M29998 Armourer’s Crew Gerald William Green, Royal Navy
Born on 20th March 1899 in Little Gaddesden
Died on 25th August 1989 in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury
Gerald William Green and his twin brother Francis Samuel Green were born in Little Gaddesden, the youngest of the four children of Samuel Green and Fanny née Worall. Gerald and Francis Green were baptised in St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 22nd July 1899.
Their sister Mary Dorothy was born on 30th June 1884 and their brother Charles John on 29th May 1893.
The family lived at 26 Little Gaddesden, which was then the School House as Gerald’s father, Samuel (Sammy) Green was the Schoolmaster; he taught at Little Gaddesden School for 50 years. From 1863 to 1896 he was Assistant Master to the school’s first Headmaster John Worall, whose daughter Fanny he married in 1883. Then, in 1896 he became Headmaster, a role he held for eighteen years, retiring on 31st July 1914. He was also Church Organist, Choir Master and Sunday School Teacher. He was the Enumerator for the 1881, 1891 and 1901 Census returns, all written in his clear, firm hand.
Gerald and Francis Green started in the Infants’ Class at Little Gaddesden School on the afternoon of 8th June 1903 when they were 4 years 1 month old. They stayed at the school until 16th September 1913 when Gerald Green (Standard 7), Francis Green (Standard 6) and Maurice Cox (Standard 6) left to go to Berkhamsted Boys Grammar School. Gerald and Francis Green were then aged 13.
Joining the Little Gaddesden Scout Troop 7
Gerald and Francis Green joined the Little Gaddesden Scout Troop at its start, October 26th 1911. Gerald was in the Lion Patrol, Patrol Leader Frank (Henry F.) Johnson, while Francis Green was a member of the Peewit Patrol, whose Patrol Leader Arthur Whitman was killed at St Julien on 31st July 1917. The Scouts first met in the Reading Room at John o’Gaddesden’s House but meetings soon moved to the Armoury, at 27 Little Gaddesden, the home of their Scout Master, Harry Temple, who was assisted by 17 year old Bernard Phillips. 27 Little Gaddesden was next door to the School House. Miss Bridget Talbot was the Scouts’ President and Mr Humphrey Talbot their Treasurer.
Boy Scouts’ Cook’s Badge – First skin your Rabbit 7
The Little Gaddesden Scout Diary records that, in Autumn 1912:
14 boys of the LG Troop were examined in the Park at Ashridge for their cook’s badges. Lord Brownlow presented a rabbit apiece to each boy. Fourteen fires were then lit, made up on some bricks + each boy proceeded to skin and boil his rabbit, adding vegetables + dumplings into his stew. The judges on this occasion were Lord Brownlow, Mrs Temple, Mrs Bridle, Mrs Flowers + Mr Jim Rodgers. Mr J Parsons presented 3 prizes for the best 3 saucepans of rabbit stew. Arthur Pinnock won the 1st prize.
We do not know who won 2nd and 3rd prizes, but the diary records that Gerald was one of the 14 boys awarded his Cook’s Badge. Other Scout Cooks included Albert Basford, Edward Bunn, Francis Green, Bernard Halsey, Percy Hobbs, Frank Johnson and Archie Wells.
After Samuel’s retirement as Little Gaddesden Schoolmaster on 31st July 1914, the Green family moved to Dagnall.
On 22nd March 1918, two days after his 19th Birthday, Gerald joined the Royal Navy for the duration of hostilities. He was 5 feet 3½ inches tall with a 34½ inch chest; he had auburn hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. His Royal Navy Seaman’s record also notes that Gerald’s previous occupation was as a Tool Fitter.
Gerald served as Armourer’s Crew on HMS Pembroke II, the Royal Naval Air Station at Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey. However, very shortly after the Armistice, on 13th November 1918, he was invalided out of the Royal Navy suffering from Fibroid Phthisis – tuberculosis of the lungs. Fortunately this condition did not prevent him living to the age of 90. Gerald was awarded the British War Medal for his War Service.
An addition to the Little Gaddesden Roll of Honour 5
The original, pre-Second World War, wording on the left hand panel of the Little Gaddesden War Memorial on the village green read:
This memorial is erected in honour of the one hundred and thirty six men who went from the villages of Little Gaddesden, Hudnall and Ringshall and served in the war of 1914 = 1918. The names of those who gave their lives for their country are cut on the stones here. The names of those who returned to England are preserved in the Church.
However, the Church Roll of Honour lists only 119 men; one of those omitted is Gerald Green, possibly because he did not serve until 22nd March 1918, by which time his family had moved to Dagnall. His name has been added to the 2018 Centenary Revision of the Roll of Honour, as has that of his twin brother Francis Green.
After leaving the Royal Navy, Gerald returned to 17 Dagnall. However, by June 1921 both Gerald and Francis Green were Motor Engineers at Scott’s Motor Engineers, The Traveller Works, High Street, Dunstable and boarding in the household of Mr L Kent at 92 High Street South, Dunstable.
Then, later in the 1920s Gerald and Francis Green opened their Motor Garage in Dagnall. In “A history of Dagnall Village”, Geoff Spencer notes that, at that time getting out of the village usually involved walking, cycling or going by horse and cart. Few cars came through the village and there were only four cars in it, one owned by the Greens.
Gerald’s car and the garage were very useful in Dagnall. For example, in 1934 five girls were supposed to attend the Domestic course in the next village, Edlesborough. However, they refused to go as it took too long to walk there and back. This problem was solved when arrangements were made with Gerald as Garage Proprietor to bring them back each afternoon by car. When evacuees came to the village, the village school could not accommodate them all, so some were taught in the village hall. In the winter of 1939-40, Gerald supplied paraffin for the heating there at cost price. Then, after the 1944 Education Act, when the older children had to attend school in Dunstable, Gerald took them there.
In the 1939 Register, Gerald is recorded as the Garage Proprietor and Francis Green as a Garage Mechanic, fitter and turner. Gerald and his widowed mother Fanny lived at 17 Main Road, Dagnall while Francis Green, his wife Helena and their daughter Bridget lived next door at 18 Main Road.
Gerald’s mother Fanny died, aged 85, in the 2nd Quarter of 1943. Then, in the 4th Quarter of 1947, Gerald married Eileen Margaret Bunn; the marriage was registered in the Aylesbury District. Their daughter Dorothy was born in 1949.
On 25th August 1989, 90 year old Gerald William Green died of Bronchopneumonia and heart failure in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury. His home address was then 47 Main Road North, Dagnall and his death was recorded by his widow Eileen.
5. Leonhardt, John (ed), 2002, A Century Remembered – a celebration of the Millennium in Little Gaddesden, Rural Heritage Society of Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Ashridge
6. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906 and 1906 – 1934
7. Little Gaddesden Scout Diary 1912 – 1922, HALS, Hertford, Acc 3131
11. Spencer, Geoff, (2011) A History of Dagnall Village. eBook, ASIN: B004Q3RKHS
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson