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PG TIPS: Oaksmere is back

Diss, norfolk. Pete Gillings with his April Fools royal wedding invitiation ENGANL00120110609141436

Diss, norfolk. Pete Gillings with his April Fools royal wedding invitiation ENGANL00120110609141436

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Oaksmere is back.

If you are new to the area, Oaksmere won’t mean much to you but you may be more familiar with the more recent name of The Cornwallis in Brome.

Bill and Mike Hasted, along with their father, Bill senior - but my pen and this newspaper would not be giving the man justice if we did not print his correct name and title – Major General William Freke Hasted CB, CIE, CBE, DSO, MC. He was field marshall Bill Slim’s chief engineer 14th Army, Burma.

My father Bill Gillings also served in Burma with the 14th Army and told me it was called ‘The Forgotten Army’. I’m sure anybody that fought through it and survived never forgot it.

General Hasted built at that time the longest Bailey Bridge ever. Well over 1,000 feet long, using elephants for the construction and in record time - 26 hours. All this while still being under attack by air from the Japanese.

The Oaksmere, newly bought and now being restored (not only to its former glory but far beyond) by Fraser Duffin, was orginally built when Henry VIII was still being talked about for having six wives.

I celebrated St George’s Day with lunch there last week with the needy and greedy of Diss Rugby Football Club and a grand feast we all had - but of course as it was the rugby club no drink was drunk.

I could never understand why the old Oakesmere had its name changed to The Cornwallis - or as we renamed it the ‘Corn Wally’. He lived down the road at Brome Hall, also known as Viscount Brome.

He was responsible for surrendering at Yorktown and giving away the colony of America.

He wasn’t happy with that. After returning from America he turned his energy to Ireland and was instrumental in bringing about the union of Great Britain and Ireland.

Nice – so he kept a bog and gave away what was to become the richest country on Earth and all to a bunch of traitors that never had a navy or uniforms - what makes you think I haven’t heard the last of that little tirade?!

 

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