the end of their journey 630 yards from the surface.
They have got down at present 185 yards and they expect to be able to pierce through the remaining 445 yards in as many month's as they have made the first, and most critical, part of the advances.
There has been water with which to contend, of course, but it has kept well under control, and the fact that the pumps have now been dispensed with and only a water barrel is being used is welcome evidence that things are going remarkably well at Hilton. The extent of the success of the sinkers in the first 185 yards is in extraordinary contrast to the alarming incidents which the sinkers of the first shaft at Hilton experienced when they had reached a depth of 150 yards.
S 0 S FOR PUMPS
Those down below had to rush for their lives when the water poured into the shaft with great volume and climbed steadily
upward. A hurried search was made throughout the country for pumps to deal with the serious situation, but it was found that the pumps needed had been taken over the Channel to assist in reclaiming the mines which had suffered from the German invasion of the coalfields in Northern France. Eventually powerful pumps came to hand which made it possible for the water to be overcome. But before it could be held completely in check however, thousands of bags of cement had to be thrown down the shaft to form a solid block of concrete. This acted as a plug and it became possible to adopt other precautionary measures. Subsequently this mass of concrete was bored out and the sinking of the shaft was proceeded with.
I visited Hilton Main to-day and saw the excellent progress which had been made in the sinking of No 2 shaft. At present the sinkers are passing through a dozen yards of marl which is child's play compared with the stiff task they had to deal with when, some weeks ago, they were fighting their way through a dozen yards of conglomerate.
DAYS OF SLOW PROGRESS
This was at 160 to 172 yards depth. In a whole day of three shifts not more than two feet of the tough compost could be pierced, and in the contest between man, the machine and nature there was an astonishing mortality of drills.
At the pit-head there can be seen specimens of strata which had been subjected to the particular cementation process which is making the shaft watertight. There was a fissure of five inches width at one part of the shaft which had to be dealt with and so effective was the cementation application that the sinkers were able at a later stage to meet with the fissure completely closed by the injection of cement.
The electric winder which is being used for the sinking of the shaft has been made at the Stafford works of the English Electric Co and will ultimately deal with coal and men. The estimated output per hour of coal is 100 tons, the weight of coal per wind 5,376lbs, and the net time of each wind 73 seconds. The winder is 600 b.h.p.
Mr. Carl Nelson who has charge of the Hilton Main undertaking, told me they were continuing to make good progress, for some months they had not lost a single shift BALLOT FOR BATHS
The question of the provision of pit-head baths had been engaging the attention of the management, and the workmen at Hilton Main were to be balloted on the question in the near future. It is felt that the installation of such baths would be a great boon to the men, many of whom travel far distances to the pit from their homes. Plenty of bricks will be available on the spot for the building of the baths, for big headings are being driven into the mountains of dirt which are supplying material for the machines and the kilns which are turning out 250000 bricks weekly. Another 200,000 bricks a week are being made at the Holly Bank plant of the company, so that what in the past has been looked upon as waste is being transformed into houses.
"Do you think you will ever get rid of those mountains of dirt, and so get back something of the beauty of Hilton?" was the question I put to Mr. Nelson, and he replied that if they continued at their present rate there was not the least doubt that the Hilton landmark pyramids would vanish in due course.
Hilton is a wonderful place for bluebells. They are at the moment in mass formation about the base of the mounds, close up to the sinkers' piles of equipment, and about the walls of the electricity sub-station, waiting for the warmer sun to bring them into full colour, and at the earliest opportunity they will reclaim and repossess their old habitations, where tens of thousands of corms lie submerged by disfiguring debris.
PITMAN.Wolverhampton Express & Star extract:"Nature Turned Against Hilton Main, The Pit They said Would Go On for Years.
In The End the Rock has Beaten the asses coal.
Tomorrow's closure of production at Hilton Main Colliery ends a three century era dating to the days of Wolverhampton's "asses' coal."
Hilton had its roots in 18th century mines of the Essington area, where black faced miners hacked out nuts which were carried on donkeys' backs to the town and sold by the "ass load."
In the 17th and 18th centuries there was always a good market for the 1oads they called Squire Vernon's coal" after the Hilton autocracy of the times.
The black-diamond zone north of Wolverhampton - where dozens of narrow shafts still lie capped and covered, but unfilled - fathered the Cannock Chase coalfield itself.
The miners worked the seam northwards, and new pits and new communities were born as the old pits died.
Hilton itself was conceived to extend the Holly Bank Colliery operations into seams north and west of Essington. Good coal "panels" were proved in 1908, and 14 years later the first shaft was driven. In 1924 up came the first coal, from 3Oom. year old measures. In mining tradition the first nuggets were toasted in good ale, and the future seemed assured. But it soon became clear that Hilton's seams had a Jekyll-and-Hyde character of rock-faulting. Good coal could turn suddenly into red or gray rock where a seam had slipped.
It often needed steep gradients to keep working yet the coal was determinedly mined and in 1927 Hilton took over when the Essington pit closed. There was even a plan to open another pit at Four Ashes, a few miles westwards. Hilton made history as the Midlands' first all-electric pit and survived a company liquidation in 1936. Its second shaft went down in 1936, and at 637 yards was one of the deepest in the Cannock field roughly as far as far Wolverhampton's Queen-Square to Chapel-ash.
The pit passed to the National Coal Board after the war and as late as 1964, was rated a "1ong-life" pit. A miners' union official predicted enough coal "for 25 years or more."
Now the rock has won, despite the miners' desperate "donkey work" to find consistently profitable coal through new tunneling. And tomorrow, although the pit will live on for salvage, the era of the asses' coal will end.
Letter to Henry Vernon-Graham
Hilton Park 25th December 1834, Thursday Xmas Day Evening.
Refers to Injury to HVG
…. Xmas audit 1834 Hilton household expenses very considerably reduced this half year and if the New Colliery Expenses, for the same period, had been equally beneficial we would have done great things - but as it is, with a heavy loss of upwards of £385 - in the last half year, on the colliery concern, by the reduced expenses of the Hilton Household, amounting to upwards of £300 in the last half year, I have been enabled to meet the whole of the Tradesmans Bills amounting to £720 sent for payment at this Xmas audit 1834, and the Hilton Household Expenses for the Current half year, ending 15th June 1835, and to pay to Drummonds on your account £600. And also to inclose for you in this ??? £100 - which I shall leave for you with Wm Taverner, making to you £700 out of which is to be paid the £50 allowance half yearly to your children. Without you being obliged to sell out of the funds any stocks to meet the expenses of the current half year. I shall be in Town on the 2nd and 3rd of January, in the New Year 1835, and when you are in Town, after that time, I shall be most happy in the oppostunity of explaining to you, all matters of importance relating to our Xmas Audit 1834.
Inclosed are 5-20 Coy Notes = £100.
To Lt Col Vernon Graham, Barbadoes.
Ref 3500 lent by HCV to late father.
Sold the Cobham Estate for 11000 tp Lord Carhampton, lent pa 3500.
Estate will do, to set off the £2000 - given to you by his will and the £900 - advanced to you in 1812 or 1813, and the furniture in Hilton Hall value about £600 - w.. I make ….. £3500 - add the £3500 .. you lent you father in the year 1800 - they balance the account and there for you to release your ….. in the £10000. Under your father's will, whci must remain a charge upon both the settled and unsettled part of the Staffordshire Estates, …. To all the prior mortgages theron … etc
Willm Lowe, Temple, 15 January 1817
Hilton Park 25 June 1822.
It is with much concern I inform you that at my Rent Day on the 21st instant the Rents reced are upwards of £370 deficient to pay the half years Interest and Rent charges now due to Mre Vernon and the Mortgagors and that there is no prospect of my receiving the deficiency before the end of Oct next - I allowed the Tenants 10% of their Rents, but they all declared it was too little and they could not go on without their rents being much lowered - (details of farms)
Mr Willoughby has had many great expensive difficulties to encounter, which are it is to be hoped at length overcome and he has now gained a new Pit of Maiden Coal, as it is termed, that is a Pit of entire new coal which has never before been opened and which all concur in saying both large in quantity and good in quality and that W Willoughby may now get what quantity of Coals he pleases and Mr Smith says he thinks Mr W may find a sale for all the coal he gets - hitherto however W. W has not been able to pay and Rent at all but for future .. pay rents with punctuality, but owing tot he low price of coal, .. reduce the royalty due from 1/6 to 1/- per ton …
….I am unable to afford Mrs Vernon Graham and pecuniary assistance …. Discussion of the debts of Mrs VG.
The allowance for Mrs VG for herself and children as follows:
To Mrs VG for pin money £300
To Mrs VG for her household expenses £1000
To Mrs VG for Henry £500
George £200 £900
and for the £2200 Mrs VG is to have the power to draw on Mrs Drummonds as her occasion may require to be answered by the Irish Rents remitted by Mr Mayne.
Account for the running to the "Cutter Dolphins" July 1836-May 1837 £1015-5-1 (about £78000 2002) to Lt Col HC VG.
Letter from Lt Col HC Vernon Graham, Inspector Ionia in Malta, Corfu 7/2/1825.
Essington Colliery - From February 1st 1833 to February 28th 1833
Coals sold the first 2 weeks ending 14th Feb 177T 2cwt 0Q
Coals sold the second do ending 28th feb 225 18 2
403 0 2.
Sales 1st 2 weeks
Cash recd Ready money 16/2/6.5
On credit 46/13/9
Expenses 1st 2 weeks
Expenses at the pits 54/5/6
Carrying, Boating & Commission 12/12/4.5
Expenses 2nd weeks
At Pits 46/1/10
Carrying etc 18/1/4
Coals on the Bank raised within the month
Best coal 7 tons at 6/6 per ton 2/5/6 Count? Coal 10 tons at 4/6 per ton 2/5/0
Deduct Mr WW Bailey salary for 4 weeks 4/0/0
Balance in favour of colliery 8/6/1.5
Deduct (error above) 1/0/0
Hilton Park 3/3/1833, Nicholas Taverner.
Letter re debts mentions colliery 8/3/1779.
Hilton was the site of the Holly Bank mine, which was started in 1922. It was the first colliery in South Staffordshire to be run solely on electricity - marking a new era in local mining. The huge power station was said to be without equal in the Midlands coalfields and its electrical equipment was described as "the latest word."
In 1924 the Hilton Main Colliery was opened and the two were linked together but production at Holly Bank declined due to geological faults and production ceased in 1952. Hilton Main closed in 1969.
Holly Bank mine sunk at Hilton: Engineering and colliery chiefs turned out in force in September for the new "sinking" of the Holly Bank Colliery Company at Hilton, near Shareshill.
The company faced tremendous difficulties in sinking the Hilton shaft but the end result was praised by visitors from the South Staffordshire and Warwickshire Mining Engineers, and the South Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire Colliery managers during a conducted tour of the premises.
The huge power station was said to be without equal in the Midlands coalfields and its electrical equipment was described as "the latest word."
It was revealed that Hilton would be the first colliery in South Staffordshire to be run solely on electricity - marking a new era in local mining.
The main discussions centred round a massive diagram fixed in the power station showing sections of the shaft.
It was pointed out that the shaft would have sunk 1,890ft when it was completed.
The visitors went down the shaft to inspect the progress but it was stressed that it would be another 15 to 18 months before coal could be mined in the new colliery.
Appendix 5: Letter
Transcript of a letter found in RL Vernon's desk, but with the top cut off: who is Shiela?? The letter was probably written to Betty (then Kirk-Owen, later Vernon) in 1973, and the reference to Jacqueline was probably to Jacqueline Burton, and old friend of Betty's. Jan 2003.
My mother died about a year and a half ago. I loved her very much and was very sad and upset although she hadn't been well for ages. She died while I was touring so when I came home we buried her and I went straight back to work - it seemed the best thing to do and kept me distracted. About two months later I was home between tours for about three weeks and as my husband was away climbing mountains, I was alone. Feeling calmer, I decided to look at a trunk of letters and photographs we had in the attic that came here when my father died and which we'd never got around to looking at - for one reason, I always thought it would upset Mama who absolutely adored my father.
Anyway I went to the attic and opened up. I found vast packets of love letters from my parents who met at 19 and 21 which were very moving - it was like meeting two quite different people on very intimate terms. I found my grandfather's diary at Eton around 1850 - not really interesting and yet it was in a way, just because he'd started writing it at 12 or something - they went there younger in those days and he was over fifty when Mama was born.
I then found my gt gt grandmothers diary - actually it wasn't lost but I'd never bothered to read it properly but now did so. She was American and married my Irish gt gt grandfather George Nugent. I was also left with a large family tree and various documents so for the first time I began looking at the names and linking them and becoming increasingly confused at strange gaps. I went to the public library round the corner and by looking into old editions of Burkes and National Biographies etc I finally got things sorted out a bit. There seems to have been an excessive amount of illegitimacy with marriages after and all that - including that of my grandfather!
By this time, I was fascinated - it was like working at a detective story. You see I had grown up with miniatures and prints of several people without having had any curiosity as to who they might be or what they did.
I was surprised that though my American gt gt grandma's lineage was set out for instance in the diary, the page about my gt gt grandpa had been torn out. At the time I felt annoyed not realizing that it must have been done on purpose by my grandmother who gave the book to me when I was born.
Anyway National Biography said he was acknowledged natural grandson of Robert Craggs Nugent - at that time I didn't know much about him either. However luckily I got his life out of the London Library and then everything was made clear.
It seems Robert first seduced his cousin Clare in Ireland then ran off to London - she ran after him with a maid, a priest and some Jewelery and sent him constant imploring notes all of which he refused to answer. She finally had an illegitimate child, was practically starving having sold all her Jewels, and later returned to her family.
Robert went back to Ireland and married Emilia Plunkett and she died giving birth to their son, Edmund. It says he was deeply in love with her and as she died she asked him to make amends to Clare. He said he would, in fact he tried to do so but when he arrived at the Byrne household the butler slammed the door in his face telling him Miss Clare was marrying someone else the very next day! Robert then went to England and after a time married Ann Craggs the daughter and heiress of the South Sea Bubble man who conveniently died or committed suicide the very night before the date set for the enquiry into his activities. The daughter had already been married twice and was very rich settling 100,000 on Robert immediately. The marriage lasted about ten years. It sounds as if at first they were happy then later not - she was much older and he wanted children and she didn't have any. She finally died leaving him Gosfield in Essex. He promptly remarried this time Elizabeth Berkeley who gave him a daughter Mary whom he adored and another daughter whose paternity he denied and the marriage ended in divorce.
His son by Emilia, Edmund, went to school in Dublin and was put in the army. Somehow and sometime he secretly married in Church Elizabeth Vernon - I think she was nineteen and he was 22. They had three children, George (my gt gt grandfather) Charles, and a daughter who died at 19..
Finally, it transpired their marriage was invalid and both their families persuaded them to separate. They abandoned the children - Elizabeth returned to Hilton and later married a Count Thomas du Pont. Edmund went back to his regiment and got engaged to someone called Violet Edgar but died at 39 before he ever married her. Robert meanwhile relented and took charge of the three children (at least this is what I gather! they boys were put to school in Dublin and his unmarried sister cared for them quite a bit.
Later, his daughter Mary (by his 3rd marriage) married George Grenville who in due course inherited Stowe and Robert (he was now an Earl) got George made the Marquis of Buckingham.. (the Grenvilles were pretty grand anyway with Chatham and Pitt as Uncle and Cousin and George's father was Prime Minister, so I guess this wasn't difficult) Robert had by now grown very fond of his grandsons and I believe they spent a lot of time at Stowe. I read a letter somewhere written from Stowe in which he said they were having a quiet family life, he was very happy and that his two grandsons were everything he could desire. As my gt gt grandmothers diary makes frequent references to weekends at Stows this must have been true.
Could you please ask Richard if or what he knows about Elizabeth and if he has a photograph or is there a book I could read or anything? I was sosurprised that both of them walked out on their children so seemingly callously. Why did they split up - is it documented at all? Who was Du Pont and what happened to Elizabeth afterwards? Who were her parents as they'd be my 4th grandparents on that side? I have miniatures of my gt gt grandparents and xeroxed Gainsborough's portraits of Robert and Edmund. I believe Baron Thyssen bought the portrait of Robert fairly recently but don't know where the other paintings would be. I've never been to Gosfield though it is open to the public occasionally - I mean I suppose there might be some portraits there though they probably went in the various Stowe sales.
I have xeroxed a couple of pages I took from the book (Robert, Earl Nugent I had to give back to the London Library) It refers I think to the death
of Elizabeth's daughter and made me think Du Pont must have been Belgian -? Did she have more children?
I found the whole saga rather strange and romantic - its hard to imagine how couples managed to vanish from home and get secretly married two hundred years ago - I mean now its commonplace - but then'. I did wonder why Robert and the Vernons didnt encourage them to remarry legally instead of discouraging them - as I read - but I suppose they'd stopped loving each other and no longer wanted to be together.
My mother was a Clayton and another gt gt grandaunt Marion had married Charles Fox's younger brother Henry Edward who was in the army. They had three children and as the parents were often abroad the children were partly brought up at St Annes Hill by Mrs Charles Fox. Maria, my American gt gt refused to be introduced to her at some party "though she looked very amiable." It could have been on moral grounds of course, as she was originally a courtesan, but I took it to be because of the Pitt-Fox rivalry. (note in hand my gt granpa) ref Pitt) Anyway Maria's daughter Amelia married Rice Richard Clayton who I think would have been Marion Fox's nephew so I thought it rather ironical!
I don't know if Mama's family is typical of the way everyone went on but another gt aunt or something ran off to Gretna Green in 1840 and her father chased after her but in that case the families accepted it and the couple were married a second time a fortnight later in London. She had a rather dramatic story too - her husband accidentally shot himself twenty years later - he was heavily in debt so suicide was suggested though not proved. Her eldest son sounded rather brutal, her second son got killed at 13 coming down the Matterhorn - they were the first people ever to get to the top, one of her grandsons was killed hunting and another got into a big scandal, and she ended as a nun in a convent...Sort of sad romantic!
Well, I'd better stop. Do hope you haven't been too bored by all this. It seemed too complicated to explain verbally so Jacqueline said she'd take this letter with her. I would never have bothered Richard out of the blue but as you're there I feel I can and I would be so happy if he has any background information to fill in my gaps - particularly I'd love to know what Elizabeth looked like.
Do hope you're fine and Happy '73. Are you surrounded by dreadful pig problems - it's so sad - I always hate it when hear of hundreds of animals being slaughtered. Come and see me one day in my falling down house in Kensington!
With love Shiela