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Barbara Abdy kindly contacted the HHA (?in the 1990s) with information about this extended Hungerford family (see below).

The family also has links with the Cundell family and their connections.

Greta Letitia Richens and her near family:

(From notes in part of the Cundell Family History Book, kindly lent by Chris Hook, Jan 2018).

On the Richens / Nichols / Hook Families:..

Greta Letitia, middle daughter of Osmond and Letitia Richens (nee Cundall) of Rectory Farm, The Croft, Hungerford, was born on October 8th 1898, and married Guy Chambers Nichols on October 19th. Guy came to farm as a farm student from London. After they were married they lived at Park Farm on the Hungerford Park Estate, Guy was Farm Manager.

February 2nd 1926 their first child, a daughter was born, Susan Margaret, and then in November1927 a second daughter, Patricia Ann was born. After about five years Guy gave up fanning and bought a milk business in Hungerford High Street collecting milk from farms and delivering it to the houses round the town. Whilst they were there their two daughters (Susan and Ann) started school over the road at Sally Richens private school (next to the congregational church). After a few years Guy gave up the milk business and sold it to some people called Peachy. The family then went to live in the CroftVillas no 20 which belonged to Guy's father Percy Nichols, grandfather to Susan and Ann. The grandparents, Percy and Ada, lived at the top of the town in Salisbury Road in a house they had built when they had retired from London, they called it "Countryside".

Guy the started work for James & Co Agricultural Merchants as a rep calling round at farms. Whilst they were living in the Croft, their son John Anthony was born ( a brother for Susan and Ann) in February 193 7, a son to carry on the family name a Guy was an only son. Soon after that event the girls (Susan and Ann) started school at Newbury Girls County School and so had to travel by train to Newbury everyday.

Going back to the grandparents who farmed at Rectory Farm in the Croft. Osmond (Greta's father) died of cancer in 1932 in a London Hospital, so the farm was sold and his wife Letitia (Greta's mother) went to live in Froxfield at the College (originally built for vicars and farmers widows) and was happy there until she died in 194 7.

The grandparents from London who lived at "Countryside" enjoyed life in Hungerford, they played bowls and crocquet at the club in the croft and drove up to Newbury every Thursday etc - until Percy, who had a heart problem (he had retired early from working in the House of Commons) had to give up gardening which he loved. They decided to move down to Sussex, a favourite haunt of theirs. So they moved in around 1938? And Guy and Greta and family moved up to "Countryside". The family house on Salisbury Road.

1939 was the outbreak: of World War 2, it was September? The family had just got back from a holiday in Mudeford, black out curtains were hastily made and a room was made under the stairs in case of air raids, not forgetting the air raid shelter Guy made in the garden, no one was ever known to have used it.

Grandpa Nichols (Percy) died in 1940 ( a heart attack), granny stayed in Hove living ,.in a small flat. Guy joined the Home Guard doing his bit for the war effort After a year or so, can't remember the date, Guy joined the navy and was stationed down in Portsmouth, before going on to Mine Sweepers. Greta had a busy time looking after

Susan, Ann and little John and also having evacuees (adults) from London who required somewhere to live away from the bombing. Ann was still going to the Newbuy Girls County School, but Susan was sent to the Leehurst Convent, Salisbury as a boarder to enable her to have a better education, or perhaps to ensure she paid attention to schoolwork and behaved herself!

After Susan left school she had a job hairdressing, Ann got a job with Rootes ( car firm) who were evacuated to Stype just outisde Hungerford, but before long she got a job at the Post Office as a Telephonist which was much more to her lilting.

During the war Hungerford was very busy, seething with troops, stationed at Littlecote; Chiltern, Ramsbury and North Standen. The Americans ( 101st Airborne) arrived in 1943, which interested all the local especially the girls. Susan and Ann went to dances at the Com Exchange along with their friends and learnt to dance the Jitterbug to the super American bands - the Com Exchange was a Dougnut Dugout (?) during the day, it certainly livened up the town, but of course there was a lot of worry and sadness with the war at it's height.

Susan had an unfortunate affair with a married Yank ( as they were called) and ended up having a baby, a girl she called Rosemary, who was adopted when she was six weeks old, all rather sad, but not unusual, there were many illegimate babies born during the war. That may all sound very thoughtless now, but that's how it was in 1943. Towards the end of the war Susan was called up and joined the ATS (army).

With the end of the war 1945-46 Guy came out of the navy and decided on a job down at Midhurst in Sussex as Manager of a Corn Merchants busniess. It was decided to sell "Countryside" and rent a cottage at West Lavingtonjust outside Midhurst. Ann went to lodge with Marian Holford who lived in the croft and was a family friend, as she was still working as a telephonist at the post office. John was sent to a boarding school at Abingdon (Royces School as known then) and Greta settled in the cottage, a very quaint place, but no electricity and a loo in a hut down the garden. It was owned by an artist who didn't like change.

Ann went down to stay for a weekend now and again, she hoped to get a job as a telephonist down there, but there were no vacancies, but none the less she decided to leave Hungerford and move down to the cottage to be with her mother, as her father, Guy, had decided to have his friend Peggy Lister to live there as well, not a good arrangement, Ann worked for a year exercising horses for a Major Robinson at a nearby stables. Ann and her mother (Greta) made the most of a bad arrangement until Great decided it was time she left.

Ann decided to join the WRNS so went to Brighton for a medical. Then Greta went down to Somerset to keep house for Uncle Henry (his wife Phylis Greta's sister died towards the end of the war) until something more permanant came along. Ann went to Grafton to stay with her cousin and Aunt and Uncle, Greta's other sister, Joyce Hussey, until she was called up, to fill in the time she worked at Savemake Hospital, among other things, she helped at the birth of a baby, quite an experience.

In July 1947, Ann got her call up papers and went to Burghfield (near Reading) to begin her three years in the WRNS, weeks learning how to march, salute, wash floors,

.rtend lectures etc wearing the unpopular dresses called Bluettes before she eventually got her uniform. After a short leave at home, or rather Grafton, she was posted up to Lancashire to train as a telephonist (even though she was GPO trained already) passed out with flying colouors, didn't see too much of the area whilst she up there, but visited Manchester a few times. They were all given their postings, Ann and two other girls were posted down to HMS Seahawk (Culdrose) the other two dropped off at another air station in North Cornwall (St Mirren??)

Ann soon settled in working in the signals block on the airfield as a telephonist, made lots of friends, enjoyed the social life, the camp cinema and dance hall - lots of walks to the beach and also into Helston, the nearest small town. She had her first long evening dress made in a local shop, it was black and the best she ever had, well the war hadn't been long over and clothes had been rationed. Meanwhile the rest of the family were all living separate lives. Guy was still in Sussex living with his new partner Peggy, Greta was back in Hungerford living with Aunt Freda, helping to look after Uncle Walter who was ill, Susan and Jimmy were still in Kent (in the army) looking after little Michael and John was at school in Abingdon (I didn't mention that Susan met James Weir when in the army and they married in 1946 and had a son Michael)

Ann spent her first Christmas leave at Grafton with the Hussey family, John, Sue and James plus baby Michael also joined the family. Mother (Greta) was in hospital after an operation so we made visits to Oxford to see her, quite a journey in 1947-48 without a car, anyway mother recovered and went back to Hungerford and rented a house in Church Street no 34. Ann spent more time down at Culdrose then she got a posting to Burghfield (not to her liking) so after a couple of months got a posting to Warrington HMS Blackcap in Lancashire, the wrens were billeted in a large country house called the Hall in the village ofStocktonbrookjust outside Warrington and had transport to work everyday, a great place, working in the signals building and visiting Chester and North Wales on our time off.

You will notice I (Ann) am writing this now in different tense.

This was the final piece Mum wrote. We know the rest is history!!

See also:

- Richens, Curnick and Slade family history

- Richens Family Tree

- Cundell Family History