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ORAL HISTORY - NORMAN TULL - THURSDAY 28 AUGUST 1997.
Norman Tull is the retiring Parish Clerk for Goring; a post which he has held for a considerable number of years. He also served as a Councillor on the old Henley Rural District Council. He therefore has a vast knowledge of the planning consents and ownership of the land surrounding 70MU. His father in law, Cecil Brown, worked at 70MU.
Norman left school at 16 and joined the RAF at 18 as a wireless operator and flew by Dakota in 6 hops to India where he remained until Independence and Partition. He joined the Civil Service when he was demobbed.
Cecil Brown fought in WW1 and was wounded. He would have been 102 this year which means he was born in 1895. He died in 1976. He worked at 3MU Milton from 1938 and then transferred to 70MU in 1942 on its inception. He was a civil servant and was classed as a clerical officer and ran the canteen and also helped in the wages office. He remained there until a few months before his retirement when he moved back to 3MU. He retired age 65 in 1960. Whilst at 70MU R.J.Cullum; Higher Clerical Officer; who was also a civilian, was his boss and Brown was his deputy. Norman's wife's uncle by marriage was Charlie Clack, an ex army man, who was the Chief Fire Officer at 70MU.
Norman produced a copy of the Enclosure Map and Statutes and a map showing the boundaries of Goring Parish. In general terms, from the Enclosure Act to 31st March 1952, the land which contained Sites 1 and 2, and Headquarters Site were in the parish of Goring. Baker Shaw woods were also in the parish and the land on which the sewage works was built but Ladygrove Farm was not. Site 3 and The Hocket were in the parish of South Stoke cum Woodcote. The land between The Hocket and Ladygrove Farm, ie Goring Heath was part of Goring Parish.
The boundary of the two parishes is where Birchen Copse, Common Covert, Common Wood and Bensgrove Wood (Goring Parish) adjoin Ashlee Wood, College Wood and Abbotts Wood (South Stoke cum Woodcote Parish).
Goring was held by the Lord of the Manor of Goring, and the Lord of the Manor for South Stoke cum Woodcote was Christ College, Oxford.
In 1952 a Parish of Goring Heath was formed. Capt. Goldsmid of Newhouse Farm was a councillor on Henley RDC and was due to lose his RDC seat so he instigated the change of boundaries which Goring Parish opposed. He was the only candidate and therefore became a parish councillor of the new Goring Heath.
Site 3 and The Hocket were most likely to be owned by Christ Church, College, Oxford as owners of the woodland. The Trustees of Goring Heath Charities owned sites 1 and 2. Headquarters Site and The Sewage Works were on land owned by Goldsmid. All sites were requisitioned by compulsory leases by the Air Ministry.
Goring Heath Charities owned all of the beech woodland in the parish near and around Crays Pond. (Birchen Copse, Common Covert, Common Wood, Bensgrove Wood, Great Oaks, Oaken Wood, Little Oaken Wood, Friarhampstead Wood and Green Bloom Plantation) They held them as an investment and in order to maximise income for the Trust they sold some of the woodland from time to time. It seems likely that where ever today small industrial units appear on 70MU land, then the Charity sold that bit of land after it was no longer required by the RAF. Viz, All that site to the west of the road to Crays Pond, and the current saw mills connecting Site 1 on the road to Crays Pond to Site 2 on Long Toll. Oxfordshire County Council acquired site 20a and Friar Hampstead Cottage and/or Long Toll Cottage increased their gardens but Shed 23 was demolished first.
Sometime after the RAF left; 1960 to 1966; the land was returned to the original owners, who may have sold on as indicated above. I can only assume from what Norman says is that the RAF would have offered to return the land to the same state as they found it. In the case of Goldsmid; he was only too eager to have the buildings demolished. In the sites indicated above, the sawmills must have declined the demolition and still use the buildings, as with buildings 63 and 64. New buildings have also been built on this site on the foundations of one of the 'dope' huts and new buildings have been built on the site of 67.
The demolition appears to have caused some controversy, and the subject is raised in the old Henley RDC Minutes, which should be in the Record Office indicating when the Council discussed the demolition with the owners. (Goring Heath was part of Henley RDC then).
Norman looked at the photographs and said that the gates on the HQ site are the original gates; also thought that the Home Guard was based at the Camp during the war. He said that the one remaining building close to the road to Crays Pond at the old Headquarters Site was the Ambulance and Fire Station.